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Ivanka Yankova

University Library at Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”

Plamen Miltenoff

Learning Resources & Technology Services, St. Cloud State University

In the last decade, higher education in Bulgaria underwent significant changes. Interest toward education increased and education diversified. With 330 students in higher education per population of 10,000, Bulgaria is one of the top ten leading countries in the world as far as per capita students in higher education.  The oldest university in Bulgaria, St. Kliment Ohridski, serves 24,000 students. The University Library is the place where all these changes focus.

The changes accompanying the development of the information society in Bulgaria define the new role of university libraries as educational and counseling centers. In the system of Bulgarian education, in the process of students’ transition from secondary school to higher institutes, the universities’ libraries have created an important niche; the libraries are where the computer and information literacy of the student population are developed.

Following the demands posed by society, the University Library at Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski” developed and is applying a Public Relations (PR) strategy for increasing information literacy among students. The main purpose of the program is to assert the image of the library as a modern, communicative and useful library institution. Another rationale is asserting the image of the library as an institution responding to the needs of students. The library is also the information provider that ensures a high quality education on campus, as well as acting as an educator itself by fostering among students the necessary knowledge and skills for their successful realization in the modern information society.

The research reflects distinct stages in the development and implementation of the PR-strategy and presents the applied PR-techniques (various forms of co-operation with students; publishing activities; joint actions and projects; promotion of library resources and services; educational cycle of lectures “The Contemporary Theseus in the Labyrinth of the Information World”; practice and training at the library; tours of the library; participation in various events in students’ community life). The PR-strategy is constantly being developed and enlarged by testing methods to determine the effectiveness of the University Library messages, their acceptance by the student population and students’ improvement in computer and information literacy.”

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