What is special about Library responses to COVID-19: two events

COVID-19 and libraries

The libraries of today are critical institutions of the knowledge economy supporting education, scholarship, and innovation. When the Covid-19 pandemic started, there was an instant global response from the leading national and international library associations. I wanted to share information on two events: one organised by the SS Cyril and Methodius National Library today to celebrate the Professional day of librarians in Bulgaria, and the second one – a webinar of Ankara University which will be exploring the post-COVID-19 landscape in the GLAM sectors.

The Bulgarian event: COVID-19: Libraries Response 

Fifteen years ago, the Bulgarian Library and Information Association adopted the day of St Cyril and St Methodius as the professional day of librarians in Bulgaria. The achievements of St Cyril and Methodius go beyond the creation of the first Bulgarian alphabet and I am providing a short note on them in the bottom of this post.

In this year marked with the COVID-19 pandemic, SS Cyril and Methodius National Library in Sofia, Bulgaria is organising the online event COVID-19: Libraries’ Response. The event will be held in Bulgarian. The programme of the event is available here.

covid 11 forum nbkm
A visual on the forum

I will be presenting a paper which will explore if this crisis acts as a catalyst of the digital transformation of libraries sharing some initial results from a content analysis study I started doing in Qatar. Below is my abstract (in Bulgarian).

Пандемията от COVID-19: катализатор на дигиталната трансформация в библиотеките? Начални наблюдения от отговора на библиотеките в Катар

д-р Милена Добрева, ‘University College London (UCL) Qatar

Резюме. Този доклад ще представи накратко началните резултати от изследване, което цели да се съберат данни за отговора на библиотечния сектор в Катар на социалната изолация по време на пандемията от COVID-19. Методиката на изследване е анализ на съдържанието на материали от уебсайтове, пресата, социалните медии и официални становища на институции. Материалите са предимно на английски и на арабски език и включват текстове, уеб страници, изображения и бази от данни със съдържание от социалните медии. Анализът на съдържанието се извършва в NVivo. Въпреки че изледването е още в началото си, се очертават интересни тенденции кои услуги на библиотеките са най-видими в условията на социално дистанциране. Статията илюстрира, че стресиращият период на социална изолация може да се разглежда като своеобразен катализатор за дигиталната трансформация в библиотеките.

Ключови думи: библиотечен сектор, Катар, дигитална трансформация, краудсорсинг, NVivo, ElPub2020

Glamorous or Gloomy Future? GLAM insitutions post COVID-19

Ankara University will be hosting this webinar on 14 April 2020: tune in to discuss what happens next. This event will be in English.

webinar-eng-3_14 may 2020

Cyril and Methodius: alphabet, books and liturgy in vernacular languages

I thought I would provide a little note on the significance of St Cyril and Methodius which would explain why the Bulgarian librarians decided this should be their professional day.

cyril methodius glagolithic
St Cyril and Methodius with the Glagolitic alphabet, image from tobulgaria.org

Today is 11 May. On this day the Orthodox Church celebrates St Cyril and St Methodius who created the first Slavonic alphabet (Glagolitic as in the image below), translated Biblical texts into Old Church Slavonic language – although it has the word ‘church’ in the name, this was a language which the Slavs in different lands of that time could understand and follow. Many know they gave the origin of the Slavonic literary tradition, but what was a handsome achievement was their trip to Rome where in 868 they managed to convince Pope Adrian II to authorise the use of the Slavonic language of the time in the Liturgy after a long-standing debate that the Liturgy can be only delivered in the Three Sacred Languages (tres linguae sacrae, Latin, Greek and Hebrew). The matter of using vernacular languages in liturgy will leave a long-standing mark in the history of Europe. As for the Slavs of that time, the disciples of Cyril and Methodius were extremely successful in not only spreading the literary tradition but also in opening numerous monastic scriptoria and translating more texts from the Scriptures and leaving behind a legacy of original works. One can get an idea of how we think the language sounded, and the names of the letters in the alphabet from this recording of Yulangelo – the video is not great but it is the sound which matters.

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