This week we had the pleasure of hosting Ioannis Trohopoulos, director of the Veria Central Public Library, for a one-hour webinar presentation about his 2010 ATLA award-winning library. Veria Central PL is setting an inspiring example for other libraries around the globe, demonstrating that even a small library operating under significant economic challenges can be a mover and shaker. We recorded the session, and it’s posted to WebJunction.org for you to view at your convenience.
Ioannis actually has a far-reaching vision to transform all public libraries in Greece. Beginning in his own small city of Veria, Macedonia (pop. 55,000), he champions the library as a “center for creativity, innovation, and learning.” As he described to us Veria Central PL’s approach to serving the unserved, building partnerships, and creating experiences, we noted that his vision and strategy aligns very closely with the IMLS 21st Century Skills Framework. IMLS is promoting the critical role of U.S. libraries and museums in preparing citizens for success, and emphasizes the importance of skills in creativity, innovation, technology literacy, self direction and lifelong learning. Ioannis’ library actively models and engages its users around those skills, striving to provide a user-centric library environment that offers up-to-date and new technology.
Their outstanding results led to Veria Central PL’s receipt of the 2010 Access to Learning Award from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. This award recognizes non-U.S. organizations for their efforts to connect people to information through free access to computers and the internet. Veria Central PL’s technology outreach programs, focus on children, and emphasis on digital libraries, has been recognized as a model of what can happen when a small public library focuses on meeting the needs of its users. Ioannis of all people understands the challenges around doing this, as illustrated by this equation he showed us:
Ioannis didn’t just present on the library’s past accomplishments, but also described their current strategy to reshape Veria Central PL to create experiences for “Generation Y,” renovate the building, foster civic engagement with offline and online social networking, and identify funding sources that will ensure long-term sustainability. But don’t forget that his vision goes beyond Veria: he is also working on a nationwide initiative to transform Greek public libraries into vibrant new resources sitting at the heart of their communities.
Please schedule an hour to listen to and view the presentation, and prepare to be inspired!