eIFL.net is an international not-for-profit organisation with a base in Europe and a global network of partners. This organization works with libraries around the world to enable sustainable access to high quality digital information for people in developing and transition countries.
Founded in 1999, eIFL.net began by advocating for affordable access to commercial e-journals for academic and research libraries in Central and Eastern Europe.Today, eIFL.net partners with libraries and library consortia in over 45 developing and transition countriesin Africa, Asia and Europe. Organization’s work has also expanded in order to include a range of programmes and initiatives that increase access to knowledge. Access to knowledge is fundamental to education and research, life improvment, and the creation of human capital upon which the development of societies depends. Libraries play a key role through the provision of high quality information resources and services.
eIFL.net’s unique approach is to partner with libraries organised in national library consortia (groups of libraries that share common goals) thereby to reach effectively millions of people.
- eIFL.net builds capacity by organizing training events, developing tools and resources, providing up-to-date information on issues that affect access to knowledge.
- Advocates for access to knowledge nationally and internationally.
- Encourages knowledge sharing through peer-to-peer learning, best practice case studies, annual partner conference, regional cooperation among consortia
- Incubates pilot projects for innovative library services.
eIFL.net conducts its acivities through many different programs. During 2010. eIFL.net started Public Library Inovation Program (PLIP).
The Public Library Innovation Program (PLIP) aims to spark innovative library services that improve people’s lives through the use of technology. This three-year grant program will help public libraries in developing and transition countries become centers of community life.
The program will have three phases. Twelve grants of up to $30,000 USD each were awarded in Round 1 to support one-year innovation projects. In Round 2, the most successful projects from the first round will be put to the test in other countries. In Round 3, 15 Innovation Awards of $1,000 USD will be presented.
PLIP grants awarded
The Selection Committee of the Public Library Innovation Program (PLIP) has chosen twelve winning proposals for the first round of grants to public libraries in developing and transition countries for innovative services using technology to improve community life.
The following countries received the grant awards:
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
1) Bringing the library to the users
Country: Bosnia and Herzegovina
Organization: Zavidovići Public Library
Brief Description: This project provides the innovative way to address the problem of school children, who live in rural areas, and spend considerable time waiting for their buses. The library recognized that by their physical proximity to the bus station, they could address this problem by creating a welcoming place for students. The new Multimedia Center will provide creative programs before and after school and access to computers and the Internet, so students can learn new technology skills.
2) Library shines a light on a hidden historical era
Organization: The Lveate Centrestone Public Library, in Meanchey district of Kampong Cham
Brief description: In Cambodia, the Khmer Rouge era remains a topic that is not widely discussed or taught, and very few texts have been written about this time period. This project seeks to educate students about Khmer Rouge history by engaging them to conduct oral history interviews with adults in their region. In addition, the project will create a digital archive that will be integrated into the school curriculum.
3) Using technology to overcome physical barriers to provide farmers with up-to-date information
Organization: Panguipulli Public Library no. 296
Brief description: The Panguipulli Public Library has had difficulty extending its information services to the farmers in the outlying, rural areas because of the harsh climate and the challenging terrain. This project will explore the use of a variety of technology solutions to address this issue, including the Rural Mobile Laboratory & Library, the web, radio broadcasts, mobile phones, and audio podcasts.
4) A mentorship program to provide young people with ICT skills
Organization: HATS Community Empowerment Programme/Ghana Library Board
Brief Description: The northern regional library in Tamale recognizes that they can help to create the next generation of leaders in their communities by providing them with the necessary training, skills and support. The Ghana library will establish a program to develop a core of 200 young technology pioneers (140 girls, 60 boys) with practical ICT skills; this will enable them to become mentors and leaders within their communities.
5) The library takes on the new role of heath information provider
Organization: Kenya National Library System (KNLS)
Brief Description: eHealth is an emerging service sector which has great potential to improve health care delivery to rural and remote communities and to promote health education and research. High cost of healthcare coupled with high levels of poverty and inadequate healthcare infrastructure has led many people to seek information from libraries. However, the libraries have not been equipped to handle these requests. Kenya National Library System (KNLS) will address this urgent need in Kisumu and Eldoret by partnering with existing healthcare NGOs to train librarians, to set up ehealth services in the librariy, and to use mobile phones and other relevant technology to expand the outreach of library services.
6) Using new technology to address community social problems
Organization: Utena A. and M. Miskiniai Public Library
Brief Description: This project is designed to address the growing problem of students not attending school. Many of the students go to the library instead. Through new partnerships among libraries, educational, and juridical institutions, the Utena A. and M. Miskiniai Public Library will develop an educational tool based on gaming technology. This tool will be aligned with the school curriculum and will help students to gain knowledge and skills related to their school program
7) Playing an active role in local development
Organization: Public Library “Braka Miladinovci” Radovis
Brief Description: Unemployment in Radovis and Konce is at 20%. When surveyed, it was discovered that most of them lacked basic computer skills that would make them competitive in the job market and they also lacked the funds to attend training. The Public Library “Braka Miladinovci” Radovis project will conduct targeted training sessions for these individuals, designed to strengthen their information technology and job seeking skills.
8) Helping to keep the Mayan language and culture alive
Organization: Public Libraries Coordination, State of Yucatan
Brief Description: The Mayan culture and language is at risk of extinction. More than 40% of the population in the State of Yucatan is Mayan, but they face significant barriers in access to education, information and communication in their own language. The coordinating agency for the 160 public libraries in the State of Yucatan will create a digital library, “U Kuuchil Na’at” (The House of Knowledge) that will include audio, video, and visual components to ensure preservation of the culture and language of the Mayan population.
9) Library takes the lead in migrating books to a digital format best suited for the blind
Organization: Ulaanbaatar City Public Library (UPL)
Brief description: Providing educational resources for the blind is made even more difficult in a country such as Mongolia with very remote rural communities. The current services are primarily available in the capital. To address this issue, the Ulaanbaatar City Public Library (UPL) project will produce Talking Books and set up a national network of libariers for the blind in order to ensure access from all regions of Mongolia
10) Library as community catalyst to empower local arts and crafts people
Organization: Saula Public Library
Brief Description: Bungamati community is famous for traditional art and craftsmanship. The Saula Public Library program will address the needs of local arts and handicraft people to enhance their production skills and help them to reach new markets. In addition, the overall Bungamati community will benefit from the new library services such as workshops on a range of computer skills, including graphic design, and the availability of computers with internet access
11) Rural libraries bring 21st technology to the their communities
Organization: Public Library “Radislav Nikcevic” Jagodina
Brief Description: The surrounding rural villages are looking for new models to modernize agricultural production and to improve their socio-economic status. The rural libraries will support their communities by introducing new services to keep farmers informed about government subsidies and credits for the stimulation of agro-business and self-employment, marketing of local agricultural products, and rural tourism. The “AgroLib” web portal will bring together all the agricultural producers, associations and scientific organizations so that local knowledge can be shared.
12) Lubuto Library Project steps in to fill the education gap
Organization: Lubuto Library Project, Inc
Brief description: There is a critical need for means to teach all Zambian children to read in their original language that the current educational system cannot meet. The Lubuto Library Project will help to reach the growing numbers of orphans and vulnerable children (OVC), who cannot attend school, by creating early reading programs in Zambian languages through its One Laptop per Child (OLPC) Zambian Language