We are happy to greet you from the sunny Crimea! This is where Young Library Leaders School is taking place. The event was organized as part of a cooperative agreement between Bibliomist-Crimea and Bibliomist-Lviv.
The event opening took place in the Crimea Republican I.Franko Universal Scientific Library, Simrefopol and then the librarians moved to Alushta, where the main part of the Leaders School is taking place. The librarians participated in a series of trainings on leadership, strategic planning, advocacy, grant proposal writing, assessment of community needs, effective presentations and social media held by Bibliomist staff, a Ukrainian Library Association (ULA) representative, and invited trainers.
At the training on leadership the participants practised “sincere listening” to colleagues in order to correctly interpret messages, avoid bias, and get rid of a “nothing depends on me” position. At the grant proposal writing session the participants learned about the main elements of a proposal, learned to understand a donor’s specific requirements, define a problem, set a goal, objectives, and methods of solving the problem.
Problems identified by librarians are lack of funding for non-librarians working at libraries (IT specialists, sociologists, psychologists) under current legislation, introduction of paid services, lack of funding for library buildings renovation. At the training on advocacy and strategic planning the participants learned to define an advocacy “target,” identify partners, allies, opponents and draft an advocacy plan in order to solve the defined problems.
The librarians mentioned an interesting advocacy example of a library that, after repeated attempts to contact a politician who had promised funding for a library building renovation, posted “Deputy Promised, but Did not Fulfill” and “Think Who You Choose” posters in its hall and stated that thus the politician had lost 21 thousand votes (7,000 of library users x 3). As a result, the politician provided the necessary funding.
The bottom line defined by the participants is that many library innovations are risky, but if librarians never try to change the situation, the change will never come about.
Lviv and Crimea librarians, representatives of the West and East of Ukraine, traditionally divided by language (Ukrainian and Russian respectively) differences got along perfectly well with each other, participated in mixed groups work and effectively communicated. One of the best indicators of training success is that participants were too carried away with training activities to come up to organizers for travel reimbursements!
One more day of trainings is ahead of us and we do hope to keep the spirit up, we will keep you posted!