Modernizing all the city's libraries in 5 years: Challenge or reality?

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Oksana Boyarynova, member of the All-Ukrainian public organization "Ukrainian Library Association": "Zaporizhzhia is a city that understands that a modern library is a multicultural space and a public platform of the whole city, and does everything to ensure that there are more such (modern) libraries every year."

According to the observation of the Department of culture and tourism of the Zaporizhzhia City Council there are two ways to develop the city's library system:

1) spend 25 years upgrading all the city's libraries, if you leave everything as it is today;

2) or achieve 100%  modernization of all libraries in Zaporizhzhia in 5 years, if you systematically change the work.

Zaporizhzhia chose the second way, and here they have already begun to implement the reform of the library system. During the 50th session of the Zaporizhzhia City Council, a decision has been made to reorganize library institutions. In particular, we are talking about the merger of children's and adult networks, as well as an increase in wages for employees – while maintaining the number of jobs.

Today, the Zaporizhzhia library network consists of 37 libraries, which are part of two systems: adult (20 libraries) and children's (17 libraries). The number of staff units is 228, the number of working people is 184.

Problems that currently exist in libraries in Zaporizhzhia:

  • the system in which libraries now operate has not changed since 1974;
  • most of the city's libraries haven't been renovated since opening;
  • most of the development budget is used for support, not development;
  • small wages affect the dismissal of personnel.

 

In order to eliminate these problems, as well as for more efficient use of budget funds, the Department of culture and tourism of the Zaporizhzhia City Council has developed a strategy, the essence of which is to combine two library systems into one, thereby reducing the number of staff units (not to be confused with working librarians).

Such a merger  provides an opportunity to save approximately 5 million hryvnias within the allocated funds without dismissing working people and without closing libraries.

The allocated funds will be used for:

  • repairs – as part of these changes, with the total amount of funding per year, it is planned to repair all the city's libraries in 5 years.
  • salary increase for librarians – librarians will be able to switch to the first group of remuneration and their salary will increase by 7.5 %.

After merging, the library system will look like this:

  • 9 public libraries in each district and microdistrict of the city and the central children's library. All of them will work 7 days a week with a work schedule from 9.00 to 20.00;
  • 20 specialized Libraries, which include 12 children's libraries and 8 public libraries with unique areas – Ukrainian Book Library, Art Library, inclusive, etc.;
  • 4 library points and book storage facilities.

According to the city administration, the number of children's libraries won’t be decreasing, and all public libraries will have children's halls.

The Library network in Zaporizhzhia will also develop in the direction of inclusion. It is planned to purchase literature for the blind and visually impaired, and establish direct cooperation with a number of publishing houses.

The library reform also provides for the creation of electronic catalogs in all libraries of the city and the introduction of a single electronic ticket.

The city administration of Zaporizhzhia even before the reform began to pay attention to the development of libraries. Over the past few years three establishments of the chain have been renovated and modernized:

- Central Library for adults (Gogolya Street, 66). In the six months after the update, the library doubled the number of readers, and the percentage of young people increased from 13% to 39%;

- its separate division-branch No. 2 (Mayakovskogo Avenue, 7);

- the so-called library of Ukrainian books (Soborny Avenue, 175).

Each library also has a free co-working space, a modern HUB, computer classes, and a training center.

So, by the end of this year, it is planned to rebuild 5 more libraries, and within the next 5 years all the libraries of the city will be renovated..

Renovation, design and modern technologies in the library are just a pleasant addition to its main purpose – books. In June, libraries received certificates from the ZaporizhzhiaCity Council for 1 million hryvnias to replenish their funds with new books for children and adults!

Therefore, Zaporizhzhia is a city that understands that a modern library is a multicultural space and a public platform of the entire city, and does everything possible to ensure that there are more such libraries every year.

Oksana BOYARYNOVA, member of the All-Ukrainian public organization "Ukrainian Library Association».

According to The Daily All-Ukrainian newspaper «Den».

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