Monday, 4 February 2008

Two Bulgarian libraries

So here I am, in the British Council Library in Sofia. Not a bad collection - piccies to follow, if/when I get the means to upload them. It's five past one and the BC library seems pretty busy.

So far, we've visited a Chitalishte library - Svetlina - and the Sofia Municipal Library. A Chitalishte is basically a community society, which often puts on events etc. for locals and, most importantly, has a library (more explanation is needed here, so I'll fill it in when I get the chance). It was quite old-school in many respects - every facet of human knowledge seemed to be represented, regardless of an apparent lack of demandd. Some of the book stock was shabby, but obviously still used, and they had a good range of new children's stock. And they had that mainstay of public libraries everywhere: men reading newspapers.

The municipal library was a bit odd - 15 departments (read "rooms") dedicated to different subjects. The architecture suffers from its heritage: it was originally some sort of Socialist Party building, and a lot of that culture seems ingrained int he form of the place. Again, stock was mixed, with a lot of old stuff and some new items. They had public access PCs, some of which were running - wait for it - Win 98! Needs must, I suppose, but they'd be much better off with Xubuntu for low-specced, old(er) hardware.

We transfer to Bankya for the seminars this afternoon: the hard work starts tomorrow!