Frequently Asked Questions - Public Library Innovation Programme FAQ's
Through the EIFL Public Library Innovation Programme (EIFL-PLIP), we enable public libraries to develop new services that use digital technology. We do this by giving small grants and by building librarians’ capacity to innovate.
In addition to providing direct support to encourage the creation of new services, we present Innovation Awards to recognize and reward successful public library services that use technology to contribute to community development.
There are more than 230,000 public libraries in developing and transition economy countries. Known and trusted in their communities and staffed by skilled librarians, they are uniquely positioned to change lives and build strong communities.
Information and communication technology (ICT) has vastly increased access to knowledge in vital development areas - agriculture, health, employment, poverty reduction, education and many others. However, public libraries in developing and transition economy countries struggle to integrate ICT into their services. Obstacles include poor telecommunications infrastructure; the high cost of hardware and software, and lack of knowledge about technology and the skills to use it.
EIFL-PLIP seeks solutions to these obstacles by supporting development of innovative public library services that use ICT, and by building librarians technology skills so that they can use ICT effectively and teach members of the community to use ICT. Our aim is to ensure that public libraries have the resources and capacity they need to improve lives in their communities.
Knowledge and information are essential for development. Public libraries are the main – often the only – places where people can go to find knowledge and information.
Today’s public libraries also provide a wide range of other services that contribute to community development. Through innovative services that use information and communication technology (ICT), public libraries are helping job-seekers find work; health workers to heal their patients, farmers to increase their yields; schoolchildren to pass exams, and more.
With ICT, public libraries are a vital link between communities and sources of information and support from government and civil society organizations.
Public libraries provide space and opportunities for people to meet and share knowledge and experiences.
Innovative public library services started with EIFL-PLIP support in 23 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America are helping people to learn new skills, find jobs, start small businesses, improve their school results, increase agricultural yields, market their products, improve their health, meet other people and connect to new sources of knowledge and information.
Replication means drawing on the vision, experience and practice of other services and creating and implementing a similar service in your community. It does not mean the exact copying of a service.
EIFL-PLIP encourages development of innovative services whose model, approaches or practices can be replicated by other public libraries. We want to test how innovative ideas travel, and find out the best ways in which libraries in different geographic and cultural environments can learn from each other.
EIFL-PLIP announces grant calls, inviting public libraries to apply for grants. We only accept applications in response to our grant calls.
We publicize our grant invitations as widely as possible, using media, our contacts, our website and social networks.
Read more about the EIFL-PLIP grants programme
The EIFL Public Library Innovation Awards recognize and reward libraries in developing and transition economy countries that use technology to offer innovative services to improve lives.
We offer awards for innovative services with different themes and targeting different communities and needs, that were started without funding from EIFL-PLIP.
Read more about the EIFL Public Library Innovation Awards.
Public and community libraries in developing and transition economy countries may enter for an award.
We define a public library as a library that is open to the general public, and which makes all kinds of knowledge and information available. The main source of funding is local/regional/national government.
We define a community library as a library which is primarily supported by community contributions, and which makes all kinds of knowledge and information available to the community