Beyond Access Partner in Philippines receives Digital Literacy Award

The Urdaneta City Library has tacked on yet another award to its already impressive resume for addressing the community’s information needs through training.

At the recent 2015 Digital Strategies for Development Summit, representatives from UCL, the Molave Foundation and Beyond Access were honored with the Intel/DigiBayani Award for Digital Literacy, which prioritizes reach of training, support, sustainability and impact.

This award represents a major milestone for UCL, which trained community members in digital skills through programs such as “I Want to be Techie,” “Let’s Explore the Web” and “Free Internet Tutorial.”

“The skills gained equipped them to learn more information that will enrich their daily lives,” said Bernadine Gravela, the head librarian at UCL. “Students use the computers for their assignments and reports, young professionals locate job opportunities, senior citizens connect with their love ones abroad, [and] teachers can easily compute their grades and use innovations based from their research.”

But this isn’t the first award for the Urdaneta City Library. In 2013, UCL was honored as the best library in the Philippines for children’s services and in 2014 won first place for serving people with disabilities.

While staff are proud of their accomplishments, they still aim to update their teaching and technology skills to improve their services.

Gravela has advice for other libraries in the Philippines with limited budgets and high demand.

“The eagerness to help the community members, especially those who have limited means, is very important,” Gravela said. “The library staff’s eagerness and passion for their work is essential. Staff skills must also be up to date.”

Gravela also said officials and community members must support the programs, something that is clearly the case in Urdaneta.

With a combination of all of the above, Gravela said, results will “pour in.”