The state’s cultural policy in the field of community cultural centers ("chitalishta")
In Bulgaria there is a network of people’s community cultural centers (“chitalishta”), a total of 3 500, located throughout the whole country. They are self-governing associations which are not-for-profit entities whose activities include state cultural and education tasks. The Minister of Culture oversees their development, analyses their activity and provides methodological and financial support. The main purpose of this policy is to maintain the viability of the community cultural center system, to bring modernization therein and to gradually turn them into contemporary cultural centers attractive for all ages and circles of society. Other goals include creating conditions for creativity, utilization of cultural values, solidarity between generations and exchange of ideas and traditional values.
The creation, management and operation of people’s community cultural centers (“chitalishta”) are governed by the People’s Community Cultural Centers Act. This Act undergoes regular updating to respond to the needs of community cultural centers and the expansion of their activities. With the last amendments of 2009, community cultural centers are allowed to associate at their own discretion, mostly on territorial principle, so that they can implement larger projects in the field of culture. In 2011, a new draft was developed for amending and supplementing the People’s Community Cultural Centers Act, which provides for certain functions of the district administrations in order to introduce better regional policies. In addition, certain conditions were procured for attracting more young people in the administration of community cultural centers to improve their management. The draft has reached the National Assembly of the Republic of Bulgaria.
Challenges identified in the implementation of the measure
The major challenge identified in relation to the policy in the field of community cultural centers is related to attracting young people in their management and operation, which involves better payment for workers within the system, as well as the creation of a favorable environment for their modernization, more specifically in rural areas which is related to improvement of the quality of life there.