On Friday, December 9, 2016, the Novateca program, in partnership with the Ministry of Culture, organized a library partners fair to showcase the most innovative services and initiatives launched by public libraries across Moldova and highlight innovative partnerships.
The event, entitled “Building Bridges to Development: The Modern Library,” gathered about 500 participants, and provided a platform for informal discussions and opportunities to establish new partnerships with the Moldovan public libraries. Featured library services in the areas of digital inclusion, culture and leisure, education, health, agriculture, economic development, e-services, media literacy, and empowerment of women and girls emphasized the libraries’ readiness to offer services that go beyond its traditional role.
Special guests of the fair included Minister of Culture Monica Babuc, US Ambassador James D. Pettit, Deputy Director of the Global Libraries initiative of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Jessica Dorr, supporters of the “See you at the library” National Library Awareness Campaign, the “Akord” musical group, along with 180 library partners.
“Libraries have become active community centers that offer more than 400 modern services to different categories of library users across Moldova,” said Monica Babuc, Minister of Culture. “Today we can all witness a real revolution in Moldovan library development.”
Partners from all sectors – national and local public authorities, NGOs, representatives of the public and private sectors, international organizations, media agencies, and community activists – witnessed library exhibitions and demonstrations and engaged in informal discussions with key library partners during informal roundtable sessions on a variety of topics. The participants were excited to see what services have become a reality at Moldovan public libraries.
“This event not only connects librarians to dynamic and sustainable professional networks, it also increases their exposure to valuable resources and professional development opportunities,” pointed out Evan Tracz, Novateca Program Director.
About 60 modern services were presented by Novateca libraries and their partners during the event, including: Makerspaces for robotics, 3D printers and doodlers, Storytime with tablets presented by the National Children’s Library, Fruit and vegetable dehydration service highlighted by Riscova Public Library and their partners, Digitization of local history presented by Cirhana Veche Local Library, Healthy lifestyle related services displayed by Taxobeni Local and Straseni Raion Libraries and their local partners, “Boosting agriculture with IT” project activities demonstrated by Antonesti Local Library and their partner, the National Agency for Rural Development (ACSA) consultant, to mention only a few.
Private sector partners such as Accent Electronics, Moldtelecom (Moldova’s largest ISP), Bestseller (an emerging Moldovan publisher/seller of ebooks), the Association of IT Companies of Moldova, Moldcell (mobile network operator), the National Bank of Moldova and the Association of Wine Producers of Moldova all actively contributed to the event, many with prizes, interactive booths or event resources.
The event aligned with the national public library awareness campaign “See You at the Library!” which informed the public of the changes occurring in public libraries. Over the period of the campaign implementation, the number of library visitors increased by 25%, with libraries providing more than 400 services.
“This year we celebrate the 25th anniversary of cooperation between USA and Moldova,” mentioned the US Ambassador, James D. Pettit. “The Novateca program represents one of those success stories that demonstrate how the results achieved through such collaboration can have real impact on everyday life of Moldovan citizens.”
Also during the event, special awards were given to exceptional libraries, and the Fair participants got excited winning the raffle prizes donated by library partners.
The fair provided a great opportunity for representatives of more than 60 Moldovan public libraries to present about 60 modern services offered at their libraries, and for partners to learn about the Moldovan library network services, and to form new partnerships that benefit Moldovan communities.
The event was crowned by the establishment of a brand new partnership. The Information Society Development Institute, which has been actively involved in promoting open access to the National Bibliometric Tool, a national scientific electronic library, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the National Library of Moldova amidst event activities.