THE PLACE OF THE LIBRARY IN A PERIOD OF CRISIS: THE EXPERIENCE OF REGIONAL LIBRARIES IN BULGARIA DURING A PANDEMIC
University of Library Studies and Information Technologies (BULGARIA)
About this paper:
Conference name: 14th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 8-9 November, 2021
Location: Online Conference
Abstract:Libraries are institutions with universal rules for access to knowledge. Faced with the challenge of the crisis caused by the global pandemic – COVID-19, libraries around the world have joined forces to develop strategies, plans and transformations to overcome the atypical situation in which they find themselves. Bulgarian libraries did not stay away from such reactions. From the synergy as a result of unifying efforts against crisis situations, a diverse approach to overcoming the pandemic crisis can be traced in each library. According to the specifics and possibilities of the different types of library institutions, their activities during the period of emergency situation ran in a different way. That was also imposed by the possibilities of reorganization of the working process and the availability of technology resources of the institution. Тhe methodologies that are applied in terms of reading and approaches to different types of readers - by age groups, reading interests and psychological attitudes towards the environment are especially important and successful in such situations. Despite the digital world in which we live and the irreversible change of the libraries even before the pandemic, it is necessary their activities to be modified on a larger scale – they have to become hybrid structures, more flexible in the current dynamic environment, which have to preserve the physical image of the library and at the same time to redefine the classical library services in an innovative way.
The purpose of the report is to present how regional libraries in Bulgaria in times of crisis are a focus for their users. An analysis of the initiatives carried out during a pandemic (mainly online) will be made and in this way the readers will be typologized with their attitudes and information needs in a crisis situation. A comparison will be made of the activities of the Republic of Bulgaria with initiatives conducted before the pandemic. The obtained results will highlight the differences in a normal and atypical situation for the individual.
Keywords: Bulgaria, regional libraries, atypical situations, COVID-19, bibliotherapy.