Public Libraries – a gateway for empowering local communities

Several libraries in Palestine and Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon are becoming beacons for local community empowerment. These libraries are beneficiaries of the Libraries for Change project funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

“Samer Khoury” library in Ein El Hilweh camp, a project beneficiary, is now offering IT training for its youth members. The youth were very enthusiastic during the interactive training and expressed their desire for additional training courses.

Such project comes under  the education program of the Welfare Association (Taawon) which believes that well-educated, critical and inquisitive individuals are the cornerstones of flourishing societies. Accordingly, cultivating these characteristics across generations of Palestinians is core to Taawon’s mission. The Education Program consists of various components, each of which invests in enhancing the quality of education at all levels, from preschool to university studies.

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Global Libraries

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s first grants, made in 1997, funded free Internet access in U.S. public libraries as a way to give all people ready access to information and the opportunities that come with digital skills and connectivity. As the foundation’s work has expanded globally, so has its library initiative. Since 2002, they have built on their experience in bringing Internet connectivity to U.S. public libraries to support similar efforts worldwide.

The Global Libraries program works to support the transformation of libraries as engines of development. The foundation works in partnership with governments and other public and private funders to expand technology access in public libraries, foster innovation in libraries, train library leaders, and advocate for policy changes that benefit public libraries.

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And see below how the Global Libraries initiative has been put into action in Latvia