On February 24, a Digital Laboratory opened its doors at the Sofia City Library – a new library space for developing digital skills and creating successful interactive products in the creative industry. The digital laboratory will provide to the young people innovative programs for acquiring a vast variety of digital skills in the field of interactive arts such as digitization and creative presentation of literary heritage, graphic design, 2D and 3D modelling and animation, creating VR/AR reality, Game design, etc.
Modern high-tech equipment – powerful gaming computers and laptops, 3D printer, Vivitek projector with Avers screen, graphics tablets, book scanner, Leap Motion, 3D Oculus Rift glasses – are provided with the financial support of the US Embassy in Bulgaria. The Digital Teen Laboratory project of the Sofia Library was implemented with the assistance of the Sofia Municipality and the Sofia Development Association.
"The partnership between the United States and the Metropolitan Library began in 2000, when we donated 10,000 volumes of books. Through the new laboratory, we will provide young people with more opportunities for three-dimensional modelling and contact with digital technologies”, said Her Excellency Herro Mustafa, US Ambassador to Bulgaria.
According to the Deputy Mayor of Sofia Assoc. Prof. Dr. Chobanov, "The Digital Laboratory upgrades the growing capacity of the Sofia City Library, which is one of the largest cultural institutions in Bulgaria with an increasing number of young readers and a dynamic project policy, covering different areas of education and culture. All this is achieved thanks to the library team, working with enormous amount of desire and motivation." Assoc. Prof. Chobanov expressed gratitude on behalf of the Mayor of Sofia for the partnership with the US Embassy, which supports the library in its mission to enhance the love of reading and lead us into the age of technology.
With the new digital laboratory, the Library will become a kind of digital hub for children and youth disposing of 4 locations – American Center, Children's Center, Digital Center and Teen Laboratory. The new space will launch its functioning with a training course in 2D animation by the famous Bulgarian animator Nadezhda Slavova. Students from the National Vocational High School of Precision Engineering and Optics "M. V. Lomonosov" Sofia are to take part in the course.
Over the past years, the Sofia Library has created new innovative spaces for digital knowledge and skills for young people between the ages of 14 and 28, which are 60% of the library's readers. Every year, numerous interesting educational campaigns, cultural initiatives and art formats are attended by nearly 500,000 users, many of whom are pupils and students.
The opening of the laboratory was attended by HE Herro Mustafa, US Ambassador to Bulgaria, Julia Tsinzova, Director of the Sofia Library, Traicho Traikov, Mayor of Sredets District, Vanya Kastreva – Head of the Sofia City Regional Department of Education, Angela Rodell and others.