Category Archives: News

Bibliography for active citizens

Help us make a list of ‘must-read’ books for those who want to become or to stay active, responsible and creative citizens. The books you suggest will be placed on the shelves of the library within the “Nest of Democracy” in Bucharest, which is the space set up in the National Library of Romania by the volunteers of #altreileaspatiu. Contribute to the continuous training of active citizens by filling in the form available here and recommend us books which can move people.

Arena of Active Citizens

On the evening of Saturday, the 26th of September, over 80 Bucharest dwellers have been lured with a mirror and the question “Mirror mirror on the wall, who’s the most active citizen of them all?” to enter Arena Cetatenilor ActiviThe Arena of Active Citizens. The Arena is an interactive track which had been set up by the volunteers at Progress Foundation on the occasion of the Night of Open Libraries.

The track, which was packed with different activities- a quiz on the topic of active citizenship, puzzles with portraits of model citizens, filling in of MUST DO lists- must-do activities, must-read books- has led the sleepless citizens right into the Nest of Democracy. The Nest is a space awarded by the National Library for setting up a meeting, debate and work place for citizens and NGO’s.

The Nest of Democracy will only be inaugurated at the end of October, but the brave clue-hunters were already able to see  the set-up plans, they received information about the space’s functions, and they participated in active citizenship exercises.

Training course for active citizens @Ploiesti

The course in active citizenship took place this weekend in the hall which is soon to become a “Nest of Democracy”.

As a trainer, I have constantly wondered whether I would be able to maintain the volunteer citizens’ initial enthusiasm, whether the ideas I would present would be useful tools for them in the process of getting involved in the community of Ploiesti. I must however admit that I was impressed by the results. On the second day of the course, there were even more participants, who were even more involved in the sessions. I already knew that Ploiesti needed a handful of people with administrative spirit but now, after having known them, I saw the beauty of their spirit. Regular citizens, but with rich souls, with warm smiles, strong arms and sharp minds.

I felt that we were a family, planning for the future, sharing our problems and communicating efficiently. Even if we know that we still have to learn how to develop this nest, our motivation is strong. We are certain that we can help our community!

Their answers regarding this meeting have been:

“Over the period 11th- 12th of September 2015, I have participated in a training workshop on active citizenship where I had the privilege of not only learning new and interesting things, but also of feeling that I am a part of a nest of people who are willing to get involved and be themselves the change that they desire to see in the world. I have learned here that it is difficult to make a civic bicycle to work and get to its destination without balance, involvement and coordination. I have learned that active citizenship does not only mean to be

a critical observer, but it also means involvement, responsibility and action. During this workshop, I have learned that through objectivity and analysis we can solve any conflict to the benefit of all parties involved. I consider this course to be a great gain for me and I want to thank the trainers for igniting and / or recharging the active citizenship engines of participants.” – Cosmin Florentin NEAGU, Coordinator C.P.E.C.A. Prahova

“On the days of September the 11th and 12th, I have participated in the course which trained the active citizen in me; it was an experience which has helped me to understand that being a citizen and being active means growing together with the others and for the others, it is about how you are and not about who you are, it means vision and action.”– Anca Spiridon, volunteer

“Time goes by, sometimes slower, other times quicker. Sometimes we feel as if we waste it. But there are also moments in life when time becomes very precious because of the beauty and the intensity with which we live every moment. This was the case for the time which went quickly by during the two course days, when I felt strongly that it was time well spent. It definitely was that for me!” – Pirvu Adriana Maria, high-school student, XII GE class,  „Jean Monnet” National College Ploiesti

Civil Literacy In Public Libraries

Article written by: Dr. Camelia Crisan, project manager

I had the honor to present the project The Third Space of Active Citizenship within the Next Library Conference from Aarhus (Denmark), unanimously recognized as the most innovative conference of the library profession, where only the most interesting and cutting-edge initiatives are accepted in order to be part of interactive sessions or as keynote speeches.

Our project drew a lot of attention and libraries from developed countries like Finland,USA, Sweden and Denmark have stated that active citizenship is an initiative that must be promoted in these countries’ public libraries too.

There has been an agreement among participants that the national states go through a systemic crisis, a legitimacy crisis of the political system, of the public institutions and of leadership, while the solution resides in citizens’ empowerment. People were able to learn how to fly so they can learn democracy too, was the position of Progress Foundation, adapting a slogan well-thought by our colleagues from the Democracy Nest Brasov.

On the occasion of this conference we had the opportunity to visit the most modern library of the world at this moment, DOKK1. It is a building whose design has been done through public participation, and a vision of the public authorities whereby the libraries should be the focal point of citizens interaction, in order to build a prosperous and cohesive society. When you visit this space you are under the impression that the space as a whole is under the control of the citizens, there is free access in most of the spaces and the interactions are available on several levels: reading, debates, learning and playing.

The Civic Action Groups have their natural habitat in the public libraries, sometimes in order to re-learn democracy, as a participant from Denmark mentioned – in some countries democracy is taken for granted, practicing it seems just something effortless.

Several libraries invited us to offer them for consultation the course and to show them the project’s results, as a model. We are proud that we have been able to inspire others with our ideas and innovation and all these have been made possible by the effort and involvement of 191 volunteers and 15 librarians who participate in the project. Kudos and chapeau-bas!

8 new partners joined #ThirdPlace

The selection of partners in the public library sector ended! We are delighted to wish “welcome” in the project to the following partners:

We thank all applicants for their interest and we congratulate the selected libraries. Together we open a new chapter in our common project at the end of which the citizens of Bucharest, Sibiu, Drobeta Turnu-Severin, Galati, Piatra Neamt, Targu-Mures and Ploiesti will have access to facilities, resources and learning facilitators to develop their active citizenship skills.

Training active citizens in Constanta – so what?

After thorough considerations, 15 volunteers from Constanta who joined us in the ”Third Space for Active Citizenship” decided that instead of listening to the seagulls at the shore, they would rather spend their weekend by attending an active citizenship training (click here for photo gallery).

Therefore, between March 13th and 15th, together with Lili – our librarian trainer from the ”Ioan N. Roman” Public Library of Constanta – and Cosmin – training coordinator, Progress Foundation, we explored, we played, we learned from each other, we drew, we ”made” theater, we discovered how we can change systems and we even found out that we are better than we imagined – validated by the others:)

During the training course we all passed through a lot of questions, either ours about us or about what can we do for our community, or others, about what can we do for our welfare in the community. We shared many questions like ”why?”, ”how?”, ”when?”, ”who?”, ”what?” – long live journalism! and, when we thought that we solved them all, the insensible”so what?” popped up.

We won’t tell you what we replied, but we would rather let you imagine creative solutions to the moments when you’d face people who tell you so what about an initiative you consider important to yourself. Because is it’s important to yourself, it’s also important to your family, your friends, your mates, your neighbors, your community and, guess what, even to the so what people.

Need a constructive feedback? You can find us in our partner libraries – just say you’re looking for a democracy nest!

We’re looking for 7 new libraries to join our project!

It’s spring! The “Third Place” project already took root in 7 cities and soon the first democracy nests will be arranged for active citizens!

We’ve got practice-proven tools, we’ve got the know-how of the first stage and we certainly have a feasible project model! Now we’re looking for another 7 county libraries with which to expand the project implementation area and make room for other 7 democracy nests!

Thus, if you:

  • represent a public county library;
  • want to retrieve and potentiate the experience of the first stage counterparts;
  • can count on a librarian trainer to facilitate the formation of active citizens;
  • can provide a space for a “democracy nest” (Progress Foundation covers the installation costs in the amount of 1600 euros)
  • can co-opt 7 local NGOs who will involve their volunteers in the project implementation

then please enroll in our partner selection by using the form available right here and by sending the supporting documents before March 27th, 12:00.

To keep in mind: the enrolment with 7 local NGOs is conditional to the participation in the project. The county libraries interested to be our partners will have to submit Annex 1 filled in by the legal representative of each NGO co-opted as a local partner. All annexes will be sent by email at: al.3lea.spatiu@gmail.com, before March 27th, 12:00.

Applications will be reviewed on 27-30 March and the results will be published Tuesday, March 31th.

We’ve got volunteers!

The selection of volunteers has ended, thank you to all who have applied! Here are the results for each city:

Selected volunteers will be contacted by email or telephone on Monday, January 26th, to find out all the details necessary for participating in the project.

Applications received after the deadline, submitted by people under 16 and the entries that were not supported by proper motivation unfortunately were rejected. Rejected applicants will be contacted on Tuesday, January 27th (via email or phone), to be told the reasons that led to this decision.

Exceptionally, in Suceava and Constanta, due to the large number of applicants, trainers will deliver training courses on active citizenship especially for those registered on the reserve list. Details of attending courses will be offered from 27th to 31st of January.

In conclusion: we volunteers, we have active citizens!

Selection of volunteers – deadline extended!

Do you live in Bucharest, Brasov, Cluj-Napoca, Constanta, Deva, Suceava or Targu-Jiu? Are you a NGO member, media representative or citizen willing to get involved in his/her community? Do you like our project idea and want to be the one who will participate in its implementation?

Be our volunteer! We’ve booked a place for you in the group of 15 volunteers who will implement the project in your city and we extended the registration deadline with 6 days. All you have to do is complete the form available right here.

Updated deadline: Wednesday, January 21, 2015.

Applications will be analyzed during 22 to 23 January 2015 and the selection results will be published on January 23, 2015.

Selection criteria

For each city we will select up to 15 volunteers who meet the following criteria:

– Small experience in projects concerning participatory democracy;

– Willingness to engage on a volunteer basis throughout the project;

– Community orientation (key competence);

– Experience of working in multidisciplinary teams;

– Personal motivation.

Benefits

– Voluntary certificate;

– Training in the field of active citizenship and evaluation of public sector performance;

– Support in designing and arranging a “democracy nest” at the public library;

– Support in planning local initiatives for active citizenship.

Do apply, we look forward to meeting you!

We’re recruiting you!

Do you believe in active citizenship? Are you a NGO member, media representative or simply a citizen interested to get involved in his/her community? Do you want to be the one who will create a democracy nest in your town?

Be a volunteer in #thirdplace! Fill out the registration form until 15th January 2015 and be the one who will participate in the project implementation in your town.

Applications will be reviewed in January 15 to 20 and the results will be published on 21st of January. We look forward to meeting you!