Alexandru and Aristia Aman County Library is located in Craiova, an important cultural and economic centre of Oltenia. The estimated population of the city of Craiova is about 300,000 people. The city enjoys an intensive cultural life maintained by many public cultural institutions – a library, theatres, museums, a philharmonic, universities and non-governmental organisations. The County Library carries out joint cultural activities with various cultural and educational institutions under partnerships/cooperation protocols. In recent years, the city has seen an unprecedented increase in cultural events, including those in the fields of traditional culture, history and natural sciences. There are all prerequisites for this positive development to continue in the coming years. The status acquired by Romania as a Member State of the European Union has enabled access to European funds, including in the field of culture, thus complementing funding opportunities for cultural institutions and projects on a competitive basis. The analysis made in this context identifies both the opportunities and possible external risks that could influence the development of the Alexandru and Aristia Aman County Library.
Alexandru and Aristia Aman County Library is a public institution with legal personality, it has an encyclopaedic character , it operates within the Dolj County Council and is funded by the state budget, assuming the main responsibilities of filling, organizing, preserving and utilizing collections by preparing and organizing its own information tools so as to make the requested information available to users by borrowing books or providing access to documents in the library’s reading rooms. Activities carried out by the Alexandru and Aristia Aman County Library focus on continuous training of young readers but also adults, promotion of scientific research, access to cultural products, as well as leisure related activities. As the most important public library in the Dolj county, the constant efforts of the library are aimed at improving access to information and expanding services through books, in order to attract as many readers as possible.
Approximately 200,000 citizens turn to or visit the Alexandru and Aristia Aman County Library annually to borrow books, organise or participate in various cultural and educational activities, or to search online for information related to health, education, jobs, business development, but also to communicate with relatives or friends. In 2018, approximately 250,000 documents from library collections were borrowed or reviewed.
The large number of citizens who use the services of the Alexandru and Aristia Aman County Library is a relevant indicator of the influence and importance of the library. For its activity, as well as for the realized projects, the Alexandru and Aristia Aman County Library was awarded the title Library of the Year at the gala event organized by APLER (Association of Literary Publications and Publishers in Romania), held in December 2018 in the city of Bucharest.
The story of the Alexandru and Aristia Aman County Library began over a century ago. The opening of the Alexandru and Aristia Aman Foundation on 21 December 21 1908 represented the first private initiative in Craiova within the meaning of the establishment of a complex cultural centre for the public. The celebration took place in the presence of the prominent scientist Spiru Haret, minister of cult and public education at the time.
An integral part of the original foundation, the Alexandru and Aristia Aman County Library has been operating without interruption since its establishment. Currently, books, magazines and newspapers stored in the library number more than 628,088 copies, of which 535 are rare old Romanian and foreign books from the 16th – 19th century, as well as 5 valuable manuscripts.
The library has four local branches, in the districts of Craiovița Nouă, Brazda lui Novac, Rovine and Valea Roșie, as well as several branches and cultural centres it maintains outside the country: Canada, Serbia, Italy, Bulgaria, Greece and soon the Republic of Moldova.