Over four years of driving development through public libraries – INELI India-south Asia
Libraries and librarians are acting as drivers of development, showcasing transformation across India and south Asia. This has been made possible by the INELI (International Network
of Emerging Library Innovators) India and south Asia initiative funded by the Gates Foundation. As part of the special library program a pool of public librarians have emerged as community trailblazers, with innovative and leadership abilities, skill, and knowledge. These librarians are accelerating development, acting as critical change agents, and repositioning public libraries as community knowledge hubs, linking to bridge information, gender and knowledge divide among communities.
The concept of Village Knowledge Centres pioneered at MSSRF in the late 1990s has been scaled up through the public libraries of south Asia. Now, these hubs receive investments to catalyze UN-SDGs, enable access to information, and empowering communities through innovative services in public libraries.
In more than 42 public libraries in India, 284 innovative knowledge-based services have been rendered through these libraries for different communities. These include women, farmers, children, senior citizens, juvenile, physically challenged, transgendered communities, jail inmates, slum dwellers, truck drivers and adults. Also 37 public libraries have also extended services for soil health, audio advisory, home and terrace gardening, animal husbandry, waste management, agri-input, pest and disease management, tree plantation, seed ball preparation, in agriculture reaching more than 4434 men and women farmers (2693 M: 1791 F).
The INELI programme also aims to evolve into a regional network with cohorts coming together for a bigger cause in the public library field. Each of these public libraries must transform communities in support of socio-economic environmental development such that it is also aligned with the UN-SDGs, Agenda 2030.
M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) established in 1988 is a not-for-profit trust. MSSRF was envisioned and founded by Professor M S Swaminathan, agriculture scientist with proceeds from the First World Food Prize that he received in 1987.