1st Transitional Project Partners Meeting – Romania, November 2014
Brasov in Romania was the venue for the first transitional project meeting, 20-23rd November 2014. Two staff of Monaghan Library Services attended the meeting. The agenda for the meeting was (a) Getting to know all partners (b) Administrative tasks of the project (c) Budget (d) The expected results and outcomes of the project (e) evaluation and dissemination. All partners were given the opportunity to visit the public libraries of Brasov and the National Library in Bucharest.

Library Staff Training Course & 2nd Transitional Project Partners meeting – Austria, April 2015
Linz, Austria was the venue for the 5 day library staff training course and 1 day transitional project meeting. Three members of staff from Monaghan County Library Services attended the week. The training was coordinated by the hosts at the magnificent Tower of Knowledge, Linz and Project Coordinator Ljublana Public Libraries. For many staff, this was the first time being back in a classroom setting, especially as many of us are used to being on the front desk or the floor of the public library dealing with a multitude of queries and work every day. The aim of the training course was to improve library staff knowledge and skills in organising learning activities for the unemployed along with a better understanding of how unemployment effects people lives.

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The course content was:

  • Introduction, presentation of the project, get to know each other
  • Main aims of the training, contents of training and presentation of lecturers
  • Target group of unemployed and job seekers in libraries
  • Presentation of Research
  • Characteristics of adult education
  • Knowledge for new competences and skills (new skills – rhetoric and public speaking)
  • Knowledge and development of learning methods
  • Learning methods – ICT based
  • Knowledge for new competences and skills (computer and information literacy)
  • Competences needed for using ICT
  • Knowledge for new competences and skills (entrepreneurship)
  • Why is entrepreneurship important?
  • Entrepreneurial Thinking
  • Development of entrepreneurship
  • Step by step to implementation and successful operation of the service in the public library
  • The idea / library identifies and helps to solve the problem in the community (ie. unemployment)
  • Implementation of the service and plan for sustainability / project management
  • Financial means (internal, external)
  • How to establish efficient cooperation with stakeholders in the field of unemployment on local, regional, national and European level
  • Promotion of services for unemployed in public libraries
  • How do we know if we were successful / have we reached the goals (impact assessment)
  • How to gain and keep support (advocacy)
  • Evaluation and plan of learning activities for unemployed

The training allowed for the exchange of ideas, opinions, experiences and possible solutions to some of the issues public libraries face. It was a great opportunity to learn how public libraries operate and function in the different countries, learning how to provide different activities and especially how to reach those marginalised in society.

The one point that stood out clearly from all partners was that the library should be part of the local community. It is a hub for cultural, educational and social activity. It should be the first point of contact for citizens when seeking information. Librarians need to advocate more and take opportunities to promote the service, but we get so tied up in our everyday work, assisting the customer in any possible way in seeking information, that we forget to promote the broad range of services on offer to everyone.

The staff from Monaghan Library Service went back home with a suitcase full of literature and brains bursting with ideas to start implementing in County Monaghan.