Since Beyond Access hosted a Salon on library-driven development in Myanmar earlier this year, interest in using the country’s 5000+ libraries for the purpose has only grown. In response to this demand, Beyond Access is supporting the Myanmar Library Visioning Project, to be implemented by the Myanmar Book Aid and Preservation Foundation (MBAPF).
With seed funding of about $69,000, MBAPF will pull together contributions from across the library sector to accomplish the project’s three basic objectives:
- Coordinate a “landscape study” of Myanmar’s libraries, including how they are meeting the needs of the communities they serve
- Equip a small number of pilot libraries with ICTs and the trained staff they need to use them
- Use the experiences from the above, and leading library stakeholders in the country, to lay out a vision for modern libraries in Myanmar
Much of the project will involve coordinating resources to make sure they are invested wisely. Beyond Access matches investments made by other donors and governments in their library sector — in Myanmar, matching from other donors is anticipated at an over 4-to-1 rate.
Beyond Access Organizing Committee member The Asia Foundation has committed $30,000 of institutional funds for the landscape study. IFLA and EIFL are assessing technical assistance needs, with additional support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. One of the pilot sites will be the city library of Mandalay, the country’s second city, which is being rebuilt with government funds at a significant cost. A second pilot site will be a pair of mobile libraries donated by a Japan-based bus manufacturer to the Daw Khin Kyi Foundation, led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.
MBAPF will ensure that the project considers the needs and priorities of the entire library sector. As such, the project will be steered by an Advisory Group, consisting of members of the Myanmar Library Association, the Myanmar Library Foundation, and the Information and Public Relations Department. These institutions represent the librarians, libraries as institutions, and the government’s library program.
In February, the Myanmar Library Visioning Project will gather these and other stakeholders to share findings, lessons learned, and present the case for library-driven development.
This is the second in what will become scores of new projects that Beyond Access will initiate with members of the library-driven development movement. To find out more or get your organization involved in a Beyond Access matching project, contact us.