US, Bulgaria 1st Ladies Join Efforts in Cultural Project

Society | May 26, 2005, Thursday // 00:00| Views: | Comments: 0
US, Bulgaria 1st Ladies Join Efforts in Cultural Project The first ladies of Bulgaria and the US have joined efforts in the American Bulgarian Library Exchange program. Bulgaria's Zorka Parvanova invited US 1st Lady Laura Bush (pictured) to assume the project patronage. Photo by the White House

The first ladies of Bulgaria and the US have joined efforts in the American Bulgarian Library Exchange (ABLE) program.

Bulgaria's Zorka Parvanova invited US First Lady Laura Bush to assume tha patronage of the ABLE program

The American Bulgarian Library Exchange (ABLE) initiative is really exciting and I would be honored to join you as a patron of the project, Mrs Bush wrote in a letter sent to Zorka Parvanova.

The US first lady has also expressed her happiness with the fact that the US State Department' Bureau of Cultural and Educational Affairs has decided to fund a project to create Community Information Centers in Bulgarian public libraries.

ABLE's major goal is to promote and apply American library practices and, based on the Bulgarian library traditions, to help Bulgarian public libraries in their transformation into modern community information centers to meet the needs and demands of citizens for information.

The Union of Librarians and Information Services Officers is the primary Bulgarian partner of ABLE. Eighteen Bulgarian public libraries participate in the project.

The project includes buying computers for Bulgarian libraries; mounting a website about the project and with resources for Bulgarian citizens; training for Bulgarian librarians on how to become a community information center; and exchange visits of Bulgarian and American librarians.

A key component of the project is that Bulgarian libraries need to become more than "museums of books." They need to provide the information that people in their communities need and they need to offer opportunities for Bulgarian citizens to learn to use technology in the local public library.

Only about 15% of the Bulgarian population has access to the Internet. The libraries are now focused on three efforts: providing the computers to the public; building content for the public to use; and training staff to be of assistance.
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