Erasmus+ Funding Application – Update 11th September 2014
Monaghan County Library Services submitted an application in partnership with 6 EU countries in April 2014 under the EU Erasmus+ funding program key action – ‘Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices’. We have been successful in securing the funding for this project with our 6 EU partners, announced on the 2nd September 2014. Partners are Slovenia, Bulgaria, Romania, Austria, Finland and Lithuania, of which 5 are public library services and Austria is an adult education centre affiliated with the public library service.

The Project – Objectives & Needs to be Addressed:
‘LinkINjob: Job-hunting with the Help of Librarians’ project supports the Europe 2020 Strategy, strengthening knowledge and innovation as drivers of future growth. One of the Strategy targets by 2020 is the employment rate of the population aged 20-64 should increase from the current 69% to at last 75%, including through the greater involvement of women, older workers and the better integration of migrants in the work force.
This project, with its activities directly addresses one of common objectives of Education & Training 2020 Strategy:

  • Education and training policy should enable all citizens to benefit from quality education and to acquire and update over a lifetime the knowledge, skills, and competences needed for employment, inclusion, active citizenship and personal fulfilment.

Contemporary public libraries are local centres for education, culture, information and at the same time they function as social meeting points. Libraries have become an important connection point for cooperation between vocational education and training and the world of work. The target group of the project – the unemployed will be informed about opportunities in lifelong learning: non-formal education and informal learning.
Learning activities are free of charge in public libraries and in this way public libraries also enables democratic access for marginalized people.
Due to the recession, the demand from the unemployed for information in job-seeking and up skilling has increased. So in order to provide a better service for this group, library staff needs to up skill and improve our knowledge in the area of unemployment
Seven public libraries will through use of innovative practices and methods raise the competences of unemployed, the number of less educated unemployed (especially in the field of ICT) should be reduced and connection between education and labour market will be strengthened.

Objectives:
1. Developing learning activities for the unemployed with unconventional methods and use of ICT. In the project a number of new competences and knowledge will be stressed that are important for better equipped unemployed in job hunting:

  • Financial literacy
  • Computer and information literacy
  • Entrepreneurship (as Europe needs more entrepreneurs, more innovation and more high-growth SMEs it is necessary to stimulate the entrepreneurial mindsets of young people – high educated first job seekers).

Libraries will inform the target group and wider community about lifelong learning and access to it in libraries.
2. Developing training course for library staff working with the unemployed. With new practices in the field of adult education the project stimulates professional development of library staff and strengthens position of libraries as learning organizations.
3. Developing of Guidelines of best practice based on training activities for unemployed in libraries and on new skills related to library staff. Guidelines will be translated in seven national languages and on this way support multilingualism.
4. Building a strong partnership of public libraries from 7 European countries. Other European libraries and institutions for adult education will have open access to Guidelines of best practices and other products of the project (OER).
5. The project will contribute to the general development of civil society at a local level and will facilitate the integration of the target groups of unemployed people.
On the basis of expertise, research and analysis of our own local communities, the libraries will identify smaller groups of unemployed who need extra or special attention: long term unemployed, old workers, less educated, women, migrants, people with special needs, first job seekers. In County Monaghan, we will work with Cavan Monaghan ETB and Dept of Social Protection in identifying these people.
The learning activities of the project will be carried out using new methods and tools in the public libraries i.e. workshops, interview, coaching, virtual classroom.

Library Staff:
The project will develop a library staff training course. The course will include these topics:
1. Knowledge of target group of library users – unemployed;
2. Characteristics of adult education;
3. Knowledge and development of learning methods;
4. Knowledge for new competences and skills (financial literacy, computer and information literacy, entrepreneurship);
5. How to establish efficient cooperation with stakeholders in the field of unemployment on local, regional, national and European level;
6. Competences needed for using ICT;
7. Promotion of services for unemployed in public libraries.

Project Meetings:
During this two year project, we plan to participate in four transnational project meetings and 1 training week as follows:

First transnational project meeting in Romania (November 2014)

  • Presentation of all partners
  • Essential questions of the project management (objectives, allocation of tasks, time schedule, budget, public relation)
  • Methods and possibilities of valorisation
  • Dissemination plan for each country
  • Debate of issues of courses for library staff

Training Course & Second transnational project meeting in Austria (April 2015)

  • Final evaluating of the course for library staff and improving of the Module
  • Results of on-line training - virtual classroom
  • Discussion and suggestions about learning activities for unemployed
  • Staff from each library will participate in a 5 day course which will have been designed at first project meeting in Romania.

Third transnational project meeting in Finland (October 2015)

  • Mid-project evaluation
  • Presentation of partners learning activities for unemployed which had been already took place in partners libraries
  • Basic concept for Guidelines of best practice

Fourth transnational project meeting in Slovenia (May 2016)

  • Overall evaluation of the project
  • Reports and evaluation of all partners’ learning activities for unemployed
  • Overview of Guidelines
  • How to prepare valorisation meetings


Proposed Results & Outcomes:
14 activities (workshops, courses, presentations etc.) for the unemployed and job seekers in all partners’ organisations, based on new skills and ideas of library staff.
Better and wider international cooperation between partners’ institution and other institutions from participating countries
Website produced with useful links, best practice examples relating to the work with the unemployed in libraries and with tips for work with unemployed in libraries in English and with special sections in languages of participating countries.
Promotional material of the project (leaflets), different articles in newspapers, blogs, press release.
eGuidelines of best practices manual with examples of learning activities for the unemployed in English and in all partners’ languages.
Module of training for library staff with defined topics, methods, tools and experiences for work with unemployed and job seekers in public library and other institutions.
Which activities and indicators of achievement (quantitative and qualitative) will you put in place in order to assess whether and to what extent, the project reaches its objectives and results?

Evaluation, monitoring & indicators:
In the monitoring and evaluation of the project's activities and results, this will involve the lead partner of each activity (coordinator/contact person in partners’ organisations). Overall monitoring and evaluation will be performed by coordinator partner -Mestna knjiznica Ljubljana.
Evaluation will be crucial in all phases of the project. At the beginning, all partners and library staff will communicate their expectations and project aims. The midterm-project evaluation will enable information for improvements and, if necessary, redesign. The final evaluations will determine if partners and participants have met project aims.
Library staff will participate in pre-evaluations of the library staff course in order to ascertain their previous knowledge, needs, expectations, etc. The information collected will enable partners to design the course. Library staff training will be evaluated by both the learners and the teacher to ascertain the program impact of each module.
Participants will have the opportunity to express their opinion and satisfaction about: (a) used method, (b) content of training, (c) organizational aspect of training, and (d) usefulness in practice and other aspect.

Indicators:

  1. Number of library staff trained (based on list of participants)
  2. Number of visitors on project web page (based on Google Analytics reports)
  3. Number of learning activities for unemployed (based on partners reports)
  4. Number of participants on learning activities for unemployed (based on list of participants)
  5. Results of mid-project evaluation (based on partners reports and on questionnaires)
  6. Number of organisations in partners countries which will publish the project e-guidelines on their web pages
  7. Results of transnational partners meetings evaluation (based on questionnaires)
  8. Results of library staff training course evaluation (based on questionnaires)
  9. Result/reports from valorisation/multiplier meeting (based on questionnaires)
  10. Monitoring of accomplishment of tasks for each partner (based on project timetable)


Our partners:
Slovenia:
Mestna knjiĹžnica Ljubljana / Ljubljana City Library (MKL) is the largest public library in Slovenia (230 employees). It represents the cultural, informational, social and communicational meeting point of individuals, groups, local communities, cultural institutions and organizations. MKL is a library of the Slovenian capital (280.000 inhabitants) which performs its activities for the residents of Ljubljana as well as its visitors. Library has 36 branches, Mobile Library with 46 bus stops. MKL is also the regional library of the central Slovenia region and performs tasks for 8 regional libraries. It has many years of experience of working on EU funded projects.
Bulgaria:
Regional Public Library - Veliko Tarnovo was found in 1889. Today this is the biggest library in Central North Bulgaria which offers services combining the traditions and the modern technologies.
Veliko Tarnovo is a methodical centre for 153 public libraries and cooperates with various organizations in the organization and management of projects and programs.
Austria:
Volkshochschule- Stadtbibliothek Linz – Lernzentrum im Wissensturm
The Volkshochschule Linz was founded as an adult centre in 1947, it offers more than 2000 courses that are attended by 24 500 participants each year. There are about 50 employees and 300 course instructors who work at the Volkshochschule. In 2006, the Volkshochschule and public library Linz were merged organizationally to a facility. They are recognized internationally and play a leading role for other learning centers. Volkshochschule-Stadtbibliothek Linz is an institution experienced in developing and implementing training sessions and developing public adult education programmes.
Romania:
The County Library in Brasov, financially supported by the County Council Brasov. The library was opened in 1930 and since 1992 is named “George Baritiu” Public Library, thus paying homage to George Baritiu, considered the Romanian press founder in Transylvania. The County Library “George Baritiu” Brasov is committed to serving a diversifying community with a core population of more than 285,000 inhabitants and drawing reciprocal patrons from large parts of the county area, the Library is well regarded as an important information, entertainment, and community resource for people of all ages. The Library has 81 full-time and 2 part-time employees.
Finland:
Vantaa City Library is a public library of the city of Vantaa, the fourth largest city situated in the south of Finland. Vantaa City library has 10 branches and two mobile libraries. It belongs to a bigger library network and online library system called HelMet, which has more than 3, 4 million items.
Lithuania:
Kaunas County Public Library (KCPL) is the main/central and the largest public library in the central part of Lithuania - Kaunas region. KCPL is the methodical centre of Kaunas Regional Public Libraries and organizes continuing training for the region's librarians. It provides workshops in KCPL newly equipped modern training centre as well as seminars in smaller regional public libraries. KCPL unites more than 300 public libraries of the region into a network.