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Although books have gone through major transformations throughout history as regards form, content and material, they have characteristics that remain unchanged. Books are means of communication: they use symbols such as letters, figures, musical notes and they reach the attention of the masses.
Knowledge is the pillar of human life. Knowledge does not constitute an end in itself, but a means of honorable and happy existence. The synthesis of creative power and knowledge put into practice in the service of humanity has helped create a rational world order. The need to refer to knowledge accumulated throughout history has brought about the need to systematically organize this information. Thus, the librarian who gathers, accumulates and organizes information for the public has a distinguished and honorable place among all professions.
Located at the crossroads of three of the oldest continents in the world, Turkey has been the cradle of diverse cultures throughout history.
I would like to express my pleasure that the 61st General Conference of the International Federation of Library associations will be held in Istanbul, as my country enjoys the privilege of cradling t he libraries of Bergama (Pergamon) and Celsus in Efes (Ephesus), which are among the oldest and most important libraries of ancient civilizations. Turkey is proud to own and enjoy modern networks of knowledge and information, which contribute to the common memory of mankind.
At present, we are passing through the age of information. As the usage of knowledge and information networks gains a global dimension through technological developments, the importance of the IFLA c onferences becomes better appreciated. "Libraries of the Future" will be dwelt upon in Istanbul where Asia and Europe meet one another, on August 20-26 1995 by delegates from all over the world. I am sure that the conclusions reached by librarians, the engineers of knowledge, will pave the way for love, peace and happiness among mankind.
I wish success to the 61st IFLA General Conference.
The President of the Republic of Turkey