CLIMBING THE DIGITAL LADDER- EMBRACING DIGITAL TECHNOLOGIES AND MEETING DIGITAL DEMANDS OF THE LIBRARY PATRONS
Public Library "Radislav Nikčević" (SERBIA)
About this paper:
Conference name: 17th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 6-8 March, 2023
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:In this paper, the author briefly reviews the digital development path of the "Radislav Nikčević" Public Library in Jagodina, Serbia through various projects, programs, resources and services since it is the oldest cultural institution in the town and has always been an innovation, education and life-long learning hub of the local community.
The Digital Age has brought development and innovation in technology and enabled open access to information through a wide range of media. Public libraries as hearts of local communities, despite being the synonymous with traditional, are capable of changing their nature. According to the IFLA/UNESCO Manifesto for Digital Libraries “the dissemination of information enables citizens to participate in life-long learning and education”. Therefore, instead of being just a book depository and information and knowledge providers, their role is rethought and redefined, consequently they meet digital demands and offer digital information to their patrons.
The Jagodina Public Library has transformed itself from traditional to modern. It went through the process of introducing the digital library collection and circulation, computers and the Internet for patrons, development of digital services and educational programs for the purpose of meeting patrons’ needs.
The Jagodina Library serves as an example of good practice. It provides the following:
- The Digital Library Collection which includes old and rare books, local newspaper and magazines, a photo documentation, cartographic material, exhibitions available on the Library’s official website.
- The Agricultural Libraries project, started in 2010, offered IT training sessions and access to computers and the Internet to the members of rural communities in renovated rural libraries, and enabled them to use the online marketplace for their produce for free.
- Slova na struju (en. Electrical Letters), the e-magazine for children, started in 2012, which promotes children’s literacy and literature through literary works by contemporary children’s writers, grammar and spelling, literature quizzes, children’s book reviews, introduction of other countries’ literature, literary illustrations, etc.
- Coding workshops for primary school students in 2016, enabling children to nurture their creativity and learn through play, develop problem-solving tasks and computational thinking, etc.
- The Digital Citizen, a project started in 2019, aimed at transforming libraries into digital innovation and educational centers in their local communities. The Library was equipped with 3D printer, helping patrons acquire digital skills.
The ICT revolution has not undermined the role public libraries have in their local communities. On the contrary, libraries change as technologies change or as the needs of their patrons change. They still disseminate culture and knowledge, information in both analog and digital formats as they will always be essential centers of their local communities.
Keywords: Public library, digital technologies, digital demands, innovation, digital library.