The public library is one of the only available locations in the village for educational activities in a safe environment, especially for girls. In many cases, the Culture House would help fulfill this role, but our Culture House has been destroyed beyond repair. The library has a strong history of community education and especially activities for girls and women. Past examples include breast and cervical cancer awareness sessions, training in handicrafts, and services for new and expecting mothers. In order to improve the capacity of the library to carry out these and other services in the future, some updates are needed.
The primary obstacle to be overcome is the lack of heat. Moldovan winters are long and cold and an unheated library is rather unattractive to the public. As the library is located in the same building as the school, some schoolchildren do come in in the winter, bundled in coats, hats and gloves, but otherwise the library is largely unused during the cold period. The Head Librarian has conducted interviews with many community members who say that they would greatly appreciate a warm place with activities during the long and oftentimes boring winters. The community is willing to provide the following: Partial costs for construction materials; partial labor; costs for new printer and shelves; food costs for opening ceremony; electricity cost for heater; materials for education sessions.
This project has been community driven with community support from day one. The initial idea came directly from the Head Librarian, who had conducted community interviews with beneficiaries. The adjunct director of the school then attended Peace Corps' project planning workshop with me to work on specifics and refine the project. The team that then met included both of those individuals in addition to a local NGO leader, the village Mayor and the village Director of Culture. From the Volunteer's earliest conversations in the village, these individuals as well as many others expressed concern about the lack of safe, positive locations for youth and especially girls. They are fully on board. The Head Librarian has conducted interviews with many community members who say that they would greatly appreciate a warm place with activities during the long and oftentimes boring winters.
There are no concerns about the sustainability of the activities and benefits of this project. The community is already engaged in these beneficial activities. The project only increases their capacity to carry them out more easily and on a year-round basis. The only recurring cost will be the additional electricity to run the heater in the library, and the Mayor's Office has committed to covering that cost. The heater we hope to purchase uses 0.72 kW/h. The Mayor's Office pays for electricity at a rate of 2.2 MDL per kW/h. If we run the heater 8 hours per day, 5 days per week, the weekly cost is 63.36 MDL per week, or about 253.44 MDL per month, or about 760 MDL (USD 44.72) for the initial 90-day period.