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Librarians as promoters of local democracy, development and resilience

Project “Librarians as promoters of local democracy, development and resilience” is the supplementary part of the multicomponent EC Programme “EU4Dialogue: improving exchanges across the divide through education and culture” (hereinafter - EU4Dialogue) that supports educational and cultural initiatives fostering an environment of dialogue and people-to-people contacts across the divides in the South Caucasus and the Republic of Moldova.

Project description

Project “Librarians as promoters of local democracy, development and resilience” is the supplementary part of the multicomponent EC programme “EU4Dialogue: improving exchanges across the divide through education and culture” (hereinafter – EU4Dialogue) that supports educational and cultural initiatives fostering an environment of dialogue and people-to-people contacts across the divides in the South Caucasus and the Republic of Moldova.

Due to the barbaric invasion of Russia in Ukraine, the EU4Dialogue project has been delayed and project partners from Latvia – National Library of Latvia (hereinafter – NLL), Latvian Platform for Development Cooperation (hereinafter – LAPAS) and Vidzeme University of Applied Sciences (hereinafter – ViA), decided to start the development of the social resilience concept and the role of libraries within it in cooperation with Moldova – Association of Librarians of the Republic of Moldova (Asociația Bibliotecarilor din Republica Moldova) (hereinafter – ABRM). Within the implementation process the project was expanded to also include
the representative of the local libraries of Ukraine.

The frame of reference of this project is cognitive resilience – media literacy, as both Latvia and Moldova have invested in the development of diverse methodologies, materials and establishment of the pool of trainers to develop these skills for librarians. The existing security concerns in the region also require intensification of the focus on information security skills. Nevertheless, the very important perspective of local democracy development and related new conditions necessitating the integration of refugees from Ukraine were included as priority focus areas of the project.

The participants of the project cover diverse regions in Moldova and Latvia, specifically dominated by Russian-speaking communities living in border areas and their informational space. Two main activities were  implemented in 2022 – study visit of librarians from Moldova in October that covered learning, experience sharing and practical activities, and the development of this methodology. In the project we gathered 19 case
studies in total. We provide part of them in this compendium. The work on gathering the best practices and approbation of the concept of social resilience in the work of libraries will be continued in future projects.
In total, 294 participants have taken part in project activities.

The evaluation and review of this project proved that the next steps must be taken, continuing to explore the role of libraries and librarians in local social resilience, as well as integrating young people from local communities and journalists working in local media. The long-term impact of this project is considered to be the raising of resilience in local communities, specifically featuring local librarians as the change makers and leaders for more resilient and democratic communities.

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