“For good vibes – read books” or “Za dobre vibre – čitaj libre”

The goal of the "For Good Vibes - Read Books" project is to foster a reading culture and promote literacy in Split-Dalmatia County. Through the Mobile Library Service, it provides book access to areas lacking local libraries. Focusing on youth under 25, individuals over 54, and people with disabilities, it aims to popularize reading. By enhancing literature access, the project reduces social exclusion in these groups.

Project description

The Marko Marulić Split City Library (GKMM) also serves as an Advisory and Development Service for public and school libraries in Split-Dalmatia County. Its responsibility lies in the organization and development of the library network for public and school libraries in the county. The library seized an opportunity when the Croatian Ministry of Culture and Media announced a call for project proposals for the EU competition “Through Reading to an Inclusive Society.” After 30 years, GKMM with its Director Mrs Grozdana Ribičić initiated the establishment of a County Mobile Library Service, which was accepted as one of the most successful applications in early 2021. An essential component of the project „For good vibes – read books“ („Za dobre vibre – čitaj libre“) is the significant support and partnership of the Split-Dalmatia County, committing to maintain the Mobile Library Service for at least five years after the project’s conclusion in September 2023.

The project’s goal was to establish the Mobile Library Service and organize 31 workshops to promote reading and enhance reading skills among individuals under the age of 25, those over 54, and people with disabilities. Additionally, an information campaign was conducted to raise public awareness about the importance of reading.

All activities have been carried out in Split-Dalmatia County. Youth workshops, which included creating fairy tales, stop motion videos and drawing comics have been organized in elementary and middle schools. Interactive youth workshops have been organized about gender equality, loneliness and youth violence. Instead of 110, there were more than 200 pupils actively involved. Workshops with young actors who read works of famous Croatian authors to people over 54 years have been organized in retirement homes. In the Centre for rehabilitation „Fra Ante Sekelez“ in Vrlika, there were four workshops for people with disabilities who were doing arts inspired by literature. More than 300 persons were included in workshops although the plan was to have 198 people. It showed that there is a big need for free content and activities like this in facilities in the Split-Dalmatia County, especially those which are far away from big cities. The Marko Marulić City Library in Split and its project partner the Split-Dalmatia County carried out an information campaign which included radio spot, booklet about the importance of reading and a Round Table about the Importance of Reading. The booklet has been shared to all library users at the new Mobile Library Service stops in the Split-Dalmatia County and on project events. The Round Table about the Importance of Reading gathered experts from different fields – librarianship, literature, psychology, pedagogy, speech therapy and others who gave interesting insights into the Importance of Reading and recommendations for experts as well as parents to implement them in their daily routine.

Over 400 people participated in project activities, excluding new library members. The total budget was EUR 522,693.34, co-financed by the European Union’s European Social Fund (EUR 444,289.34) and the State Budget of the Republic of Croatia (EUR 78,404.00). Without EU funding, GKMM wouldn’t have been able to purchase a mobile library, provide accessible books, non-book materials, and various activities to over 13,000 residents in rural and isolated areas of Split-Dalmatia County as well as hire two new employees: a librarian and a library assistant/driver who constitute the mobile library crew.

In the first six months, more than 600 new library members joined at 21 mobile library stops. Most members are children and youth, with the oldest member being 81 years old. The project, which ran from September 16, 2021, to September 16, 2023, significantly impacted the county. According to videos documenting the project, it is evident that the initiative is crucial to residents, not only for introducing new content but also for reducing social exclusion. Before the project, 26 out of 39 municipalities lacked library services. Thanks to this initiative, only 17 municipalities now lack such services.

During the project there was a lot of promotion in local and national media.

Looking ahead, GKMM plans to increase the number of Mobile Library stops in 2024, along with expanding the number of library members. The organization is also eagerly awaiting a new call for proposals to acquire a mobile library van, enabling access to previously unreachable parts of Split-Dalmatia County. The project has had a profound impact on the entire county, highlighting its significance to residents and its role in diminishing social exclusion.

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