Panevėžys region library specialists gained experience in Spain and Germany

Librarians of Panevezys region in Alcala de Henares

Panevėžys County Gabrielė Petkevičaitė-Bitė Public Library and its partners – municipal public libraries of Panevėžys region are implementing the Erasmus+ program accreditation project in the field of Adult Education. Project duration: 2021 03 01–2027 12 31.

Specialists of Panevėžys region libraries working in the field of adult education take part in the mobility activities. All libraries of the region are involved in joint project activities and the professional development of adult educators is carried out in a targeted manner.

The first round of the project started in September, 2021 and will be completed in August, 2023. In 2023 two job shadowing visits to European institutions of adult education were organized.

Visit in Alcala de Henares

In March, 2023 nineteen public library specialists of the Panevėžys region visited adult education center CEPA Don Juan I in Alcala de Henares (Spain) and public libraries.

While visiting Spanish adult education institutions, Panevėžys region library specialists were interested in cultural, social, and digital competence development programs for residents, intercultural and informational education of migrants, attracting target groups of adult visitors to libraries, and involving them in the process of non-formal adult education.

The attention of Lithuanian librarians was attracted by the close connection with the community, attention to the specifics of other cultures, cooperation with educational, cultural and social institutions and organizations, responding to the needs of different audiences, social innovation projects for communities.

Panevėžys region librarians were particularly interested in social projects that reached different target groups: immigrant women, representatives of Afghan and Ukrainian cultures, many of whom live in Alcala de Henares. The greatest value of the project is that not only the people who came to Spain can get to know the local culture, learn the Spanish language, but also the Spaniards can look at themselves through the eyes of people from other cultures, think about what they could do differently to make it easier for people seeking asylum to adapt.

Visit in Berlin

In May, 2023 seventeen public library specialists of the Panevėžys region visited libraries of Pankow district in Berlin (Germany). Lithuanian librarians were interested in the joint initiatives of libraries and the community, creating attractive spaces and activities for the leisure time of adult visitors; learned what opportunities the library provides to the community itself in terms of initiating leisure activities (hobbies, discussion clubs, events); got acquainted with specific creative activities that influence community spirit in the library and the image of the library and reduce social exclusion.

The participants of the job shadowing visit were convinced that the widespread practice of volunteering, helping immigrants and refugees, fostering ideas of sustainability, attention to digital technologies, the library’s aspiration to become a social infrastructure that provides space for learning and self-expression and helps to solve social problems.

The participants of the visit were particularly interested in what activities the libraries offer to the Ukrainian community and were pleasantly surprised by the sufficiently large collection of Ukrainian literature, screenings of films with Ukrainian subtitles, German language classes, Language Cafe meetings, help provided in libraries and consultations on filling out various documents.

Lithuanian librarians were especially happy to find out that German libraries support Ukrainians not only with humanitarian aid. In the Karow public library, the participants of the visit met the Ukrainian librarian Svitlana, who not only found refuge in Berlin, but also works there.

Panevėžys region library specialists learned that Berlin libraries pay special attention to researching the needs of existing and potential visitors. The German colleagues shared their practice of applying the Design Thinking method and told how it helped to find out what kind of library is needed by the citizens in general and the residents of specific districts in Berlin.

Specialists of Panevėžys region public libraries shared the experience and ideas of the job shadowing visits with their colleagues at a remote events that took place on the 29th of March and  the 23rd of May.

Virginija Švedienė
Coordinator of Adult Education Activities