Openness and consolidated partnerships to promote a democratic space in a traditional framework of library’ services
A traditional library is always open to new opportunities to grow. But to identify the opportunity you need to be known by the community, diversify your services, and communicate and promote your activities. The G.T. Kirileanu of Neamt County successfully promote its services and consolidated a bridge with the community by actively listening to their needs.
The G.T. Kirileanu Library of Neamt County is situated in the city of Piatra Neamt, Neamt county. The institution is the continuation of some traditions of over 135 years of public reading in Piatra-Neamţ, coordinates the activity of all public libraries in county and serves – mainly – the information, study, reading, education and recreation interests of population in the county seat municipality. His collections comprise over 270,000 volumes (books, newspapers, magazines, scores, records, cassettes, CDs, DVDs), including the invaluable library of the illustrious scholar G. T. Kirileanu, donated to the city in 1956. This important donation includes about 30,000 publications between 1600-1950, with special documentary value and bibliophile, among the rarities being a few autograph books from Ion Creangă’s former library and the collection of the newspaper “Timpul” from the years when the editors were M. Eminescu, I. Slavici and I. L. Caragiale.
The building where the library is was built in the year 1972, in the same year when there was the celebration of the International Year of The Book. The investment was made by the Neamt County Council. Starting with the year 1974 it became the County Library and received the books from the library of G. t. Kirileanu. And on 13th March 1992, when we celebrated 120 years from the birth of G. T. Kirileanu the library became the County Library G. T. Kirileanu.
After 1991, the County Library was modernized and extended and now has a surface of about 2500 sm. The G.T. Kirileanu Library supervises the activity of the other libraries in the county and besides its role of providing books to the people, it also works hard on preserving and continuing the work of G.T. Kirileanu.
Cultural education can be achieved in partnership with pre-university education institutions, through specific programs adapted to the age and intellectual particularities of the groups. Librarians from Neamţ County Library have tried implementing some new methods of promoting library services for citizens. Among them, it may be mentioned working with high-school volunteers and using local TV networks in order to establish a closer connection between the library and the local community.
First of all, the County Library contributes to the improvement of the quality of life of the inhabitants of Neamţ County through free and non-discriminatory access to collections, services, specialized databases, and cultural offers but also to the formation of study, research, reading and documentation skills. Let us not forget the role of socialization and recreation, so it can be said that the library is an open space of communication. Everything is built around the interest for the citizen, because we will try to find appropriate solutions to the information and documentation needs of the public, professional training, and personal development. We aim to make the library a leader of the community, a living organism, in a continuous movement, transformation and adaptation both to the information market and to the expectations of users, being in a full balance with the information society.
In 2020 the library launched a project on the thematic shelf about housing. The project engaged the community and promoted the role of the library as an available and active partner with the community, The purpose of this shelf of books which is functioning as an information point is to emphasize that housing is a topic of thought for all, to make the public aware of the idea that together, through volunteering and other forms of civic participation, we must find solutions for a sustainable future of housing and convey the clear message that every human being on earth has the right to a decent life.
The thematic shelf will remain available to readers over the next few years, and library users will be invited to discover the shelf and get involved in finding creative ideas and solutions in future events. Moreover, the library’s volunteer team will have the mission to make the information point known in the community, to come up with ideas for activities, to attract new users to the library and use the resources made available in various contexts. This project was part of the Build Solid Ground project and was developed in partnership with Pro Vobis – National Resource Center for Volunteering.
Other important projects dedicated to children and young people were “Piatra-Neamţ reads”, which promoted books and reading in the community, and “The third space of active citizenship (made by Progress Foundation) through which it was created and modernized a nest of democracy in the Information Center Community.
Looking over this traditional library which owns one of the important deposits of documents and old books (Kirileanu fond), we can conclude by quoting what the current manager of the library stated at one point that an informed man is a strong man. The library is a step towards knowledge, towards personal development. and it belongs to the community. Try to discover it, come with us and for sure we will be stronger together.
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.