“READ – SO YOU NEVER FEEL ALONE” – INITIATIVES BORN DURING THE PANDEMIC AND RELATED TO THE HEALING POWER OF BOOKS
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 place of the book in our lives is usually pathetically spoken of, and there is a public consensus on its undeniably important role. In reality, however, the number of readers is insignificant according to a number of sociological studies both in Bulgaria and worldwide.
"We know it's very useful to read, but we do not do it, or at least we don't do it often," is the finding that needs to be made.
The COVID-19 pandemic has re-evaluated our overall behavior and even our value system. Topics such as the place of the book, the healing power of reading are also on the agenda during isolation.
Numerous initiatives are being created to partially restore the mental comfort of nations in a lockdown mode.
The main problem in this report is related to the presentation of the action that precedes the theory. A need arising from external circumstances is satisfied. The possibilities of learning by doing are demonstrated.
The report focuses on various initiatives during a pandemic that bring books and reading to the forefront as a means of overcoming problems arising from the pandemic. Loneliness, confusion, anxiety, helplessness and meaninglessness go beyond the realm of philosophical speculation and become topics of our daily lives. All the described and analyzed initiatives are based on the idea of the healing powers of reading, the opportunities that the book provides for solving personal problems and for influencing psychological states.
Locked up in their homes and in the impossibility of realizing the usual social contacts, in the absence of contact with culture, people are placed in a situation of forced alienation. For many of them, this proves to be a problem.
UNESCO dedicates the celebration of the International Day of Books and Copyright - April 23rd, to overcoming loneliness through reading. All the slogans of the initiatives are related to the topic of dealing with feelings of abandonment, grief and hopelessness. Thus, globalization's mobility during the pandemic has become a dream.
Another initiative highlighted in the report is the Elizabeth Kostova Foundation, which urges writers to share what they see through their window.
The Bulgarian Decameron 2020 initiative, born during the lockdown, is an online edition of a collection of selected Bulgarian short stories. The Association for Urban Reading Rooms undertakes to provide readers with access to contemporary Bulgarian literature when the libraries in the country are closed.
Events and posts of one of the important influencers in Bulgaria regarding reading are also presented.
The idea of creating a community through reading was also realized by students of the University of Library Studies and Information Technologies, who together with their lecturer (Assoc. Prof. Parijkova) are the authors of the project "One University - One Book - One Community". Within a month, students, teachers and supporters of the initiative read, shared emotions and discussed in a Facebook forum the book selected after a survey.
Students' essays on the topic "The book in my life" from the Bibliography course, which is led by the author, are also analyzed.
Through learning by doing, students delve deeper into the issues they are discussing; they themselves find creative solutions to the cases that have arisen.
At the heart of all the initiatives explored in the report are enthusiasm, faith, a positive attitude, and the belief that reading can and should be used as a means of healing the soul.
Keywords: Reading, Healing Power of Books, Initiatives, Pandemic, Learning by doing Method.