List of Proposed Workshops
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Workshop Proposals 2011

 

Workshop Number: 185 Jump to report

Title: Do policymakers understand the role of libraries in mobilising the internet as a catalyst for development, innovation and freedom?

Background paper: link

Status:
ACCEPTED

Concise Description:
This workshop will discuss the findings of a recent study of perceptions of public libraries by policy makers in 6 countries in Africa. The study reveals that policy makers still think of libraries in terms of printed media, and not as spaces for catalysing internet access and use. Yet there is substantial evidence that innovative and ICT enabled public library services contribute to development. Case studies will be presented to demonstrate how some developing countries have made use of
ICTs in libraries to mobilise the internet for development. The workshop will be interactive and engage participants in helping to identify mechanisms that can convince policy makers to recognise the potential of internet in libraries to strengthen access and diversity.

Which of the five broad IGF Themes or the Cross-Cutting Priorities does your workshop fall under?
Internet Governance for Development [IG4D] (Cross cutting Priority)

Have you organized an IGF workshop before? Yes
If so, please provide the link to the report:
http://www.intgovforum.org/cms/component/chronocontact/?chronoformname=WSProposalsReports2010View&wspid=156

Provide the names and affiliations of the panellists you are planning to invite:
Moderator: Anriette Esterhuysen, Director, APC (not for profit): Panellists: Richard Atuti, Director Kenya National Library Service (government); Monika Elbert, EIFL Public Library Innovation Programme (not for profit); Geoffrey Kimani, Director of Research and Insights, TNS International (research firm); Government representative from Latin America (to be confirmed); Mervi Kultamaa, representative from government of Finland; Barbro Wigell-Ryynänen, Finnish Ministry of Education (remote speaker).

DRAFT PROGRAMME FOR THE SESSION
05 minutes Introduction by Anriette - setting the scene: why this workshop, what is the intended outcome?
15 minutes Presentation of the findings of the Study of Perceptions of Public Libraries in 6 African Countries by Geoffrey Kimani
10 minutes Examples of public libraries offering Internet based services to enable access to knowledge and building developed communities
05 minutes Government representative from the South (Latin America): how Internet enabled public libraries bridge the digital divide for communities and individuals
05 minutes Government representative from Finland: a national policy framework for public access to computing and the Internet in public libraries
05 minutes Government representative from Kenya: how Internet enabled public libraries deliver on the development agenda
Discussion
(45 minutes presentations, 45 minutes discussion)
Biographies:

Provide the name of the organizer(s) of the workshop and their affiliation to various stakeholder groups:
EIFL - http://www.eifl.net (not for profit), APC - www.apc.org (not for profit), Kenya National Library Board (Government) and TNS International (business), Government of Argentina (to be confirmed)


Organization:EIFL - Electronic Information for Libraries

Contact Person: Rosalie Lack



^Top
Report:
Reported by: Monika Elbert

Additional Documents: link

A brief substantive summary and the main events that were raised:
Evidence was presented that public libraries that offer services based on free public access to the Internet can contribute to positive change in their communities and support development goals in vital areas including health, agriculture, employment and education. However, a large majority of decision makers in developing countries, especially in Africa, see public libraries primarily as print-based educational facilities. The workshop set out to discuss how this perception can be changed: how a shared vision can be created of Internet enabled public libraries that contribute to achieving the Millennium Development Goals and how a dialogue can be created between policy makers and librarians.

Questions raised focused on the public library as a trusted place to learn about the whole world of digital information, how to harness ICT’s and the Internet for social well-being and economic livelihoods, the potential to reach out to poor and marginalised communities through the public library and help them bridge the digital divide through innovative library services, thus catalysing change.

Conclusions and further comments:
Participants at this well-attended workshop felt energized by the potential and possibilities of public libraries’ contributions to expanding and supporting internet access in ways that can directly support social and economic development. It was decided that time had come to bring the potential of Internet enabled public libraries to the various IGF fora. Policy makers at global and national level cannot afford to ignore public internet access, and libraries are an ideal venue for providing such access. The organisers of the workshop will apply to the IGF to form a Dynamic Coalition on Public Access through Public Libraries, so that the discussion can continue. The goals of this Dynamic Coalition will be:

* To place public access to the Internet through libraries on the agenda of the IGF as a cross-cutting issue on a number of IGF key themes.

* To bring library representatives into contact with policy makers in pursuit of sustainable funding and favourable policies towards libraries and public Internet access.

* To ensure that the leading global library organisations (IFLA and EIFL) are consulted on issues of Internet Governance, both within and outside of the IGF context.