Beacon of Herzegovina’s Cultural Heritage Restores Its Shine

Over the past year, support from the localworks initiative was available to citizens in 32 local communities across Bosnia and Herzegovina, who used it a tool to recognize local needs, connect the dots between all the changes they want and solve the problems in their communities. It was a period of learning, bonding and cooperating, which resulted in many successful stories, such as this one from Trebinje, in the southeast of Herzegovina.

With the help of localworks, the National Library of Trebinje restored its shine. The display space was renovated, new shelves and display cases were installed, and the Library’s Director, Milosava Supić – Vuković, shared what this means for the citizens of Trebinje.

“When you’re managing an institution, you have to constantly work on improving working conditions, finding ways to overcome challenges you’re faced with, and be in tune with the needs of your community.”

Public institution “National Library Trebinje” is the main library in the City of Trebinje. This is the largest, and main library in the East Herzegovina region, and is home to over 70,000 items that were not adequately archived before this action.

Supić-Vuković emphasized that the National Library Trebinje, along with the Museum of Herzegovina, can be considered beacons of culture in the East Herzegovina region. Unfortunately, for a long time the Library suffered from a lack of space where they can exhibit the books. The National Library, in addition to the usual titles, also houses the legacy of Jovan Dučić, comprising 5500 books, and 800 serials. With its richness, especially when it comes to old and rare editions, Dučić’s library remains impressive even when compared to much larger libraries in BiH and abroad. Very few exhibitions about Jovan Dučić, his life, works and diplomacy, in BiH or abroad, can be staged without the documents we keep in our library. For years, they’ve been searching for a solution for their inadequate book storage space, which was a great concern for both the staff and users of the Library.  

biblioteka trebinje 2

“Creating a space tailored to the needs of our users is an effort that never ends.”

The Library’s staff is planning to put every effort into improving their work and the building housing the Library, and have already announced new activities.

“I’m a journalist by profession, and while working in this field I had an opportunity to cooperate with people from different backgrounds, see examples of positive practice in various areas, which encouraged me to keep working on improving things around me. I’ve been the Director of the National Library Trebinje for a year. One month after I was appointed, I submitted a project proposal to renovate the Library’s interior. This encouraged us to think about ways to improve the Library. We already have three ideas.” – said the Director.

The first idea is to digitalize the legacy of Jovan Dučić to offer better access to his works, so that more users can read, research and look through Dučić’s archives or books. Old and rare editions cannot be photographed or photocopied for the users, which makes them difficult to access. Having them in electronic form would solve this problem. It would also provide better protection and longevity of the originals.

The National Library is one of the few institutions of this type in BiH that provides students with a reading space and free access to a computer room. Since a lot of students spend time studying at the Library, this space should be adapted to meet their needs.

The third challenge is replacing skylights and doors. The skylighs and the entrance are old, and mold is causing damage to valuable books.

The library renovation was one of the actions that were implemented by localworks and are extremely important for the local communities and the society in general. The localworks initiative is implemented by USAID BiH and the Institute for Youth Development KULT.

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