Communities, Libraries and Cultural Heritage

Community. What is it?

The meaning of the word community is interpreted as follows:

  • A historically formed group of people related to each other in productive relationships.
  • A team with common interests.

Defining the word community is not easy, as there is still no consensus on the concept of community. However, different sources imply that usually a community is formed when a group of people has a clear and specific common interest. Thus, the most important element in a community is people with the same interest or a clearly defined purpose. The community members are connected by common interests, ideas, aspirations, therefore it is important that the gathered community moves in one direction, believes wholeheartedly in what they do and improves together with the help of each other.

Communities can be segmented according to their role in sharing knowledge . In this respect, the following can be distinguished: professional, virtual, interest and activity communities. Also, communities can be divided into territories: e.g., rural community, urban community and so on. Another basis for the formation of a community is interests and hobbies.

Features of local communities

A local community is defined as a group of people living in a defined area, who share a common interest and an inner sense that they belong to the same place and the same group of people. The following key characteristics are identified in the definition of a local community: territorial affiliation and interrelationship.

Within community boundaries, local communities can be primarily divided into rural and urban. Urban and rural communities differ in terms of community solidarity and community relations.

Cultural heritage is our roots

Cultural heritage is of interest to many people, as it forms the identity of nations, communities, families and etc. All that surrounds us is cultural heritage – whether we are talking about architectural monuments, the landscape, or about our language, customs. One of the most important factors that develops a person’s self-awareness and shapes his or her values is the knowledge of the local cultural heritage. And it is up to each one of us what the identity of the our nation will be in the future, how we will pass on the cultural heritage to the future generations, what we will preserve.

Libraries are the community centers

The aim is for libraries not only to become modern community centers, but also to be able to offer relevant services that meet the growing needs of their communities. The most important mission of the library’s work in the field of cultural heritage is to provide detailed information about their country, important local places and people. The accumulation and storage of various forms of resources, the search for published information, its description and dissemination are important aspects of the library’s activities in the field of cultural heritage.

Public libraries contribute to the preservation of cultural memory by doing ethnographic work. Libraries accumulate, preserve and popularize the written cultural heritage. In order to make members of communities more interested in the history of their country, culture, heritage objects, famous and deserving personalities, libraries organize presentations of local history publications, exhibitions of new books of famous locals, important national events and anniversaries, presentations of local talents, educational programs, excursions, and etc. These activities enrich the community’s knowledge about the uniqueness of their homeland, promote tourism and more active involvement of the community members.

Thanks to ethnographic databases and other electronic products, ethnographic information has become available on the Internet, memories can be submitted to electronic repositories of ethnographic information created by libraries, visual material (text, video, audio documents) from anywhere in the world can be found by any member of the community.