Novateca is helping Moldovans attain a higher quality of life by increasing economic and social opportunities through access to relevant information and modern services in public libraries.
Through a five-year national program, Novateca is providing Moldovan citizens with access to relevant information and modern, locally tailored services in public libraries to enrich their lives, drawing on technology tools and trained librarians who can guide them in this process.
Novateca Program Objectives
The Novateca program builds upon the existing library system in Moldova, working extensively with diverse local, national and international partners to:
- Facilitate the transformation of libraries with equipment and technology free community access to information.
- Strengthen the system of library professional development to enable over 1,500 librarians to provide citizen-focused, modern services at newly equipped libraries.
- Foster communication and collaboration among leading librarians of different ranks and ages who serve as role models.
- Empower librarians to work with national and local government officials to secure strategic prioritization and funding of public libraries to maximize their potential as venues for citizen engagement.
- Increase public support for libraries as vibrant community centers by furthering partnerships with NGOs, citizens’ groups and private sector entities.
In order to achieve its goals, Novateca has four main areas of activities: equipping libraries; strengthening library professional development; building relationships with the government that ensure libraries are prioritized; and working with civil society and the private sector to garner public support for libraries. All of Novateca’s activities support innovative leadership development within libraries and at the local, regional, and national level by selecting libraries to receive equipment donations, procuring equipment for donation, and developing a sustainable IT support system for libraries.
In order to strengthen the system of library professional development, Novateca is establishing a network of training centers and training selected librarians; supporting the sustainability of the continuous professional development system; providing small sub-grants to libraries for innovative, modern services; and raising awareness among the general public of the renewed offerings at public libraries.
By engaging with the national government and planning activities with local public authorities, Novateca promotes the active participation of librarians in developing partnerships in order to ensure that local libraries are prioritized for development.
Novateca also increases public support for libraries through civil society involvement by seeking out and cultivating partnerships with NGOs and companies to deliver and scale new services at libraries. In doing so, Novateca fosters the involvement of librarians in the partnership development process, including training and sub-grants, so that they gradually take over responsibility for establishing these relationships.
Brief Background on the Novateca Pilot Program
The Novateca program follows an intensive assessment of the public library landscape in Moldova and a two year pilot (learning) grant, also funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Novateca builds on the knowledge gained from the pilot grant which ended in February 2014, as well as the experiences from IREX’s Global Libraries sister grants in Ukraine (Bibliomist) and Romania (Biblionet).
During the two years of the pilot grant, Novateca equipped 68 libraries with a total of 304 computers across six different raions (districts) and trained 243 librarians on ICT skills and new services delivery. Trainings in advocacy and partnership skills were tested, as well as opportunities for peer learning among innovative librarians.
The program has helped introduce many new services in libraries, such as workshops on internet and computer basics, digitizing local history, ludotecas (interactive play spaces) for children, and employment skills. In addition, support was provided to help libraries build relationships at the community level with partners such as hospitals, NGOs, and local employment agencies. At the national level, Novateca has already partnered with the Ministry of Culture; the Ministry of Labor, Family, and Social Protection; the Ministry of Informational Technologies and Communication (focusing especially on inclusion of libraries in the Digital Moldova 2020 strategy) and established an agreement with Moldtelecom (the largest Moldovan ISP) to offer internet subscriptions at over a 50% discount.