For many eras, libraries have acted as space for those who were intellectually keen to read, learn, reflect and grow. It has always been a place for every individual in a community who can access information through books, learn to improve their skills, gain information, knowledge and gather insights, can stay connected with news, trends, and take informed decisions. Review of Indian history would indicate that libraries have been instrumental in establishing intangible patterns of information access whenever possible to support progressive thinkers.
Public Libraries has space for the common man, for eons, has been seen in the lens of book borrowing and lending system and is yet to be envisioned as a learning hub for everyone.
That said, globally, Public Librarians have felt the urgent need to redefine and accelerate their libraries as engines for development. The global library program had seeded the idea of building a network of community library trailblazers through The International Network of Emerging Library Innovators (INELI), across 8 regions. INELI as a dynamic leadership program has nurtured librarians to see their roles are visionary, drivers, engineers and builders of community development through innovative services. It has propelled the thinking of more than 60,000 librarians capable of acting as community torch-bearers, thereby bring a literate, well informed and connected community that supports one another, at all times.
The foundation was a recipient of grants from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and NASSCOM Foundation, for strengthening librarian’s leadership capacities and reposition libraries as lifelong knowledge centers for one and all. By design the initiatives focused on strengthening leadership abilities, thinking out of box, initiate services and envision libraries for community development.
Synergies and Leveraging opportunities: Two key aspects, understanding community needs, delivery of information-based services and demonstrating the IFLA’s UN-SDGs, can further development in public libraries. These were weaved in, as globally, public libraries are seen as neutral spaces, enhancing access to information and is a fundamental human right as per Goal 16 of UN-SDGs.