Projects and Programs


Libraries – inspiration and lifelong learning for all. Funded by Public Libraries 2020.

Conducting the 10th National Library Week, 2015

Project goal: To build up an understanding among politicians and decision makers about the role of libraries for lifelong learning that will lead to recognition of that role in strategic documents, to improved policies and practices and to better funding for libraries.

Our main target group includes members of the newly elected Parliament and the members of the new Bulgarian government. We will make concerted efforts to create better understanding of the role of public libraries in lifelong learning through demonstration of library programs in areas like informal education, literacy, ICT competences, and information literacy.

A round table discussions (in Sofia and at least 10 district cities) will provide an opportunity for bringing together representatives of Parliament, ministries and local government to discuss how libraries can be successful in providing opportunities for lifelong learning. It will also mark the necessary measures that all responsible institutions need to implement in order to ensure that success.

Main activities will include: drafting of the concept paper; coordinating and supporting advocacy events at the national and the local level; preparing instructions for conducting the local advocacy campaigns; hearing at the Parliament’s Committee on Culture and Media for presenting what libraries need to be active players in the LLL and report on the developments since the previous hearing in May 2014. ; for appeal to the Committee to monitor the implementation of  2 specific points of the Public Library Act related to LLL in libraries; meetings with the Ministry of Culture and Ministry of Education and Science for negotiating specific tasks and responsible organizations for the annual action plans of the National Strategy for LLL;launching of a national and local media campaign, incl. social media and interviews for the national media; providing international keynote speaker; organizing national and local roundtable discussions “How could I contribute to library development as LLL: Let’s unite our efforts”; enlarging the Ambassadors for Libraries corps; official launch of the NLW and delivering key message in the presence of politicians and decision makers. 

Expected results: government commitment to support libraries in their lifelong learning related programs; enhanced understanding of the role of libraries among policy makers; inclusion of libraries in relevant national strategic documents; improved media coverage of library programs and their results.


Bulgarian Libraries in the 21st century. Funded by America for Bulgaria Foundation, 2015-2018

On March 1, 2015, BLIA launched its new 3-year project "Bulgarian Libraries in 21st c."supported by America for Bulgaria Foundation. This is an important step forward which will provide development of the Association's
activities in volume and scale that was reached by the previous project "Advancement and Sustainable Development of the Library Sector in Bulgaria", also funded by the Foundation.
The main project goal is to support libraries in a ways that they are ready to meet the contemporary information needs
of the Bulgarian society. The project objectives are:
1. Advocate for libraries to be adequately incorporated in strategic documents and regulations in order
to increase their role in society and improve their funding.
2. Increase the advocacy capacity of the professional community at a national and local level.
3. Design models for effective territorial library services and models for contemporary school library to be tested in practice.
4. Stimulate the implementation of innovative library services and programs by library professionals.

The expected long-term results of project implementation are: enhanced understanding by politicians and the public about the role of libraries and adequate place of libraries in strategic documents and regulations; improvement of library services supporting education; increased number of working school libraries; active involvement of libraries in lifelong learning; increased public funding for libraries; increased number of library users. Positive changes are expected by the library staff– enhancement of its capacity and qualifications. The implementation of the project "Bulgarian Libraries in 21st c."
will be a new important step forward for completing BLIA capacity building and its promotion as an important factor for the development of the library sector in Bulgaria.


Embedded librarians: paving the way to the future of the profession.
"Elvis has left the building! Librarians in the community."
A workshop with James LaRue, USA with 30 library experts in Bulgaria. Sept.17-18, 2014, Sofia
Funded by IRIS Alumni Global Grant Program
The workshop presents the latest developments of CIC in the USA in terms of new content and innovations. It is about new efficient forms of library outreach; it is proactive research participation of library staff in solving local community problems. In particular, this means that librarians are embedded in the activities of local NGO's, councils and other citizens' structures. By analyzing and presenting information in the most relevant way, they help civic structures make informed decisions and propose policies and projects to the local government and business. Perfect examples of such outreach are presented in the American Libraries magazine by the Douglas County Library System staff (see Supplemental item #2). In this outreach, BLIA recognized a new stage of libraries' development as community information centers, which paves the way to the future of the profession. A workshop in Bulgaria conducted by the US leader of this service (James LaRue) would influence Bulgarian Librarians to start applying it locally and foster informed citizens' participation. This update of enriched community service would be a natural continuation of ABLE recognized as the most successful library project in Bulgaria. The training in new practices will contribute to the sustainable development of ABLE project beyond its 10-years anniversary.


“The Magic Room” – setting up library corners for stimulation of early childhood development – 1 to 6 years

Project supported by Raiffeisen Bank fundraising campaign “Choose to help” – 2012
With the support of Goethe Institute in 2012 a group of Bulgarian librarians and kindergarten educators were introduced to major national programs in Germany and interesting methods promoting reading to children at a very early age.
Our libraries need colorful, fascinating and brightly illustrated books for toddlers in order to give the best for their early development. The budgets libraries have do not allow them to allocate funds for sufficient amount of quality books for preschool age. Not every Bulgarian family can afford to keep a home library. This pilot project “The Magic Room” provided each of the 10 libraries in Asenovgrad, Botevgrad, Gotse Delchev, Dimitrovgrad, Kazanlak, Lom, Nova Zagora, Samokov, Svishtov and Sevlievo with 140 books and educational games, for children aged 1 to 6. The libraries’ staff  gives wide publicity of the donation among parents and kindergartens (book displays, local media); provides the books for checking out; organizes a series of readings for toddlers in the library, together with games, drama and painting.
Exchange in Greece under Leonardo Da Vinci Mobility Program (Lifelong Learning)

Ten colleagues, lecturers in the Program for acquiring degree III for professional qualification in librarianship took part in one week exchange in the Central Library of Veria, Northern Greece.
BLIA’s project “Innovations and modern practices in contemporary library: Exchange in the Central Library of Veria, Greece” was approved for funding by the Centre for human resource development under the European Commission’s Lifelong Learning Program (sub-program Leonardo Da Vinci: Mobility of professionals in vocational education and training).
BLIA aims at enhancing competency of lecturers and the quality of teaching in the training organized by the Centre for vocational education of Innovative Community Centres Association. Our professionals had the opportunity to visit the Library of Veria and see in practice their vision and practices for creating one of the most innovative libraries in Europe. They will ideas, best practices and models in the teaching process of the Program for acquiring degree III for professional qualification in librarianship.
The visit took place from 14 to 20 October 2012.
The five-day working program consisted of various activities: visits to different departments of the library and discussions of management issues with the staff, listening to guest lecturers on professional qualification of Greek librarians, digitization of written heritage, the role of library leader. The hosts also included tours to children’s libraries in Thessaloniki, renovated by “Future Library” program.
The participants summarized the knowledge obtained at a workshop on December 7, 2012. More details of the workshop: 


Advancement and sustainable development of the library sector in Bulgaria

BLIA project, supported by the America for Bulgaria Foundation, 2010 – 2014.

The Bulgarian Library and Information Association is launching the project Advancement and sustainable development of the library sector in Bulgaria.
The project will be implemented with the financial support of the America for Bulgaria Foundation.
The main goal is improving the quality of service and development of library sector through: building BLIA's capacity, increased efficiency of library specialists, accelerated modernization and innovations in libraries. Key action areas of the project are:
  • Building the necessary organizational and financial capacity of BLIA which will enable the association to successfully carry out and accomplish the tasks defined in its statutes.
  • Creating accessible environment for enhancing qualification of library specialists through building a system for continuing education for librarians.
  • Creating prerequisites for professional development and well informed library community by implementing Association's program for publications on professional issues.
  • Assisting and supporting technological and organizational processes in libraries through establishing a Center for Expert and Consulting Services.
  • Fostering the preservation of written cultural heritage through developing a national program for preservation and access to the cultural heritage hosted by libraries.
  • Elevating the prestige of library profession; strengthening the international presence of BLIA; development of partnerships with similar organizations abroad.
Project’s time span is 4 years. All activities will be carried out in broad partnerships with libraries, educational institutions, other organizations from the library and related sectors which share and support the project’s ideas and BLIA’s mission.
The America for Bulgaria Foundation (ABF) assists in the development and growth of a vibrant  private sector needed for a free and democratic Bulgaria.
Founded in 2008, The Foundation is a successor of the Bulgarian-American Enterprise Fund (BAEF), an investment fund created by the United States of America, acting through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Grants provided by the America for Bulgaria Foundation enhance the longstanding legacy of goodwill and friendship between the American and Bulgarian people.


Bulgarian Libraries – access points to information and communication for all

The program is a part of the Global Libraries Initiative of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. BLIA is one of the key partners. More info at:


Management of public libraries

BLIA project supported by the British Council – Bulgaria, 2008
The project's goal is to update the knowledge and skills of managers of municipality and chitalishte public libraries and introduce best practices from the UK. The upgraded skills of senior staff of public libraries would lead to development of libraries in line both with the changing needs of the society and the European tendencies.
The main project activities focus on training of leaders of libraries with more than 3 staff members. The training topics are as follows:

  • Development of public libraries in the information society: Contemporary trends. Innovative practices from the UK.
  • Contemporary methods for management of information resources, library personnel, budget, and projects. Team work and motivation.
  • Working with local authorities. Cooperation with other libraries, media and local community organizations. Advocacy and fundraising.
  • Strategic planning. Criteria for evaluation of library performance. Standards for library activities.
The project activities included a trip of three Bulgarian trainers to the UK, organized by the British Council. The Bulgarian librarians paid a visit to seven public libraries of Manchester and its area from November 24 – 28, 2008 .
In March 2009, six regional seminars were organized with managers of municipality and chitalishte libraries.
One of the main project outputs is the book Guidelines for Development of Public Libraries compiled by Vanya Grashkina, Aneta Doncheva, Aleksandar Dimchev. The books is published by the Sofia University Publishing House ”St. Kl. Ohridski”and is distributed free of charge for library specialists in the country.

National Library Week

12 – 16 May 2008
The Libraries – our common responsibility!


Legislative framework for libraries and library and information activities in Bulgaria

Supported by British Council – Bulgaria

Partners: British Council, Union of Librarians and Information Services Officers, Ministry of Culture, National Library St. St. Cyril and Methodius

National Library Week

15 – 21 May 2006
Libraries – Investment in the Future!


Partnerships in International projects

Europe's New Libraries Together in Transversal Learning Environments

ENTITLE is a multilateral project under LLP KA4 Dissemination and Exploitation of Results, designed to support and extend the progress made to date by Europe's public libraries in supporting learning for all age groups and sections of society, by disseminating, consolidating and enhancing the work of key existing networks, projects and initiatives in this area. It will focus on the contribution to be made through informal learning settings in libraries to lifelong learning, combating digital illiteracy and social exclusion, paying special attention to gains achieved through the applications of ICT.

The ENTITLE consortium is in a very good position to achieve the results of the project through inclusion of two national agencies and five municipal public library services, three national professional library associations and two NGOs. These connections will be used to enhance distribution of results and participation in networking in a variety of ways including links, newsfeeds, consultations and information distribution.


PULMAN Network
Public Libraries Mobilising Advanced Network

The PULMAN Network of Excellence is now launched under the European Commission's research programme for a User-Friendly Information Society (DG Information Society). Europe's public libraries and cultural organisations have a vital role to play in the development of an e-Europe. The PULMAN Network will stimulate and promote sharing of policies and practices for the digital era, in public libraries and cultural organisations which operate at local and regional level.


Cultural Applications: Local Institutions Mediating Electronic Resource Access
CALIMERA has mobilised local cultural institutions for a new role as key players in transforming innovative technologies into helpful services for ordinary citizens - putting European cultural heritage at the service of the citizen.
Major policy drivers such as e-Government, Social inclusion, e-Learning, and Cultural diversity require the digitisation of existing content but also new e-content creation and an extension of the user base for local e-content, making interesting and engaging multimedia content more widely accessible over the Web and through new mobile and digital TV-based services.
The CALIMERA Network of policy makers, practitioners and suppliers covers 42 countries, including all EU Member States, bringing together local professionals, policy makers and suppliers at all levels. CALIMERA has also shared knowledge and best practice with potential research partners in Canada, China, India, USA and elsewhere.


Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U. S. State Department
IRIS (Iowa Resource for International Service) 
Colorado Association of Libraries 
Union of Librarians and Information Service Officers in Bulgaria


Other projects

Bulgarian Libraries – Access Points to Information and Communication for All
Executing Agency: Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Bulgaria
Project Partners: State Agency for Information Technology and Communications, Union of Librarians and Information Services Officers, National Association of Municipalities in the Republic of Bulgaria
Implementing Agency: United Nations Development Programme

The project has set out the management and funding framework for a 12-month process expected to result in the formulation of a full programme aimed at providing access to computers, the Internet and training through Bulgaria’s public libraries network. 
The strategic objective of the full program (3 to 5 years) will be to provide easy and equitable access to information, knowledge, communications and electronic services in public libraries via free use of the Internet and other information and communication technologies, so as to enable Bulgarian citizens integrate into the global information society, improve their quality of life and enhance civil society development.
It is expected that the full program would cover up to 1,200 public libraries across the country. The full program is expected to support financially the technological renovation of libraries (computers and Internet connection), as well as the training of library staff and the general public. The program is also expected to introduce computer Internet use by library staff and patrons.


Access to electronic information for persons with disabilitties in Bulgarian libraries

The project “Access to electronic information for persons with disabilitties in Bulgarian libraries” of the Union of Librarians and Information Services Officers is realized with the financial and consulting support of the British Council in Sofia. The project is aimed at creating a model for information service of persons with disabilitties in Bulgarian libraries, based on use of new information technologies, Internet and electronic resources. The project will be implemented in June 2005 – March 2006.

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