Award-winning library service helps farmers increase their incomes

Public Library ‘Radislav Nikcevic’ Jagodina, Serbia

You are here

NEXT PROJECT
A librarian points out information on a computer screen to a farmer.
Librarians train farmers to use computers in Bagrdan village library.

Community need

Many years ago, libraries were an important part of social and cultural life in Serbian villages. But war in the 1990s and economic recession caused investment in rural areas to decline. Village libraries could not afford new books and many were closed. Public Library Radislav Nikčević in Jagodina municipality supervises 16 village libraries. The question librarians asked was – how can we revitalize our rural libraries and serve farmers? The answer led to the creation of the Agrolib-Ja project.

The innovative service

The AgroLib-Ja service, initiated in 2010 with support from the EIFL Public Library Innovation Programme (EIFL-PLIP), combines free computer and internet access and skills training, a web portal and online market, books and articles about agriculture and lectures for farmers. The service works through four village libraries in central Serbia.

EIFL-PLIP PROJECT TIMELINE

May 2010 – April 2011.

Impact of the service

An impact survey conducted by the library in 2012 shows how this innovative service is improving farmers’ lives. The majority of farmers surveyed said they used the service to look for agricultural information; over 70% said the service helped them increase production, and 50% said the information helped increase their sales.

Inspired by the success of the service, villagers from Glavinci in central Serbia petitioned the local government in 2012, demanding high-speed internet for the whole village. It worked – and now over 4,500 people from Glavinci and two nearby villages have access to high speed wireless internet in their homes and in their village library.

Awards and expansion

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Read a two-page case study about the project.

More public libraries improving farmers' lives

Read about more innovative public library services improving farmers' lives.

The villagers now see the library as an initiator of change in the community.
Suzana Tanasijević, librarian at Public Library ‘Radislav Nikčević