The subject of this year’s Convention was mainly the role of libraries in building local communities resistant to crises and in carrying out activities aimed at climate and environment protection. The special guest of the event was Paweł Szypulski of the Greenpeace Polska.
The Convention was opened by Joanna Lempart, Polish-American Freedom Foundation Program Director and Jacek Królikowski, President of Information Society Development Foundation. They thanked librarians for their engagement during the pandemic and their support for refugees at the difficult time of war in Ukraine. Speaking about the history of the Library Development Program Joanna Lempart emphasized that during the crisis time libraries proved to be strong institutions that can flexibly react to current needs of their communities.
The participants in the Convention were also welcomed by the main stage hosts – Daniel Putkiewicz, Mayor of Piaseczno Municipality and Town, and Sylwia Chojnacka-Tuzimek, Vice-Director of Public Library in Piaseczno.
The first debate on “Climate at a library” was hosted by Agnieszka Kozak, a TVN journalist and expert at “Good Morning TVN”. Her guests were Aleksandra Kardaś, PhD of the Climate Education Foundation, Marta Wróblewska of the Youth Strike for Climate and Damian Kruczkowski of Zofia Urbanowska Municipal Public Library in Konin. They spoke about ways of talking about climate change at the time of recession, wars, and crises. They also discussed why it is worth listening to the voice of young people and enhancing it, what a library can offer to grassroots activists and possible advantages that it might bring about to libraries themselves and local communities for which they act. They also expressed a belief that activities benefiting climate are an everlasting need and that despite the fact that we are approaching climate disaster, it is not too late to undertake even small initiatives which taken together may contribute to some positive changes.
Next the Convention participants had an opportunity to take part in various workshops, such as “How to carry out sustainable changes using local community resources,” “Art and garden – how to start creative garden activities in the library?”, “Literature in action! – Practical ideas for creative workshops with a book;” in Gdynia: “Libraries for climate: how to start library greening and why it is worth doing,” “The involving library or how to encourage people to (co)operate?”, and “What can we do together? Ten artistic ideas on building the community around libraries.”
Also, the participants could join the virtual meeting zone with book authors. Daniel Mizieliński, the illustrator of “Two sisters” Publishing House, author of “Maps,” „Under ground, under water,” and “Which way to Yellowstone” educational books for young people was interviewed by Sylwia Chojnacka-Tuzimek, the vice-director of the Public Library in Piaseczno. In turn Filip Jędruch, representing the “Sector 3.0” program had a conversation with comic books authors: graphic designer Magdalena „Meago” Kania and screenwriter Maciej „Maika” Kur.
There were also simultaneous workshops in the online zone, including “Let’s meet and do something together,” “Climate change – facts and myths,” “What stories we need to face climate crisis,” “Bigger and bigger inequalities or algorithm domination,” and “How to change the library into the ecological institution of culture?”.
Marcin Karwowski of the Public Library at Kokoszkowy and Agnieszka Pelc of the Public Library of Grodzisk Mazowiecki shared their experiences gained in implementation of the “Library for All. Different. Equal. Important.” project carried out in cooperation with Save the Children Foundation and Danmarks Indsamling. The objective of the project is to secure support for children and young people and their caretakers who came to Poland from Ukraine to continue their education at Ukrainian schools, and in adjusting to Polish school system through participation in developmental classes at libraries and learning Polish. The main theme of that discussion was building multicultural community around the library. Next, members of the LABIB Network Natalia Gromow of Gdynia Library and Jolanta Janiec of Municipal Public Library in Hrubieszów discussed how to make libraries more attractive for their local communities.
During the Convention the winners of the Olga Rok Scholarship Competition were presented with their diplomas by Anna Rok, the competition patron’s granddaughter.
In the “Large library” category the main award went to Renata Jaworek of Fantasmagoria No 14 Public Library at Wola District, Warsaw, the branch for adults and teenagers, for the “Creators of the creators” project under which a literary group for young fantasy writers was established. The main award in the “Small library” category was presented to Agata Perzyńska of Józef Wybicki Municipal Public Library in Sopot for activities benefiting people with special needs. The Competition Committee awarded also two honorary mentions that went to: Wioletta Toruńczak of Public Library of Pruszcz Gdański Municipality and Katarzyna Syryjczyk-Słomska of Municipal Public Library in Łaziska Górne.
The Olga Rok Scholarships are financed from the endowment fund established in 2012. They support personal development of female librarians who know how to mobilize themselves and others to looking for new solutions and courageously changing their communities. The partners in the competition are Polish-American Freedom Foundation, Information Society Development Foundation and the Academy for the Development of Philanthropy in Poland.
The Library Convention is a cyclical event organized by the Information Society Development Foundation as part of the Library Development Program of the Polish-American Freedom Foundation that is managed by ISDF. Under the program, which over the years 2008-2015 was carried out in partnership of PAFF and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, over 4,000 public libraries in municipalities and rural communes with population of up to 20,000 got support.
The partners in this year’s Convention were: Public Library in Piaseczno, Gdynia Library, LABIB, “Two sisters” Publishing House, Egmont Polska, and My Digital Life.