From 9 to 13 May, the Šmarje pri Jelšah Library hosted partners from two countries, the Czech Republic and Lithuania, as part of the international Erasmus+ project Stories Make Life Better. This was already the third meeting within the framework of this project. Two were already last year in Lithuania and the Czech Republic. Activities during this visit also took place as part of LLW 2022.

"It's best to be in a good mood!" was sung by the members of the Zveneče jelše study circle, which operates under the mentorship of Jasmina Levičar.

The project is designed so that, in addition to the employees of the three partner libraries, adult learners and members of the Third Age Universities can participate in international exchanges. Such meetings were held in Ignalina (Lithuania) and Šmarje pri Jelšah. However, the meeting in Prachatice in the Czech Republic was intended only for librarians because, in the light of the COVID-19 and post-COVID-19 times, they face many new challenges concerning readers and other users of the library’s offer.

Stories make life better

The mayor of the Municipality Šmarje pri Jelšah, Matija Čakš, also addressed the participants.

When preparing the project, the Šmarje pri Jelšah Library took into account the fact that regardless of the time, reading and telling stories is what takes a person away from everyday worries and lifts their spirit to heights. During the COVID-19 pandemic, people in isolation could also entertain themselves with the help of stories. They read them, told them or remembered them. During the closure of (even municipal) borders, they could maintain contact with the world with the help of the internet. Therefore, in addition to other activities, the Šmarje pri Jelšah Library allows learners of older age to enter the virtual world and be empowered with the knowledge of tools they need for that purpose.

Online and in person

The international meeting in Šmarje pri Jelšah was based on folk stories and legends of all partner countries.

While visiting the library

While the participants at the workshops held in the Šmarje pri Jelšah Library focused on the theory of various storytelling techniques, they later tested them in practice during visits to multiple attractions of the host town. In addition, they also tackled the challenges of the virtual world, which, in times of crisis, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, significantly helped maintain mental condition. The participants of the meeting learned about the tools and procedures for the presentation of the story suitable for publishing on the World Wide Web.

Slovenian, Czech and Lithuanian stories in one book

One of the results of the Stories Make Life Better project will be a book edition of a selection of nine folk stories, three from each of the partner countries.

A walk with Legends towards the Jelše Mansion

The stories will be published in each partner country’s original language and the project’s language – English. They will be equipped with illustrations selected in art competitions in each partner country. As the project focuses on adult learners, the participants will have to be over 65 years of age to enter the contest. At the end of the project, there will also be an exhibition of all the received artworks. They will be on display in partner organisations as part of the dissemination of the project.

The project, worth a bit more than 60,000 EUR, lasts 24 months and will be completed at the end of February 2023.

Vlasta Kramperšek Šuc (vlasta@kspj.si), Šmarje pri Jelšah Library

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Published by Slovenian Institute for Adult Education (SIAE), Šmartinska 134a, SI-1000 Ljubljana | Editor-in-chief: Zvonka Pangerc Pahernik, MSc (E: zvonka.pangerc@acs.si) | Editor: Ana Peklenik (E: ana.peklenik@acs.si) | Other members of the editorial board: Zvonka Pangerc Pahernik, MSc, dr Nataša Potočnik, Directress of SIAE, dr Tanja Možina, Tanja Vilič Klenovšek, MSc and dr Tanja Rupnik Vec | Computer solution: Franci Lajovic (T: 01 5842 555, E: franci.lajovic@acs.si) | Translation/proofreading: Mesto znanja, izobraževanje in svetovanje za osebno rast, Petra Cvek, s. p.  | Design: Larisa Hercog | Corrective reading: Zvonka Pangerc Pahernik, MSc, and Mateja Pečar | W: https://enovicke.acs.si/en/home/