EIFL Public Library Innovation Programme (EIFL-PLIP) Innovation Award winner Public Library ‘Fran Galović’ Koprivnica in Croatia was invited to showcase their winning service as an example of good practice in community support for social inclusion of Roma communities at an international conference on Roma education policy.
Over eighty government ministers, members of parliament, educationists and specialists in civil society development from Europe attended the conference, which was organized by the Croatian Ministry of Education and the Government Office for Human Rights and Rights of National Minorities, and took place in Zagreb from April 22-23.
The presentation, by library director Ms Dijana Sabolovic-Krajina, was titled The Contribution of a Public Library in a Local Community to Successful Education of Roma: A Good Practice Example. After the presentation, the library received high praise from government ministers, and requests for further information from delegates from the Czech Republic and Slovakia, who wish to share the library’s experience and encourage replication in their countries.
Since the announcement of the EIFL-PLIP Innovation Award in March, for the ‘Jump in the train for a better world’ service which builds information and communication technology (ICT) capacity in Roma communities, Public Library ‘Fran Galović’ has attracted extensive international and national attention.
In a letter to the library, Mrs Nada Jakir, Head of special programmes and curriculum in the Croatian Ministry of Science, Education and Sports, wrote: ‘[Your presentation] really showed an example of good practice and the role of public libraries in the educational and social inclusion of Roma’.
‘This invitation, and other invitations, are a direct result of the EIFL-PLIP award, which is opening the eyes of government ministers and policy-makers to the role that public libraries can play in social inclusion of Roma and other communities in need,’ said Ms Sabolovic-Krajina.
On March 16, Public Library ‘Fran Galović’ and
Ms Sabolovic-Krajina were both named ‘Person of the Week’ (knjiznica-koprivnica.hr/detaljiNovosti.aspx?id_novosti=687) by the mass circulation national newspaper Jutarnji list. The full-page article featured an interview with Ms Sabolovic-Krajina about the service.
On May 15, the library presented the service at an event in Vukovar (eastern Croatia) hosted by the prestigious cross-border (ian.org.rs/librariesforanewage/intercult.html) ‘Libraries for a new age’ project, which is funded by the European Union. The project aims to increase networking of libraries, education of marginalized groups and inter-cultural cooperation, and brings together five public libraries from Croatia and three from Serbia. At the event, libraries shared experiences of inter-cultural cooperation and social inclusion through library activities and children’s literature.