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e-CULTURE AT THE LIBRARY

Below is a description of ideas for projects in the area of e-CULTURE that public libraries can implement via the ICT equipment delivered under the Glob@l Libraries – Bulgaria Program. It also includes information about institutions and organizations that libraries can partner with in the implementation of projects.
 
 
Global culture in your city/town/village
 
Description: Access to global cultural specimens via online sources – free and paid. Organization of joint/shared movie shows and presentations preceded and followed by other events. Focus on cultural products that do not need to be translated: i) visual arts / museums; ii) music; iii) dance; iv) theater, etc.
Examples: The Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra has developed a “Digital Concert Hall” where, at an extremely high quality, more than 30 concerts per season can be watched live and it also offers access to more than 150 recorded concerts; paid access. Link: http://www.digitalconcerthall.com/.
Other examples:
1. Museum: http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/online_tours.aspx
2. Ballet: http://video.pbs.org/video/2177584773
For whom: Various age groups according to the concrete cultural product and groups’ interests
Outputs: A cycle of concerts, a cycle of virtual museum tours, a cycle of performances, etc.
Potential partners: Embassies and international cultural centers.
 
 
Week of European/Russian/Animated/New Bulgarian Cinema
 
Description: Presentation of well-known and new Bulgarian and world cinema, including short movies, animation and other small forms.
Example: Mosfilm have their own YouTube channel where well-known and favorite to the older generation movies like “The Irony of Fate”, “Moscow Does not Believe in Tears”, “Kidnapping, Caucasian Style” and many others can be watched directly. Link: http://www.youtube.com/user/mosfilm
Other examples: AG Kurtzfilm is a German organization active in the promotion of German short films, including animation. Annually, AG Kurtzfilm releases CDs with new German animated movies and distributes some of them free of charge. Link: http://www.ag-kurzfilm.de
For whom: Various age groups according to the concrete cultural product and groups’ interests
Outputs: A cycle of thematic movie shows and lectures, e.g. “Month of Russian Cinema”, “Month of New Bulgarian Movies”, “Week of German Animation”, etc.
Partners: National Film Center, Bulgarian National Television, embassies and international cultural centers.
 
Online map of cultural sites
 
Description: Mapping of the spaces for professional stage arts to effectively create programs for stage artistic production mobility and exchange among various stages across the country.
For whom: Professional managers and producers in the areas of music, theater and dance; library and chitalishte managers
Outputs: A database and a map of available stages and the conditions they offer that will be accessible to all interested parties and can lead to an actual increase in the number of traveling performances (including concerts) in various sites across the country.
Partners: Art Office Foundation
 
Family memory
 
Description: Usage of new technology to collect and promote local cultural heritage starting from personal and family stories, including through the creation of family trees, collection and digitization of old photographs, collection and digitization of memories from/of old people, etc. Experience shows that such initiatives can have a huge mobilizing effect on the local community.
Example: The “Family Tree” initiative in the village of Pobeda (Dolna Mitropolia municipality) where the MyHeritage.com website is used for the creation of attractive family trees with photos, etc.
Other example: The Geni.com website allows for simultaneous filling/creation of family trees by multiple participants after having received an online invitation from a family member. This is particularly effective when we talk about families whose representatives live in different settlements and sometimes on different continents.
For whom: Young people, regional studies experts, all people interested in their personal history
Outputs: Not just family trees but rather overall archives organized around the family history and the history of the settlement; archives that can be entirely or partially presented online.
Partners: Archives State Agency, local and regional museums, schools, etc.
 
Digitization of local heritage
 
Description: Collection, processing, analysis and digitization of local cultural heritage, including old photographs, old postcards, chitalishte archives, church archives, texts and collections by local regional studies experts, etc.; most importantly, provision of broad based access to this heritage.
Example: The “Old Sofia” website collecting and featuring not only photos, but also old travel notes, copies of foreign magazines, Sofia residents’ memories, postcards, etc., including quizzes (“What is this place”), etc. Link: http://stara-sofia.com/
Other examples: The “Lost Bulgaria” website featuring the richest collection of high-quality old photos, duly grouped in various categories, and offering a diversity of search options. Link: http://www.lostbulgaria.com/
The photo and postcard digitization projects of the libraries in Varna and Dobrich and also the library in the town of Marten (Ruse district) which created a remarkable website with old photographs of old Ruse (Ruschuk). Link: http://www.marten-bg.eu/ruschuk/
For whom: The local community in general, researchers from other cities/towns
Outputs: Alive and actively maintained websites featuring well-prepared, well-selected and well-presented segments of local heritage accessible to all users
Partners: The “Lost Bulgaria” website, etc.
 
 
The settlement’s living culture – online promotion opportunities
 
Description: Usage of new technology and internet access to showcase in a contemporary manner the existing living culture in the respective settlement, including folk song and dance companies, amateur and professional theater, festivals and other cultural events, local crafts, living intangible heritage, youth art, etc. This will open up new opportunities for contributions by local authors and artists and will also contribute to the positive image of the settlement and will increase local people’s self-confidence.
Example: Many chitalishte websites featuring their activities, including various ensembles, celebrations, etc.
For whom: Local artists and authors whose works will be showcased; online visitors living outside the settlement who will become familiar with its cultural life; cultural managers and producers who will be able to contact local authors and artists
Outputs: Modernly designed websites on the settlement’s living culture combining texts, audio and video materials of interest to visitors from any corner of the planet
Partners: Local authors and artists, local cultural institutions, municipal authorities.
 
Landmarks and cultural itineraries
 
Description: Collection, analysis and digitization of information about local natural and cultural landmarks and overall presentation on the internet through developed cultural maps and tourist itineraries.
Example: While there are many examples of such grassroots initiatives, I am not familiar with examples where the leading partner in the creation of the website (or the tourist products) is a library or a chitalishte.
For whom: Tourists from other settlements; indirectly – in support of local business
Outputs: Tourist websites featuring maps and cultural itineraries
Partners: Local cultural councils, local authorities, local tourist businesses.
 
 
Development of local crafts and market opportunities
 
Description: Consultations on selling local artistic products via online shops nationally and internationally. The consultations should focus on several directions – from assistance and comments on the product itself (traditional crafts, a traditional songs CD, etc.), through pricing and marketing assistance, to consultations on online presentation and technical questions related to sales, work with online shops, etc.
Example: There are many online shops selling traditional Bulgarian products, e.g. “Nice Things” (http://www.hubavini.com). International online shops for all kinds of products like Ebay.com are even more numerous.
For whom: Support and promotion of local artisans and artists in other fields
Outputs: Traditional local products to be sold via and on the internet
Partners: Local authorities, local artists, museums, associations of artisans, etc.

Bulgarian projects on Kickstarter.com
 
Context: Kickstarter (http://www.kickstarter.com) is an online funding platform for creative projects in a variety of areas. It is based on the idea of crowdfunding, i.e. collective fundraising from a multitude of individuals who do not simply donate money but also get something in return.
Description: Provision of consultations to local entrepreneurs on designing projects for Kickstarter, including consultations on presentation techniques, language assistance, identifying gifts to be received by funders, etc.
Example: Dimitar Apostolov lives in Los Angelis and decides to help his granny and her friends in the village of Patalenitsa by providing them with an opportunity to sell their knitted socks to foreigners. Via Kickstarter, he raised almost 11,000 USD that remained in the local community. Link: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1220832022/bloc-socks
Other examples: The Bulgarian equivalent of Kickstarter is the “Start Zadrujno” platform which is still not entirely functional or effective in raising sufficient funds. Link: http://start.zadrujno.bg/
For whom: Local artisans, folk ensembles willing to release a CD, local heritage digitization projects, etc.
Outputs: Bulgarian products successfully funded via Kickstarter that can be consequently furthered and sold through other channels
Partners: Pease Corps volunteers, US Embassy, friends and family members living abroad.