27 July 2018

IAP Project Report: Uruguay (2018) "Workshop on Libraries as a Social Instrument"

IAP Project Report: Uruguay 2018

Training of staff from Uruguayan public and community libraries to develop skills in gathering stories and data for use in showing how libraries contribute to the achievement of the UN 2030 Agenda Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Implementation of a Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) interface for gathering information.

What were your goals?

  • Training librarians in the skills needed to gather, analyse and publish statistics and management indicators, allowing for evidence-based information supporting the contribution of libraries to the achievement of SDGs
  • Implementation of a Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI)
  • Supplying accurate data to the IFLA Library Map of the World

How did you plan to make this happen?

The two-day "Workshop on Libraries as a Social Instrument," held at the National Library of Uruguay on 19-20 April 2018, attracted 40 participants from all over Uruguay. The workshop was conducted by governing board members of the National Library Association of Uruguay (Asociación de Bibliotecólogos del Uruguay – ABU) and an international expert on the implementation of SDI for social programmes. The workshop covered:

  1. Basic training on advocacy and United Nations 2030 Agenda
  2. Training in the gathering and use of management data
  3. Examples of SDI in practice
  4. Training on communication methods (WhatsApp and Google Groups) for future meetings of participants in remote locations

After the workshop, we sent SDI survey forms to participants, asking that they complete them.

How did it work?

The workshop was implemented as planned, with enough time for all scheduled activities. The proposed objectives were met by participants working with each activity.

How did you use communications during the project?

Different communication channels were used, including face-to-face meetings, virtual meetings, discussion lists, WhatsApp groups and social networks.

What did you learn in the process?

The project had a motivating effect, making participants eager to learn more and sharing how libraries help achieve the SDGs.

Showing participants what is possible using hands-on experience gave them the confidence to use the new technologies to share what they were already doing.

Close communications can be an invaluable tool to know the context in which each library exists and to share experiences that can be replicated.

They realised that most of their work was in support of achieving the SDGs, but they now needed the skills to tell stories promoting their work.

The main difficulty found was to collect information for community libraries in order to update the SDI and to provide the IFLA Library Map of the World with accurate information.

Most public and community libraries do not have professional librarians on their staff or financial resources to support their work. It is our belief that because of their professional training, only graduate librarians are skilled in designing and managing library services. Given the size and geography of Uruguay, sharing skilled resources on a regional basis could be a solution.

What are your next steps?

  • ​Groups in different social platforms will continue to be created as a means to keep open and fluid communication channels. This will support all participants in complying with the survey requirements about the data to be submitted to the IFLA Library Map of the World.
  • Meetings will be scheduled quarterly to follow up, exchange information and address problems that may arise within the project objectives.
  • To keep working on the regulations to implement the Public Libraries System law. 
  • To have frequent audiences with the Council of City Hall elected officials, who are the decision makers directly related to the affairs of public libraries.

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