Section midyear meeting in Romania – personal impressions
The Standing Committee of IFLA Libraries for Children and Young Adults Section held its spring meeting in Bucharest and Brasov, Romania, March 26-29 2015. Our hosts were the Metropolitan Library of Bucharest and The public library of Brasov.
Ruxandra Nazare and the Romanian librarians managed and delivered a successful and well-organised meeting, with professional exchanges and fruitful dialogue. We got to see a glimpse on the library services for children in Romania, from the National library to the small branches.
I would describe the working meeting of the Standing Committee as productive, hard working and colored by the hospitality by the libraries of Romania.
We started to work on our agenda at the Children's Branch "Ion Creanga" of the Metropolitan Library in Bucharest. The library is also looking for a “Sister Library” from Section's programme. The library branch have a international book collection and most of the visitors are from the bilingual schools.
This library gave us the first impression of the importance of volunteers work in libraries in Romania. The branch had 3 librarians and 17 volunteers (Young Association Initiative and other volunteers, teachers, artists).
The Metropolitan library of Bucharest has 42 branches. Many libraries are small with just one employee and the opening hours are short. The librarians are personally responsible for the collections of the library. The economy for the libraries has deteriorated the last years, but still the libraries in Bucharest are developing, they have several good projects and the use of library is free.
The main library in the city did not have a department for children, but a beautiful garden that is always full of young people in the summer.
After a long day with meetings we also had a visit of National Library of Romania. A enormous library in the middle of Bucharest. We met the talented Stela Vesa, and an exhibition of her beautiful paintings with very bright and colourful lady figures!
The national library is now developing their own services for children, and the role of volunteers is important. We met a young teacher and a artist who had a art program for children at the library with paintings of fish in all kind of shapes.
Ruxandra Nazare opened a exhibition on project for children in Romanian libraries at the national library specially created for this IFLA occasion. "Read, discover and have fun @ your library" showed beautiful photos taken during the numerous, creative programs for children and young adults taking place in public libraries all over Romania.
Friday, March 27 th we travelled trough Bucharest and had visit at another Branch of the Metropolitan Library – named Cultural Center "Octavian Goga" which is situated in a peripheral neighborhood and includes library services for children and adults in the same building . We learned about their difficulties, and heard about the library even teaching reading to some children who do not go to school.
As we travelled to Brasov, the landscape changed and we reached the mountain area. We stopped for lunch with a Romanian representative for IBBY in Sinaia, a small mountain city with long traditions for culture. This little town wants to create a international center with literature for children with an emphasis on conservation and nature.
Finally we reached Brasov, welcomed with beautiful music!
The public library has 6 branches in Brasov. 3 of them have library services for children, and one is just for children, The Children's branch of Brasov – with a toy library founded by Gates foundation.
In this library full of toys, we started work on our agenda a bit late and full of impressions of Romania. The toy library have computers, playgrounds and sport facilities for individuals and groups.
Children must be accompanied, and can stay for one and a half hour. The library has international partners in Bulgaria and Turkey. They also share experience and project with other children's libraries in Romania.
The working atmosphere of the committee meetings was – as always, very good. The programme was a full one with the Chair’s, Treasurer’s and Information Coordinator’s reports, the discussions on the present and future projects of the Section, the preparations for the IFLA conferences in Cape Town in August and the elections there.
The participants discussed the new initiative “Best Practices” and its editorial policy, Internet at the library, the statement on social media and privacy in the library and made proposals for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (ALMA). We talked bout the Lyon declaration and IFLA Section Education and Training's program "adopt a student" . The theme for next next newsletter was decided to be “Maker Space for children and youth”.
We also discussed our “old projects” development with a new catalog for “the World through Picture Books” and revitalization of Sister libraries. The most important issue on the meeting was perhaps the revision of Guidelines and “Best Practices”, and how to make them as efficient as possible.
Sunday, March 29 we safely returned to Bucharest with our nice German driver from Brasov.
Many thanks to Ruxandra and Daniel Nazare, the librarians in Brasov and especially our patient driver!
I was sincerely impressed by the idealism and the fighting spirit of the Romanian librarians. Well trained librarians are open to their users’ needs and they design activities and projects accordingly. They search for resources, initiate partnerships and show a real interest in international co-operation. I admired the enthusiasm for good children library services by all the librarians we met in Romania.
Member of the IFLA Section Libraries for Children and Young Adults Standing Committee
Høyanger Public Library, Norway