Romanian Librarians and Friends Visit Saint Paul

Romanian guests to visit Saint Paul as part of the Biblionet Romania program.

Five staff members from Romanian public libraries and five members of newly organized library Friends groups in Romania, along with two program specialists from the International Research & Exchanges Board (IREX) will be the guests of The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library for a week in mid-July (July 15-22). The visit is the culmination of a two-year training program presented by Library Strategies, a consulting group of The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library.

As part of this program, Library Strategies consultants Peter Pearson, Sue Hall and Toni Garvey first visited Romania in November 2010 and again in June 2011. The focus of the two visits was to provide training and tools to help Romanian libraries learn how to advocate for public support for their libraries and raise private funds and community support by creating Friends of the Library groups.

The purpose of the July visit is to expose the participating Romanian library personnel and seminal supporters to best practices in U.S. libraries. The visit will include a meeting with Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, and members of the Saint Paul City Council. Board members from The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library will meet with the Romanian guests to share their own experiences supporting the Saint Paul Public Library.

Other highlights of the visit include tours of several Saint Paul libraries featuring a presentation at the Sun Ray Library by 3M to showcase new automation technology and the “3M cloud library.” An exciting component of the visit will be the pairing of Romanian libraries with a Minnesota library of comparable size. Members of five Minnesota library Friends groups will volunteer to provide ongoing support to their Romanian counterparts as the Romanians develop their own Friends activities.

In addition to these and other training activities, Romanian guests will experience local social activities including a dinner cruise on one of the Padelford Riverboats, a visit to Stillwater and the historic Carnegie Stillwater Library, and an evening at the Lake Harriet band shell. The week will culminate with a private dinner overlooking the final evening of the Minneapolis Aquatennial fireworks.

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