Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The results after almost a year - Agricultural Libraries in Jagodina

Agricultural Libraries in Jagodina-Empowering farmers to connect, share and grow.
The Jagodina Public Library, Serbia
January 2013-November 2013
Due to political and economic crisis during the 90s, investment in rural areas declined. Impoverished villages came to the point where it was necessary to find new patterns to modernize backward agricultural production, in order to improve socio-economic status of rural residents.
Therefore, the Jagodina Public Library realized that in order to meet the needs of rural residents, village libraries had to be renovated and turned into information, communication and educational hubs of local communities. The challenges were to provide relevant agricultural information to farmers and to raise their awareness on computers and the Internet and encouraging them to use AgroLib online marketplace. 

Key achievements:                      
·      Opening of one more agricultural library in the village of Majur
·      In five rural libraries, 28 farmers were ICT trained through a series of five ICT trainings
·      14 agricultural lectures were hosted for farmers on various topics, such as blueberry growing, beekeeping, truffles growing, etc.
·      401 farmers attended the lectures
·      1 on-site agricultural lecture at the blueberry plantation
·      More than 10 speakers at the lectures
·      54,931 visits to the portal www.agrolib.rs and the online marketplace www.agrolib.rs/pijaca

Recognitions and awards:
·      In May 2013 by the World Summit of the Information Society Forum in Geneva, Switzerland in the category Access to Information and Knowledge
·      In June 2013 by the ERSTE Foundation for Social Integration in Vienna, Austria. 

Promotion of the project nationally:
·           At the 41st Annual Assembly for Librarians of Srem in Stara Pazova with presentation Rural libraries as information and communication centers of local communities
·           In October, our colleagues from the Belgrade City Library, members of the Independent Culture Union led by Mr Mirko Markovic, the advisor of the director of the Belgrade City Library and the president of the above Union, visited the Bagrdan Library in order to learn more about the project-Agricultural village libraries.
·           In October 2013 the branch of the library Milutin Bojic in Ovca hosted a gathering Small conversation about big library events in 2013. The director of the Jagodina Public Library, Vesna Crnkovic, talked about IFLA.
·           The seminar-workshop Information and Media Literacy was hosted by the Jagodina Public Library in October.
The Jagodina Library has launched a successful media campaign, receiving over 100 mentions in national and local media (both TV and radio stations) and in electronic media, raising the awareness of problems in rural areas, ICT illiteracy of farmers and how library services adapted to the needs of rural residents can contribute to solving these problems. The library participated in numerous meetings and events of librarians of Serbia and showcased the project services since the library public in Serbia is interested in the project replication.

Promotion of the project internationally:
·      At the Regional Conference -Public libraries encourage innovations in the community- in Radovis, Macedonia. The Library director talked about new services in agricultural libraries.
·      At the PLM meeting in Cape Town, South Africa at the workshop Libraries for Development
·      At WSIS Forum in Geneva, Switzerland at the IFLA workshop - Public Access to the Internet: How Libraries are Acting as Agents for Development.
·      At Spark Conference in Granada, Spain at the session- Rural Development, Agriculture and Telecenters.
·      At the IFLA Conference in Singapore with the poster Fostering Cooperation between the Library and Local community at the Poster Session.
·      In Bali, Indonesia, participation at a regional gathering Beyond Access 2013: Asia.

Project partners:
·      The City Council- funded renovation of the fifth library, new furniture, the librarian’s salary.
·      The Agency for Small and Medium Enterprises and Registered Agricultural Households- their expertise in organizing agricultural lectures, selecting speakers and topics; reaching out to farmers.
·      Local TV and Radio station-advertising the Library services; for example agricultural lectures or ICT training for farmers.
·      Agricultural cooperative-Prima borovnica- consultations regarding important topics, selecting speakers, etc.

The Ministry of Culture has finally recognized the services of the Jagodina agricultural libraries as necessary for economic and social development in rural areas. There are ongoing negotiations with the Ministry representatives on the scaling up the project and its dissemination in other municipalities in Serbia.

What our users say:
“I registered at the AgroLib marketplace and managed to sell 1 ton of pears. The buyer asked for more pears, but unfortunately my plantation is not that big. I hope I will expand the production.”
“I regularly read agricultural magazines at the library and was absolutely delighted when the librarian told me I can use Skype at the library to talk to my family in Austria.”
“I was contemplating the idea of starting a new agribusiness, and after the onsite lecture at the blueberry plantation, I will plant blueberries. Not a lot, just 20 seedlings for the beginning.”
“I am regular at beekeeping lectures because I am new at that business. I always hear useful information regarding treating the beehives and bees, etc.”
“After losing my job, I am happy to say that now I am my own boss. I run my own handicrafts workshop that I expanded with the state’s incentives. I wouldn’t accomplish all of that if it weren’t for the Library and its partners. They introduced me to the AgroLib marketplace, I started selling online and that’s how it all started. “

The Majur Library

Librarians from Belgrade visiting the Bagrdan Library

ICT training

A lecture on beekeeping
Lively discussion

Spark Conference in Spain-Presenting the AgroLib Project

Poster Session at IFLA 2013
Presentation of the project in Pancevo, Serbia

First online library conference in Serbia

Honorary award by ERSTE Foundation
Award by WSIS Forum
Beyond Access Asia

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

A new series of ICT training for farmers

The Jagodina Public Library launched a new series of ICT training for farmers on 16 December.
ICT trainer is Bojan Novcic, who was also one of the ICT trainers in Febryary and March 2013.

The training is designed for those who are totally new to using a computer, or those who have some skills but need more confidence.
      They start with the very basics, move to producing texts, creating email accounts and using emails, and finally they get tips on how to get best out of the Internet. The AgroLib marketplace is introduced to them, as well as how to use it, and all other relevant websites about agricuture.

This series of training is different because the group meets three times a week for two weeks (instead every day for a week). People have more time for revizing since they all get booklets that the ICT trainer created for the previous series of ICT training.

We have noticed that each year we have more and more women who apply for the training.
We expect to have more groups.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Agricultural Libraries at the Future Library Unconference in Athens, Greece

The Jagodina Library was given one more opportunity to introduce the project Agricultural Libraries in Jagodina to European library public. Jelena Rajic, a librarian and a project coordinator applied for Gates scholarship to attend the Future Library Unconference on 9th and 10th December 2013 at the Benaki Museum in Athens, Greece.

The scholarship was available to librarians and other library thinkers and doers from the Balkans. She was also chosen by the organizers of the Future Library Unconference to present the project of Agricultural Libraries during the Session Balkan Stage.

The tagline of the event was "Being creative, inspiring the community". There were nearly 400 participants and 55 speakers who participated in dozens of stages and workshops. Some of the topics were advocacy, design thinking, e-books, robotics, 3D printing, gaming, etc.
During the presentation of the Agricultural Libraries in Jagodina, Jelena talked about the very beginning of the project implementation, the needs of the rural residents in the community, how and why the rural libraries were transformed into modern agricultural libraries, what services they offer to farmers and what the real results of the project are and finally about Beyond Access and its support and engagement in scaling-up of the project idea in the rest of Serbia.

The FL Unconferece was a great place to talk to colleagues from Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Egypt, Bulgaria and Albania about the project. Colleagues in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina are facing similar problems in rural areas. They either have libraries in rural areas that are in bad conditions or do not have them at all.
Our library will be in touch with some of them, so we can share our experience and expertise if they decide to include some services for farmers in their rural libraries.

Gates scholarship winners had the opportunity to visit the Municipal Library of Ilioupoli which is a real modern space for its users and has a Media Lab and a Music studio. Also, they visited the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center which is under construction 

Friday, December 6, 2013

Article in Citaliste, the scientific journal on theory and practice of librarianship

ČITALIŠTE is the scientific journal on theory and practice of librarianship and is dedicated to development and fostering scientific researches in the areas such as library history, cultural, communicational and educational functions of librarianship, information literacy, knowledge organization, library management, etc.

In the latest issue of the journal, the article by the director of the Jagodina Library, Vesna Crnkovic and the director of the Pozarevac Library, Beba Stankovic, Future Libraries: Infinite Possibilities, IFLA General Conference and Assembly was published. 

Article in Citaliste, the scientific journal on theory and practice of librarianship

The Jagodina Library director talked about her experience at the IFLA Conference and highlighted the importance of the sessions that were held. Some of them were the session on the future of e-books; the Beyond Access session; the session on management and marketing and the poster session where the project AgroLib Ja was presented. Also, the library system in Singapore was introduced to the library public in Serbia through the article.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Library and the media

Executive Group, the PR Agency of ERSTE Foundation, and the Jagodina Library hosted a workshop on 18 November 2013. The topics were media relations, online PR training: trends and perspectives and organization of events.
The Jagodina Library was awarded by ERSTE Foundation for social integration 2013 for the project Agricultural Libraries in Jagodina and thereby ensured participation in this and other seminars on innovative trends for achieving better business results that ERSTE Foundation organizes.
 Twelve librarians from the town and the village libraries attended the training. All of them are responsible for contact with the media and they wanted to improve their presentation skills.
  Dusan Lopusina held a very dynamic and interactive workshop and gave numerous examples from his experience. He talked about basic principles related to relations with the media and various aspects that provide maximum effects. The speaker highlighted how and why the media contributed to raising the public  awareness about the company, improved corporate image and brand recognition, created opinion where there is none or confirmed the one that already exists.
The aim of the training was to train librarians for public speaking in the media and to improve the quality of communication and understanding different ways of appearance in the media, what the real nature of the media is and how all of that can be used for efficient completion of tasks.
   In the part of the training- Online PR the speaker introduced all the actions that can be performed on the Internet in order to attract the attention of the media: television, radio, newspapers, various websites, online forums, that is how to be presented wherever there is a possibility for your message to be seen and heard and then delivered to others.

The final part of the training was related to the organization of events, and the speaker guided the librarians step by step through the exercise and discussion (setting priorities, delegating tasks, creating the budget and identifying the problem) through the organization of an event from the idea and planning to the realization.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

With a hoe and a laptop in the field

Since the Jagodina Library team got back from Beyond Access Asia: 2013 in Bali, public interest in the project has increased. The director of the Library was interviewed for the article titled "Unusual rural libraries: When farmers are studying" for the Serbian print and electronic edition of the magazine Business & Finance.

On Sunday, 17 November, the daily newspaper Vecernje Novosti published an article about the AgroLib Ja project in their weekend edition, with the highest circulation during the week. The headline "With a hoe and a laptop in the field" attracts readers’ attention. They have the opportunity to read about the project idea, its awards, Beyond Access and its benefits for the local community.

The director of the library highlights that there are 311 rural libraries in Serbia with no computers or Internet access and that in such libraries the programs and services are not adapted to the needs of the people.

On Monday, 11 November on a local TV station Palma Plus, the director of the Library talked about the project in the program "U prvom planu".
 The media interest in the project does not decline, so the feature on the project will be shown on the prime time news "Dnevnik" on 19 November.

The Ministry of Culture has finally realized the significance of the project recently, and wants to disseminate the idea of agricultural libraries in other libraries in Serbia.