Telecentre Europe Awards 2016 WINNER Entry: Multi-Stakeholder Partnership (MSP)
Biblionet - the World in My Library
When was MSP established: 2009
Name of the leading organization: IREX Foundation
MSP contact person: Ioana Crihana, executive director
Nominated by: Ioana Crihana, executive director, the National Association of Public Librarians and Libraries in Romania
1. PURPOSE OF THE MSP
Over than 1500 public libraries have been equipped with ICT and 3000 librarians have acquired basic computer skills. By contributing to increase knowledge and use of modern IT tools, Biblionet Partners achieved and delivered training courses in e-skills for librarians and users of library services, including the supply of financial incentives for disadvantaged persons (176 vouchers for attending courses, only during the last year). In addition, the ANBPR and its Partners within Biblionet program, through the public libraries network, have popularized the benefits of ICT among its members and library users and generated a greater involvement of the civil society.
Biblionet provided hardware, software and IT support for 2,280 public libraries, for which local administrations invested $25 million to cover Internet connectivity, library renovations, and operating costs. Library directors and IT staff from local public administrations were trained to handle eventual technology upgrades. Biblionet established training centers within each of Romania’s 41 county library systems, as well as regional training centers (RTCs) in five county libraries. It also developed local abilities to design and deliver content in person and online based.
Biblionet’s curricula – centered on IT skills, library management, and new service development – received accreditation and will continue to be available through the RTCs. ANBPR benefited of several organizational capacity grants for training, study tours and national conferences and was trained to support a modernized library sector, through strategic partnerships, and developing new library services.
3. CRITICAL SUCCESS FACTORS
The Biblionet partnership structure did not exactly follow the typology and the steps of a typical public-private partnership. In Romania, there was no need for prolonged negotiations and political acceptance because from the very beginning, there was a common will and a good understanding regarding the mechanisms of the programme. The Biblionet partnership permanently put the partners in new situations, both in relation to other partners and in relation to themselves. Being a long-term partnership, the partners developed a so-called “attachment” to the mission and values of the project and, ultimately, to their co-partners and the partnership as a whole.
Biblionet involved a permanent transfer of trust between partners, where there is confidence in sharing both the costs of the investments and the risks associated with implementation activities. Fortunately, Biblionet brought together ambassadors with the same ideas and values and professionals with converging goals and missions.
The six-year Biblionet program transformed Romanian public libraries into vibrant community hubs offering new services and 21st-century technology tools. In partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, ANBPR, the Ministry of Culture, local and national governments, and public libraries across the country, Biblionet helped librarians breathe new life into Romanian communities. Biblionet equipped librarians with modern tools and techniques necessary to assess their communities’ needs and provide context-specific services that improved hundreds of thousands of lives.
Through policy change and partnership development, Biblionet transformed the libraries in key partners that contribute substantially to Romania’s development. In its effort to introduce new technologies and explain the advantages of the Internet to the roughly 11 million Romanians who have never seen the Internet, Biblionet is continuing through the ANBPR national network and its training infrastructure.
6. SOCIAL IMPACT
Biblionet facilitates free access to information of local communities by developing a modern public library system in Romania. About 3,000 public libraries nationwide already have lasting agreements and protocols with diverse entities, ranging from the central and local public administrations, NGOs etc.
Biblionet program aimed to guarantee that the public libraries would have properly trained staff to meet the challenges of the new millennia. With the right kind of investment, the Romanian public libraries have proven their ability to connect people and communities. Biblionet has promoted the development of the public library system in Romania at community level through qualified personnel, modern ICT equipment and services tailored to the current needs of users.
Social impact: improving digital skills of librarians and professionals in the ANBPR in order to become e-facilitators for e-inclusion, increase community involvement and fostering digital inclusion of vulnerable groups etc.
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