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Visiting Librarians: Maia Simonishvili

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National Parliamentary Library, Tbilisi, Georgia


ArtsLink Fellow, Fall 2008

Maia Simonishvili, a Leading Specialist in the PR & Cultural Program Department at the National Parliamentary Library of Georgia in Tbilisi, spent five weeks (Oct. 16 - Nov. 19) at Yale University Library with a fellowship from CEC ArtsLink, a New York-based international arts service organization created to encourage and support exchange of artists and cultural managers between the United States and Eastern and Central Europe, Russia, Central Asia and the Caucasus.

A graduate of Tbilisi State University, where she studied Georgian Philology and Cultural Resource Management, Maia worked for almost ten years as newspaper and radio journalist, both in her native Georgia and in Germany (where she was a fellow at the Foundation of Lower Saxony and an intern at the Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung).

CEC was founded in 1962 to enable citizens of the United States and the Soviet Union to accomplish what their governments could not – opening doors, sharing ideas and building mutual trust. ArtsLink, the first large-scale program of exchange in the U.S. for artists and arts managers from the former communist countries, was begun 1992, with support from the Soros Foundation, the National Endowment of the Arts and the Trust for Mutual Understanding. ArtsLink Residencies are funded through public and private sources including CEC ArtsLink, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Trust for Mutual Understanding, the Ohio Arts Council, the Kettering Fund and the Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation with additional support from the Polish Cultural Institute and the Romanian Cultural Institute.

Maia’s overarching goal in regard to this fellowship was to find ways for the National Parliamentary Library of Georgia to promote its rich holdings through a variety of cultural programs and outreach initiatives within the country and beyond.

At Yale, Maia familiarized herself with all aspects of library organization and management, and particularly with such areas as development and organization of international programs, cooperation with other educational and cultural organizations, digitization of art materials, education and professional development opportunities for librarians, grant writing and fund-rising.

Based in the Slavic Reading Room, she had a rich calendar of visits and meetings on campus, which included several libraries (Arts, Beinecke, Medical and Medical Historical, Social Science), collections (Arts of the Book, Electronic and Digitization), departments (Catalog and Metadata Services, Development & Communications, Manuscripts & Archives), and other University entities (Film Study Center, Yale Art Gallery).

While at Yale, she had the opportunity to attend a Global Resources Network (GRN) forum on Electronic Media and the Preservation of News, held at the New York Public Library (October 23-24), and to visit the New Haven Free Public Library (November 5), the New Haven Museum & Historical Society (November 10), Connecticut State Library (November 12), the Tantaquidgeon Indian Museum (Mohegan Reservation, November 7-9), and the Library of Congress (November 2-4).