Scott Andersen - Day Two, Session Two


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Scott Andersen - Day Two, Session Two

  1. 1. Helping Bridge the Digital Divide <br />How IREX’s Biblionet Program and Romania’s Public Libraries Increasingly Afford Access to eGovernment Services to Digitally Excluded Citizens<br />
  2. 2. What is IREX?<br />IREX is an international NGO providing thought leadership and innovative programs to promote positive global change<br />Established in 1968, IREX works in Media, Education and Civil Society in more than 100 countries<br />IREX oversees Global Libraries programs in Romania, Ukraine and Moldova <br />
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  4. 4. Romania and Romania’s Public Libraries<br />Romania’s historical challenges:<br /> 44 years of autocratic dictatorship<br /> Nicolai Ceausescu’s culture of mistrust of government institutions<br /> Poor economic planning decisions <br />
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  6. 6. Romania Today<br /> European Union entry in 2007 = access to new funds and political approaches<br /> 2010 per capita income $11,500 USD<br /> Large diaspora in Spain, Italy and USA<br /> 8 million internet users (34th in the world)<br /> 2.5 million internet hosts (37th in the world)<br />
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  8. 8. Romania’s Public Libraries<br /> 50 years of neglect and isolation from their international counterparts<br /> Museum of high-end books and technical materials, with little emphasis on serving community interests<br />Only 10% of the Romanian population uses public libraries so there is no demographic to advocate for libraries<br /> Cycle of supply and demand leads to difficulty of libraries getting funds for materials <br />
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  10. 10. What is Biblionet?<br />Biblionetis a five-year, 27 million dollar project implemented by IREX with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation<br />Equip more than 2,000 Romanian public libraries with technology so citizens have better access to information.<br /> <br />Train over 3,000 librarians in how to use new technology to provide better services to library visitors, and develop new library services and advocacy skills. Establish 41 new training centers for librarians across the country.<br /> <br />Assist the capacity of the National Association of Public Libraries and Librarians (ANBPR) to advocate on behalf of libraries<br />Foster government support for the recognition of the essential role of libraries in a modern society. Afford citizens e-government services that they would otherwise be unable to access.<br /> <br />
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  12. 12. Where is Biblionet now?<br />Biblionet started with a planning grant in November 2008 and saw 12 Romanian libraries equipped with technology<br />As of August 2011, Biblionet is in all of Romania’s 41 counties, equipped 921 public libraries, certified more than 70 librarians as trainers, and has trained more than 1300 librarians in IT skills, new services development and/or advocacy <br />Additional training and equipment will be rolled out in waves over the next three years<br />
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  14. 14. Measuring Impact to date:<br />30 per cent of new library users in Biblionet libraries are first time internet users. <br />Assessed through pop-up surveys designed to gauge user – 3,625 users responded by May 2010 alone, with 47% saying they were successful is solving a personal problem at the library<br />Survey results showed changes in general library satisfaction 3,363 said library more useful <br />
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  16. 16. The European Union and Romanian eGovernment Strategies<br />The European Union defines eGovernment as using information and communications tools and systems to provide better public services to citizens and businesses.<br />Presently, the EU has devised an action plan for 2011 to 2015<br />
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  18. 18. Malmo Declaration of November 2009<br />Empower Citizens and businesses so that by 2015 50% of all citizens in the European Union and 80% of all business take advantage of eGovernment services<br />Romania 2011: Only 23% of Romanian households have a broadband connection; while nearly six out of ten Romanians have never used the Internet at all. <br />
  19. 19. Why are Romanian Libraries Uniquely Positioned to Afford Citizens E-Government Services? <br /><ul><li> Despite the current statistics related to internet usage the Romanian Government is continuously expanding online services
  20. 20. Over 2/3 of Romania’s public librarians will be trained to use computers and navigate the internet by 2013.
  21. 21. Over 2000 Romanian public libraries, in every county throughout the country, will provide free public access to the internet by 2013.</li></li></ul><li>Why are Romanian Libraries Uniquely Positioned to Afford Citizens E-Government Services? <br /><ul><li>No coherent strategy to market new eGovernment online services
  22. 22. No other nationwide systematic public network to aid in bridging the digital divide that will ultimately afford greater number of Romanians access to online services.</li></li></ul><li>Romanian Ministry of Communications and Information Society<br />
  23. 23. Romanian Ministry of Communications and Information Society<br />Local Context:<br />Roughly 2,000,000 Romanians live in Italy and Spain<br />Economic crisis has gravely affected local budgets<br />Local tax portal in existence<br />Librarians to help inform Romanians living abroad, provide training locally<br />
  24. 24. Romanian Ministry of Communications and Information Society<br />Development of Online local tax payment portal<br />Timeline:<br /><ul><li>Municipal governments January 2012
  25. 25. Town governments July 2012
  26. 26. Communal governments January 2013</li></li></ul><li>
  27. 27. The Romanian Ministry of Agriculture: The Agency for Payments and Interventions in Agriculture (APIA)<br />Results 2011:<br />1,000,000 online applications<br />17,000 applications through public libraries<br />15 – 20 Million Euros in Subsidies<br />20,000 Euros per library*<br />Average budget for a commune library 7,000 – 10,000 Euros/year<br />
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  29. 29. Thank You<br />