Congress theme: “Libraries Now! - Inspiring, Surprising, Empowering”

New Paths for Public Libraries in the Developing World

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Beyond Access

This session examined linkages between public libraries and development and introduced the campaign Beyond Access.

There are over 230,000 public libraries world wide. Over 70 percent of them are in developing or transitioning countries. Many of these countries suffer from social and economical problems. Beyond Access is aiming to make the public libraries dynamos for evolution and change.

The campaign was introduced by Megan Volk from IREX Global Libraries Ukraine. Volk emphasised that sustainable development in the 21st  century demands information. Therefore public libraries can play a key role in powering development.

Volk’s introduction was followed by enlightening presentations by Vesna Crnkovic from Jagodina Public Library, Serbia, Robinson Bwato from Zambia National Library, and Bashu Dev Dhungana, Nepal Community Library Association.

All the presentators emphasized that public libraries are empowering—they give hope and can inspire societies in need of social or economical change.