READING AND READERS DURING A PANDEMIC: THE EXPERIENCE OF THE CHILDREN'S DEPARTMENT OF THE SOFIA CITY LIBRARY
University of Library Studies and Information Technologies (BULGARIA)
About this paper:
Conference name: 13th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 5-6 July, 2021
Location: Online Conference
Abstract:The EU and its countries are working together to strengthen national health systems and limit the spread of the virus. Simultaneously, the EU and its countries are temporarily taking action to mitigate the socio-economic consequences of COVID-19 and support EU reconstruction. In the dynamics of all these processes, it is important not to forget the space for social, cultural and educational initiatives that help maintain emotional and psychological balance among the population. If adults can help themselves to find compensatory mechanisms, children will be one of the groups most affected by the changes that have taken place in the lives of all mankind over the past year.
The destabilization caused by COVID-19 and the corresponding restrictive measures affect children, families and their surrounding environment. The introduced emergency measures have led to the closure of a number of institutions and the restriction of services. The prolonged social isolation and lack of contact cause an imbalance in the emotional and mental state of children, as it is often connected with fear of the unknown, loss of daily rhythm and lack of social contact with peers.
The report examines reading in an atypical situation - the pandemic caused by COVID-19. The emphasis is placed on studying the reading habits of the readers in the Children's Center at the Sofia City Library. The period of consideration comprises the beginning of the state of emergency in Bulgaria - March 2020 to February 2021. Various initiatives are tracked, which are carried out in the library and remotely. In this way, the attitudes of children and adolescents can be studied and how they adapt to an atypical situation. The activities have been analyzed, connected to reading stimulation and other creative initiatives.
The results of the study can provide additional important information about the effectiveness of the initiative and the way how literature with its therapeutic potential affects the readers.
Keywords: Library, children, reading, COVID-19, bibliotherapy.