Agricultural Libraries in Jagodina-Empowering farmers to connect, share and grow.
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.
· 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
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.
· 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
|A lecture on beekeeping|
|Spark Conference in Spain-Presenting the AgroLib Project|
|Poster Session at IFLA 2013|