Printer-friendly version

Biblionet - Global Libraries Romania

Biblionet is a five-year program that helps Romanian libraries better serve their communities through training and technology.

Through a partnership between the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, IREX, the National Association of Public Libraries and Librarians (ANBPR), the Ministry of Culture, local and national governments, and libraries through the country, Biblionet is helping to develop a modern public library system in Romania.

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.

Goals

 • Equip up to 2,000 public libraries with technology so citizens have better access to information

 • Train up to 3,000 librarians in how to use new technology to provide better services to library visitors and establish up to 41 new training centers for librarians across the country

 • Help develop the capacity of the National Association of Public Libraries and Librarians (ANBPR) to advocate on behalf of libraries and librarians.

 • Foster government support for the recognition of the essential role of libraries in a society

Background

Access to information is an essential component of development in today's globalized society. In Romania, more than 70% of the population lack access to the internet. While the country 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.

Project Activities

Equipment: IREX has organized a competitive application process that allows libraries to demonstrate that they meet or exceed minimum program requirements to introduce up to 2,000 libraries to the Biblionet program. As part of the application process, local governments are committing to funding library internet connections. Selected libraries receive technology – including computers, headsets, webcams, and printers – from national vendors who also provide ongoing technical support.

Training: IREX is establishing a training center within each of Romania’s 41 county library systems. Two librarians per county will be certified as trainers and then train Biblionet librarians on IT, library management, and development of new services based on community needs.

Association Development: Through a partnership with the ANBPR, IREX and Romanian librarians are professionalizing the association by hiring executive staff and creating administrative policies, improving communication systems with the member base and with external partners, and assessing member needs on an ongoing basis. This stronger association is able to provide opportunities for librarians to improve their professional knowledge through training, study tours, and national conferences.

Government: To raise the profile of library issues at the national level, IREX is bringing together private businesses, NGOs, and government representatives for forums and working groups to demonstrate the essential role of libraries in a modern society and inform policy decisions.

Project Facts

• 917 libraries were equipped with 4,442 computers by December 2011, and 1,779 librarians received IT and library internet access management training. 

• By April 2012, the Biblionet program will include an additional 565 fully equipped local libraries.

• Intuitext has made a donation of 4,500 educational packets to Biblionet libraries. 

• Public authorities have contributed $4 million for library renovations and internet subscriptions.

  •