A team of four librarians: Zhaklina Gjalevska, Head of Virtual Library of Macedonia; Aleksandar Rangelov and Elena Maneska, senior librarians at the Digitization Centre; Eleni Novakovska, Head of Special Collections at St Clement of Ohrid the National and Univeristy library-Skopje and Senka Naumovska, Director of the Library visited the appropriate Departments/Centres at the National library of St st Cyril and Methodius in Sofia, Bulgaria.
The visit took place from 20 to 24 November 2017. The aim of the visit was to learn how the work and the processes are organized at this library, particularly those at their Digitization Department, and in direct communication with the colleagues to exchange knowledge and best practice from the field of digitization of library materials.
During their stay at the Digitization department, the librarians had the opportunity to realize face-to-face mentoring and to learn new skills. The Bulgarian colleagues showed them various types of equipment which they use for digitization of library materials as well as the software support that is used in the digitization process for creation of digital collections. The Macedonian team also visited the Department for conservation and protection of library materials where they had the opportunity to see all the procedures related to the preparation of the damaged and old library materials for digitization.
The team also managed to see the general and special reading rooms, the special collections and the archive of Bulgarian books as well as the storage places. They had an opportunity to visit the old printed and rare books department. All colleagues obtained useful information from their Bulgarian colleagues and other practical and helpful best practice advice. Positive information was shared among the colleagues and some cooperation projects were initiated.
On the last day of their stay in Sofia, the director and the team of librarians had the opportunity to visit the Central Library at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences where they became acquainted with the organization of digitization processes and learned some new ideas that may be applied in their everyday work. The opportunity to see how these two institutions have organized the activities in digitization processes of library materials and at the same time to share and compare experiences is of great importance for the future plans within the Macedonian National Library.
In addition, the Library director had an important meeting with the dean and several professors from the University for Library studies and Information Sciences in Sofia where they discussed the possibilities for Macedonian librarians to improve their education in one of the programs offered at that faculty related to bachelor, master and doctoral degrees as well as the possibilities for distance learning which they offer.