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Regional Thematic Meeting “Partnerships: an Innovative Library Service Tool” (Good Practice Sharing among Libraries in Smolyan and Pazardzhik Districts)

Regional Thematic Meeting “Partnerships: an Innovative Library Service Tool”
Regional Thematic Meeting “Partnerships: an Innovative Library Service Tool”
Meeting opening
Work in groups
Work in groups

On 17 – 18 May 2012, the Regional Thematic Meeting “Partnerships: an Innovative Library Service Tool” of Glob@l Libraries – Bulgaria Program target libraries located in Smolyan and Pazardzhik districts took place in Kamena Spa Center, Velingrad.


The meeting was attended by 95 participants, among whom public librarians from the two districts, chitalishte secretaries, representatives of local authorities, culture institutions, NGOs, business, library partners. The GLB Program management was represented by Ms. Emiliana Zhivkova, UNDP Program Officer, and three representatives of the Glob@l Libraries – Bulgaria Program Management Unit: Ms. Natalia Georgieva, PR and Advocacy Manager, Ms. Krasimira Kaneva and Mr. Krasimir Hristov, Regional Managers.


The district meeting was organized by the district libraries in Smolyan and Pazardzhik and hosted by Nikola Furnadzhiev District Library, Pazardzhik. The meeting began with a welcome address by Ms. Nikolina Kotseva, GLB District Coordinator for Pazardzhik district. Next, Mr. Krasimir Hristov talked about the objectives of the meeting agenda and the priorities of the Glob@l Libraries – Bulgaria Program in 2012.


The essential work of the meeting was organized in two sessions: Modern Public Libraries: Encounter of Traditional and Innovative Services; and Partnerships Make Us Stronger.


The first session started with the introductory presentation “Partnerships: an Innovative Library Service Tool” delivered by Ms. Natalia Georgieva. She presented to participants “the smart chart” – an important tool for the development of innovative services.

After that, the following presentations were delivered:

Lachezar Rikov, Director of Nikola Furnadzhiev District Library, Pazardzhik

Mr. Rikov presented the district library’s program for library information service provision to people with special needs developed in 1995, a detailed account of the implementation of specific activities targeted at various groups of people and the effect of these library activities.

Darina Slavova, Librarian at Nikola Vranchev District Library, Smolyan

Ms. Slavova talked about the activities of the center from its opening to date and presented it as a place where all generations get together and find something about themselves. Specific examples were provided from projects implemented jointly with the Municipal Children’s Complex, Plovdiv University, etc.

Silvia Lobodova, Librarian at the library of Probuda Public Chitalishte

Ms. Lobodova shared a good practice of training children and provided a detailed account of the conducted training and the effect of the Glob@l Libraries – Bulgaria Program in the smallest settlements.

Vaska Mavrodieva, Librarian at the library of Svetlina Public Chitalishte in the village of Momchilovtsi

The presentation outlined the activities of the library after the delivery of the equipment under the program by identifying two important directions: work with children and work on tracing and presenting local history. Ms. Mavrodieva also presented the new services provided by the library thanks to the equipment delivered under the program.

Victor Shanov, Secretary of Svetlina Public Chitalishte, village of Gyovren, and Whitney Godby, Peace Corps Volunteer

This presentation proved once again that partnership is instrumental for improving the level of library performance. It showed the changed library in the village of Gyovren, the different services it provides to people of all ages and its electronic catalogue.

The second session Partnerships Make Us Stronger aimed to showcase good partnership practices and at the same time, by continuing the small group work from the first session, focus participants’ attention on new partnerships. Contributions to this session included as follows:

Ms. Matakieva presented the joint work of the municipal administration in Pazardzhik, Nikola Furnadzhiev District Library and chitalishte libraries in the municipality – organization of events, book donations, support for establishing conditions and operations under the Glob@l Libraries – Bulgaria Program.

The presentation revealed the historical facts in the development of the library as a training center and its contemporary image. The presenters highlighted the staff’s pursuit of new partners.

Ms. Mirova presented the process of involving local authorities as a partner of library activities and the specific steps to implementation of the Glob@l Libraries – Program in Rakitovo municipality.

Other participants in the second session included Ms. Ina Tserovska, Director of the Youth House in Pazardzhik, and Boris Hadzhiyski, Director of the Regional Museum of History in Pazardzhik.


Ms. Tserovska presented the joint initiatives of the Youth House, Nikola Furnadzhiev District Library and the chitalishte libraries in the region, as well as their partnership activities addressing teenagers in the city and the region.


Mr. Hadzhiyski talked about the good partner relations between the museum, the district library and the chitalishte libraries in the region. He presented the activities under a project initiated by the culture institutions in Pazardzhik and focused on the organization of a ten-day Festival of Culture which will take place in September. The Regional Museum of History and the district library have a key role in the organization and the program of the festival.


Both sessions ended with group work activities aiming to develop innovative services targeted at preliminarily determined specific groups of library and information service users. This part of the meeting was evaluated by participants as crucial and valuable for future library activities. The workgroup provoked participants’ interest. Representatives of the two districts took part in the worktable discussions which made them even more useful since every participant was able to listen to opinions, experience and examples of replicable services shared by their colleagues from the other district. Thus, the effect of the workgroup activities was even stronger and the end result – very well developed and presented innovative services.


Group 1: Tourist Business Services

Target group – tourist business representatives

Needs – attracting tourists

Service identification – attracting tourists; studying local culture, customs and traditions; calendar of customs and traditions; restoration of traditions and customs; CD and DVD recordings of authentic folklore.


Publication of promotion brochures and flyers – BGN 300; purchase of CDs and DVDs – BGN 150; props for the chitalishte – BGN 2,000; copyright – BGN 500.

Partners – Pensioner’s Club, schools, the Municipality, museums, local media

Information – websites of the municipality, the library, fair trades, tourist centers, tourism intermediary services

Activities – establishing a study circle to trace local customs and traditions, a roundtable for the local community, library presentations

Effect – infrastructure investment – income, renovation, construction; promotion of the settlement; saving time for the business and the tourists


Group 2: Pupils 

Target group – 1st – 4th graders

Needs – educating interest in and love for knowledge among children

Service identification – creating an attractive learning opportunity preferred by children


  • Room equipped under the Glob@l Libraries – Bulgaria Program – available daily from 2 to 4 p.m.;
  • Teachers for all four groups;
  • Digital camera, paper, markers, color post-it notes;
  • Badge for each child (e.g. “I am Mitko from 2nd grade”).

Partners the teachers and parents of children in 1st – 4th grade

Activities acquisition of new knowledge, exercising and reinforcing the knowledge provided in school as per the school curriculum

Social effect

  • We create yet another useful and safe place for our children;
  • By making the process of introducing and exercising new knowledge and skills interesting, we create positive and sustainable learning motivation among the pupils;
  • We help teachers and enhance their professional self-confidence

Economic effect

  • We support directly the school in its main activity – education of the young generation – by providing currently unavailable after-school classes – 8 classes a week;
  • We save family budget money – for Internet fees, study materials, education service fee, heating costs.

Group 3
Target group – Women victims of domestic violence

Needs – information about NGOs and institutions providing assistance – websites and information materials

Service identification – acquiring knowledge of their rights; ensuring safety and tranquility.

Plan/Resources - ICT, social worker, lawyer, women’s clubs and organizations, pensioner’s club, psychologist, police

Partners – NGOs, psychologists, lawyers

Information – advertisements, social networks, media

Activities – contact with psychologist (presentations, lectures, survey, information materials); meeting at the crisis center – problem sharing; coffee-meeting; individual conversation with a psychologist; assistance through job placement information

Effect – complete and active persons; saving sick leaves, medicines, medical consultations costs; ensuring peace at home; increasing the family budget


Group 4: People with motor disabilities

Target group – children with motor disabilities – 10 children from a day center

Needs – access to library collections, books, information services, cultural library events; access to computers for training, entertainment and information purposes

Service identification – library access for people with motor disabilities; improving the library infrastructure – parking, ramp, aisle, railings, WC; organizing work and recreation places for children

Plan/Resources – the library has trained staff, premises, suitable materials and documents, computers with internet connection, a playground

Partners – local authorities, parents, the Union of Disabled People, volunteers (union of retired teachers, youth parliament, schools, NGOs, business)

Information – publications on the library website, in local media, promotion materials and events

Activities – fundraising (organizing a charity concert), build a ramp, provide training to a team working with children with special needs, computer skills training for the children

Social effect – include children and their parents, provide a new environment for parents and leisure time, a new environment for training and entertainment of the children, include families in library life

Economic effect – BGN 1,500 from the charity concert; BGN 1,500 from volunteer activities; free time for the parents who can use library resources


Group 5: Unemployed people

Target group – long-term unemployed in a settlement with 2,000 inhabitants

Needs – looking for job related information, acquire and brush up labor habits, additional skills, qualification, meetings with employers (employment brokerage)

Service identification – job placement assistance; catalogue of e-employment brokerage services, presentation of employment programs, meeting with employers – employment brokerage and the Employment Office, training in CV and motivation letter design and basic computer skills

Plan/Resources – contacts with the Labor Office Directorate; training needs assessment and program development with the respective trainers

Partners – the Municipality, the Labor Office Directorate, companies, NGOs, education institutions for adults

Information – information signboards, publications in the media, organization of events (meetings, roundtables)

Activities – contacts with unemployed people and groups, creating an e-catalogue of employment brokerage services, contacts with the Employment Office and employers and organization of meetings, basic computer skills training, provision of information resources, information and access to training programs, individual job placement consultations

Effect – jobs provided to 10% of covered unemployed; 20% trained in job search and new skills; new library users attracted


Group 6: Young Roma people

Service – “Together We Can”

Goal – registration of young Roma people aged 19-29 in the Employment Office

Partners – Roma organization leaders; managers of companies; the Labor Office; NGOs

Activities – CV and motivation letter design; filling in other required documents; searching company information online; searching various programs targeted at Roma

Resources – using library equipment and free-of-charge Internet access; a trained librarian

Results – Roma people learn about online information search methods – job ads and information about programs, and at the same time they establish personal contacts; they enhance their information literacy with the help of the library specialist; they apply and find jobs with the assistance of the librarian; they receive information about projects under Roma programs

Social effect – Roma population integration; reduction of ethnic tension; reduction of thefts – even if five thefts are prevented, in some regions this will be a major achievement

Economic effect – the young people will receive salaries, their social assistance benefits will drop off and social insurance will be paid to the budget


Group 7: Local amateur performers – a dance company for children

Service – assistance for participation in an international festival

Goal – dance company promotion abroad

Partners – Culture National Fund at the Ministry of Culture, local business, local authorities, chitalishte


  • Collect information and videos on the presented dance and the folklore region it originates from, typical folklore costumes
  • Send a participation request
  • Mobilize project based and sponsor based fundraising
  • Borrow costumes from other chitalishte

Resources – library stock, internet, experience of similar organizations

Lacking resources – funds for business trips, folklore costumes

Results – preserve and transfer to future generations Bulgarian folklore traditions and promote them abroad

Social effect – children establish contacts with their peers from other countries, exchange experience, acquire new knowledge

Economic effect – the local business sponsoring the participation in the festival is promoted internationally


Group 8: Farmers – “Together with the Potato Growing Farmers”

Service – find up-to-date information about active EU funds programs

Goal – provide business support up-to-date information to the target group

Partners – Municipal Agriculture Office (MAO), the Municipality


  • Meeting with a MAO expert
  • Fill in documents and application preparation
  • Submit documents online
  • Conduct online product realization research among leading companies
  • Establish a connection between producers and purchasing companies

Resources – library stock, internet, scanner, copier
Results – involvement of a bigger number of farmers
Social effect – keep young people in the village through information support for their business and improvement of the library image as a modern information center

Economic effect – generate higher income and lower project implementation costs, sustainable income


Group 9: Pensioners 60+

Service – Pensioners ONLINE

Goal – create new technology skills among the target group; establish new social contacts in the local community

Partners – Pensioner’s Club, local authorities, media

Activities – assess the target group’s willingness for training through questionnaires in the Pensioner’s Club, the post office, the health service and the church; distribute flyers through partner organizations; develop a training program; conduct ICT training

Resources – the information center equipment; a librarian trained in ICT

Results – the pensioners aged 60+ receive the necessary minimum of ICT skills and reinvent the library in the settlement not only as a place for reading books, but also as a place for access to information facilitated by modern information technology

Social effect – as a result of acquired knowledge, pensioners are able to find independently health prevention materials and information about other topics of interest and at the same time expand their social contacts

Economic effect – participants’ and library’s telephone and mail costs saved; training participants do not pay training fees and transport costs


In their feedback forms, meeting participants indicate things they would use further in their future activities as follows:

  • Joint activities with local authorities;
  • Mobilization of partners;
  • Interesting practices (exchange of experience) among colleagues from the two districts;
  • Innovative library services;
  • e-Inclusion and e-services;
  • Work with children with special education needs;
  • Work with all social groups;
  • Contacts with colleagues;
  • PowerPoint training of children;
  • Presentation preparation and delivery skills;
  • The smart chart.

Other feedback comments, opinions and recommendations include:

  • The sharing of good practices between the two districts was a very useful initiative of the Glob@l Libraries – Bulgaria Program. I think they will be utilized effectively by the libraries participating in the program.
  • Similar meetings with other colleagues from across the country should be organized in the future.
  • These meetings should take place at least two times a year.
  • Sound equipment needs to be provided.
  • Create a GLB vocational training center.
  • Congratulations to the organizers and the Glob@l Libraries – Bulgaria Program management.