Activities concerning the planning and development of academic libraries in Serbia are regulated by the Libraries Act. The first activity aimed at establishing connections among academic libraries was the establishment of a common catalogue for the University of Belgrade, the first of its kind in Serbia. It was established at the University of Belgrade in 1930, and its establishment shows that leadership of Belgrade University was fully aware of the importance of establishing a common database on book acquisition for the entire University. After the Second World War it was moved from Captain Miša’s Foundation building to the University Library.
The main task concerning library development at the University of Belgrade was to co-operate and co-ordinate the work of academic libraries and to work on the advancement and improvement of the professional work and status of librarians and on their professional training.
In 1976 the Association of Branch and Departmental Libraries of the University of Belgrade was established. During the next year, all the academic libraries of Serbia joined the Association. The Association ceased its activities in the late 1980’s.
A new association – the Serbian Academic Library Association (SALA) was founded in 1992, its head office being on the premises of the University Library. Libraries from all the six Universities in Serbia and libraries of the main scientific institutes have joined the Association. When it was established, the Association had fifty members and now it has over one hundred.
The main task of the Department is to organise, develop and improve the status and knowledge of libraries that belong to SALA. It deals with the library network, its standards and rules. IZBUS, which used to be an Association newsletter of sorts and was published 4 times a year on a regular basis, has become a more serious periodical: INFOTEKA - a journal of informatics and librarianship - which mainly publishes papers delivered at the Association’s professional meetings. In co-operation with the Library and the Association, a number of courses and lectures on subjects of interest to librarians have been organised (on modern technology, the INTERNET and Web presentations).
The Department also supervises and evaluates libraries under its jurisdiction, collects data about these libraries for the national electronic database, works on the professional training of junior librarians and is in charge of electronic cataloguing practice for students of the Department of Information Science and Librarianship. The data for the common catalogue of the University of Belgrade and the University of Art have been collected and included in the Library electronic catalogue since 1990. It maintains liaison with other electronic library networks, which partially compensates for the lack of a centralised comprehensive library database network.