Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Women farmers in Columbia, learn to use the internet at their local library. Photo Courtesy: EIFL-PLIP.

Powerful Impact of Public Libraries Using Information and Communication Technology

February 26, 2013

In Kyrgyzstan, public libraries are reaching thousands of people with a dynamic ‘No to TB!’ campaign. In Kazakhstan, a public library computer training and employment information service helped young job-seekers find work, and now the library is managing a major United Nations grant that will bring free internet access to 17 villages. In Latvia, a tiny village library demonstrated the effectiveness of using webinars to reach farmers, and now the Ministry of Agriculture is webcasting its annual regional agricultural conferences. In Armenia, doctors and patients are communicating through their library’s interactive health website.

These are just some of the exciting outcomes of 13 innovative public library services in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America, reported in short impact studies newly released by Electronic Information for Library’s - Public Library Innovation Programme (EIFL-PLIP).

Since 2010, EIFL-PLIP has awarded small grants to 39 public and community libraries in 23 countries, enabling the libraries to use information and communication technology (ICT) to improve lives in their communities. Each service tackles a critical development issue – sustainable agriculture, improving health, supporting vulnerable youth, contributing to employment. The libraries use a wide range of ICT – computers, the internet, community radio, webinars and web-portals, mobile and smart phones and social media.  

After a year’s implementation, each library assesses the impact of its service. Findings show that public libraries are effective community development partners, delivering life-changing services. Read the 13 new impact studies at www.eifl.net/plip-impact.

 
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