Centres for rural development role of librariesPresentation Transcript
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]
Scope of the paper : Information services which energize rural development
Studies have proved that information services go a long way in catalyzing rural development
Critical information requirements of rural persons
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.
Examples of information requirements for a farmer
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 -Information our libraries contain is outdated and not of much use to the poor.
- Information we have cannot be understood easily
- because of language barriers and technical details.
-Information cannot be accessed by the poor people easily; they find barriers in our libraries.
-Information in our libraries is irrelevant to a poor person.
-Our ICT applications are beyond the reach of the poor.
Village Knowledge Centres (VKC), Pondicherry
Application of ICT for providing knowledge to rural poor.
Hub and spokes model. 10 VKCs around one hub; Linked by wireless internet.
Located in schools, panchayats, temples etc.
Information required for the farmers, fishermen is collected locally and made available on daily basis.
Over 100 databases have been built locally.
Public address system is used for announcing important news.
Daily newspaper – Farmer’s Dairy.
Training programs for the women for income generation.
Online videoconferencing with government officials, medical specialists etc.
Managed by volunteers, mainly women.
Training and hardware provided by M S Swaminathan Research Foundation, Chennai. <http://www.mssrf.org/>
Volunteers and space for the VKCs are provided by the people.
Information updated over wireless network, sometimes twice a day.
Libraries have become hub of community development programs (not merely repositories of knowledge or recreation materials)
Local content is generated and disseminated, Librarians are content creators/facilitators.
Schemes have to be sustainable.
A blend of various technologies are required to suit the needs of different kinds of users
Libraries facilitate knowledge sharing, not merely knowledge finding.
Knowledge is to be presented in a way the poor can understand and take action; Work beyond traditional librarianship.
Libraries work closely with the civil society and also other organizations for resources and expertise.
Which way to go
Pilot development focused library projects.
Intensive research into the information needs of rural people
No ‘one size fits all’ approach
Information needs to be repackaged
Technology has to be appropriate to the situation
Training programmes in development information work
Develop a synergy with all organizations involved in development agenda.
“ 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”