ULISO: XV annual conference 2005 :
LIBRARIES – COMMUNITY INFORMATION CENTERS
ULISO’s traditional annual conference this year was dedicated especially to ABLE project.
The conference topic “Libraries – community information centers” is directly related to one of the project’s goals. The Bulgarian libraries have centuries-old traditions as community centers, but insufficient experience in providing rich and diverse information for citizens. The project idea is, by building on the Bulgarian traditions, to popularize and apply the American model for transforming our libraries in modern community information centers.
The conference raised wide professional interest among the library community. More than 230 library specialists from around the country took place in the event. ULISO’ Board’s apprehension, that the conference participants would be mainly public librarians because of the specific topic, did not come true.
Compared with past years, this conference has gathered the largest number of participants from different types of libraries. This is a definite proof for the library community’s interest to ABLE goals and activities.
From the American side, 11 library specialists representing the partner libraries from Colorado and Iowa took place in the conference activities.
The Conference took place under the Honorary Patronage of the First Ladies of Bulgaria and the USA: Mrs. Zorka Parvanova and Mrs. Laura Bush.
Present at the official opening were:
prof. Stefan Danailov – ABLE Honorary Committee Member and Chair of the Culture Committee of the XXXIX National Assembly,
Mr. Igor Chipev – Director of the National Center for the Book ate the Ministry of Culture,
Matthew Lussenhop, Counselor for Press and Culture, U.S. Embassy Sofia
Shelly Seaver, Information Officer, U.S. Embassy Sofia,
as well as representatives of legislative and executive power, and administration of municipalities whose libraries participate in ABLE.
Greetings to the participants have been received by:
Mrs. Zorka Parvanova , First lady of Bulgaria
Mrs. Laura Bush, First Lady of the USA
The Honorary Committee members:
Mrs. Christie Vilsak – the First Lady of Iowa
Her Excellency Elena Poptodorova – The Bulgarian Ambassador to the USA.
Mr. Dimitar Kalchev, Minister of State Administration.
ULISO’s President Mrs. Vania Grashkina delivered Honorary Diplomas to all Honorary Committee members for their contribution to ABLE continuing success.
Highlights from First Session:
Nancy Bolt, ABLE Director for the USA, and Vania Grashkina, ULISO’s President, introduced the concept of library as a Community Information Center (CIC) and its benefits to all, pointed out the historical development of Bulgarian Libraries as prerequisite for successful CIC and concluded that “Bulgaria has a strong foundation of service already and can build on that with ideas they have learned from American colleagues”.
Iskra Mihailova, ABLE Director for Bulgaria, reported the main ABLE activities and achievements and announced the new initiatives.
The next five presentations were delivered by the libraries - pilot Community Information Centers: “Pencho Slaveikov” Regional Library – Varna, “Dora Gabe” Library – Dobrich, “Rodina” Library and “Zahari Kniazheski” Library Stara Zagora, “P. R. Slaveikov” regional Library – Veliko Tarnovo, Sofia City Library. They presented the new information resources and services that have been launched during the project. These new services have considerably expanded the scope of citizens’ information. The five pilot centers impressed the audience with fresh ideas and diversity of new topics offered to the public.
Highlights from the second session:
The afternoon session revealed rich cultural and professional aspects of the partnership between ABLE libraries in Bulgaria, Colorado and Iowa. In co-presentations, prepared by American and Bulgarian teams, the audience learned about the partnership programs of:
The American colleagues participated actively by adding lovely impressions from their recent visits to the Bulgarian libraries. The shared experience from both sides demonstrated how the library partnership contributes to the cultural exchange between two countries which share common democratic values. With all this, the conference provoked broad interest among media and society.
All papers and presentations are available at XVth National Conference of ULISO.