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Local Development Forum “e-Services: a Program for Sustainability and an Opportunity for Partnership with the Local Community”, 30-31 May 2013, Veliko Tarnovo

On 30 – 31 May 2013, Bulgaria’s old capital hosted a forum for target library representatives from the districts of Veliko Tarnovo, Gabrovo and Lovech. Topics discussed in the form of interactive activities included types of e-services that libraries can provide to local communities in cooperation with local authorities and other partner institutions. The forum also provided an opportunity to librarians to share their experience in successful practices related to the provision of e-services. The forum was hosted by Petko R. Slaveykov District Library in Veliko Tarnovo.
The participants in the two-day forum included 106 target library specialists from the three districts, representatives of local authorities, district info points, NGOs and other local library partners in the provision of information and implementation of activities related to the development of civil society.
The forum was opened by Mr. Igor Chipev, Head of the Literary Heritage Department at the Ministry of Culture, and Mr. Gancho Karabadzhakov, Deputy Mayor of Culture, Education and Social Activities of Veliko Tarnovo Municipality, who used the opportunity to present the Municipality’s program on Veliko Tarnovo’s application for European Capital of Culture in 2019. Mr. Karabadzhakov was pleased to be awarded with the Library Ambassador pin and confirmed that he has always supported and will continue to support the district library in Veliko Tarnovo and library activities across the district.
The forum work sessions were moderated by the District Coordinators and Directors of District Libraries Mr. Ivan Alexandrov, Ms. Mariana Ivanova and Ms. Savina Tsoneva.
During the first session moderated by Mr. Ivan Alexandrov, the position of the Glob@l Libraries – Bulgaria Program Management Unit was presented by Desislava Marinova in her presentation “The Library: a Center of the Active Local Community”. 
The positive experience of Veliko Tarnovo Municipality in the provision of e-services to citizens was presented by Tsvetan Enev, Senior Expert at the Local Taxes and Fees Department.
Ivaylo Karaboykov from the District Governor’s Office in Gabrovo talked about the types of e-services provided in Gabrovo district.
The second work session moderated by Ms. Mariana Ivanova presented the positive experience of target libraries from the districts of Veliko Tarnovo and Lovech.
Mr. Gencho Genchev, Mayor of the village of Tsarevets, Svishtov municipality, and Chair of Svetlina 1917 Public Chitalishte, presented good practices from participation in projects under the “New Choice” and “Close to the People” programs funded by the Human Resources Development Operational Program and the opportunities for attracting new users of e-services through the chitalishte library.
Nora Petkova, Librarian at Prof. Benyu Tsonev District Library in Lovech, presented the website “Lovech and Lovech District Today”. Anton Gavrilov from the library at Saglasie 1869 Public Chitalishte in the town of Teteven shared the idea of digitization of the valuable publication “The Teteven Vernacular”. A presentation on the topic “Young Librarians: the New Wave of Global Libraries – Bulgaria” was delivered by our colleagues from the village of Toros and the town of Apriltsi.
The activities related to the topic and implemented in Gabrovo district were described in the presentation “e-Services in Aprilov-Palauzov DL in Gabrovo: New Opportunities for the Local Community” delivered by Ivelina Pencheva, System Administrator at the DL in Gabrovo.
The second forum day was moderated by Ms. Savina Tsoneva and started with a welcome address to forum participants by Ms. Nancy Bolt, ABLE Project Director, USA.
She shared her impressions from Bulgarian libraries’ experience and expertise gained from the joint activities implemented over nearly 20 years and Bulgarian librarians’ enthusiasm and willingness to work for the modernization of Bulgarian libraries and the adoption of any innovative service they have become acquainted with. Ms. Bolt was also awarded with the Library Ambassador pin which she was overjoyed to accept. 
Information about effective partnerships was provided by the District Info Points in Veliko Tarnovo and Gabrovo. The educational programs and career development of Vasil Levski Military Academy were presented by Major Ivanka Georgieva, Public Relations Manager. Problems and good practices were discussed by both target library representatives and local authorities from Troyan and Teteven.
The interactive module “Group Work for Project Proposal Design” for provision of e-employment, e-health and e-culture services was very successfully organized by the moderators Milena Dragova and Andrei Kostadinov.
During the group work, librarians were very creative and in the process of presenting the results of their work, they “stole” many new ideas and suggestions that they plan on implementing later on in their work.

The local development forum wrapped up with the impression of a very successful and valuable work meeting and a fruitful partnership between the colleagues from the three districts.