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How can one local library initiate a positive change in one local community?

For us, libraries are not just a place to rent books, they represent knowledge and tradition, they are a unique “spot” surrounded by stories and emotions. By providing access to many different types of resources, from news to history journals, libraries are the knowledge keepers, the living organisms! And that man or lady serving you at the front desk, is the head of that complex organism knowing each part of that system that inspires, motivates and guides you through.

And who can better engage the communities, if not these knowledge keepers! Libraries can connect communities in a unique way that benefits everyone.

Having said that, you probably wonder how is that possible when have you never seen anything really interesting happening at the local library? It is only those standard book events and poetry readings that don’t really get to many people.

And Yes, you are right!

But, something has changed recently and this is where the story of the local library of Veles begins. A story that tells about the importance of co-creation, creativity and youth engagement to encourage and create a positive local change.

It all started in December when the weather was ice-cold but the library’s motivation to make something new was burning in flames. That’s exactly the moment when the change started happening. Тhe library joined the “BiblioBum” program, and through design-thinking methodology found the inspiration to step out of the ordinary and do some magic.

The first step was setting up a few goals to improve the image of the “Goce Delchev” library and connect the local people into making a better community together.

Their fulfillment led to the creation of “Club for Young Creators” within the library, making a space for about 20 high school students to express their creativity, get involved in community service club and share their love and dedication to the local community, thus providing cultural habit and spirit as an example that all citizens will follow.

After a lot of research and several creative workshops, the youth team finally came up with an idea: they must do something that would leave a visual mark in the city, while at the same time bring use and beauty in the space for all citizens, regardless of age. So they settled the top four city spots and that’s how the idea of “Urbanize yourself” was born.

With the event “Urbanize yourself”, the creators wanted to show how a small action that takes only 3 days can make such a change: beautify the city, but also motivate the citizens to create art and unselfishly share it with other fellow citizens.

One step after another, and there they were! With brushes and colors, the local library through the hands of young people managed to paint walls, streets and parks in Veles.

It’s been a long time since young artists began to search for a place to show their art” — said Simona, one of the volunteers and …BOOM! There it was! The walls of The City Mall were covered in art! Wonderful vibrant animals sat down in front of the mall, for every passer-by to see youth’s creativity. Every move with the brush remained documented, there, on those walls, to beautify the city and daily remind the citizens that Veles has an artistic spirit.

“Imagine you’re a child, and you go to the park with your mum and see a set of artsy stones and you can play with them, or a set of planets to jump across the galaxy”- said Rosana Teovska, volunteer. There’s nothing better than fantasizing because creativity starts with imagination. So now, after the successful “Urbanize yourself” event, Veles got the whole Universe on the street. Now children can learn the names of the planets and their nature, but more importantly, they can now walk around the Universe, carelessly jumping from one planet to another.

All of this wouldn’t be possible without the library director Igor Krajchev and a beautiful young lady — Rosana Teovska, who, although on a voluntary basis, was still a pillar of the whole story. With his support in gaining local government and her dedication and affection for the project, enabled the library to bring together courage and all the resources needed to boast with such a magnificent event.

With an enormous love for art and enthusiastic about creating amazing possibilities for the youth, she laisoned almost everywhere developing partnerships and gained support in establishing a Club for young creators” — said the director, Igor Krajchev, proudly.

The road to success is not easy, but the first step is the change. And citizens of Veles made the first step because “success” for them is better local community.

Amazed by our own youth, the library makes anything possible to give it’s best to the local community”.

This is how Veles library wrote its story. We hope it’s has inspired you to start writing your own one!

About the program:

#BiblioBum is a tailor-made hands-on program that enables the public libraries to transform their way of working in order to become change agents that play an essential role in community development. Overall, as the main goal of this project, we accomplished to initiate new services or activities for each library designed by the teams and established collaborations with organizations from local communities.

The program managed to build specific capacities for strategic planning, service design and community/partnership building of 20 participants (7 libraries), including employees, directors and young volunteers.

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