4 January 2013
Project report: Regional cooperation in South East Europe: Challenge and opportunity, Croatian Library Association
An IFLA Management of Library Associations section workshop in 2011 held in Split, Croatia showed the importance of regional cooperation in South East Europe. Numerous participants from neighbouring countries agreed that the Croatian Library Association (CLA) should continue with organizing and supporting similar workshops in the region.
The project, "Regional cooperation: challenge and opportunity" aimed to continue the implementation of new policies and activities and to foster the collaboration and networking of library professionals in the region of South East Europe, especially in library leadership, fundraising, and advocacy.
The project also trained 12 trainers in leadership and advocacy, who will be able to operate as library advocates on both national and regional level.
The project utilised materials from IFLA's Building Strong Library Associations programme (BSLA), demonstrating the flexibility of the programme in supporting a range of project sizes and needs. The project was supported by IFLA's Action for Development through Libraries programme (IFLA ALP).
Development of joint projects as a part of professional development and lifelong education of librarians, especially in leadership skills and ability to advocate for libraries and library associations in the South East Europe region;
Development of long-term activities among countries in the South East Europe region, based on collaboration and networking of library professionals.
The first workshop was held in Zagreb, July 2nd–3rd 2012 with 12 participants from four national library associations: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Slovenia and Serbia. BSLA trainer Winnie Vitzansky led the workshop, adapting materials from BSLA for the regional context.
The first day of the workshop was on the topic of leadership and getting to know the situation in regional associations. The second day explored advocacy skills and programme planning for the final workshop (Osijek, September 2012).
Interacting and working in small groups, participants took the opportunity to exchange professional experiences and establish contacts for further cooperation across the region.
The third and final workshop was held as a part of the programme of the 38th Croatian Library Association General Conference and Assembly and was held in Osijek on September 27th 2012. It was conceived as a pilot workshop in which participants were given the opportunity to present more concrete plans for future regional cooperation and to demonstrate training and teaching skills. It was also an opportunity to demonstrate knowledge and skills acquired during the first two workshops to a wider audience of library professionals.
All attendees agreed that library cooperation is important for the whole region and that it should be continued on regular basis, at least once a year and be on the agenda of annual meetengs in the region of South Eastern Europe.
In addition to formal cooperation during the project, the representatives of national library associations were given a great opportunity to eliminate some barriers in communication and continue the cooperation by successful participation at future library conferences in the region.
Croatian Library Association emphasizes and gives special thanks to Association of Information Professionals, Librarians, Archivists and Museologists (Bosnia and Herzegovina) and Serbian Library Association (Serbia) for particular enthusiasm in continuation of workshop activities.
Project report submitted by:
Edita Bačić and Nevia Ross
Croatian Library Association