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Lively exchange between Pozega and Westoverledingen

Serbian and German library forge a “sister libraries” relationship


Children invent flower fairy tales

Children invent flower fairy tales
© Community Library Westoverledingen

The “Sister Libraries“ project was set up by the section for child and youth libraries of the „International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA)“ in November 2009. It aims to inspire international library partnerships and foster a worldwide exchange of experiences in the field of reading promotion with children. A project description was published on the IFLA website in Arabic, German, English, French and Spanish and the partner libraries can also access a weblog. In August 2010, the IFLA Conference held in Gothenburg provided a framework for taking stock. 83 libraries from all over the world had by then already joined the project and 12 had forged partnerships or become “sister libraries”. Among these are the community library of Westoverledingen in Lower Saxony (Germany) and the children’s library in Pozega (Serbia).

Regular exchange of e-mails, on Facebook, Blog or by mail
The community library of Westoverledingen (Lower Saxony) is so far the only library in Germany to take part in the international “Sister Libaries“ project. Since January 2010, it has maintained a lively partnership with the children’s library in the Serbian town of Pozega. Different forms of communication such as e-mail, web-photo albums, Facebook, a weblog, and traditional mail services are used for keeping each other informed about activities, but also for planning joint-venture projects.

Miniature books with messages and greetings
For example, the “book treasures action“ was carried out simultaneously in both institutions, and more than 100 mini-books containing messages and greetings were designed by children and parents in the respective libraries, and sent and resent by post as well as being exhibited. A Serbian children’s picture book inspired both institutions to organise creative holiday programmes and school classes in Westoverledingen can now book a box of media containing books and information as well as a selection of the above mentioned greetings and unique books designed by the Serbian children – offering insights into a country that is rather unfamiliar to most of them.

Fairytale bookmarks exhibition in East Frisia
The partnership also plays a special role with respect to the national action week “Meeting in the Library“: For this event, the Serbian children had sent children in East Frisia bookmarks decorated with locally grown flowers they had dried themselves and vice versa, the German children had invented little flowery fairy tales. The action week in Westoverledingen was accordingly kicked off by a “fairytale exhibition of bookmarks” – commemorating an international understanding.

Exchange about other ways of life, cultures and customs
A lively exchange by means of diverse communication forms and familiarising with other ways of life, cultures and customs are at the heart of the partnership, which is fundamentally grounded in the active participation of children, families and schools. Moreover, the participating staff members also provide each other with information and materials.

Anyone seeking further information on the project and thinking about participating is welcome to access the links below:

Weblog „IFLA Sister Libraries“
List of partner libraries
Project report on the IFLA website

Community library Westoverledingen
Susanne Brandt
Bahnhofstr. 18
26810 Westoverledingen
E-Mail: Susanne.brandt@westoverledingen.de

Translated into English by Gwendolyn Schulte (DIPF)