Anica Savic Rebac / International Children’s Library branch

October 23, 2015

The International Children’s library branch is the only library branch in Novi Sad specifically for children and the only branch to house foreign language materials for children.

Dennis

The biggest take away for me at the International Children’s Library was the use of space.   I liked that the Librarian was able to put together an idea and have it bloom into fruition.   Someone mentioned that it looked like a small independent bookstore.   It was a great use of space and they are able to make a better experience for those members of the library.  As with most of our visits I was impressed with the positive energy from the librarian and the volunteers.  I am sure that the energy is passed on to the members of the library.  I know I was touched by positive attitudes expressed during our visit.

Mindy

It was amazing to see what can be done with such a small space.  The librarian designed the space herself.  She took advantage of the height of the space and created a second “floor,” this allowed the books to reach the ceiling and the patrons to be able to reach the books so close to the ceiling.  We were told 80 people can fit into the space for programs and that is an amazing thing.  Many from our class were able to bring books to donate and the librarian was so excited, she had the books spread out on the table and was taking pictures of them so that she could post to Facebook.  Near the end of the visit, I got distracted by seeing some of my favorite series as a child on the shelf, self of me probably but I loved seeing them on the shelf half way around the world.

Amanda

The Anic Savic Rebac branch was named after a poet, who was also a translator and a professor at the University of Belgrade. Interestingly, this is the only one of the 26 branches of the Novi Sad which has foreign language materials for children and young adults. They are also part of the European institute, which means they collaborate with cultural programs throughout Europe. I loved that it was the head librarian who designed the space, and how much it looked like a bookstore.

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The International Children’s Library
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Spine labels at International Children’s library

Novi Sad City Library

October 23, 2015

The Novi Sad main library branch was founded in 1845. There are 22 library branches in Novi Sad. There are 20,000 new patrons every year. The children’s department puts out a magazine for parents and teachers.

http://www.novisad.rs/eng/novi-sad-city-library

Cover of the magazine put out by the Novi Sad library

Dennis

Novi Sad City Library was wow so much they were doing with so little.  The journal that they publish is very professional and amazing.   A lot of work is accomplished in the small, in dimension, library.   I wish we had more time to learn more of their programs and it would have great to experience some of the programs they have put together as well.   They have a very talented team and the city of Novi Sad is blessed to have them.

 

Mindy

This library was different from most of the other libraries we visited, it felt more like a library at home, and this was because they had open stacks.  However, I now see why most of the libraries have closed stacks; the space starts to get very crowded.  It was a tight fit, but the librarians there are not put off by that, they have multiple programs and provide a magazine to the schools and public recommending books and all sorts of other information.  Unfortunately, they are cutting the magazine from four times a year to twice a year, but I think it will allow them to put out an amazing product.  It already is amazing, especially considering they are doing it in their spare time with all the programs and very little budget, I cannot wait to see what they do with it in the future.  The librarians here were so proud of their programs and their work, and I do not blame them, it was a wonderful library to visit and learn about.

Amanda

The Novi Sad main library branch is another library in a historic building, which means they are very cramped for space and have to come up with creative solutions. Such as bins on the floor in the children’s room for larger book series. Also interesting was that the children’s librarians at that branch put out their own magazine for parents and teachers, with articles on new trends, recommended books and so on.I also loved that they had a display about mustaches!

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Mustache trends

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Matica Srpska Library

October 23, 2015

Matica Srpska is the oldest cultural-scientific institution in Serbia. It was originally founded in 1826 in Budapest as a society to spread information about Serbia to other countries, with a scholarly journal titled Serbian Annuals. In 1864, the society and library moved to Novi Sad, where it remains today. http://www.maticasrpska.org.rs/en/matica-srpska/

Dennis

I really enjoyed the visit to Matica Srpska Library for many reasons.   While we need a translator to tell us what the librarian was saying, I did not need a translator to see how much she enjoyed telling the story of the library.  Her enthusiasm and  joy was clearly seen in her eyes and tone.  It was clearly shown how this library has had an important cultural and historical role in the development of Serbian libraries.  I was surprised at the limited number of people that are able to use this library in that it has an age limit and that it is not a lending library.  This was a very informative visit and I learned a lot and enjoyed the architecture and being able to see the different rooms and books.

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Emporia students at Matica Srpska

Mindy

Matica Srpska had a fascinating background; it started in another country and was moved to Novi Sad in 1864.  The townspeople helped unload the books from the boats and move them into a donated building.  A man who would later become president of the library donated over 700 books.  Even later, in 1928, they moved to their current location, a former orphanage.  They have expanded, and are now a repository for all publications in Serbia and by Serbian authors.  They house the largest collection of old and rare books, even more than the National Library.  However, only a few people are able to actually take books home, the books are for in library use only.  This was a bit of a surprise, but it makes sense with the collection they have.  It is a beautiful building, with a beautiful view, and a history that is slightly different from most libraries; it was one of my favorites.

Amanda

Matica Srpska is the second national library in Serbia and serves as their deposit library. We got a very detailed history of the library, which was interesting. It had been established in the 1820s in Budapest as a way to spread information about Serbia, and then moved to Novi Sad in 1864 by river, where supposedly all the inhabitants of Novi Sad came to the shore to welcome the books. Unfortunately, we were not able to see any of the books, although the building was quite lovely.

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a beehive, the symbol of Matica Srpska

American Corner Novi Sad

October 23, 2015

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Brochure from the American Corner Novi Sad

Dennis

The visit to the American Corner at Novi Sad was very fun for me.   I really appreciate that I was able to read a story.   I also learned that I need to do more of that as I was a bit out of practice.  The teen and young adult talk time was also educational as well as a lot of fun.  I was once again impressed with the Serbians that we met and how well they speak English.  In our group we spoke about education and jobs and the struggles that we all have in the daily grind.  Once again I was impressed at the many accomplishments of the library and its staff.   They are providing a great service to their community.

 

Mindy

I did not read to the children, so I was able to sit back and watch; it is always fun when to see that children are children no matter where they are.  There were a couple of little girls that wanted to talk to each other instead of listen to the stories, and they were all excited about the stories that they heard and Morris the Monkey puppet show.  After children’s hour, we had the opportunity to speak with some Serbian teens, and some Serbians who were not teens but wanted to practice their English.  While we had many opportunities to speak with the librarians we met, this was a different opportunity, we talked about a variety of subjects, and it was interesting to learn more about Serbians and how they do things.  I was able to learn about how the school schedule works, what foods to try (unfortunately this advice came a little late in the trip, but still fun information), why there were random “H’s” in the halls of the hotel (that is where the fire extinguishers are), and many other topics.  I always appreciate the opportunity to learn about other cultures and the people from those cultures.

Amanda

At the Novi Sad American Corner, we did a story time with some kids, their grasp of English for being so young was quite impressive. Especially since they typically don’t start learning their second language in school until 5th grade, and most of these kids were younger than that. After story time, we had a youth conversation, where young adults come to practice English and are supposed to only speak that for the hour and a half. It was really great to have a longer conversation with them, as most of our interactions had been with adults or librarians.

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American Corner Novi Sad building

University of Belgrade – Dept of Philology

October 22, 2015

The Faculty of Philology at the University of Belgrade teaches both linguistics and philology (the study of language in written historical sources). Philology was first studied in conjunction with the high school beginning in 1808 in Serbia, and the Faculty of Philology at the University of Belgrade came into existence in 1960 when it was separated from the Faculty of Philosophy.

http://www.bg.ac.rs/en/members/faculties/PHL.php

Dennis

There were many things to remember about the University visit.   Hospitality was fantastic.   They were very friendly and open.   The lunch was fantastic and generous.  This was not the first time that I experienced a food overload in Serbia, but was always impressed.  It was interesting to listen to the dean and hear her plans and look to the future.   I liked the dedication of those that were continuing their education not knowing if they would be able to get jobs in the field because of the hiring freeze.  Again a positive and encouraging group of people we were able to meet.

 

Mindy

My undergrad was fairly small, so when I heard some of the numbers from Dean Vranes it was shocking.  There are 500 members of staff, 13,702 students, and they teach 35 languages and 1,100 subjects.  The newest language added to their curriculum is Roma.

The library program was originally started in 1962 and only two classes went through.  It was restarted in 1982 and has been going strong ever since.  Dean Vranes also talked about how the library classes are very popular and students from other programs are often taking library classes so some of the classes can have up to 300 students.  Considering there are only 52 library science students a year, 300 is a lot!  There are also seven teachers in the program, and this is the only program in Serbia.

After the meeting with Dean Vranes we went to lunch with some of the staff members.  We were not sure what we were about to get, luckily I was near someone who mentioned that the amount of silverware meant there would be multiple courses, and she was right!  Three large courses and then dessert, there was no way I could eat it all so I tried to at least sample everything.  It was delicious; I really enjoyed the opportunity to experience the company, as well as the meal itself.

Amanda

I really enjoyed meeting with the faculty here. I enjoyed learning about their goals for their department, how the school was set up. It was surprising that this is the only university with a library science major, and that only 52 students a year are enrolled in the major. I was also really excited to learn that they had just introduced the study of Romani and were the first university in Serbia to offer this language.

University of Belgrade Library

October 22nd, 2015

The University of Belgrade Library is the oldest and biggest library building in Serbia. The building was built with donations from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace after Belgrade had been seriously damaged in Wold War I. Although the library’s purpose is to serve the university, it is also open to the public.

http://www.theeuropeanlibrary.org/tel4/contributor/P01360

http://bg.ac.rs/en/members/library.php

Dennis

While there are many things to write about this visit the two most interesting things to me was the history of the building and the rare book room.   I am not really sure why I never thought about the Carnegie program providing funds for libraries outside of the United States.   Also the struggle to build a library for so many years and the dedication to see it through.  I enjoyed looking at the rare books and was very impressed listening to the librarian talk about the books.  I saw a joy that he had because of his job and a willingness to share that pride and joy with others.  I think it is something that most of us can improve upon at our work.

Mindy

This is my first visit to a Carnegie Library, technically my home library is one, but they moved out many years ago, so this is my first visit to an original Carnegie Library.  The furniture in the reading room is original to the library and has the classic feel of a library, so many movies and TV shows are filmed here, and I can see why.  The building is now protected and they are not able to change anything about it, so they make due with what they have.  This is another closed stack location so that they have the space for the students to study.  When the library first opened it was on the edge of town, now it is in the middle of town and the university has campuses all around town, but the library is still fairly central to all of them.

This is another library with a coatroom, and I still love it.  My enthusiasm for coatrooms is tiny compared to our host’s however.  She was so excited to talk to us and show us around, she wanted to know about us and what we thought about Serbia.  Everyone we have met on the trip has been so kind and enthusiastic about what they do that it is infectious.

Amanda

The University of Belgrade Library is notable in that it is a Carnegie library and they have declared it a historic building, so everything is original from 1926 when it opened. They also have a rare book collection, and have a copy of the first book ever published in Belgrade (sometime in the 1580s I think it was), and then their oldest book is an Arabic travelogue from the 1300s; and we got to see both of those, which I really loved seeing.

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Card catalog at University of Belgrade library

U.S. Embassy Belgrade

October 21, 2015

Details on the U.S. Embassy in Serbia and U.S./Serbian relations:

http://serbia.usembassy.gov/pas.html

http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/5388.htm

Dennis

This was my first visit to any U.S. Embassy.   I was impressed.  I felt positive at the work of the embassy in Serbia.   While they did not back away at there mission to show the United States and its culture in a positive manner, they all seemed to want to help and serve the Serbian people as well.   It was very interesting to learn about the jobs of the different staff members.   I think the American  Corners is a fantastic service and I am glad I had an opportunity to learn about it.

Mindy

I had never been to an Embassy before, so this was exciting and interesting.  I also had never realized how many different job opportunities there were for people in Embassies around the world.  There is everything from an Information Officer (a librarian), Press Attaché, Refugee and Migration Coordinator, to jobs in economics, and helping Americans that have lost their passports and have all sorts of other needs while away from home.  Helping Americans who are away from home was all I really knew about before visiting the US Embassy in Serbia.  The people we spoke to are trying to do what they can to help Serbia with their goals for the country and it was interesting to hear how they are doing that.  I enjoyed this visit and have always wanted to live in another country, knowing these jobs are out there is something to consider for the future.

Amanda

Going to the U.S. embassy, was a new experience for me (well, going to an embassy at all). I found the conversations really interesting. I especially was interested in hearing on the situation from the Refugee and Migrant Assistant Director (I believe that was his title), getting a fuller picture on what is happening now and why with the Syrian refugees. We also heard on the economic situation in Serbia, and how they are preparing to eventually enter the European Union. I had known that Serbia wasn’t part of the EU, I didn’t know the specifics around it.

Belgrade City Library

October 20, 2015

Dennis

Two things stand out to me about our visit to the Belgrade City Library.   The first is the idea of the closed stacks.   Maybe it is just me, but I have had great experiences just wondering the open stacks of our American libraries.   Sometime to add an idea or sometimes to find something interesting because I was bored and not sure what I wanted to read or research.  I also felt a connection to their storage of the books by size in that is how we store our books at work.  Although we have many more copies of each title the warehouse is set up to store the books by the size of the book.   The second big thing about the Belgrade City Library was the Roman Room.   That was lifetime experience for me to see and touch a piece of history.   I think the library did a great service by deciding to preserve and share that piece of history and culture for the people of Belgrade and beyond.

 

Mindy

The Belgrade City Library used to be a hotel and the library moved into building in 1986.  I was so excited when we went into the room for programs and saw the Roman ruins.  I had heard that there were Roman ruins in Serbia and I was hoping that I would be able to see some at some point; I did not expect to see them in the city library.  Our host said that they did not know the ruins were there and were digging out the basement so that they would have some storage when they found the ruins.  I loved that they decided to keep the ruins and do a room for presentations around them.  I also thought it was interesting that she said they partner with the different embassies so that they can put on multicultural programs, bring in authors from other countries, and each country can represent themselves.

I did not completely understand the reading rooms when we were at the National Library, but our host explained it to us.  Many students still live at home and do not have quiet spaces to study, the libraries provide the space, free Wi-Fi, access to the Internet and books, and the students are able to feel like students and be in the city.  Suddenly, it all made sense to me.

There was another coatroom here, although we did not use it this time.  Very interesting seeing coat rooms in libraries.

We were able to see the closed stacks and the book elevator that transfers the books from the stacks to the students.  It felt like the storage went on forever, just shelves and shelves of books.  I can see how all the books will not fit upstairs with the reading rooms, especially since the students like to study there so much.

Amanda

The Belgrade City library is in a building that was originally a hotel built in the 1800s. During reconstruction in the 1980s, they discovered it had been built over a section of the wall around the city from the Roman period. So they have kept the excavated part visible, and built an auditorium around it, and now host all sorts of cultural events in there. Apparently with libraries being in historical buildings, many of the Serbian libraries have to be creative on space. Which means that most of the ones we visited had to close their stacks and put them underground. I hadn’t been to any library in the U.S. with complete closed stacks, so that was different. As someone who likes to browse the shelves, it does seem like patrons would miss out on some of that serendipitous way of finding new reading material, but I can see the necessity.

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Closed stacks
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Roman mosaic at the Belgrade City library

American Corner Belgrade

October 20, 2015

Dennis

I learned a lot during this visit.   I think the idea for everyone to talk about themselves was for their benefit, but I found it helpful to learn about our group.  I read our introductions that we did on canvas, but I felt I knew everyone a little better after our discussion.  I also thought the presentation was well done and informative.  I wrote down several of the ideas presented with the intention to share with others including my local county library.

Mindy

I enjoyed the time we had time to chat with Sandra, Milica, and Milica before the presentation.  It was interesting to learn about them, and what brought them to the American Corner, Milica and Milica are both library students, one incoming intern and one outgoing.  I also liked that it gave me a chance to hear a little bit more about my classmates and what brought them to the program and what they hope to do after.

Dr. Smith and Dr. Fay gave a presentation to the library students there on fundraising and public relations.  This was interesting because we have not talked about this a lot in my classes, although after I got home it seemed like a couple of the points from the presentation suddenly came up in other discussions.  Trying to come up with other fundraisers that are not books sales seems like an almost impossible task, but there are other things out there and it gives me something to think on for a while.

Amanda

This was our second visit to the American Corner, for conversation with the American Corner workers, and then a presentation on fundraising and public relations. A class from the University of Belgrade came for the presentation. It seems that the gender divide in library science is just as skewed as it is in the U.S.! It was interesting getting to speak with the librarians on various issues, especially on the refugee situation and Serbia trying to get into the European Union, and what their views were on those things.

National Library of Serbia

October 19, 2015

The National Library of Serbia was founded in 1832. It was heavily bombed in World War I, and was completely destroyed in World War II, where the majority of their rare and old book collection was lost. The library rebuilt, and opened at their current location in 1973.

https://www.nb.rs/pages/article.php?id=29

Dennis

Again there was so much that I learned at the National Library it would take too much time and space to write about it all.  Highlights at the National Library for me were the preservation room, the authors room, and the portrait of the one legged man and his story.  The preservation room had a very diverse and talented team.  It is amazing to learn and see the projects that they get to work on.   I really like the personal touch of the author room with their handwriting , furniture and their personal book collections.  The story of the portrait was captivating and I will forever remember the words “write and we speak and speak as we write”.

 

Mindy

The National Library was a new experience for me.  It started off with a coat room, there just are not many coat rooms in the libraries I’ve been to at home.  The next thing that was new to me was the reading rooms.  I am used to a floor being quiet or small rooms where people can go to study, but these were large rooms with many people and everybody was studying.  It seems that many libraries at home are trying to get away from quiet space while Serbia is preserving the quiet space.  While these were both new to me, I enjoyed them.

My favorite part of the trip to the National Library was the preservation room downstairs.  I liked being able to see the different preservation techniques that are used and actually see some of them in use.  I thought it was interesting to learn that their services are contracted out for preserving books from other libraries, so those books come first.  Also, they cannot refuse to work on a book if it is past a certain age, I think the cut off year was 1868.  This is because that was the year modern Serbian language was officially adopted, so anything before that is valuable and needs to be saved.  Unfortunately, this means that a lot of their work they do is contracted out, for me though, this would be a dream to work with old and rare books and manuscripts.

Amanda

The library was deliberately bombed by the Nazis in WWII, and although the entire collection was ready for evacuation to safekeeping, it wasn’t moved in time before the bombing. What was lost was the entire collection of books documenting Serbian life during the Ottoman and Byzantine empires. A few of these books had copies in libraries in Turkey, but otherwise the rest were lost forever. Additionally, they similarly had to move their collection for safekeeping in WWI, and quite a number of books were lost or stolen then. They still have a department in their library which is tasked with tracking down any of these lost books.
They do the conservation of their old and rare books there in the library, and all books older than 1874 must be sent to their conservation lab when any issues come up. As I plan to go into archives, it was very interesting to see their lab, I had not gotten to view any other conservation labs before. It was also interesting in that they are in the midst of digitizing their catalog. Right now, everything prior to 1974 is in the print catalog, everything after 1990 is in the digital catalog, and the years in between could be in either.

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Ruins of the National Library of Serbia, bombed in WWII
Amanda Duke
Preservation lab at the National Library of Serbia