EIFL’s Public Library Innovation Programme(PLIP) supports libraries to implement community development projects. In May 2010 PLIP supported with a grant the ‘Agrolib-Ja’ project of the Public library Radislav Nikčević in central Serbia. After a year, impact assessment demonstrates that the new services accomplished remarkable results. Please take a look at some of the EIFL-PLIP video'sdemonstrating these results.
‘How can we revitalize our rural libraries?’
Many years ago, libraries were an important part of social and cultural life in Serbian villages. But with conflict and economic recession investment in rural areas declined. Public Library Radislav Nikčević supervises 16 libraries, but many were libraries in name only. The question librarians asked themselves was – how can we revitalize our rural libraries? The answer led to the creation of the ‘Agrolib-Ja project’.
Farmers are flocking to the libraries
‘AgroLib-Ja’ works with four village libraries near the town of Jagodina. Librarians train farmers in ICT skills and have helped farmers to create an online market to improve their sales. Farmers upload content and market produce depending on the season and availability.
Farmers are flocking to the libraries. The number of visitors to the village libraries rose from an average of 16 a week before AgroLib-Ja to 176 a week at the end of the new service’s first year.
The overall goal of AgroLib-Ja is to modernize farming skills through Internet access and sharing information. According to Public Library Radislav Nikčević’s survey 85% of farmers said they found information of value to their farming on the Internet, and 95% said they believed the Internet was a good way of bringing people together.
The Ministry of Culture has agreed to fund Internet connections for AgroLib in the future and has provided a grant to expand the project to include one more library.