Bibliomist - Global Libraries Ukraine
The Bibliomist program is helping Ukrainian libraries to better serve their communities through a countrywide system of public Internet access and customized local services in libraries.
Through a partnership between the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, IREX, the Ukrainian Library Association (ULA), the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), local and national governments, and libraries throughout the country, Bibliomist fosters the development of a modern public library system in Ukraine, which plays a critical role in improving the socioeconomic conditions of its citizens. Since 2014, Bibliomist libraries have also demonstrated their relevance during times of crisis, offering new services for those displaced by armed conflict in the country's east.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation—Global Libraries
The foundation’s Global Libraries initiative is working to open the world of knowledge, information, and opportunity to many more people. Part of the Global Development Program, Global Libraries works with select countries that demonstrate a need and a readiness to help public libraries provide free access to computers and the Internet, and training on how to make full use of these tools. The initiative is helping transform public libraries into vital resources that can help improve the lives of millions of people.
• Equipping libraries with technology so citizens have better access to timely and accurate information on health, employment, education, government services and other information resources to improve their lives.
• Training librarians how to use new technologies to provide better services to library visitors.
• Helping develop the capacity of the Ukrainian Library Association (ULA) to advocate on behalf of libraries and librarians.
• Fostering government support for recognition of the essential role of libraries in a modern society.
Access to information is an essential component of development in today's globalized society. In Ukraine, more than 75 percent of the population lacks access to the Internet. While Ukraine has made rapid economic advances over the last two decades, libraries have been largely left behind and, as a result, millions are left without critical access to information. With the right kind of investment and attention, however, public libraries can be the link that connects people from all backgrounds with the information they need.
After six years of successful implementation, the Bibliomist program will continue to respond to critical new challenges facing libraries, such as meeting the information needs of displaced populations and improving citizens’ access to e-government services.
• With $12.7 million in co-funding from local governments, Bibliomist equipped 1,930 libraries across Ukraine with new technology that enables free access to information for millions of Ukrainians.
• Bibliomist and its local partners designed training materials and created training facilities in every oblast to foster innovation in the library system. Librarians now have the technology skills needed to provide computer and Internet guidance to library users, offer locally responsive services for patrons, and become actively engaged in their communities. They have also developed partnerships with local organizations and government institutions to increase online content and services in the areas of health, e-government, economic and rural development, and education and culture.
Building the Capacity of the Library Association
• Bibliomist partnered with the Ukrainian Library Association (ULA), helping the organization to build sustainable administrative structures that can continue advocating for modern libraries and provide useful services to librarians throughout the country into the future.
Fostering Government Support
• In addition to significant local government co-funding to match the program’s investment of new resources into libraries, Bibliomist and the ULA actively worked with Ministries, parliamentary committees, and interagency bodies such as the Open Government Partnership to promote the increased relevance and importance of libraries to today’s Ukrainian society. Libraries are now included in government strategies as key development partners with countrywide grassroots reach.
• Since 2008, the program has bridged the digital divide for hundreds of thousands of people by providing free public Internet access at close to 2,000 Ukrainian libraries across the country and training over 2,000 librarians to provide new community services, including basic technology skills.
• 80 percent of visitors to Bibliomist-equipped libraries who use technology agree that it helps save them money, and 75 percent report improved health thanks to online information found at the library.
• Bibliomist has supported partnerships between local governments, libraries, and NGOs for community development, including training on e-governance tools to 438 government officials, more than 2,000 citizens and more than 1,850 librarians.
• Bibliomist-trained librarians provided over 7,000 consultations to internally displaced persons (IDPs), helping them access valuable information on how to register in their new homes and participate in new election processes.