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2 minutes to read Posted on Wednesday March 27, 2013

High school students use Europeana to celebrate library anniversary

Europeana is helping the 'Pencho Slaveykov' Library in Varna, Bulgaria, to celebrate its 130th anniversary with a national competition engaging students with their digital cultural heritage.

Varna Library’s collaboration with Europeana started in 2008, when it began enriching Europeana's content with digital objects from Bulgaria. The cooperation proved valuable and today there are more than 30,000 Bulgarian items available online through Europeana.

The Library is helping to raise awareness of Europeana in Bulgaria and at the start of this year a national contest called 'My Europeana' was launched in schools across the country to coincide with the library’s 130th anniversary. The aim of the contest was to encourage high school students to explore and discover the rich cultural treasures of Europeana and to either make a short video or write an essay on their favourite place, person or event from Bulgaria’s cultural and historical heritage.

Competition winners with Emilia Milkova, Director of Varna Library (left), Eleanor Kenny from Europeana (right), and a birthday cake celebrating 130 years of Varna Library.

Jill Cousins, Executive Director of Europeana said:

'Varna Library has been an important partner in making Bulgaria’s rich cultural heritage available for everyone to discover online through Europeana. And we are delighted that on its 130th anniversary, it has taken Europeana into schools and introduced a whole new generation to European cultural treasures via their smartphones, tablets and laptops.'

Dozens of essays and videos were received from students on subjects ranging from Maria Atanasova, the first Bulgarian woman pilot who commanded commercial flights and is the only woman to have landed a heavy plane in difficult weather at Heathrow, to the history of the famous writer, Aleko Konstantinov. From the entries, it is clear that Europeana has been inspirational to students. Their entries showed how, inspired by the competition, they had visited a 4th century basilica, rediscovered the heritage of their region, learnt about the history of foreign language education in Bulgaria, and used Europeana as a tool in completing their school homework in many subjects!

Bulgaria Europeana Awareness competition winner 1 a group entry by students from the 'Cinema man' club from High School of Foreign Languages, Varna, from Europeana on Vimeo.

One of the members of the 'Cinema man' club (left) receives their prize for first-placed video from Europeana's Eleanor Kenny (centre) and judge and artist Vladimir Ivanov (right).

The essays and videos were judged by a panel of library and cultural professionals including renowned artists from Varna, known for their contribution to the culture and development of the city. Six winning entries, submitted by entrants aged between 14 and 18 years old, received their awards at a special ceremony in Varna Library on 21 March. The prize for first-place in the video and essay categories was a Nexus tablet, second-placed winners received Kindle e-readers and the third-placed entrants received digital cameras.

Bulgaria Europeana Awareness competition winner 2 by Anelya Kalcheva, 18 years old, First Language High School, who would like to pursue a career in photography from Varna, from Europeana on Vimeo.

Read the winning essays here, by 18-year-old Yulia Videva (National High School of Humanitarian Studies and Arts), 14-year-old Alexandra Peneva (Mathematics High School), and 18-year-old Steffany Jeliazkova (First Mathematics High School). They will also be posted on the Library's Facebook page.

First-placed essay winner Yulia Videva, with Europeana's Eleanor Kenny.

Later this year, Europeana and the Varna Library will also be organising a travelling exhibition in libraries and bookshops around Bulgaria to showcase Europeana and to encourage other cultural organisations to contribute to Europeana, and further enrich the Bulgarian content in Europe's digital museum and library. It is expected that the exhibition will open in Sofia in summer 2013.

Bulgaria Europeana Awareness competition winner 3 by Damyana Petrova, 15 years old, First Language High School, Varna, from Europeana on Vimeo.