Transforming librarians into innovative trailblazers for community development

Chennai, March 20, 2019: The International Network of Emerging Library Innovators (INELI) - Virtual Connect Convening took place at MSSRF and kick started the cohort 3 batch training of the project today. Many librarians all over South Asia being the trailblazers of the INELI project participated in the meet and shared their experience on gaining knowledge through capacity building and how they transformed their libraries beyond books, by providing community need based services in the area of agriculture, health, education, culture, heritage, ICTs, gender equality, partnerships, environment and on diverse services in connecting target communities from cradle to grave. Hence now public libraries are being recognised as Community Knowledge Hubs and as Knowledge Learning Centres. 

Dr N Anil Kumar, the Executive Director of MSSRF who delivered the introductory remarks said that appropriate knowledge transfer through libraries locally, in villages, would enable and foster development, as education is the key to rural development. Ms. Priyanka Mohan, the strategic programme lead of the INELI and IPLM project at MSSRF explained the milestones of INELI South Asia and the relevance of providing access to information until the last mile. She emphasised that a holistic online learning curriculum tailored for public librarians brings a shift in their leadership abilities to act as Community Trailblazers through their libraries. As innovative leaders they provide need-based community services, integrating UN-SDGs through libraries for building well informed inclusive and resilient communities. Dr Basheerhamad Shadrach, INELI Chair and Founder of IPLM Trust said that 50% of the overall global population is yet to be connected and it is the librarians who can do this through the public libraries and act as knowledge intermediaries on creating spiralling knowledge quest for reaching the unreached.

The librarians as trailblazers and innovators shared their experience on transformation of their selves and the library they work in. Mr Irhamni Ali an innovator from previous batch (cohort 1) explained how the project helped in achieving to get a promotion as Chief Data Scientist at the Strategic Planning Bureau National Library of Indonesia and how he had applied the knowledge accumulated from the INELI training with more innovation on developing the library he works in.

Ms P K Shobana, the State Librarian from State Central Library, Thiruvananthapuram shared how this project helped her on stimulating the developmental activities in the library. Dr M A Deepamala from the Village Library, Coimbatore shared how this project helped her to step out of the fear of communicating and helped her on reaching many people in her village. Mr A Sairam from the District Library of Thiruvannamalai, expressed how the capacity building through online helped him to convert event based activities into continuous services aiming to achieve the UN sustainable development goals and also shared that these services led to the enrolment of 1000 new patrons in the library. Mr Binoy Mathew from the Valapatnam Panchayat library a recipient of the American Library Association Award recently shared how the INELI project helped him to increase the innovative knowledge sharing activities in the community that made the Government administrative to allot a new building for the library and the community capacity building activities.

Prof MS Swaminathan, the founder of MSSRF appreciated the team for transforming the librarians from being the custodians of the books in the library for ages as innovative community development trailblazers.

Please check the youtube link for the full video of the event.