Every year, the Livres Hebdo Grand Prix for Libraries recognises, as its name suggests, the most remarkable libraries, both for the quality of their reception and for the originality of their programming or the innovative nature of their systems. Chaired by Dominique de Saint Mars, author of the Max et Lili (Max and Lili) series for young people (with 121 volumes published since 1992 by Calligram), and as part of a ceremony that took place on 2 October at the library of the Conservatoire national des Arts et Métiers (the National Conservatory of Arts and Crafts) in Paris, the 10th edition of the Prize recognised around 10 institutions.
The Livres Hebdo Prize for Libraries Outside France 2019 has once again recognised the Institut français media library in Timișoara, Romania, for its festival for young audiences, “La Maison des lutins”.
A francophone cultural festival
Timișoara is a city of more than 300,000 inhabitants located in western Romania, close to the Hungarian and Serbian borders. Notably, the Institut français hosts the André François media library there and, since 2012, has organised the “La Maison des lutins” festival (Căsu a Piticilor), which takes place every year in May.
Because of a reduction in the resources allocated to Instituts français abroad, this initiative is based on a unique economic structure. More than 40 local cultural, educational, sporting or commercial bodies (theatre, dance schools, sports clubs, cafés etc.) are partners of the event via the CulturaPlus card, sold by the Institut français for the equivalent of 15 euros. This card entitles you to discounts throughout the partner network, and allows you to access the André François media library at the Institut français and the Culturethèque (Institut français digital library) all year round.
The 8th edition of the “Maison des Lutins” festival, which took place on 25 and 26 May 2019, offered more than 100 shows and workshops (circus, DIY, dancing, sporting demonstrations, gastronomy, music, theatre etc.), while a rock concert concluded each day. A great opportunity to place the French-speaking community at the heart of activities for the general public in Romania.
A very active local network
Co-ordinated by Cyrille Fierobe, Deputy Director of the Institut français of Timișoara, the four media libraries of the Institut français of Romania (Bucharest, Cluj-Napoca, Iași and Timișoara) each organise workshops, class visits, shows and storytelling hours etc. Places of conviviality and sharing, they also pool their practices and resources. On 12 October, the Institut français of Cluj-Napoca also organised its 2nd edition of the “Maison des lutins” festival. The next gathering of the “lutins” or elves will take place in Timișoara on 23 and 24 May 2020. We will then be a few months away from an unprecedented spotlight on the city: in 2021, Timișoara will be the capital of European culture.
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