Centres for rural development role of libraries

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Centres for rural development role of libraries

  1. 1. Knowledge for rural development : New role for libraries By Dr M Ishwara Bhat Librarian Birla Institute of Technology and Science Pilani (Rajasthan, India) PIN 333 031 Email : [email_address]
  2. 2. <ul><li>Scope of the paper : Information services which energize rural development </li></ul><ul><li>Studies have proved that information services go a long way in catalyzing rural development </li></ul><ul><li>Critical information requirements of rural persons </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>Meteorological information relating to local area; Market prices for produces; Government schemes for the poor; Cattle and feeds; Agricultural information (Disease control; Paddy cultivation methods); Availability of vaccines and medicines in health centers; Wages fixed by the government; Rules and regulations of employment exchange; Yellow pages (addresses of doctors, carpenters, masonry people, government officials etc); Bus timings; Availability of food grains in the fair price shop; Fish segregation over the coast etc. </li></ul>Examples of information requirements for a farmer
  4. 4. Traditional library services vis-a-vis Development agenda – Where is the mismatch ? -All our libraries, including digital libraries and internet serve only a fraction of human kind. -Poor people, in their struggle to keep body and soul, cannot think of information and libraries. -Information our libraries contain is outdated and not of much use to the poor.
  5. 5. <ul><li>- Information we have cannot be understood easily </li></ul><ul><li>- because of language barriers and technical details. </li></ul><ul><li>-Information cannot be accessed by the poor people easily; they find barriers in our libraries. </li></ul><ul><li>-Information in our libraries is irrelevant to a poor person. </li></ul><ul><li>-Our ICT applications are beyond the reach of the poor. </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>Village Knowledge Centres (VKC), Pondicherry </li></ul><ul><li>Application of ICT for providing knowledge to rural poor. </li></ul><ul><li>Hub and spokes model. 10 VKCs around one hub; Linked by wireless internet. </li></ul><ul><li>Located in schools, panchayats, temples etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Information required for the farmers, fishermen is collected locally and made available on daily basis. </li></ul><ul><li>Over 100 databases have been built locally. </li></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>Public address system is used for announcing important news. </li></ul><ul><li>Daily newspaper – Farmer’s Dairy. </li></ul><ul><li>Training programs for the women for income generation. </li></ul><ul><li>Online videoconferencing with government officials, medical specialists etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Managed by volunteers, mainly women. </li></ul><ul><li>Training and hardware provided by M S Swaminathan Research Foundation, Chennai. <http://www.mssrf.org/> </li></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><li>Volunteers and space for the VKCs are provided by the people. </li></ul><ul><li>Information updated over wireless network, sometimes twice a day. </li></ul><ul><li>VKCs have become hub for social gatherings. </li></ul><ul><li>Reference: </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.utsc.utoronto.ca/~chan/istb01/readings/ICTenabledknowledge.pdf </li></ul>
  9. 12. <ul><li>READ Foundation, Nepal </li></ul><ul><li>Runs 45 rural libraries in Nepal. </li></ul><ul><li>Each library has 3000 – 5000 books. </li></ul><ul><li>Has a multimedia center and 5 computers and internet. </li></ul><ul><li>Brings out newsletters and online bulletins. Subjects are : Agricultural information; Microfinance; Commodity prices; Investment etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Also audio and videos for those who cannot read. </li></ul>
  10. 13. <ul><li>Libraries also serve as hubs for many awareness camps and workshops. </li></ul><ul><li>Social services are organized in partnership with universities; civil society etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Has a sustainable economy model. </li></ul><ul><li>Library serves as a common place for women and children to sit and discuss their problems. </li></ul><ul><li>Reference: </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.readnepal.org/projects/projects2.htm </li></ul>
  11. 15. <ul><li>Boat Libraries in Bangladesh </li></ul><ul><li>Started by a NGO Shidhulai Swanirvar Sangstha in 2002. </li></ul><ul><li>Managed by volunteers. </li></ul><ul><li>Covers a radius of 240 kms of rivers, streams, and wetlands in Natore, Pabna & Sirajganj districts. </li></ul><ul><li>Shidhulai runs 21 boat libraries (besides 5 boats for agricultural training, 5 boats for healthcare, 4 boats for evening educational shows, 7 boats for holding workshops). </li></ul><ul><li>Each library has 5 computers with internet access, 1500 books, 50 periodicals and 5 newspapers. Library makes 4 stops during the day, each stay is of 2-3 hours in a place. </li></ul><ul><li>3 volunteers manage one boat library. </li></ul>
  12. 16. <ul><li>Serves 88000 families. </li></ul><ul><li>Locally produced content on Human Rights, Women’s Rights, Biodiversity, Environment etc are made available. </li></ul><ul><li>Information on agriculture, modern farming; pest management; fisheries, commodity prices are also made available on the computer. </li></ul><ul><li>Contents tailored to both literates and illiterates. Multimedia programs available. </li></ul><ul><li>70% of the beneficiaries are women. </li></ul><ul><li>Farmers send their agricultural problems by e-mail which are answered by specialists </li></ul><ul><li>Reference: </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.clir.org/pubs/reports/pub136/pub136.pdf </li></ul>
  13. 18. <ul><li>Chiwamba Community Information Center, Malawi, Africa </li></ul><ul><li>Situated about 45 kms east of Lilongwe, capital of Malawi; provides the following services : </li></ul><ul><li>Reading and borrowing; books for formal education, income generation, adult literacy and recreation. </li></ul>
  14. 19. <ul><li>Video shows offering development information, publicized through notice boards. </li></ul><ul><li>A community newsletter which is displayed in strategic locations such as churches, market places etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Literacy classes. </li></ul>
  15. 20. <ul><li>Talks and meetings by specialists in small business, agriculture, community development; health etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Games. </li></ul><ul><li>Cultural activities – drama clubs. </li></ul><ul><li>Produces locally made information materials on agriculture, health and literacy. </li></ul><ul><li>Managed by the community, with volunteers. Only one information staff. </li></ul><ul><li>Supported by IDRC Canada initially. Now managed by Malawi National Library Service. </li></ul><ul><li>Reference : http://www.bookaid.org/resources/downloads/Libraries_Literacy_Poverty_Reduction.pdf </li></ul>
  16. 21. <ul><li>Illubabor Community Library and Information Centres, Rural Ethiopia </li></ul><ul><li>12 Government reading rooms in rural Ethiopia were transformed into vibrant LICs. </li></ul><ul><li>Community LICs were linked with social development plans. </li></ul>
  17. 22. <ul><li>A vibrant civil society was formed around the LICs diversifying services to all sections of society, including semi-literates. </li></ul><ul><li>Agriculture and Health are the priority areas; besides pressing social problems such as Family Planning, HIV- AIDS, food security etc. </li></ul>
  18. 23. <ul><li>Knowledge of local people used to solve problems; traditional knowledge was shared. </li></ul><ul><li>Materials were published in local language, Oromifa. </li></ul><ul><li>For sustainability, resource generating schemes were started; </li></ul><ul><li>ICTs were introduced. </li></ul>
  19. 24. <ul><li>Lectures and workshops, literacy classes, writing contests, drama and poetry programs, cultural events and quizzes were organized. </li></ul><ul><li>Libraries have become places to encounter local action and dialogue. </li></ul><ul><li>Project supported by Oxfam, Canada. </li></ul><ul><li>Reference : http://www.bookaid.org/resources/downloads/Libraries_Literacy_Poverty_Reduction.pdf </li></ul>
  20. 25. <ul><li>What is common in all these ? </li></ul><ul><li>Libraries have become hub of community development programs (not merely repositories of knowledge or recreation materials) </li></ul><ul><li>Local content is generated and disseminated, Librarians are content creators/facilitators. </li></ul><ul><li>Schemes have to be sustainable. </li></ul><ul><li>A blend of various technologies are required to suit the needs of different kinds of users </li></ul>
  21. 26. <ul><li>Libraries facilitate knowledge sharing, not merely knowledge finding. </li></ul><ul><li>Knowledge is to be presented in a way the poor can understand and take action; Work beyond traditional librarianship. </li></ul><ul><li>Libraries work closely with the civil society and also other organizations for resources and expertise. </li></ul>
  22. 27. <ul><li>Which way to go </li></ul><ul><li>Pilot development focused library projects. </li></ul><ul><li>Intensive research into the information needs of rural people </li></ul><ul><li>No ‘one size fits all’ approach </li></ul><ul><li>Information needs to be repackaged </li></ul><ul><li>Technology has to be appropriate to the situation </li></ul><ul><li>Training programmes in development information work </li></ul><ul><li>Develop a synergy with all organizations involved in development agenda. </li></ul>
  23. 28. <ul><li>“ For those in need, access to information by itself is often not enough to solve a person’s problems. Very often the information has to be linked to action and this requires the involvement of a variety of community groups, self help organizations and the like” </li></ul><ul><li>British Librarian, Dr B Usherwood </li></ul>
  24. 29. <ul><li>Thank You </li></ul><ul><li>Email : [email_address] </li></ul>

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