IAP Project Report: Hungary (2018) “Let’s work together on library advocacy!”
29 October 2018
IFLA supported an International Advocacy Programme project for librarians from the Czech Republic, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Ukraine and Hungary in 2018.
After completion of this regional project we asked the project team some questions and this is what they told us about the workshop they organised.
What were your goals?
It was after the European IAP Regional Workshop in December 2016 that the Board of Association of Hungarian Librarians (AHL) decided to organize a workshop for the Central European region, particularly for those who did not take part of the Hague meeting. We wanted to raise awareness on SDGs and libraries, to develop advocacy skills, to show methods and good practices of advocacy activities, to collect library stories, to inspire participants to carry out new advocacy activities, and – last but not least – to expand our professional networks.
How did you plan to make this happen?
AHL received a grant from the IFLA IAP to implement this project. Before submitting our application, we asked the library associations from neighbouring countries if they were interested, and they readily sent letters of intent to show their support. The Polish Library Association even joined later on as a co-organizer of the workshop.
In November 2017 we organized a national conference on advocacy in Budapest, under the title “Librarians for implementing the UN 2030 Agenda and sustainable development”, with funding from the National Cultural Fund.. This event was an orientation event for Hungarian librarians, and, at the same time, a preparation for the international IAP workshop, supported by IFLA.
The main objectives were to inform librarians about the UN 2030 Agenda, the SDGs, and the role librarians can play in achieving the goals, advocacy, as well as the position and activities of the Hungarian Government on related issues.
Keynote speakers of the conference represented various ministries and authorities, as well as large libraries and library associations (Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Ministry of Agriculture, AHL, National Agricultural Library and Documentation Centre, Alliance of Hungarian Libraries, Metropolitan Szabó Ervin Library). One of the most distinguished speakers was ambassador Csaba KÅrösi, Director Environmental Sustainability at the Office of the President of the Republic of Hungary, who was the chair of UN Committee that developed the SDGs.
As a follow up to this event, in January 2018 a brochure with short stories and pictures was published on how libraries can contribute to SDGs and IFLA’s actions. The brochure is accessible online and in print. It was also translated into English to be used by participants at the workshop.
The workshop took place in the National Szechenyi Library. The participants were representatives of library associations from the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and the Ukraine, with four presidents of library associations, from Poland, Slovakia, the Ukraine and Hungary, among them!
The two-day workshop was moderated by Agnes Hajdu Barat, President of AHL and Andras Giczi, Secretary of the Section of Research and Special Libraries, AHL. In her lecture Agnes gave an overview of the IFLA strategies and the implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda and the SDGs as the main theme of the workshop.
All countries presented their associations, with special relevance to advocacy activities. The Polish and Ukrainian colleagues (Joanna Pasztaleniec-Jarzynska, Magda Gomulka and Valentina Pashkova) contributed to the programme also as tutors (on how to prepare an advocacy action plan and how to collect stories).
How did it work?
The project was an excellent opportunity to meet for the library leadership of participating countries. As these countries have many issues in common, they had useful discussions, shared their views and thought together of possible solutions and next steps. They were very much interested in getting acquainted or updating their knowledge on this topic, seeing the results of relevant activities in Hungary and other countries as potential examples for their practice. And most important, they were eager to share their knowledge and ideas, to learn new solutions from each other.
To sum up, the participants found the event useful, and were grateful for IFLA’s support to the meeting. They decided to collect stories and exercise advocacy activities, i.e. to take an active part in promoting and implementing the UN SDGs. The Hungarian organizers had the impression that the event was evaluated by participants as useful and instructive.
The intensive programme was interrupted by short games and other activities in pairs or in groups, in order for the participants to relax. This idea was taken from similar IFLA events. In addition to the professional programme, we found time for library visits to the National Library and the Library of the Hungarian Parliament. There was also time for a cultural programme with a musical performance, thanks to the sponsorship of the Department of Cultural Diplomacy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
How did you use communications during the project?
As mentioned already, publications were prepared in advance in Hungarian and in English, and questionnaires on library advocacy and collecting stories were sent out to participants. Lectures were supplemented by practical training. News about the event were published in each country.
The Polish Library Association prepared a digital publication summarising the workshop, as well as the ideas shared and the guidance received. This will be published shortly on the website of the Polish Library Association. The publication will provide an insight into how various countries implement the UN 2030 Agenda and SDGs, based on materials collected in advance and from the presentations at the workshop.
What did you learn in the process?
The project convened the representatives of library associations from Central Europe (the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and the Ukraine) to meet again and to discuss the UN 2030 Agenda and the SDG. This is a very important topic which will determine the future of us all, including library users and libraries in the relevant countries and on an international scale.
What are your next steps?
The participants decided to continue their activities and cooperation on the SDGs and the UN 2030 Agenda in the spirit of the Budapest meeting, both in their countries and together at different fora. They plan to meet again in 2019 within the framework of the conference series Visegrad 4+ in Bratislava, Slovakia.