Village libraries in the territory of the municipality of Jagodina used to be cultural hubs and centres for local people’s social life. In recent decades, due to various social events, village libraries lost their function and began to share the fate of villages which were brought to the margins on the social ladder. The Public library Radislav Nikcevic in Jagodina, within the project AgroLib started the process of revitalization of the existing network of village libraries in villages -Bagrdan, Bunar, Glavinci and Glogovac. After a year’s project implementation, the libraries were revitalized, book funds were renewed, the Internet was set up and a website for advertising agricultural production was created. Agricultural producers were trained in ICT training and through agricultural lectures on various topics. The village librarians were trained to use new communication and information technologies in order to provide more efficient services within newly-formed library services.
Apart from agricultural producers, who were the target group of the project AgroLib-Ja, other residents in rural areas have benefited from the project. A special contribution of the project is seen in the fact that young people began to use library services and facilities in great numbers. There is a special interest in the Internet which is free for all users. Therefore it was decided, within the AgroLib project, to carry out children’s workshops in village libraries during the summer period while there are ongoing agricultural activities (when farmers are busy and do not have time to keep up with library programs) and while school children are on holiday(when they have more free time). Children’s workshops have been holding in the library Radislav Nikčević in Jagodina for four years for town children. This year, children in rural areas have been included.
During the summer campaign, educational creative workshops have been organized in village libraries. Workshops are held in order to introduce their participants to some new contents, mostly in free time. Workshops are essentially different form lectures, but these two methods often complement each other. The aim of workshops is to direct participants to a collective works, acquiring knowledge and skills or making specific products-posters, drawings, various decorative items with the presence of a leader who directs work. Workshops have clearly defined rules that explain how to perform, they have their own forms and techniques to verify the success, but what is common for all workshops is that they involve personal and active involvement of each participant, variety of communication, respect of diversity, development of tolerance and mutual acceptance, sharing personal experiences and development of positive authority. For all these reasons, the aim of this action is to start with the practice of organizing children’s free time in a quality manner within new library contents during the summer time for school holiday.
Based on preliminary discussions with village librarians, the following workshops were chosen and held:
1. In the Bunar library on 12th August 2011, a workshop English with Fun was held. The leader was Jelena Rajić, a librarian at the Foreign book department in the library in Jagodina. The group had 15 school children of different age. Due to their different age, the workshop included the primary course which was fun and attractive. The aim was to attract as many children as possible to participate in learning English.
2.In the Bagrdan library, on 16th August 2011 there was an art workshop-My favorite book-illustration. The leader was Jasna Milošević, a librarian at the Children’s department in the library in Jagodina, and the assistant was Snežana Vulić. Ten school children participated in the workshop. The leaders did a short interview at the beginning in order to get feedback on the topic of the workshop, i.e. their favourite books and reasons to illustrate them. Due to education through fun and free choice of the topic, the children showed their creativity and willingness to cooperate with the leaders. The result at the end was imaginative illustrations of different books and book characters that the library in Bagrdan was enriched with.
3. On 17th August 2011 in the Glavinci library, Origami workshop was held. The leaders of this workshop were librarians Jasna Milošević and Snežana Vulić from the library in Jagodina. There were 15 children in the group. This workshop was one of the most attractive, and children showed great interest in mastering new techniques in the art of making various items out of paper such as: boat, hat, crane etc. Aleksandra and Andrijana, children, provided great assistance in the realization of the workshop. They showed origami technique and were already active participants in a lot of previously held library workshops and events. After the workshop all participants as well as well as village librarians were very pleased for mastering new skills that they will be able to enhance and use in their work.
4. In the Glogovac library, on 18th August a workshop Wonderful Dinosaurs was held. Along with the video presentation and quiz for the participants. This workshop was the most visited one and it included 30 youngest participants. The leader was Snežana Vulić, a librarian at the Department for Cultural programs and the assistants were Jasna Milošević and Ivica Lazarević. Besides educational character reflected in the fact that the children (mainly preschool age) found many things they didn’t know about this extinct animal species. This workshop had entertaining and competitive spirit. There was also a quiz whose aim was to encourage children to think about what animal species lived on the Earth million of years ago through questions adapted to their age. At the end of the quiz all participants received a gift- Gorocvet, a magazine for children published by the library in Jagodina.
As a part of this action, the Public library in Jagodina donated children’s books and material for art workshops apart from Gorocvet. Village librarians will also be able to continue organizing such workshops and similar events for children independently.
At the end of first cycle of children’s workshops held in village libraries in Bagrdan, Bunar, Glavinci and Glogovac, the general impression was that the children in rural areas were very interested and willing to actively participate in similar events in order to spend their free time through learning something new, creative and imaginative. In addition to this action conducted by the Public library Radislav Nikčević in Jagodina in the village libraries included in the AgroLib project, the library in Glavinici independently carried out Summer in the library during the summer holiday. .As a part of this action, literary, acting, singing and ethno workshops were organized. There were also: knitting, embroidery, weaving-home craft. Children are very active in the folklore which have had a long tradition in this village.