When librarians saw hundreds of high school children wasting time at the Zavidovici bus station while waiting for buses to take them home to their villages, they decided to act.
The library is near the bus station and had the potential to be a safe place for the children. But it was dull and unattractive – “a traditional reading room”, said librarians. So they consulted youth organizations, the municipality and the children, and the idea of the Youth Corner and Multimedia Centre was born.
The innovative PROJECT
With support from the EIFL Public Library Programme (EIFL-PLIP) in 2010, the library bought 11 computers and a laptop, three music players, a television set, a projector, a scanner, a camera and a camcorder. They transformed the reading room into a lively and modern multimedia centre, with free access to the internet and other equipment.
Working with their partners, Zavidovici Municipality; the youth organization, ‘Ogledalo’ (‘Mirror’), schools, and the non-governmental organization, Embassy of Local Democracy, the librarians kept their young users busy. Activities included extra lessons in difficult school subjects (like English and mathematics); Little School of Journalism, during which children wrote articles for local media; Little School of TV Production, during which they made films; Little School of Digital Photography, including a photo competition for the best photograph of Zavidovići, and workshops and presentations on issues of interest to young people.
EIFL-PLIP PROJECT TIMELINE
May 2010 - April 2011.
achievements and impact
In 2011, librarians reported that the new Youth Corner was attracting hundreds of children. Out of 731 students who were members of the library, 452 (62%) were young commuters. Over 250 young people attended classes and workshops. Librarians reported a 500% increase in visits to the library – from 50 people a week before the Youth Corner to 252 people a week by the end of the Youth Corner’s first year.
The Youth Corner's success won recognition from the local municipality, which incorporated its activities and costs in the library’s budget.