I am pleased to announce that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Polish-American Freedom Foundation have decided to prolong the implementation of the Library Development Program until March 31st, 2015. Additional activities broadening the scale of the Program and consolidating its effects will be undertaken.
The extension is possible thanks to a rational management of funds provided by the Gates Foundation as well as the financial contribution made by the Polish-American Freedom Foundation.
The Library Development Program is managed by the Information Society Development Foundation (FRSI). Its purpose is to reinforce the potential of public libraries in villages and small towns so that they become active and modern centers of access to knowledge, information, culture and education.
They also offer space for meetings and events involving the local community. The Program was originally planned to run over a five-year period, until the end of March 2014, and encompass approx. 3.300 libraries from small localities.
Thanks to the extension, support will be provided to a larger number of libraries and additional activities will be offered to those already participating in the Program. At the end it is to cover c. 3.800 public libraries from rural areas and small towns (nearly 60% of the target group).
At present, 3.327 libraries from 1.107 communes take part in the Program. This year they will be joined by approx. 450 libraries from some 150 communes. The offer addressed to them will be based on the Program’s successful methodology and experiences gained in the course of its implementation to date.
Its new participants will receive equipment, including computers, printers, multi-functional devices and projectors as well as training opportunities such as workshops on planning the library’s work and a course in ICT. Also, they will be provided with the possibility to take part in a grant competition for implementation of their own projects. Recruitment is due to begin at the end of January and the beginning of February 2013.
Libraries already participating in the Program will be provided with a new training offer, including library management, organization of meetings and group work. On the basis of the training offer available so far as part of the Program, e-learning courses will be created and provided to all interested librarians.
The LABIB initiative encompassing a network of more than one hundred librarian-innovators, who create and popularize original ideas on libraries’ activities via civic portals, will be further developed. Support for attractive and modern marking of libraries in the public realm is also planned.
Libraries participating in the Library Development Program are very active. In addition to fulfilling their traditional functions such as providing access to culture and books, they are also involved in carrying out a variety of activities, including efforts to take care of child’s early education, popularization of new technologies, organization of activities for seniors and providing assistance for job seekers.Building the synergy of other initiatives undertaken by the Information Society Development Foundation with the Library Development Program will be particularly important, especially as regards the role played by new technologies in local development. Libraries can be places for promoting ICT solutions that improve the quality of services they provide to residents and centers carrying out innovative actions with the use of ICT.
In small localities, very often, they are the only place which is friendly and accessible to all residents, and hence they contribute to the development of entire communities. The extended implementation of the Library Development Program will provide libraries already participating in the Program with additional support, and those which will join the Program with the possibility to fully make use of their potential.
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