31 October 2012

Project report: Regional cooperation: challenge and opportunity (Croatian Library Association, Zagreb 2012)

By Edita Bacic (Croatian Library Association)

The purpose of the project was professional development of librarians, especially in the field of leadership skills and the ability to advocate libraries and library associations in the region of South Eastern Europe, as well as collaboration in development of joint projects on continuing professional development for librarians. The project Regional cooperation: challenge and opportunity aimed both at continuing the implementation of policies, activities and changes, was begun by Croatian Library Association (CLA) to ensure the sustainability and effectiveness of the association, as well as to foster collaboration and networking of library professionals in the region for leadership and advocacy.

The specific goals of the project were to organize two “train the trainers” workshops to train 12 new trainers in leadership and advocacy skills who should then be able to operate in both library and local communities. Afterwards, organization of a third pilot-workshop was planned to be conducted by the new 12 trainers for the participants of the 38th Croatian Library Association General Conference and Assembly (Osijek, 27th September 2012).

In-Country CLA team included: Marijana Mišetić, President of CLA; Nevia Raos, Secretary of CLA; Aleksandra Horvat, LIS Faculty Professor; Edita Bačić, CLA – Law Libraries Working Group, Regional Project Coordinator; Alemka Belan-Simić, President of the CLA Advocacy Working Group; and Mila Perasović, Project Administrator. ALP Programme Coordinator on behalf of IFLA was Fiona Bradley, and the IFLA trainer was Mrs. Winnie Vitzansky.

CLA is expecting new partnerships with library associations from the neighbouring countries, with which Croatia shares not only common history and tradition, but also contemporary economic, social and political conditions. The project will help the participants and their respective library associations to create joint written library policy statements, to translate relevant documents, as well as to apply for joint library projects in future.

Other expected benefits of the project are to learn how to increase leadership and advocacy skills of library professionals in order to advocate their interests in wider social and political environment, development of joint projects and other long-term activities based on collaboration and networking, and strengthening of library communication and cooperation in the vulnerable region of South Eastern Europe.

This regional project can also help strengthening the role and importance of IFLA members in the South Eastern Europe region, characterised by multilingual and multicultural diversity, promote inclusion and access to information as a global imperative, and prove the importance of library profession in culture, education, and science.

1st and 2nd regional workshop (Zagreb, 2nd-3rd July 2012)

The first and the second workshop were held in Zagreb on 2nd and 3rd July 2012. They were attended by 13 participants from four national library associations, from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Slovenia, and Serbia: Edita Bačić (Croatian Library Association – Regional Cooperation Project Coordinator), Alemka Belan-Simić (Croatian Library Association – Advocacy Working Group), Violetta Bottazzo (Library Association of Slovenia), Vesna Crnogorac (Library Association of Serbia, secretary), Mojca Dolgan-Petrič (Library Association of Slovenia), Nadina Grebović-Lendo (Association of Information Professionals – Librarians, Archivists and Museologists), Dunja Holcer (Croatian Library Association), Aleksandra Horvat (University professor and lecturer at the Centre for Continuing Education), Vinka Jelić-Balta (Croatian Library Association), Marijana Mišetić (Croatian Library Association, president), Jasmina Ninkov (Library Association of Serbia, president), Nevia Raos (Croatian Library Association, secretary), Biserka Sabljaković (Association of Information Professionals – Librarians, Archivists and Museologists). International BSLA / IFLA trainer was Mrs. Winnie Vitzansky.

IFLA trainer Winnie Vitzansky led the workshop. The first workshop was dedicated to the topic of Leadership and getting to know better the situation in regional associations. The second workshop was aimed at exploring public advocacy skills and program planning for the final, pilot-workshop (Osijek, 27th September 2012).

The participants at the workshops had the opportunity to do a SWOT analysis of existing framework conditions in the library associations in the region of South Eastern Europe. While interacting and working in small groups, the participants took the opportunity to exchange professional experiences and establish contacts for further cooperation. They concluded that the workshops were very successful and opened new perspectives for the development of regional cooperation in the field of library associations of South Eastern Europe, especially in the terms of establishing various cooperation agreements and participation in joint projects. Final conclusion by all participants and presidents of the national library associations is to continue developing regular cooperation on regular basis, at least once a year.

3rd regional workshop (Osijek, 27th September 2012)

The third and final workshop was held as a part of the programme of the 38th Croatian Library Association General Conference and Assembly in Osijek, on 27th September 2012. It was conceived as a pilot workshop in which participants would be given the opportunity to present 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 colleagues.

The pilot workshop was attended by the same participants who had attended the workshops on leadership and advocacy, but it was open to all interested participants of the Croatian Library Association biannual General Conference and Assembly, which was taking place in Osijek at the same time.

Croatian Library Association thanks all participants and especially Mrs. Winnie Vitzansky for coming to Croatia and exchanging experience with Croatian librarians.

LDP (Library Development Programme), Associations, Croatia

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