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Libraries as Third Spaces and Sustainable Development Tools: Oxford Project Southeast Asia Paper

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Paper presented at 5th Southeast Asian Symposium, University of Oxford

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Libraries as Third Spaces and Sustainable Development Tools: Oxford Project Southeast Asia Paper

  1. 1. 1 Libraries as a Sustainable Development Tool: an Integrated Framework and Strategy Quintin Jose V. Pastrana, MBA (Georgetown), MSt (Cantab), MFA (Oxon) Founder and Managing Director, Library Renewal Partnership Abstract This paper argues for two concerted initiatives. First, the affirmation and reframing of libraries as a catalyst in community development: civic or “Third” spaces that cater to lifelong learning, disaster relief, and community gatherings, as demonstrated locally and through international case studies. Second, the use of an interlocking set of adaptive frameworks of Public-Private Partnerships and Good Governance, Knowledge Hubs and Collaborative Community Clusters, and Group Development-Punctuated Equilibrium that leverage the role and potential assets of libraries as tools for addressing sustainable development challenges in the Philippines and Southeast Asia. Given the nascent stage of such an applied framework, a strategic approach will likewise need to be taken to both document and build a platform for libraries as sustainable development tools. This includes measuring current and evolving interventions versus outcomes in terms of literacy, health, and socio-economic metrics. These will not only enable policy makers and development leaders to focus and build on best practices, but will also enable the Philippines to serve as a progressive laboratory of versatile models of library and community centres that others, especially with growing regional cooperation and integration, can emulate and build on. Keywords: community libraries, public-private partnerships, governance, hubs, sustainable development “Before nationhood, the Philippines must first have an educated citizenry.” ~ Dr. Jose P. Rizal The Philippine Library and Development Environment The Philippine library system faces challenges in terms of reach, resources, and sustainability. Despite national legislation providing for their establishment and operations at the local level,1 there is only about a third of municipal, and under tenth of barangay (village) libraries serving the public, with many of these facing resource and sustainability challenges. This mirrors a larger quagmire of a persistent governance and development deficit in terms of education performance, human competitiveness, and institutional capacity to address external risks and vulnerabilities of the 21st century. For example, 92% of Filipino school children are enrolled in public schools in the country. Given the realities of a burgeoning population of over 100 million and significant youth dependence, there are about 38,600 public elementary schools and about 7,700 public high schools,2 with a severe shortage of infrastructure and resources for a growing enrollment of 21 million students and counting.3 82% of Metro Manila schools are congested, and nationwide the average of 43 students per classroom (about 80 urban areas) is thrice the maximum international standard.4 Independent 1 Republic Act No. 7743.“An Act Providing for the Establishment of Congressional, City, and Municipal Libraries and Barangay Reading Centres throughout the Philippines, Appropriating the Necessary Funds Therefor and for Other Purposes.” National Library of the Philippines website. http://nationallibraryphilippines.wikispaces.com/file/view/RA7743+with+IRR.pdf . Last Accessed 3 September 2014. 2 Department of Education. Basic Education Statistics Worksheet. http://www.deped.gov.ph/index.php/resources/facts-figures. Last Accessed 7 September 2014. 3 Ateneo Centre for Educational Development. http://www.ateneo.edu/socdev/aced. Last Accessed 5 May 2014 4 Pastrana, Dante. Dilapidated, Overcrowded Public Schools in the Philippines.. World Socialist Website. 20 June 2014 http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/06/20/phil-j20.html. Last accessed 3 August 2014
  2. 2. 2 research indicates that the Philippine public school system lacks over 150,000 water and sanitation facilities, over 13 million school chairs – and, pertinent to this discussion, over 90 million books.5 This contributes to a poor educational performance especially in the math and sciences; an appalling attrition rate, where only one of 10 who enter public elementary schooling graduate from university.6 These, in turn, translate into eroding competitiveness for the country’s economy, widening socio-economic inequality, and deterring attainment of development outcomes such as the Millennium Development Goals as indicated in Figure 1.7 Figure 1. Philippines’ Performance vs. Poverty, Education, and Empowerment-related goals8 In the case of libraries, notwithstanding the intensive efforts of the Department of Education to both form library hubs and map school libraries, there are only a little over 10,000 reading areas or functional libraries,9 which translates to roughly 22% of the overall requirement. This also reflects the earlier assertion of scarcity and low prioritization for resource allocation10 that mirrors the education system as a whole. Clearly, there is a complex, deep, and persistent challenge that requires a more strategic approach and systemic effort. 5 IBON Research Foundation. PH education: shortage of solutions? 23 September 2014. http://www.ibon.org/ibon_features.php?id=232 6 Luz, Juan Miguel Luz. The Future of Philippine Education, Educating for a Philippine Future. Presentation. Asian Institute of Management. June 2014. 7 Fifth Progress Report - Millennium Development Goals. National Economic and Development Authority. 2014. passim 8 Ibid., p. 12 9 Interview. Berame Beverly (Programme Officer), Department of Education Library Hub Central Office. 23 September 2014. 10 Totanes, Vernon . Money and Leadership : A Study of Theses on Public School Libraries Submitted to the University of the Philippines’ Institute of Library and Information Science. Public Library Quarterly 31(2). 2012. 181–184.
  3. 3. 3 Revisiting and Reframing the Library as a Development Tool The concept and role of a library faces, at the worst, an obsolescence issue; and, at the very least, an adaptive opportunity. Arguments have been made as to their questionable socio-economic value, relevance vis a’ vis the globalization and virtualisation of information and the emergence of virtual spaces or communities.11 This paper goes beyond addressing these arguments, from facing the issue of content (i.e., libraries vs. other means of information dissemination), to focusing on value creation in context (i.e., libraries as civic spaces and development platforms). It makes a robust case for a unique, public, and shared value proposition for libraries, particularly community libraries. As articulated in the following sections, public libraries have, can, and will serve as both anchors and platforms of sustainable development -- through the transcendent reality of the community as a centre for sustainable development. Public libraries, particularly in the developing world, have served at least three functions: one, to provide access to information for leaders and agents of development programs; two, to support both education programs and augment school resources; and three, to serve as centres for community, education and culture.12 Even in the developed world and post-capitalist information age, libraries go beyond basic literacy, “bridging digital divides by teaching computer skills and making databases, software applications, and Internet access available on public workstations… making information available… [More importantly], it is in providing public space for civic encounters that the public library can empower citizens to be full participants in a democratic society.”13 Given the post-economic crises environments even in developed countries, more and more sectoral leaders are championing a business case to support the preservation, let alone advancement of public libraries. A set of case studies has emerged to both position and justify the sustained presence of public libraries, which are captured in the matrix below (Figure 2): Figure 2. Case Studies for Libraries as Public Resource Country and Case Study Outputs / Outcomes / Findings Australia Victorian public libraries return Au$3.56 for every Au$1 spent ; In 2007–08, the community benefit was Au$681 million against a cost of Au$191 million, and made a significant contribution to state and local economies, supporting 4,430 jobs, contributing Au$722 million to income, and adding Au$120 million to the Victorian Gross State Product. Library customers estimated they would have to pay more than 10 times as much (an average of Au$419 per annum) if the same services were offered by a commercial provider.14 New South Wales public Libraries generated Au$4.24 of economic benefit for every dollar spent, and contributed to Au$810.2 million to the economy in real terms. Surveyed users affirmed the library 1) enhanced their quality of life and enjoyment from hobbies; 2) helped obtain information not available elsewhere; 3) facilitated lifelong learning; 4) supporter their children’s education, and 5) fostered their sense of community or belonging.15 Brazil Gentrification including establishing community libraries and centres in favelas has been associated with lower incidents of criminality, and increasing property prices above the national average.16 Egypt Digitised services from Alexandria Library have made millions of manuscripts, books, and previously censored and archived materials, accessible to the Arab and larger world and created platforms for dialogue and discussion among scholars, activists, reformers, and citizens.17 11 Molz, Redmond Hathleen and Dain, Phyllis. Civic Space / Cyberspace. The American Public Library in the Information Age. Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press. 1999. pp. 26-27, 45, 62-63, 86-87 12 Kagan, Alfred. (1982), “Literacy, libraries, and underdevelopment – with special attention to Tanzania”, Africana Journal, Vol. 13. 1982. pp. 1-23. 13 Ward, Chip. Essay. Enriched by What We Share: A Green Perspective on the Public Library as a Cultural Commons. Chapter 6. The Public Library. A Photographic Essay. Princeton Architectural Press. 2014 p. 137 14 Dollars, Sense and Public Libraries. The landmark study of the socio-economic value of Victorian public libraries. State Library of Victoria. March 2011. p. 5 15Enriching communities: The Value of Public Libraries in New South Wales. Library Council of New South Wales. March 2008. pp. i-iii 16 Watts, Jonathan. The Rio Favela Transformed into Prime Real Estate. The Guardian. 23 January 2013
  4. 4. 4 Ireland Ireland’s public library system has provided services to over 17 million visitors, who have borrowed 19.3 million books (41% information books), audio books, CDs and DVDs, and 1.9 million internet sessions provided on 2,100 internet access PCs and via free Wi-Fi. 18 Myanmar 97% of residents surveyed affirm positive impact of village libraries, despite severe limitations in terms of resources. Myanmar retains a 92.7% literacy rate, among the highest in the region, and their 55.000+ registered libraries are a main source of knowledge and community fellowship.19 South Korea A study of 22 public libraries has shown a return of investment of $3.66 for every $1 spent on public libraries (budgets).20 Uganda Partnerships through the Kitangesa Community Library using library assets, volunteers and technology transfer, have increased functional literacy, impacted ability to enter into trading businesses, added new small scale enterprises (e.g., solar charging stations based in library that provide electricity while enabling new mobile phone businesses), women’s empowerment, and small-scale farm productivity. 21 United Kingdom The British Library contributes £363 million a year to UK economy and $4.4 of economic activity generated for every $1 of budget per annum.22 UK Library services save readers an average of £2.44 per book read from avoiding purchases which can be invested in other goods or services.23 United States A national-level study shows a significant causal relationship between public libraries, literacy levels, and economic productivity measured by GDP per capita; public libraries contribute to long-term economic productivity via literacy programs.24 Illinois libraries have saved over $ 11 million (2006-2009) for subscribers through e-library consortia services.25 Seattle Public Library’s new downtown library contributed $16 million to the local economy during the first full year of operation.26 The Wisconsin Public Library System have contributed an economic impact of $753 million, returned $4.06 for every $1 spent, and generated an equivalent of 6,280 jobs, double their direct employment of 3,222 personnel.27 The Free Library of Philadelphia has generated economic value in 2010 of $3.8 million for an estimated 8,630 businesses that benefited from Free Library business development services. Homes within ¼ mile of a Library are worth, on average, $9,630 more than homes more than ¼ mile from a Library, and are responsible for $698 million in home values in Philadelphia, with additional $18.5 million in property taxes.28 17 Benejelloun, Selma. Digital Libraries as Development Catalysts in the Arab World. Workshop Paper, Digital Library for the Maghreb. 25- 27 January 2007. pp. 5-7 18 Opportunities for All - The Public Library as a Catalyst for Economic, Social and Cultural Development. A Strategy for Public Libraries 2013-2017. Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government. Republic of Ireland. 2013, pp. 9-10 19 Ninh, Kim. Myanmar’s Libraries: A Potential Catalyst for Community Development. Asia Foundation website. 5 February 2014. http://asiafoundation.org/in-asia/2014/02/05/myanmars-libraries-a-potential-catalyst-for-community-development/ Last Accessed 2 June 2014 20 Man Koa, Young; Shimb, Wonsik, Pyoc, Son-He; Changd, Ji Sang; Chunge, Hye Kyung. An Economic Valuation Study of Public Libraries in Korea. Sungkyunkwan University. pp. 1, 18 21 Dent. Frances Valeda. "Local Economic Development in Uganda and the Connection to Rural Community Libraries and Literacy," Rutgers University Community Repository. 2007. http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.7282/T3QV3JX3. Last Accessed 22 September 2014. 22Pung, Caroline, et al. Measuring the Economic Impact of the British Library. New Review of Academic Librarianship, 10(1). 2004. pp. 79-102 23 Morris, Anne; Sumsion, John; Hawkins, Margaret. “Economic Value of Public Libraries in the UK” Libri. Volume 52, 2002, p. 82 24 Liu, Lewis “The Contribution of Public Libraries to Countries' Economic Productivity: a Path Analysis.” Library Review. 53:9. 2004. 435–441. 25 Kaufman, Paula. Consortial Benefits and Approaches. Presentation. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 9 July 2012 26 Berk and Associates. The Seattle Public Library Central Library: Economic Benefits Assessment: The Transformative Power of a Library to Redefine Learning, Community, and Economic Development. 2005. http://www.spl.org/pdfs/SPLCentral_Library_Economic_Impacts.pdf. Last accessed 20 September 2014. 27 Ward, David. The Economic Contribution of Wisconsin Public Libraries. Presentation. Wisconsin Annual Public Library Conference. 1 May 2008. 28 Fels Research & Consulting. The Economic Value of The Free Library in Philadelphia. University of Pennsylvania, Fels Institute of Government. 21 October 2010. pp. 5-6
  5. 5. 5 More broadly and in terms of community building, libraries can be positioned as “Third Spaces,”29 anchors of a deeper civic interaction and engagement. The common denominator for these Third spaces, as scholars propound, are that they: …"anchors" of community life and … foster broader, more creative interaction, with the following characteristics30: 1) that they are free or Inexpensive, and accessible to the broader and more marginalized segments of society; 2) they are considered neutral ground and a leveler of social class; 3) they are wholesome and create an aspirational environment; 4) that they are considered a home away from home; and, that they 5) create a haven for regular patrons and create a culture of community and inclusiveness, beyond what is engendered by the first two spaces (home and work). This is especially relevant for the 21st century generation, where, despite the prevalence of technology, and multiple avenues for activity and mobility, there is a countervailing force and search for “community, for commitment, for contribution… [and] a social sector of community organisations to provide the requisite community services… to restore the bonds of community and a sense of citizenship…31 that facilitates [both] common living – and defines individual being.”32 The pressures of population density, commercialisation, and aggressive gentrification lead to the tensions associated with ‘contested’ public spaces, where regulations are not just the driving force, but opposition, or ‘individual acts of defiance.’33 To this end, a balanced approach toward ensuring spaces are attuned to citizens’ and users’ needs as opposed to regulatory capture by narrow interests, can mitigate or even reverse the erosion of civic spirit and inclusive community development. Critical to this thrust is the encouraging reality (borne by cross-national empirical research)34 that levels of public spending, cooperation, trust, security, and overall well-being --- building blocks of citizenship, community, and country – are lowest where income inequality is high. Libraries strategically bridge such a divide with immanent, democratic access to public space, curated knowledge, and a platform for such stakeholder collaboration, cultural cohesion, and public value. In a developing country setting like the Philippines, a library as a Third Space (characterised as being free or inexpensive, highly accessible, welcoming and comfortable, among others)35 is both relevant and salutary. Public institutions such as libraries (which have a strategic and educational component) support access to opportunity given the lack of enabling environments, communal spaces, limited government resources, as evidenced by an over 25% poverty rate (over 25 million Filipinos), 7% and 18% unemployment and underemployment rate respectively, (approximately 16 million affected),36 and yawning income inequality (especially in rural areas)37 that is among the highest in Asia.38 Furthermore, and on an aspirational level, these third, democratic, public spaces have the ‘fundamental aim… to ensconce community and arbitrate social conflict.’39 This serves as secular counterpoint to the fragmentation of interests and discourse, encouraging interaction, checks and balance, and channeling community energies into a force for inclusive development. Moreover, this is a clarion call for urban planners, local governments, and civic groups to work together to balance the risks of insecurity (violence, criminality, anarchy), with the risks of a diminished public life (socio-civic cohesion, community development, inclusive growth).40 29 Oldenburg, Ray. Celebrating the Third Place: Inspiring Stories about the "Great Good Places" at the Heart of Our Communities. Marlowe & Company. 2000. passim 30 Ganguly, Shantanu; Bhattacharya, P.K.: Vision 2020: Looking Back 10 Years and Forging New Frontiers. The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI). International Conference on Digital Libraries (ICDL) 2013. p. 217 31 Drucker, Peter. The Post-Capitalist Society. Harper Business. 1993. pp. 176-178 32 Barber, Benjamin. An Aristocracy of Everyone. The Politics of Education and the Future of America. Oxford University Press. 1992 p. 239 33 Reyes, Rowena. Public Space as Contested Space: The Battle over the Use, Meaning and Function of Public Space. IJSSH, Mar. 2016 p. 206 34 Pearce, Nick and Margo, Julia (eds.) Politics for a New Generation. The Progressive Moment. Palgrave MacMillan. pp. 131-133 35 Oldenburg, Ray. Ibid. 36 Lopez, Antonio. The Philippines is an Ampaw Economy. BizNewsAsia. Vol. 11 No. 48. 7-14 April 2014. pp. 8-10 37 Reyes, Celia and Tabuga, Aubrey. A Note on Economic Growth, Inequality, and Poverty in the Philippines. Discussion Paper Series No. 2011-30. Philippine Institute of Development Studies. December 2011. pp. 22-23, 31 38 Ordinario, Cai. Rich-poor gap in PHL could be worse–WB. Business Mirror. http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/index.php/en/news/top-news/19453-rich-poor-gap-in-phl-could-be-worse-wb. Last Accessed 12 July 2014. 39 Kostof, Spiro. The City Assembled. Little, Brown. 1992., p. 124 40 Graham, Stephen. Conference lecture: Architectures of fear. Terrorism and the Future of Urbanism in the West. CCCB 17-18 May 2007
  6. 6. 6 Libraries as a public resource can provide access not only to physical and virtual educational resources but bridge the gap of internet connectivity, as the Philippines merely has 37% of its populace connected to the web, below the worldwide average.41 Further, given the latest findings showing how physical books still outsell e-books (by 3:1),42 while providing for “deeper reading,” better comprehension and memory43, libraries can provide a healthy, balanced helping and access to multiple resources to address both knowledge and leisure demands of the community in a democratic, strategic space. Finally, as outlined in the succeeding sections, the interaction and partnerships between institutions such as businesses, schools, local government, and civic sector organisations can be convened through the library as a central institution itself. In the Philippines, thanks to Spanish, then American, colonial urban planning, libraries (or at least provisions for them in municipal buildings) become a cynosure and convergence area for these activities. This will not only foster interaction, but both a sense and platform of civic spirit and service amid increasing diversity, all within the natural inertia of community as is being undertaken in other environments through communal education, experiential learning and partnerships.44 An Integrated Approach and Development Model In developing countries like the Philippines, any development intervention must factor in the reality of resource scarcity. There is a massive shortfall of over Php187 billion or about 10 percent of the government’s budget for 2012 to implement 184 laws passed by Congress since 1994,45 which includes the Library Development Act as well as public education programs. Likewise, competition for resources and shortfalls a the local government level46 deters proper funding for critical social services in health and education, let alone legally mandated spending for public libraries. Endemic corruption at the national level results in foregone resources of over Php 357 billion annually,47 not even counting the undocumented graft across the thousands of local government units. These threaten to not only retard, but reverse development,48 bringing down with it any institutional capability or public institution that can ameliorate it. Given this, the author proposes a contingency approach of three interlocking frameworks: 1. Public Private Partnerships and Good Governance (3P2G) Public Private Partnerships (3P) A leading expert in the evolving field of P3 defines the phenomenon as “the work of combining private and public assets and aspirations to achieve purposes that are publicly valuable, through methods that are experienced as legitimate and just as well as demonstrably efficient and effective,”49 where public sector organisations “seek co-operative arrangements in which each side of the transaction can do better… than either organisation could do on its own.”50 41 UN report: Only 37% of Filipinos have Internet Access. Rappler.com http://www.rappler.com/business/industries/172-telecommunications-media/69836-un-report-filipinos-access-internet. Last accessed 23 September 2014. 42 Fallon, Claire. Print Books Outsold Ebooks In First Half Of 2014. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/06/ebooks-print-books- outsold_n_5940654.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000063. Last Accessed 7 October 2014. 43 Flood, Allison. Readers Absorb Less on Kindles than on Paper, Study Finds. http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/aug/19/readers-absorb-less-kindles-paper-study-plot-ereader-digitisation. Last accessed 3 September 2014. See Also, Murphy-Paul, Anne. Students Reading E-Books Are Losing Out, Study Suggests. http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/04/10/students-reading-e-books-are-losing-out-study- suggests/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0 . Last Accessed 8 October 2014. 44 Barber, Benjamin. Ibid., pp. 252-255 45 Romero, Paolo. Government needs P187.1 Billion to Implement 184 laws. Philippine Star. http://www.philstar.com/business/735357/government-needs-p1871-billion-implement-184-laws. Last Accessed 12 June 2014 46 Manasan, Rosario. Local Public Finance in the Philippines: In Search of Autonomy with Accountability. Discussion Paper Series No. 2004-42. Philippine Institute of Development Studies. December 2004. passim 47 Kar, Dev and LeBlanc, Brian. Illicit Financial Flows to and from the Philippines: A Study in Dynamic Simulation, 1960-2011. Global Financial Integrity. February 2014. pp. ix, 8,11, 29 48 UNDP. Fighting Corruption to Improve Governance. United Nations Development Programme, February 1999, p. 10. 49 Moore, Mark. Creating Public Value: Strategic Management in Government. Harvard University Press. 1995. Chapters 2-6. 50 Ibid.
  7. 7. 7 This underlying, alternative model focuses on a strategic triangle51 of synergistic elements: public or social value to be created (which is shared by and resonates among all stakeholders), sources of legitimacy or authority (which the public sector or local government are positioned to sustain), and the operating capability to deliver this value. Against the backdrop of a growing populace, scarce resources and spaces, and greater vulnerability to external threats, key community institutions such as the local government, schools, churches, secular and civic organisations must learn to work together to sustain local cohesion and development.. These efforts will require convergence and collaboration. The World Bank has increasingly championed PPPs in the education sector, as they both provide “alternative options for providing education [and] can facilitate service delivery and lead to additional financing for the education sector as well as expand equitable access and improve learning outcomes.”52 The library, with its physical space, strategic location, democratic character, and mission for public education and civic cohesion is the ideal candidate for such synergies and collaboration53 to occur. In this case, and as further demonstrated in the succeeding pages, the library as a public institution under the local government possesses legitimacy and reach, especially if located near central facilities such as the municipal buildings, which are in turn located near public plazas, churches, museums and others. This serves to guarantee a critical mass of citizens who may be encouraged to patronise the library services once established in the area. Yet, in terms of operating capability especially in less robust local governments (e.g., 3rd to 5th class municipalities), public libraries will likely require support from the private and civic sector in terms of quality collections, and best practices for administrative efficiency and service delivery. Civic and private organisations, in turn, can underwrite or provide the existing infrastructure, base funding (such as library staff and overhead provided by law), strategic location, and potential to add public, shared value (from financial returns and fiscal accountability to governance or service delivery synergies54), will be encouraged to engage the local governments rather than “reinventing the wheel” in setting up a similar facility that may not be economically viable or sustainable. Good Governance (2G) With continuous institutional interaction among civil society, government, and citizens (and the market) -- considered as “three nodes of networked governance”55 -- there may be enough dynamism to foster greater transparency and improved checks and balance. This in turn enables proper allocation of funds as well as greater accountability toward public service delivery from health care to library services. A common example is provided by the experience of a 2nd class municipality in Panay Island. Municipal councilors had, as standard practice, realigned and appropriated the town library budget for “information technology improvements,” which to the uninitiated may appear to be valid and give the impression of an investment in IT-related infrastructure such as wi-fi or optical fiber. It was used, in fact, as a budget for purchasing the latest mobile phones for the councilors themselves.56 Once a PPP approach was applied where a non-profit (i.e., Library Renewal Partnership) worked with champions in the local government and Congressional district, as well as rallying support through media and other peoples’ organisations, a new library was finally established, budgets properly allocated, patronage for the library swelled 51 Moore, Mark and Khagram, Sanjeev. On Creating Public Value. What Business Might Learn from Government about Strategic Management. Working Paper No. 3. Kennedy School of Government. Harvard University. December 2004..pp. 2-3 52 Patrinos, Harry Anthony; Barrera-Osorio, Felipe; Guáqueta, Juliana. The Role and Impact of Public-Private Partnerships in Education. The World Bank. 2009. pp. 1-3, 43 53 Mendel, Stuart and Brundey, Jeffrey. PPPs: How Nonprofit Organizations Create Public Value. Paper ARNOVA Annual Conference, Nov 14, 2012 , p. 3 54 Ibid., passim 55 Benington, Joseph. “From Private Choice to Public Value?” in Benington, Joseph. and Moore Mark. (eds.), Public Value: Theory and Practice. 2011. Palgrave MacMillan. pp. 34-35 56 [Librarian and Municipal Councilor]. Personal Interviews. December 2009. Name withheld for security purposes as interviewee was a member of the local government in question and was witness to critical incidents.
  8. 8. 8 in terms of visitors and subscriptions, and the very politicians who diverted these funds are now claiming credit for the establishment of this institution.57 2. Hub and Spoke - Collaborative Community Clusters (KH&3C) Hub and Spoke (H&S) for Knowledge A knowledge society, which is the destination and thrust of developed and developing nations alike, needs organisations, hubs, and clusters to align into an “architecture… [where] the institutions of communication and the type and intensity of knowledge flows (knowledge sharing), based on the formal and informal interaction between persons and organisations.”58 These networks and communities have already been identified by think-tanks, governments, and multilateral agencies in regions such as Southeast Asia, and positioned as centres for development, given the proven and underlying relationship between knowledge and development.59 Such a concept can be complemented by a Hub & Spoke60 application, where a community hub and public space can serve as a central resource to different nodes or semi-autonomous entities which deliver services in a reliable manner while being responsive to local needs. This is ripe for application in the library system given its logistical issues and architecture. Further, a modular approach can be used in communities where provinces, cities, or municipalities can position their central (i.e., most equipped) libraries as a resource for development of other branches to maximise reach while economizing on costs, while enabling greater collaboration among different sectors of the community to achieve socio-economic and political cohesion. This has been illustrated and applied in the case of the Department of Education’s Library Hub project, which currently has over 200 centres providing books and education materials to different public school districts with the support of private and corporate sponsors. While this is a noble and innovative application of the cluster and hub-spoke model, the inherent limitations include the lack of enabling legislation to sustain counterpart funding and staffing, lack of central, accessible locations for a reading public, and its decidedly narrow scope to cater to students and not the wider community.61 Public libraries, in contrast, can grow more sustainably with their mandated government funding, and complement these current school hubs with value-adding features such as a more accessible, strategic location, more diverse collections, and a more conducive environment for learning and public discourse inherent in a community library system. Community has been defined as a “bridge between the most fundamental unit of society, the family, and the broader society, as defined by city, state, and nation… [ensuring citizens] learn enough to become informed voters, decent citizens, productive taxpayers, and full participants in a future economy.”62 This progressive definition further validates the recommended focus on public libraries as strategic investments and loci for community development efforts, while enabling opportunities for other community institutions to collaborate toward shared and public value. The Gates Library foundation, the leader in this field of private philanthropy, has repeatedly affirmed their thrust and rationale for supporting public versus school libraries as essential community institutions. First, [public libraries] provide an environment for lifelong learning. Second, they are accessible to children and adults outside school, after class and 57 Ibid. 58 Evers, Hans-Dieter. Knowledge Hubs and Knowledge Clusters: Designing a Knowledge Architecture for Development. Centre for Development Research (ZEF). University of Bonn. 2008. pp. 8-9 59 Ibid., pp. 17-18 60 An, Yu; Zhang, Yu; Zeng, Bo. The Reliable Hub-and-spoke Design Problem: Models and Algorithms. Optimization Online. May, 2011. http://www.optimization-online.org/DB_FILE/2011/05/3043.pdf. Last Accessed 2 March 2014 61 Walangsumbat, Lorena (Division Library Hub Coordinator). Overview of the Library Hub Project. Bringing Books to Public Schools Nationwide. Presentation. Department of Education. http://www.fnf.org.ph/downloadables/Library-Hub.pdf. Last accessed 18 August 2014. Also, Interview. Beverly Berame. Programme Officer, Department of Education Library Hub Central Office. 23 September 2014 62 Hill, Paul; Pierce, Lawrence; Guthrie, James. Reinventing Public Education. How Contracting can Reform America’s Schools. Chicago University Press. 1997. pp. 58-59.
  9. 9. 9 work hours, on weekends and breaks. And third, they are staffed by professionals “whose mission it is to guide people to the resources they need,” regardless of medium.63 Notwithstanding the globalization of information, interaction, and movement, there is growing recognition of the community as a centripetal force for development. A leading social entrepreneur and information architect has posited that “progress toward an equitable Information Age will not be measured by the number of people we can make dependent on the Internet. Rather, it is the reverse. It is measured by the number of local systems we can build, using local resources to meet local needs.”64 Another chronicler of cyberspace has presciently posited that, “the more electronic communication expands and diversifies our circle of contacts, the more we’re going to want to meet ‘in the flesh.’”65 Beyond their virtual and metaphysical pull, and as supported by aforementioned economic studies, libraries are being reconceived and planned as “civic magnets.” A new social thrust underpins library development efforts as cornerstones to urban renewal, and interiors are increasingly being reconfigured66 to provide meeting rooms, day care facilities, art exhibit areas, and even retail – with souvenir and coffee shops drawing and keeping the patrons in. As a case on point, cutting-edge libraries such as the recently launched 240,000 sq. ft. Calgary lending library (twice the size of its predecessor), dubbed the “Apple Store of Libraries,” has been designed and is positioned to serve as an event space and social hub apart from its core literacy functions. This presents itself as the best incarnation of future libraries which are already “no longer just about circulating books,” with library design becoming more “people-centric…creating appealing, comfortable gathering spaces where people want to hang out.”67 On the issue of technology and content, the corollary, “thinking local, acting global” is being defined by libraries today, with local centres going beyond providing internet services to patrons, and serving as beacons and repositories of their communities on the World Wide Web. The democratizing force of technology has enabled libraries to adapt and offer its wares to a global audience – through digitised research materials, curated information and support, and links to other community resources --- from investment-related entities to tourism, socio-economic, cultural and historical resources.68 Municipal or town libraries are considered strategic given their affinity with communities and clusters of manageable proportions compared to city, provincial, or regional libraries. This, in turn, makes the library more responsive to community needs, optimises their reach, and enables more effective resource generation given the favorable access to and scale of decision makers.69 This held-out promise of collaboration within loosely-bound clusters of community residents is not just aspirational. It is in our very nature, as evolutionists have proven has endured. As one of the few “eusocial species,” human beings are unique in that they form communities --- where members of and across multiple generations share in accepted divisions of labor, and where altruistic acts are not only a norm, but also a guarantor of survival and progress.70 Beyond platitudes, a nation such as the Philippines needs to foster such collaboration at tangible units of communities to achieve, as Dr. Rizal envisioned, a true sense of nationhood; or for our civilization to survive, as H.G. Wells starkly put it, “[the] race between education and catastrophe.”71 In similar countries and counties, where inequality (and inequitable access) persists regardless of economic progress, it becomes more critical to provide “open, non-judgmental access to collections and services without regard to race, citizenship, age, educational level, economic status, religion, or any other qualification or condition” 72 as one library system has enshrined. 63 Gates Library Foundation. Frequently Asked Questions page. Website. <http://www.glf.org/faq.html> Last accessed 28 July 2014. 64 Grundner, Tom. “Seizing the Infosphere: Toward the Formation of Public Cybercasting.” in Doheny-Farina, Stephen. The Wired Neighborhood. Yale University Press. 1996. p. 125. 65 Molz, Redmond Hathleen and Dain, Phyllis. Civic Space / Cyberspace. The American Public Library in the Information Age. Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press. 1999. pp. 187-192 66 City Libraries: Vancouver, Phoenix, Denver, Paris, San Antonio. Architecture Magazine. Volume 84. October 1995. p. 55 67 Ferro, Shaunacy. This is The Apple Store of Libraries. Fast Company. http://www.fastcodesign.com/3036322/this-is-the-apple- store-of-libraries. Last accessed 30 September 2014. 68 Molz, Redmond Hathleen and Dain, Phyllis Ibid., p. 207. 69 Ibid., p. 211 70 Wilson, Edward. The Social Conquest of Earth. W. Norton & Company. 2012. passim 71 Wells, H.G. The Outline of History : Being a Plain History of Life and Mankind. Volume II. Garden City Books. 1920 p.504 72 King County (Washington) Library System. The Year 2000 Plan. 1994. p. A-1
  10. 10. 10 Amid newer alternatives of, and beyond their role as information sources, libraries can more effectively as democratic venues for self-improvement and assimilation into society, critical to bridging equality and opportunity gaps to provide, “public space for civic encounter…[to] empower citizens to be full participants in a democratic society.73 The case for community libraries, particularly for those at the municipal level, is further made through the numbers (See Figure 3). Building on the above analyses, the table below illustrates that the more feasible target for intervention is at the municipal level for the following reasons: First, municipal libraries are both geographical intermediaries between barangays and provinces, and are accessible given their location. Second, municipal governments have sufficient funding and appropriations for library services that, however, scant, can be complemented and enhanced through the integrated model outlined in this paper. Third, as the data shows, a strategic intervention at the municipal level will result in more immediate and more effective results given the relatively fewer number of libraries needed to be developed to reach the mid-way transition point to derive the punctuated-equilibrium and network effects from the proposed model. Figure 3. Public Libraries in the Philippines Collaborative Community Clusters (3C) and Resource optimisation An earlier paper74 has outlined an expanded matrix of potential resources for library development that go beyond the limited public funding and sustainability challenges of motu propio approaches (where private sector philanthropy underwrites and manages library development). This approach (See Figure 4) contains the hallmarks of a public-private partnership and cluster model for building these community centres. The latter’s capital costs can run up to Php 20 million on average, with annual overheads and procurement of Php 600,000- Php 1 million,75 if built from scratch and without optimizing resources as both papers recommend. Figure 4. Resource Contribution Matrix76 LGU NGOs Citizens Donors/Corporations Overseas community Infrastructure Land, building Land, labor Construction costs Construction costs, land and building Overhead/ Personnel Utilities, staff salaries Training Volunteers, food, outsourced business Funding, training Funding Books and fixtures Shelves desks Books., computers Books, computers & funds Books, Computers & funds Books, Computers & funds 73 Ward, Chip. Ibid., p. 137 74 Pastrana, Quintin. Strategic Alliances: Delphi Study for a Library Renewal Action Plan. Paper submission to International Management Programme. Oxford and Georgetown University. Corpus Christi College. August 2007. 75 Ibid., p.7 Amount escalated based on author’s computations on current rates. 76 Ibid., p. 8.
  11. 11. 11 Beyond donations, corporations and local businesses can sponsor vocational, livelihood and technical seminars that advance their corporate responsibility thrust, employment and supply chain requirements, overall reputation and social license to operate. This not only addresses the reality of limited resources especially for schools, but also fully aligns with the revolutionary concept of Shared Value,77 which leading organisations in the public and private sphere are adopting given its synergistic approach in terms of business and social outcomes. Schools and libraries, for example, can work on aligning their respective roles as companion institutions, by establishing reciprocal arrangements and cooperative mechanisms for sharing resources and collections for students and citizens, joint planning for school-related community activities (especially with schools performing more outreach), and outlining these in formal agreements78 over the long-term to ensure continuity, reach, and sustainability. This can be seen in the case of Florida, where county library systems, which not only aggregate relevant information on and for state residents, but also provide library services to nearby universities. For example, 70 public libraries link up with 100 academic libraries to cater to the state’s 28 public community colleges, 10 public universities, and over 50 private colleges and universities; there are also 6 regional multi-type library cooperatives (MLCs), which provide support and coordination for resource-sharing, training, and technology. 79 On a more local level, Florida’s Broward County library serves as the primary library for the Fort Lauterdale campuses of two private universities.80 Nearby, and on a more simple scale, the University of Georgia and the State’s Public Library system maintain partnership to provide access to combined resources and materials for state residents and visitors.81 Libraries can also enter into partnerships with other civic institutions such as churches, civic organisations, and literacy- related efforts (i.e., reading clubs and storytelling projects) for the use of their facilities for as long as it serves to improve community collaboration while enhancing economic self-sufficiency of the library. Written policies and separate governing agreements can be structured to outline roles and responsibilities and other boilerplate requirements such as possible charges, support services, time sharing arrangements, and usage priorities.82 Toward this end, library administration and management (whether public or private) will need to proactively develop and update institutional guidelines83 or even an enterprise plan to outline and govern key items such as: Objectives, Scope of Services, Budgets, Personnel (in-house/volunteers), Book Selection, Technology adoption and Innovation, Institutional Partnerships, Public Affairs, Usage, and other services as befitting an evolving, modern public institution. A summary of this is outlined further in Figure 5 and currently adopted by organisations such as the Library Renewal Partnership. Figure 5. Library Development Template84 Hardware Software Land and Building - donated by LGU (from non-performing assets) - preferably near plaza/accessible to schools - @ least 75 sq. m. - donations from private sources given tax-free status - electrical utilities and fixtures - internet cable provisions - electric fans; optional: air conditioning (computer section) - Optional: children’s section & reading room Overhead** - Library Staff salaries and training - Internet service fee - Utilities * from LGU education budget, Utilities can be gradually shouldered by social enterprise; if schools outsource libraries to LRP centre, can charge a fee to defray/offset overhead. Book & Media volumes** 80% Books: 20% CDs and DVDs 60% global; 40% local publications (including community-based writers or artists) Can also design mobile library services for remote villages or schools Internet/Intranet Service - DSL/broadband (with tailored content) - interconnection (negotiated rates with ISP) - link-up with national e-Library (www.elib.gov.ph) or international library (e.g., SF Library) 77 Porter, Michael and Kramer, Mark. Creating Shared Value. How to Reinvent Capitalism—and Unleash a Wave of Innovation and Growth. Harvard Business Review. January–February 2011. passim 78 Young, Virginia. The Library Trustee. A Practical Guidebook. American Library Association. 1988. pp. 175-177 79 Standards for Florida Public Libraries. Florida Library Association updated April, 2010 p. 5 80 Molz, Redmond Hathleen and Dain, Phyllis. Civic Space / Cyberspace. The American Public Library in the Information Age. Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press. 1999. p. 193 81 GeorgiaPublicLibraryService.http://www.usg.edu/inst/profile/georgia_public_library_service . Last Accessed 7 May 2014. 82 Ibid., pp. 177-179 83 Ibid., passim 84 Pastrana, Quintin. Ibid., p. 9.
  12. 12. 12 Net of online database (see next column) - LGU IT technician as shared resource - Optional: free terminals (rotating usage i.e., 15 min.) - Intranet or virtual catalogue can be implemented to ensure efficient tracking and updating of library collections Fixtures: General Circulation - c/o LGU funds (education budget) Reserve Section (naming rights to 70% donor) - For special books specified by donors - shelves to be shouldered by donors (naming rights) Multimedia room - CD and DVD collection with A/V player - donated by community or local media station Meeting Room - for small libraries, can be created with modular shelves - for functions, seminars, paid events (see Social Enterprise Project) Library Committee** - Board Structure (4 community members) + - LGU Committee on Education (Councilor) - Librarian - local DepEd official to align w/schools - Friends of Library (Overseas) as ex-officio - Determined and manages annual Library Development Plan - Provides volunteers to augment library staff Computers & Desktop publishing (donated) - Internet-ready and networked (w/ e-catalogue) - Min. 3 desktops, net of librarian’s (per 50 sqm) - Printer - Photocopier - Scanner Can serve as Social Enterprise Project (see next column) Social Enterprise Project** - desktop publishing services - product sales from local handicrafts (link with the Trade and Investment Department) - domestic/Int’l tourism oriented product sales - on the job training for students - internet café (w/subsidised access rates) - community volunteers to optimise overhead - % proceeds donated to library budget - Hosting fees (internet training workshops and seminars) Display Wall** - Friends of Library Plaque (c/o Library Committee) - Art donations by local artists or patrons - Hero of the month (can be written by local student) - Philippine and provincial/local map - No picture of politicians if possible Programmed Activities** - sponsored & organised by local NGO - continuing education & after-school tutoring - % sharing with library budget, social enterprise revenues, and NGO funds - facility for Synergeia training sessions ** to be outlined in the Library’s Annual Development Plan (template c/o Library Renewal Partnership) 3. Group Development-Punctuated Equilibrium (GDPe) The concepts of applied physics, evolutionary biology, organisational development, psychology, and sociology, also come to the fore as a useful framework not just for organisational development but for promoting growth. Group Development (GD) and Community Clusters Library development in a particular community will necessitate stakeholder engagement and collaboration. Such an effort will likely undergo stages similar to group development where the abovementioned clusters, in developing libraries through public-private partnerships, evolve and progress through stages of non-cooperation (forming, storming) to cooperation (norming, performing),85 where acceptance and the library becomes a legitimate institution that is less vulnerable to politics, corruption, and discretion and is patronised by increasing numbers in the community. Punctuated Equilibrium (Pe) and Library Development Transposing the Punctuated Equilibrium model (as seen in organisational behavior research),86 one can also apply these findings to a macro-strategy expanding libraries across different communities. One key innovation is to apply the concept of a “midway transition point” beyond temporal terms (i.e., time periods and deadlines, which are only good from an internal planning perspective as in the case of the Library Renewal Partnership – see succeeding section) and into work output. For example, and using the assumption of starting with municipal libraries as the locus of strategic intervention, one can project that the adoption or development rate of public libraries as community centres will increase once it reaches the halfway mark of 750 libraries (See Figure 3, p. 9). 85 Tuckman, Bruce. "Developmental Sequence in Small Groups" Psychological Bulletin. Volume 63 (6). 1965. pp. 384–399 86 Gersick, Connie. Marking time: Predictable Transitions in Task Groups. Academy of Management Journal, Volume 32. 1989. pp. : 277- 304. See Also, Gould, Stephen Jay, & Eldredge, Niles). “Punctuated Equilibria: the Tempo and Mode of Evolution Reconsidered." Paleobiology 3(2): 1977. pp.115-145.
  13. 13. 13 This, in effect, would build on the intra-community strategy of public-private partnerships and knowledge hubs and spokes; and, in turn, be leveraged as an inter-community strategy for scalable replication across the Philippines or even Asian region. Case Study: The Library Renewal Partnership In summary, the Library Renewal Partnership (LRP)87 is a coalition of literacy providers that has grown from the foregoing frameworks to shape an enabling environment for partnerships at the community level, and interdependence across communities as synergistic building blocks of national, sustainable development model. LRP has an adaptive and integrated enterprise model that enables it to address unique community (and sub-community) requirements and realities. At the same time, this model enables LRP to leverage opportunities for standardisation to scale up operations and maximise outreach to communities across the Philippines and eventually the region. This approach is illustrated in the following diagrams (i.e., 3P2G-KH&3C-GDPe): LRP’s PPP approach enables not only optimal resource sharing (government authority as a platform for private sector capacity building and innovation toward good governance and a raft of complementary social outcomes. 87 As a declaration of interest, the author is the founder and managing director of the Library Renewal Partnership. For more information, visit www.librarypartners.com. Last accessed 24 September 2014.
  14. 14. 14 Using the Hub and Spoke model, institutional collaboration among key stakeholders to deliver social services such as knowledge transmission and social cohesion at the community level. This serves as the nucleus or DNA of all others communities that naturally interconnect -- through technology and network effects -- providing a more sustainable approach for nation-building. LRP’s focused intervention and key result areas for social change, now borne by experience, is an affirmation of human nature writ large. Underlying realities of Group Development dynamics, and Punctuated equilibrium enable sectoral leaders to project replication rates, scalability, and sustainable development outcomes.
  15. 15. 15 The LRP uses the integration of the above models while benchmarking with other related literacy NGOs or programmes within the Philippines or the international community.88 That the LRP is an outcome and direct application of the aforementioned integrated framework enables it to synthesise the best elements of these benchmarks, while improving on their inherent and empirical limitations to offer a strategic and sustainable value proposition. One set of value propositions is a focus on SMART89 objectives. After experimenting with different levels of intervention since 2005, LRP has gravitated toward the strategic starting point of municipal libraries as hubs and spoke while positioning for network effects (i.e., punctuated equilibrium midway transition) through a more manageable target of at least 200 libraries by the year 2020. It has also developed standard governance agreements among partners and beneficiaries that incorporate international best practices to ensure continuity and sustainability. Further, and anticipation of sustained and robust expansion, LRP has adopted an open-source platform and coalition overseas (UK, US, Australia, Singapore) and domestically (leading publishers and literacy providers), including the World Economic Forum Global Shapers, the San Francisco Public Library, 7 Degrees of Change (USA), Mano Amiga Academy, Araneta Social Development Foundation, the Asia Society, Synergeia foundation, National Bookstore and Anvil Publishing, Adarna Books, and Bato Balani Foundation. Further, LRP’s supply chain approach and experience, network and expertise ensure that libraries are developed within a 2- month average turnaround time (down from 12 months from LRP’s pilot experience in 2008) once an agreement has been signed with a partner community, and at the lowest cost among alternatives (See Figure 6) . This integrated approach not only generates economies of scale and optimal resource allocation, but more importantly, catalyses an enabling environment for community cohesion, cooperation, and capacity building for other development outcomes.90 As a case in point, communities with LRP engagements have improved collaboration and responsiveness among government personnel, NGOs and volunteer organisations, contrasted with hitherto stovepipe initiatives and suspicion.91 Figure 6. LRP Supply Chain Model Source: Library Renewal Partnership 88 Pastrana, Quintin.. Ibid., pp. 6-7 89 Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound. 90 Pastrana, Quintin. Ibid., p. 9 91 Melgarejo Juliet (Kalibo Municipal Librarian) and Helen-Marte Bautista (San Francisco Public Library Commissioner). Interview. June 2008, August 2014.
  16. 16. 16 Since 2008, LRP has partnered with community stakeholders to build and strengthen over 150 partner libraries (as of April 30, 2016), which are part of the new libraries registered with the National Library. Moreover, library development has progressively exceeded the 10-year 20% uptake indicated in Figure 1. Public library development under the LRP’s programmes, has gone from 5 libraries per year from the 2010-2012 period to about 8 libraries in 2013, and doubled to 16 libraries by 2014, and over 35 as of end-2015.92 This not only reflects the efficacy of the integrated enterprise model outlined earlier, but more importantly the network effects of increased collaboration with both resource (supply) and community (demand) partners, with increased social media, institutional brand and resource alliances with civic groups such as Rotary, LBC foundation (for logistics), and recognition by international and local institutions such as CNN, Library Journal, and others. That the LRP has surpassed its mid-way target ahead of schedule is not a feat unto itself, but a critical milestone that empowers the system to finally fill the institutional gaps at the provincial and barangay level. Furthermore, it proves the model can and should be adopted by other social enterprises in other sectors or countries that are seeking strategic solutions to systemic problems. In the Philippines, the definition of communities had been redefined into smaller units and sub-cultures, and this is a focal point for the next stages of expansion for the LRP. In addition to its thrust of partnering with local government to develop municipal libraries, LRP has also ventured into innovative partnerships to serve these sub-communities, including the following 10 (ten) examples:  A library in the Maxim Security Penitentiary at New Bilibid, Muntinlupa in partnership with RockEd foundation, which not only supports inmate rehabilitation but also promotes resources for small enterprise and the arts.  A barangay library in Navotas, Quezon City as a centrepiece of an informal settler program by the city government and congressional office.  A high school library in Hindang, Leyte, which has opened its services to the community and served as a shelter during recent tropical cyclones.  3 kiosks (books and toys) in the Philippine General Hospital, primarily for the Pediatric and Internal Medicine wards in partnership with the Philippine Toy Library, and 1 children’s reading room at the Philippine Heart Centre.  A museum library in Laoag, Ilocos Norte in partnership with the Ablan Memorial foundation.  An integrated school library with special education (SPED) certification for disadvantaged learners in Kalibo, Aklan  Over a dozen public and private school libraries with the condition of these libraries being open to the public after school hours and on weekends.  A farm and social entrepreneur training library in Angat, Bulacan in partnership with Gawad Kalinga.  A mobile library in Marawi, seat of the Bangsamoro, with Soar High foundation and Mindanao State University.  Coming full circle, a reading corner and mobile library (the first of many) in Binan, Laguna Library Hub (the largest of its kind), in partnership with the City Government, private benefacors, and the Department of Education. These innovations allow a more organic and adaptive approach to community-based education, while ensuring alignment with standards of quality control and sustainability. At a recent conference at the University of Oxford, 93 LRP proponents presented this paper at a panel, as well as ran a workshop at the 5th Project Southeast Asia Symposium, and received firm offers of interest from representatives of 4 countries (Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, and Myanmar) to pilot community libraries in 2016-2017. With this expansion, and a recently forged partnership with the Philippine Librarians Association, Inc. (PLAI), a leading regional source of best practices for literacy and development, LRP are now identifying both leading and lagging indicators to sustain LRP’s enterprise model and impact. (See Figure 7): Southeast Asian libraries have had a long history dating back to the 9th century, with ostensibly religious and scholarly traditions.94 With the advent of their national library systems in the 20th century, and various initiatives from community- based literacy – from reading gardens in Indonesia, literacy festivals in Vietnam, to story-telling competitions in Brunei, 92 Internal data and projections. Library Renewal Partnership. Updated as of 12 September 2014. 93 LRP m (http://projectsoutheastasia.com/) on expanding the LRP model to the region,. 94 Choh, Ngian Lek. Libraries in Southeast Asia : A Force for Social Development! IFLA WLIC 2013. 16 August 2013. passim
  17. 17. 17 and mobile and roadside libraries in Thailand and Myanmar95, respectively, there is a hitherto unexplored community of best practices that can be documented, synthesised, and cross-fertilised across other countries in a region where stark asymmetries in socio-economic development prevail. The challenge will be to adapt and build an open-source platform for collaboration, with economies of scale and scope through an expansion of providers and local partners in each other ASEAN countries, while aligning with local cultural sensitivities and their unique history and trajectories for literacy. The thrust and imperative, however, has never been stronger: with the recognition of the need to prepare for growing regional cooperation and integration through the Asean Economic and Cultural Community, and the need for a global mindset where multiculturalism and English as a language of trade and cooperation, this provides a common entry point for an growing and organic social enterprise such as the Library Renewal Partnership. Figure 7. Potential Development Outcomes from Public Libraries and Community Centres *To be further developed in coordination with LRP Partners, the National Library, universities, and development agencies. Source: Library Renewal Partnership A key tenet of the proposed framework beyond PPP, and a networked approach – is the need for leadership that emanates from the centre i.e., the librarian, will need to be shared by all sectors involved. The dynamism and implications of the digital age, global connections, and multiple alternatives makes this even more vital to ensure that change is harnessed by this enduring institution for the betterment of the communities they serve.96 In a seminal case study of two neighboring public school libraries, the key difference for success was the leadership role assumed by the librarian, who “enjoyed the confidence of the school principal, district supervisor, and even the mayor.97 With the entry of the private sector through PPPs, and with the adoption of integrated approaches as outlined above, the issues of reach, governance, and sustainability will be progressively addressed. 95 Ibid. 96 Molz, Redmond Hathleen and Dain, Phyllis. Civic Space / Cyberspace. The American Public Library in the Information Age. Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press. 1999. pp. 214-215 97 Totanes, Vernon . Ibid.. 184–187 LRP: 5 Success Outcomes* Short-term (1-3 years) Long-term (6-10 years) Direct Indirect Literacy Improvement (c/o Synergeia, DepEd) Reduced Criminality (c/o Phil. National Police) Employment and Livelihood Generation (c/o Dept. of Trade) Community Development Activities (c/o Synergeia) Increased Library Usage Rates (c/o National Library)
  18. 18. 18 Conclusion and Areas for Action A recent international columnist noted that the “Great Experiment – the attempt to create a big, educated, multi-racial, multi-faith democracy that is not divided by oligarchic gaps between rich and poor --- it still hanging in the balance.”98 He was referring to the United States of America, where public institutions are both facing and adapting to socio- economic, technological, and existential challenges. He could as well be referring to any country where civic space is being shrunk and privatised, while inequality worsens and communities are riven by the same forces. This common challenge is not only shared, but offers along with it a similar solution. Libraries, as shared institutions and among “the last free spaces we have left… are locally governed and tax-supported, dispens[ing] knowledge and information throughout the country for everyone at no cost to its patrons… is a thread that weaves together [a] diverse and often fractious country… a shared commons of our ambitions, our dreams, our memories, and ourselves,”99 as a recent tribute to this enduring phenomenon declares. One of the key action items giving the evolving nature, role, and even form of public libraries, as the LRP experience demonstrates, is the need to incorporate both a monitoring and evaluation mechanism to measure clearly defined indicators --- both organisational outputs and socio-economic outcomes that better illustrate public value,100 or the dual impacts (between social and business outcomes) measured by Shared Value. Because of the multi-faceted potential and roles public libraries can bring to communities and countries, such indicators will need to be versatile, relevant, and concrete. There is a small, but growing body of research that will need to be expanded beyond the initial studies outlined in Figure 2. These span from livelihood indicators as propounded in the Uganda examples, to researching health outcomes such as improved recovery periods for patients who avail of reading services in hospitals as is being done with music and audiobooks,101 and incipient book lending programs.102 These can also build on scorecards by local governments on public service delivery -- which includes meaningful targets library services as is being done in New Zealand.103 Such efforts will require multiple stakeholder support that may appear daunting at the beginning. But, as development frameworks suggest and empirical evidence and experiences demonstrate, these are progressively possible over time. The public library fits neatly at the centre of these development prospects and efforts, and the librarian will be the driver of this noble effort to not only build on, but learn and replicate these successes, in partnership with the agents outlined earlier. These will not only chart the direction for libraries (and similar public institutions) to venture towards. They will also justify the investment of the level of resources, collaboration, and commitment to achieve the greater good. Such “Proofs of Concept” will serve as a bedrock for other organisations, communities, and countries to adopt and apply similar approaches to generate even broader and deeper outcomes beyond these initial steps and results. That the frameworks, jargon, and notions appear familiar to local readers is by no means an accident. Underling these distilled frameworks and managed complexities is something visceral and waiting to be harnessed. Our forefathers called it the Bayanihan spirit, or UgUgbu by our ancestors to the North, and Tinabangay, by those from the South. It is this often forgotten wellspring of communal compassion, unbridled collaboration, and sense of community that preserve fertile ground with which to plant the seeds of people-centred innovation, sustainable outcomes, and inclusive development. With these in hand, we move our collective selves toward the educated citizenry that will forge, as our national hero envisioned, a truly sovereign nation. An empowered, interconnected archipelago of communities -- readers and leaders alike. A country on its feet, moving in the right direction. A Republic, in the fullest sense of the word, which takes our rightful place in a globalised world -- and change it for the better. 98 Egan, Timothy. The Great Experiment. New York Times. 8 November 2012 99 Dawson, Robert. The Public Library. A Photographic Essay. Princeton Architectural Press. 2014. pp. 9, 12-13 100 Moore, Mark and Khagram, Sanjeev. On Creating Public Value. What Business Might Learn from Government about Strategic Management. Working Paper No. 3. Kennedy School of Government. Harvard University. March 2004. pp. 7-9 101 Särkämö, Teppo, et al. Music and Speech Listening Enhance the Recovery of Early Sensory Processing after Stroke. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 22:12, pp. 2716–2727 102 Literally Healing Program. Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles. http://www.chla.org/site/c.ipINKTOAJsG/b.3579145/k.E976/The_Literally_Healing_Program_at_Childrens_Hospital_Los_Angel es.htm#.VBwNQ_mSz_M. Last Accessed 21 April 2014 103 Hutt City Community Plan 2009-2019. Hutt City Council, Wellington, New Zealand. pp. 64-65
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