Anca Vasilescu, Librarian Trainer
Coordinator of the Methodology, Communication and Programs Department
ASTRA Sibiu County Library
Trainer within the “Cultural Agora @ Your Library” project
„Cultural Agora @ Your Library was one of the most important activities carried out in a Romanian library with the aim of exploring stories people bear with them. As far as I am concerned, digital storytelling workshops spotlighted contemporary people with their whole array of cultural memories and heritage.
Diversity was the focus of this project where palaces of words were built, accompanied by nervous voices of people who were not accustomed to speak before so many eyes and tell others who they are, what they feel and what they believe in. I felt and saw, with my own eyes, extraordinary transformations of participants, beautiful relationships forged on the grounds of common values, on the quite natural wish to tell stories about what you know and what you feel, about longing, families, our childhood homes, about the simple details which make up happiness.
This way, the library managed to turn into a melting pot of creation and witnessing, which I facilitated towards the most vulnerable sides of those present in the trainings: memory and the inner child. I knew how difficult it was working with adults but, after this course, I understood it was even more difficult working with old children, people who did not have closure for certain periods of their lives and were caught in an outside maelstrom while being tormented inside.
This course is so valuable because of the archive of digital stories which starts a document with particular features, because of the personal memories included in the sea of local memory, pieces of life which conclude local and national history and so on.
I liked the Romanians and the upgraded nuances they give the word “dor”, I liked the Roma, who taught me simplicity and the passion for life, I liked the Hungarians, always polite and balanced in whatever they do, the Russians, for the way they see beauty everywhere and the Lipovan Russians, for their tenacious nature. I also enjoyed working with my colleagues in the project and discovered the power and value of team work, I liked the unique locations where we held our courses, I liked the stories created by our trainees, the moments when we hang in the balance and the magical moments were we went on rolling, without fear or prejudice, in the pit of melancholy or filled with gratitude for all there is in this world.
It was a difficult project, but I felt at home doing it and I recognize all those involved in creating it, applying for the grant, implementing it and, lo and behold! – “testifying”.
Yes, it was beautiful, it was worthy of a story of its own.”