There's still a long way to go to bridge the digital divide between the least developed countries, where internet use is just 27%, and developed countries, where it is over 90% (ITU 2021).
Information is critical to development. The internet has become the major source of information, yet in developing countries, billions of people do not have access to the technology, or the skills, needed to get online.
The EIFL Public Library Innovation Programme (EIFL-PLIP) addresses this challenge by supporting public libraries to introduce services that use information and communication technology (ICT) to meet crucial community development needs.
We work across vital development issues, like agriculture, digital inclusion and ICT skills training, education and literacy, employment, health and meeting the needs of women and girls.
WHAT WE DO
- We spark creation of new and innovative public library services, and replication of good practices, by sharing case studies of successful public library services and supporting EIFL-PLIP grantees to present their experiences at national and international library conferences.
- We build public librarians’ capacity to develop new and innovative services that meet community needs.
- We offer international learning and networking experiences for young African public librarians to inspire the creation of new services.
EIFL-PLIP is one of the most important international library initiatives that I know of. Making it possible for libraries and librarians in over 40 transition economy and developing countries to conduct development and innovation of infrastructure and services, it has had an impact in bettering lives of local communities far beyond the resources invested.
A 2021 study conducted by IFLA and EIFL identified more than 30 countries worldwide that include libraries in their national broadband strategies and plans.