Public libraries in the villages and cities of the Republic of Moldova become true community centers, spaces in which people come to get information from the Internet, look for news or find job vacancies. As of late, the activity of librarians worldwide was influenced by the development of new technologies, and the role they have in a locality is to make libraries essential partners in the development of societies, by offering free access to information.
The Municipal Library of the Costesti village, Ialoveni district, whose activity concept was modernized in 2014, within the Novateca program, gathers users of different interests and ages thanks to the diversity of services available to the institution. Every day, the institution is visited by children who come here to do homework and practice group games, teenagers who surf the Internet and participate in creative clubs and educational discussions, grandparents who come to talk through social networks with their children who are abroad.
The library was renovated and transformed into a community center
“Five years ago, libraries needed urgent renovation, work had become monotonous and all of our activities were worthless. Thanks to the support of the American people, we benefited from this change and instead of the simple library, we now have a community center, where every citizen of Costești can find a favorite occupation”, says the head of the Costești Municipal Library Maria Borta.
“The transformation started when we received seven computers and a printer, and during the course, we participated in the 1 + 1 initiative and the village hall offered us a laptop. The creation of the “Internet and activity” creative club followed, with meetings organized once a week, as soon as a group of attendants is gathered. In our proceedings we are inspired by newspapers, the internet” Mrs. Borta says.
Also as part of the Novateca program, in 2017 Maria Borta participated in a training on building the image of the library through different visibility materials: leaflets, cups, pens, t-shirts. Following this training she was appointed to instruct a group of librarians from the district.
“We are now part of a new project entitled “My Community”, supported by the US Agency for International Development. This initiative involves conducting six activities within our institution, over the course of a year” Maria Borta confesses.
The “My Community” project is aimed at libraries in the country, in order to empower them with a new role of community facilitators. Libraries and librarians are encouraged to facilitate community mobilization, hold public hearings and events, and support consultations between citizens and local public authorities.
„We wish to be more useful to people from our community”
In addition to changing the concept of library operation, the institution hosted a volunteer from the Peace Corps for two years. The library needed a bathroom, and the Peace Corps volunteer provided support in writing a project to this aim.
“With the financial support of the American people, what was written on paper became a reality – the bathroom was built and now all sanitary norms are respected,” Maria Borta says.
Also with the Peace Corps team, the library renewed its furniture, and then won a projector, which is very useful in carrying out public activities.
“We want to be useful to our locality through what we do. For example, when the mayoralty participated in a transparency contest, we conducted surveys in the village. Under the mentorship of the Peace Corps volunteer, we managed to organize an English club, which involved both the children and the elderly” the director of the institution says.
Elderly persons come to the library to talk with their children who are abroad
Most of the visitors are children who do not have a computer at home, but are eager to find out new information. Here, computers are available for free. “We offer them the opportunity to come prepare their homework or carry out other extracurricular activities,” Mrs. Borta says.
Parents, as well as elderly people come to the library: “They come to us to help them create accounts on social networks or email addresses, they come to talk to their children who are abroad. Thus, the library has become a meeting point, a place of socialization. “The director of the institution, but also the whole community, is grateful that, thanks to the support provided by the United States, it was possible to modernize the library in Costesti, and not only. Over the last six years, over one thousand libraries in the Republic of Moldova have been transformed, from mere book storage areas, into full-fledged community centers, so that the citizens of our country have free access to information and new technologies, in order to become active members of local communities and contribute to the development of their villages and cities.
This material was produced by the U.S. Embassy to the Republic of Moldova.
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