Archar is a lively village of 2,400 inhabitants. It lies on the bank of the Danube River in Bulgaria’s least developed North-West Region, 25 kilometers away from the district center of Vidin. Archar’s 400 children enjoy a kindergarten and two schools. Livelihoods are rooted in agriculture and small fishing.
Archar’s public library is hosted by the local cultural club – one of Bulgaria’s more than 3,000 “chitalishte” countrywide. The space is cozy and warm. It was renovated by the Chitalishte itself because, apart from a subsidy from the government, the chitalishte also receives rent of its own farming property and some rooms which are let to the village’s cable television office.
Each month the library acquires an average of 5 new books. There are volunteers who help clean the library and maintain it orderly and nice. “Glob@l Libraries - Bulgaria” provided 5 computers, a multimedia projector and a multifunctional device to Archar’s chitalishte in May 2011.
Regular library visitors of all ages come to borrow books and connect to the Internet. An average of 15 people sit at the computers each day: schoolchildren use the new ICT equipment for homework and social networking; adults Skype with relatives that live and work abroad. Local pigeon producers, who organize a specialized market in front of Archar’s Chitalishte once a week, use the computers for information searches and professional exchange.
„When there were no computers in the library I talked to my son who works in Spain very rarely and only if he called me on the phone. Now I come to the library twice a week and I talk to him on Skype – and I do not only hear his voice but I also see him… Thank you,” says Galya Goranova, cleaner in the village school.
„With the help of the (ICT) equipment in the library I manage to organize a monthly birds market. This is somewhat of an attraction for the village, it helps me find a lot of information on the Internet about my hobby (photos and video), as well as people with an interest in birds just like myself… I am satisfied with the library’s new acquisition,” those are the words of Ilian Slavchev who works at the local mayor’s office.
„The library and its new information give me to access a wider range of information. The Internet access allows me to prepare well for the state exams, to do my homework and to work on school projects. This is a big opportunity for my development as a citizen and community member and I thank the Glob@l Libraries Program for that, as well as Ms. Filipova for her help,” says Miroslav Ludmilov, a 12th grade high school student.
Snezhana Filipova, Archar’s librarian, is 30 years old and has graduated high school. She has worked as a teller in the local cable television’s office before she came to the library where she has been for the last two years. In order to become a qualified librarian, currently Snezhana is attending training for librarians under the “I Can Do More” Program of the Labor and Social Policy Ministry. Thanks to “Glob@l Libraries - Bulgaria”, Snezhana went through training in ICT and Soft Skills and she is determined to attend trainings in the rest of the thematic areas as well.
Snezhana irradiates professional satisfaction and self-confidence that provoke pleasure in every monitoring person who comes to Archar from Sofia.
“I am proud of the library’s achievements, and I come to work with joy. I am current in latest developments that are important for my job. Colleague librarians from the district envy me for what I have here, in the Archar Chitalishte library”, Snezhana says.