A castle, a library for a castle…and a space for everyone with touristic interests
Libraries are beautiful and democratic by a common-sense definition. But when a library is hosted in a beautiful and elegant castle, there are so many things that can strengthen the dialogue with the community and so many opportunities for librarians to be close to the public and to let them be discovered, along with their beautiful castle, by the public. The library from Hincesti is a good example of how libraries can go out of the framework and spread the beauty of their work within each partnership and project.
The Rayonal Public Library IPS A Plamadeala from Hincesti, the Republic of Moldova is situated in a castle. Hincesti district is located in the center of the Republic of Moldova, in the region of cedars. The city of residence is Hincesti, which is located 36 km away from Chisinau, to the southwest, in the meadow of the Cogalnic River. The network of public libraries in the district includes 61 libraries, of which the main ones are the district public library „Î.P.S. Antonie Plămădeală ”, the Romanian Book Branch N.M. Spatarul , the district public library for children, and other 61 communal libraries. Out of 58 public libraries, only 10 are located in their own buildings, the other libraries are located in the Houses of Culture, City Halls and Educational Institutions.
The Rayonal Public Library “IPS Antonie Plămădeală” is a social and cultural institution that is oriented towards new strategies and innovations. Founded in 1906, the library had several hundred volumes. Over the years, the library’s collections have grown both quantitatively and qualitatively, thus ensuring the thematic, linguistic, and typological variety in accordance with the interests and information needs of the beneficiaries. Today the library has a collection of about 83,121 thousand volumes, offering users more than 43,925 thousand volumes in the state language and 39,196 thousand in other languages. The library’s collections allow the service of about 7526 readers annually, and the number of publications consulted is about 67,368 evidence units.
So a very well-preserved and beautiful castle owned once by Manuc Bey is, since 2016 an open space for the community and one of the touristic attractions of Hincesti. The role of the library as a community gathering place was stressed repeatedly at focus group sessions. Whether discussing concerts, classes, and other events, book clubs and other social groups, or simply a forum where people could come and sit, talk, and read, quite a few people expressed their appreciation that libraries stand alone in many communities as a gathering place.
One of the a great event in the cultural life of the city was the opening of a Romanian Book Library in August 2000, a pfoject implemented in collaboration with the “Nicolae Milescu Spătarul” County Library from Vaslui, Romania, which became an open window to the interior of our ancestral culture.
Promoting your local community is never an easy task, but is a skill that can be developed. And what better place to grow yourself and develop the opportunities of your community, than the library? And if that library is hosted by a beautiful castle as in Hancesti, The Raional Library “IPS A. Plămădeală” Hâncești started to create a space for community group meetings, in the library, where they could discover the local heritage and learn to promote their local tourism.
Public Libraries as Active Citizens Hubs’ partner – the Rayon Library from Hâncești, Moldova – started to gather a team of young volunteers, in order to create a space for promoting the local tourism. Focusing on the main tourist attractions of the area, this group had begun to create and share with the community various promotional materials, such as brochures and information panels. They also plan to develop an advertising spot “Tourist destinations in in Hâncești” and a QR code “Promotion of four tourist areas in the locality” to help people find out even more information about the tourist attractions nearby. The Raional Library “IPS A. Plămădeală” Hâncești plans to help the community discover the potential of their beautiful area, by organizing cultural activities and implementing a contest named “We discover the local tourist destinations”.
Librarians in Hincesti have become an important resource for the community, being part of the primary protection system for child victims or potential victims, learning how to identify and refer to the competent bodies (social assistance, police, city hall) for children at risk
During the 5 years of the project, the librarians helped the children to learn, through the game “On the way home”, how to protect themselves when they are left alone at home, at school, on the street, and in any other place. Due to the professional involvement of librarians, during this period many children who were at risk were identified.
As per international projects where the Raional Public Library IPS A. Plamadeala from Hincesti implemented it’s important to mention The third space of the community, a project which involves the arrangement in the Romanian Book Branch in Hâncești municipality of a space – Nest of Democracy – which encourages the learning of civic behaviors, debating local issues and taking the initiative to solve them. The aim of the project is to develop a network of public libraries, to facilitate community participation in the practice of democracy through the formation of active citizenship, and the creation of spaces to protect and promote democratic values. The project provides a program for learning active citizenship, training and education of a group of volunteers, skills to participate in community life, to get involved and solve some problems, to change for the better some aspects of the community.
In the current project where the library participated to create a support network, consisting of public libraries and NGOs, which will support the establishment of public spaces in libraries for learning and practicing active citizenship. The civic involvement of citizens in the community can lead to significant changes in the way society works. And finally, they can improve people’s quality of life. In order to become truly active citizens, the inhabitants of Romania, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine need spaces in which to meet, where to discuss issues of general interest and a context in which to learn, exchange ideas, communicate and collaborate. And public libraries are the perfect host for this.
At the time being, the librarians from Hincesti are interested in growing competencies in working with refugees from Ukraine and exploring new approaches on what types of activities they can develop both for children and adults. A focus that the library articulated since 2021 and is still on going, is on reintegration and resocialization of persons released on parole from the penitentiaries, who are in the records of the Hîncești Probation Office. Within this project, the library proved its capacity to extend the partnership and sustain a permanent dialogue with authorities. In fact, within the project Growing Active Citizens Hub, ion thir NGO fest organized in the space of the library, the main discussions were on partnerships as a sustainable mechanism of development in public libraries. So, everyone is invited to the castle, to the library from Hincesti, Republic of Moldova!
Get in touch with the Rayonal Public Library “IPS A. Plamadeala” Hancesti, Republic of Moldova
Address: 51 Mitropolitul Varlaam St, Hancesti, Republic of Moldova
Phone number: +069081155
Webpage/ Social Media channel: https://m.facebook.com/Biblioteca-Publica-Raionala
This project is developed by Progress Foundation Romania, granted by E.U. and the Black Sea Trust for Regional Cooperation, a project of the German Marshall Fund of the United States and implemented in Armenia, Republic Of Moldova, Romania and Ukraine with the help of the regional partners: Lori Regional Library, Armenia; “Dimitrie Cantemir” Public Library from Ungheni, “IPS Antonie Plamadeala” Public Library from Hincesti & Library Association from Republic of Moldova; “G.T. Kirileanu” Neamt County Library & “Antim Ivireanul” Valcea County Library from Romania; Luhansk Regional Scientific Library, Lviv Public Library & Ukrainian Library Association, from Ukraine.
This article was written by PhD Alin Daniel Piroșcă.
Growing Active Citizens Hubs is granted by E.U. and the Black Sea Trust for Regional Cooperation, a project of the German Marshall Fund of the United States. Opinions expressed in this publication do not necessarily represent those of the Black Sea Trust or its partners.