LIFELONG LEARNING AND LIBRARIES: BEST PRACTICES IN BULGARIAN PUBLIC LIBRARIES
University of Library Studies and Information Technologies (BULGARIA)
About this paper:
Conference name: 14th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 2-4 March, 2020
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:This report examines the role of public libraries in lifelong learning processes. Good practices from Bulgarian libraries are presented, reflecting the increasing interest in lifelong learning and existing models of participation in such learning. An emphasis is placed on the opportunities that libraries are developing to promote lifelong learning. Information literacy courses provided by libraries are discussed, since libraries are the primary theoretical and empirical basis in the modern lifelong learning strategy.
Since 2000, a number of strategic documents and programs have been adopted in Bulgaria to promote lifelong learning: "Employment Strategy", "National Strategy for Continuing Vocational Training", Operational Program "Human Resources Development", "National Strategy for lifelong learning”(2014-2020)". The National Lifelong Learning Strategy identifies four major priorities aimed at: implementing an educational approach that supports the development of all learners and contributes to building active individuals capable of coping with changes and uncertainty; improving the quality of education and training; providing an educational environment for equal access to lifelong learning, active social inclusion and active civil participation; stimulating education and training consistent with the needs of the economy and the changes in the labor market. In the Strategy, public libraries are among the cultural institutions that need to become an attractive multi-functional space - a place for reading, and for social events and contacts, to establish themselves as centers for informal study and self-study and a proactive factor in implementing learning initiatives for the benefit of the community. Work is needed to promote them as centers for the acquisition of digital competences and raising the cultural awareness of the population, providing learning and training opportunities for different age and target groups. The changing lifestyles and new challenges of a knowledge-based society also require a change in the educational environment. It is necessary to acquire knowledge and skills, so that learning becomes a continuous and natural process, accompanied by freedom of choice. In the activities of modern public libraries, it is necessary to focus on education and training in all its aspects, and to develop overall concepts of how they can support lifelong learning processes.
The purpose of this study is to show how public libraries are a mediator in the acquisition and development of competencies by exposing the concept of the library as a partner in information literacy training in a lifelong learning perspective. Those practices in the Bulgarian public libraries that are related to information literacy, and are in the basis of the modern process of using and managing information resources, are analyzed. The study proves the hypothesis that information literacy is the key to "lifelong learning".
Keywords: Bulgaria, public libraries, lifelong learning, education, information literacy.