City Library lands in international programs list

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Thursday, November 29, 2012

THE Davao City Public Library was chosen as a member of the Beyond Access program, a worldwide project that promotes public libraries as a 21st century institution supporting an information society.

Ari Katz, director of International Research Exchange (Irex), said the selection is made by recognizing the most innovative and progressive libraries worldwide.

Irex is an international non-profit organization providing leadership and innovative programs to improve the quality education, strengthen independent media, and foster pluralistic civil society development.


It is presently leading the Beyond Access, a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation initiative that brings together the fields of libraries and development.

Katz said the Davao City Public Library is the only Southeast Asian country library chosen out of the 120 applicants.

Other selected members include groups from Bhutan, Uganda, Kyrgyzstan, Zambia, Nepal, Serbia, Venezuela, Kenya, Ethiopia, Ghana, Brazil, and Peru.

He said the city's public library made it in the list of Beyond Access due to its strong partnership with the community.

"Miss Nora (city librarian) is a perfect example of how library works with government, civil society, and communities. Davao City Public Library is an exemplary of how a public library can be connected with different partners," Katz said during the I-Speak forum held at the Presidential Room of the City Hall on Thursday.

Considering the digital age, he said libraries should not only impart information that comes from books, magazines, and other printed materials, but it should also include electronic access.

"In the 21st century, we cannot talk about development, improving people's lives unless we talk about access to information. People need information to improve our lives," Katz said.

He said there has been no specific timeline as to when the program would start but they are on the process of collating the details of the basic needs of the library.

Dr. Angelo Ramos, president of Philippine-CNET, said using the library as a place for economic opportunities for the people of Davao City, especially those who live in the far-flung areas is the priority of the program.

"It is the top most agenda," he said.

He said it is about time that libraries would be used as a place to look for job, impart ideas on how to set up a business and among others.

Bert Barriga, executive vice president of Information and Communication Technology (ICT)-Davao, said the whole picture of the modernization gear the city library into a practical and doable venue among Dabawenyos which would include conducting more ICT trainings or business start-up.

"The notion would be how we make an ordinary guy go to the library," Barriga said.

He said the group aims to initially address the basic needs of Dabawenyos which would eventually make them introduce brighter concepts
Nora Fe Alajar, Davao City Librarian, said the selection is a learning experience for her.

"It gives me an insight of what a public library should be in the 21st century. Although we have our initiative and innovation, we need improvement to make it more relevant and more developmental thrust," Alajar said.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on November 30, 2012.

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