Citizen Science & Libraries in Bulgaria

The aim of the train-the-trainer workshop, “Citizen Science & Libraries in Bulgaria”, was to raise awareness about the CeOS_SE project & Citizen Science in Bulgaria. The main focus of the activity was on developing strategies for citizen science in Bulgarian libraries. Representatives from the National Library “St. Cyril and Methodius”, academic libraries, public libraries and University staff from ULSIT joined together to discuss these themes in late November, 2022.

Official Opening of  the Workshop by Prof. Tereza Trencheva, PhD, Vice-Rector  of Research and International Affairs of ULSIT and CeOS_SE institutional coordinator for Bulgaria and Assoc. prof. Krasimira Alexandrova, PhD, Director of the National Library “St. St. Cyril and Methodius”, Associate partner of CeOS_Se project

Prof. Tereza Trencheva, PhD presented the “Citizen-Enhanced Open Science in Southeastern Europe Higher Education Knowledge Hubs (CeOS_SE)” (Erasmus+ Project). She opened the activity with the question, “What do you think Citizen Science is? Do you think there is a difference between Open Access and Open Science?”. The participants’ answers made it clear that there was uncertainty about what Citizen Science is, and its place within the Open Science movement. 

Erasmus+ Project “Citizen-Enhanced Open Science in Southeastern Europe Higher Education Knowledge Hubs (CeOS_SE): Project Concept”, presented by Prof. Tereza Trencheva

Svetoslava Dimitrova, PhD presented information about the project coordinator (LIBER) and all the other partners. The project aim, project implementation and project results were conferred and analysed. The results from PR 1, PR 2 and PR 3 and all that was accomplished in the first year of the project were presented.

The event continued in a casual environment with group tasks for the participants. In 4 groups, they were asked to create a strategy for organising a citizen science event. Each group was divided as follows: researcher, funding institution, citizen, business and NGOs representatives. Each group also had a representative from the library – school library in Ruse, the university library in Burgas, the community centre library in Vidin and the regional library in Blagoevgrad. They had to think of an attractive name for their event (based on the target audience) consider suitable event speakers, create an implementation plan, choose a location and a promotion strategy, and consider how to involve each of their partners. The main question for the groups was: What challenges did you face in managing the event?

While each team presented their promotion campaign and guidance was given. The themes of the events, proposed by each group, included domestic violence; processing of archaeological materials in Southwest Bulgaria; preserving biodiversity and the drying up of Danube river by creating a botanical corner of endangered plants; and photo workshop, dedicated to St. Anastasia Island through the amateur lens. Each team also presented a poster for their event.

The workshop succeeded in outlining the complexities of organising a Citizen Science event, and the numerous stakeholders that are involved in such activities. Participants left the workshop with a better understanding of what Citizen Science is, its benefits, and some best practices for implementation.