Dynamic Coalition on Public Access in Libraries

12 November 2015 - A Dynamic Coalition on Other in João Pessoa, Brazil

Also available in: English
Full Session Transcript

>> CHRISTINA DE CASTELL:  Thank you for being here at the Dynamic Coalition for Public Access in Libraries.

I'd like to give you an introduction to the work we've been doing in 2015 on the principle statement for public access in libraries and representation at the regional IGFs. 

And then we'll have the three speakers here talk for about ten minutes each about specific actions that they've been taking to promote public access and connecting the next billion.

And we hope that if you're in the audience and you have had an initiative that you've taken over 2015 or recently that promotes the same aims, that after the speakers, we might have you share some of those experiences yourselves. 

And then our plan is to work together to brainstorm concrete actions that we can take in 2016 for the work of the Dynamic Coalition to put into action the principles.

So if you're not aware, the Dynamic Coalition on Public Access in Libraries has been working on a principle statement to promote public access in libraries.

And that's been going on since the early summer of this year ‑‑ sorry, since June of this year.  We'll be presenting that principle statement on ‑‑ at the main session that's happening at 4:30 today.  And I encourage you all to be there and to participate in what we'll be doing which is giving feedback on the principles that are in the statement using a concept called idea rating sheets.

So for each of the main concepts in the principle statement, the participants in the main session will indicate agreement using a scale and indicating with their signature that they've participated.  So I hope you will all come to the main session and provide that feedback.

If you can also share the online version, we'll put that out on the DC‑PAL list after this session. 

So you have a copy of the principle statement on the table.

It's the one that isn't in color. 

So you can take a look at that over the course of the day if you haven't seen it before. 

So to move on to telling you a bit about the work that's been done by Dynamic Coalition members at the regional IGFs, libraries have been represented at three of the IGFs, the European, the EuroDIG that happened in June, the Asia‑Pacific in July, and at the Africa IGF in September.

And in EuroDIG, we had three sessions, one on the European copyright reform and how that can promote access.

And then two sessions on increasing public access both through libraries and then also focusing on the Marrakesh treaty and the opportunities that it presents for increasing access that it presents for the visually impaired.

In Asia‑Pacific in July, and Africa in September, the focus was on public access in the context of sustainable development goals.  So some of the recommendations that come from that were to strengthen partnerships among ICT, media, libraries, and other organizations in building local digital content. 

So a reference that Dr. Pepper made in the session yesterday to there are people who don't feel the relevance of the Internet because they don't see themselves reflected, their language and their content; and this is a change that we're going to need to make to connect the next billion. 

And another recommendation that there should be significant investment in public libraries to equip them with relevant ICT tools to ensure that they can play a key role in promoting public access to information and support the development of libraries as drivers of access to knowledge.

So those are some of the outcomes of the regional work in the IGFs.  And I know there are people here who may have participated in some of those.  So you can certainly share more with us after our speakers. 

We'll start with Stuart Hamilton who is from the International Federation of Library Associations, and he will be followed by Manu who is from the ‑‑ Senior Political Advisor, Technology and Internet Policy, from the U.S. State Department talking about the Global Connect Initiative. 

And then Ramune from Electronic Information for Libraries, or EIFL, will talk about capacity building in Ghana, Kenya, and Uganda. 

I neglected to introduce myself.  I'm Christina de Castell from the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions. 

So, Stuart, I'll turn it over to you. 

>> STUART HAMILTON:  Good morning, everybody.  Thanks so much for coming along.

IFLA, along with our colleagues at EIFL started this dynamic coalition around about four years.

We've got nearly 130 to 140 people on the mailing list and a big amount of interest in the library community. 

Lots of my colleagues I know wanted to be here at the IGF.  But, as you can imagine, it's a long distance; and only for some of us more privileged librarians. 

So I'm pleased to be here to talk about what IFLA has been doing in relation to information and development over the last two or three years.

Actually, the Dynamic Coalition is very important because it was in Bali in 2013 that we actually laid out to the members of the coalition what we were going to try and do with regards to the sustainable development goals and the 2030 agenda. 

And we had a brainstorming meeting there in Bali where we agreed to support the work of the library organizations going to New York with the objective of trying to get access to information recognized in the new post‑2030 agenda. 

So the Dynamic Coalition has always contributed to work that IFLA has been doing.  And it's been IFLA that's been in New York for the meetings over the last two years taking part first in the open group meetings and then this year in the final round of negotiations about the new framework. 

I think you'll have all heard many references now throughout the three or four days of the IGF to the sustainable development goals.  It's clear that this community understands that there's a link to be made between those of us working to get more people onto the Internet and this new development framework. 

So I just wanted to offer a few observations about our experience in the last two years that I think can help us as we consider the principles document and think about what we can do with public access in the next year or so. 

IFLA set out to, as I say, ensure that access to information was recognized in the new development framework.  And, obviously, access to ICTs plays a huge role in that.  More than ever, it's digital information recourses that people want to access whether it's coming through their telephones, laptops, or, as we know in libraries, when we come into the physical buildings in communities whether in cities or remote areas. 

We work hard to build a coalition of groups, not just library groups, but working with tech sector and development organizations to bring in message to the U.N. 

And in 2014, and this was discussed at last year's meeting in Istanbul at the Dynamic Coalition, we launched something called the Lyon Declaration on Access to Information and Development.  You can see that at lyondeclaration.org

So we were quickly able to get a coalition round about 600 organizations, and round about 70 percent from libraries.  But we were extremely pleased because we had groups like Mozilla, Alliance for Affordable Internet, tech sector organizations, and development organizations working alongside us.  It was clear that this idea of increased access to information support and development resonates outside of the library community. 

So with that declaration in our hands, we did our advocacy, we did our lobbying, and we reached the point in September where we attended the big summit to see the final framework released. 

I would make an observation here which I think is relevant to the group at the IGF. 

Throughout this process, it was clear to IFLA that the people negotiating the development framework in New York were pretty ignorant of what WSIS and even the IGF is. 

And that goes not just for member state delegates, but it went very much for the Civil Society groups working on development in New York. 

When I asked them about their relationship with WSIS, there was like tumbleweed.  It passed.  They had no idea what I was talking about. 

And IFLA found itself in a very strange position of being one of the only organizations to work in the Internet governance field and in the development field.

I made this clear to a number of submissions we put in on WSIS that in some respects, it was incredible that a major U.N. process could ignore another major U.N. process.  It was a real eye opener to us that it happened.

And I think it's important to remember this going forward because I'll talk a little bit about what happens next, and that will have implications for this community I think. 

I don't know how many of you have seen the final framework, but there are 17 goals and 169 targets. 

So to be honest with you, there's something in there for everybody.  If you think back to the millennium development goals, there were eight goals. 

So we've doubled that and added probably ten targets per goal. 

This is the framework that governments are going to be using for the next 15 years to guide development at national levels, and this is the framework that they're going to be rated and ranked against in terms of the progress that they're making. 

We feel that actually the agenda itself is a good one. 

It's never going to please everybody.  There's been a lot of voices saying that 17 goals, 169 targets is too much.  It's not focused enough.  But to be honest with you, there is a lot that those of us with interest in development can do with this framework. 

So I'll pull out a couple things we found particularly interesting for those of us working in libraries.

We've said all along that all of the goals need an access to information access component to work, whether you're looking at getting increased agricultural yields, whether looking at improving maternal health, improving education, access to ICTs, these are all things that can be improved by having good access to information and the skills to use this. 

Information is a starting point for the progress you're going to make in relation to those goals. 

So we've taken a look very closely at the framework.  We know that Goal 2 which is about agriculture, Target 2.3 talks about doubling agricultural productivity, or libraries in many countries ‑‑ and Ramune is already going to talk about some of this I think ‑‑ are already working with local farmers to get them the right information they need to increase crop yields. 

Goal 3 talks about reducing maternal mortality.

We know libraries in Ghana offer programs on this. 

There's other libraries around the world that are closely linked to health services and are able to link new and expectant mothers and mothers who just had children with the information they need to bring those children up in safe environment.

It's clear to us that a target like No. 4.6 which talks about ensuring universal literacy and numeracy, it's a little bit of a no‑brainer that libraries can help there.  But I point out until IFLA intervened in the last week of the negotiations, there was no mention of universal literacy in the vision part of this agenda.  So it just goes to show that we can have an impact in the advocacy that we do.

And then the one which I think is most important in some ways to the discussions we're having here is Target 9c, which talks about significantly increasing access to ICTs and striving to provide universal and affordable access to the Internet in least developed countries by 2020. 

We would have liked to have seen that extended beyond least developed countries but working with what we have.  The World Bank estimates there's nearly a billion people living in LDCs.  They estimate an Internet penetration rate of about 8.6 percent and by some very rough math, I think that leaves us with over 800,000 people to get online in LDCs by 2030. 

No matter how many mobile phones we put out there, no matter how many home fixed broadband connections, there's going to be a significant portion of the 800,000 that will need public access to get online, which is where we come in with this Dynamic Coalition. 

Where we are right now with this agenda, it has been agreed at the international level so we can start working on it.  But the indicators which are going to be used to measure success will not be finalized until March. 

The most interesting target that IFLA fought for is Target 16.10 which talks about increasing public access to information, something which libraries are very committed to. 

And right now we are looking and working very hard within the U.N. still to make sure that the indicator that's used to measure that is actually helpful to us. 

They're talking about an indicator to measure that would be the number of journalists killed in a year.  We find that a strange approach to measure increased access to public information, and we're trying to change that situation. 

Also of interest to this group I think is the proposed creation of something called the technology facilitation mechanism which is part of the agenda that will look at how we achieve these goals. 

The U.N. is going to set up a knowledge platform that will help exchange information on technology between the U.N.'s member states using the sort of north‑south, south‑south and triangular cooperation model.

Interestingly, in New York when it was launched, there were conversations about whether that model will go on to encompass all the U.N.'s activities around technology, which should be interesting for the group that look at the IGF and for WSIS because it seems there is a gray area about the role of those two activities and processes within this new technology facilitation mechanism process. 

IFLA has applied to be on the multistakeholder group for the TFM; and we're waiting to see, with bated breath I should say, whether we get a spot on there. 

I would be interested to see whether the people representing Civil Society on that group come from this community or whether we will discover that there were some Civil Society groups that we've never heard of suddenly find themselves on that platform.  It's fair to say there are back channel conversations going on about who gets to be on that. 

So to conclude just to say that the big next step and the thing where I think our coalition can help is that this new agenda will implemented at national levels through national development plans.  That means that your country is going to be drawing up a means of implementing this agenda over the next 15 years, deciding which goals and targets it wants to prioritize, and then putting into place processes and activities to reach those goals and targets. 

So it's our ambition that libraries should be included in as many national development plans as possible because we can provide access to information, we can provide access to ICTs, and we can be really strong partners in development at national levels.

So right now, IFLA is working with national library associations to get them in with their policy makers, get them talking about what libraries can do. 

So on your desks, you have this handout which is a pretty swift overview of why we think we can contribute to this framework. 

I'd like to point out that we are ambitious.  This conference is talking about the next 1 billion to be connected.  We've gone straight to 4 billion.  So nothing if not ambitious.

I'll stop there because that provides I hope a bit of the context that we're doing with public access.  And the public access principles which we're going to discuss I hope will lead us towards some concrete activities to help get the next billion online.  So thank you. 

>> CHRISTINA DE CASTELL:  Thank you.  We can take a few minutes for questions now if anyone has one.  And you're welcome to speak from your seat or to come up to the microphone here. 

Any questions? 

Okay.  So we'll go ahead to Manu from the U.S. State Department who is going to talk about the Global Connect Initiative.

>> MANU BHARDWAJ:  Thank you.  It's great to be here with you all this afternoon.  And I'm really excited to be joining this very important discussion and pleased to see the terrific work that's being done here on public access.

Very important initiative. 

I have been in the Obama Administration since 2009.  I have been in the State Department for the last four and a half years. 

When I first came to the State Department, my role was representing the U.S. Government in multilateral forum, the UNGA, the ITU, other kind of U.N. bodies.  I think it's important work, but I came at a point in my own career and my own reflections that we should be doing more Internet for development outside the U.N. system and also thinking about how we can give effective goals that have been adopted in the U.N., whether it's the framework that was just laid out really well or whether it was WSIS or other targets that are out there that really once these targets are agreed upon, once they are ‑‑ once the international community has bought in, the best thing we can do at the IGF and as stakeholders, whether we're NGOs or industry or government policy makers, is mobilize resources to show how we're achieving them, what are the solutions for actually delivering upon some of the promises that are agreed upon in the U.N. system. 

And partly because of that view, we are pushing hard at the State Department through Global Connect. 

We launched the initiative just three or four weeks ago in New York along the lines of the high level meeting that was just discussed.  And we were joined by Jim Kim of the World Bank, the President of Estonia, the President of Tanzania, a broad coalition of industry, NGOs; and we're just trying to rally attention around the need for greater connectivity, public access.

And the reason that we chose that number again because it was like internationally agreed upon number.  But the point of the Global Connect is to showcase how there are so many stakeholder driven solutions that are currently existing ‑‑ how important government policies are to unlock digital growth, what kind of policies NGOs can play in terms of freedom of expression, trying to bring us together through the technologies in providing infrastructure access and also trying to provide higher level political attention at the Head of State level, at the Foreign Minister level for things like digital literacy, for things suggested here today in the statement because I felt like that was one thing that was missing even though the political conversations about the Internet are now at levels of Head of State or Foreign Minister, and you can see that on the news.

We're not there on development yet or on the issues that we're discussing today.

So part of our effort here is to raise the profile and visibility and prioritize these issues for all countries' senior level executives and NGO leaders to come together and accelerate progress towards connectivity and extending the benefits to the rest of the world.

I've been thrilled with the support so far.

It seems like there are a lot of initiatives out there, whether it's WEF, Alliance for Affordable Internet, or this initiative.  I think the IGF is uniquely situated to have these types of conversations with all stakeholders on equal footing to think about how can we work together as a community, to think about what are the policy options for connecting the next billion, and how can we really think it through together.

So it was great to have the main session.  Great for this panel.  And you can see there's a lot of high level interest and attention here. 

For us, we're also making the case that the Internet has become a key driver of sustainable economic development.  We're excited that the World Bank will be helping us make this case very soon because they're coming out with their annual world development report.  In January, it will be released. 

And this year, it focuses on digital dividends for all.  And this is a very seminal report. 

It hasn't been done on the Internet for about ten years.  But it will justify a policy shift which we are suggesting through Global Connect, which it is that we want to mainstream the view that the Internet is as fundamental to every country's economy as energy, electricity, roads, highways, and should be prioritized on every country's national development strategy and on the international development agenda. 

That actually is kind of a new idea for some development agencies.  So when I talk to folks at AID or the Millennium Challenge Corporation or the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, which are U.S. development agencies, they haven't been thinking about the Internet along these lines.  They think about electricity or energy or traditional infrastructure.  But we're trying to make the case.

And reports like the World Bank's development report will greatly assist us as well, that we need to now think about the Internet both in terms of how we can incorporate Internet projects in traditional infrastructure that might be done because you can do that at a cost savings when laying out fiberoptic cable or trenching.  But also thinking strategically about how to encourage developing countries to adopt positive ICT environments that are supportive of freedom of expression, that are supportive of digital literacy policies that are supportive of a lot of the principles that you have here, vis‑à‑vis public libraries. 

One of the best statements that we received for our launch was from ‑‑ when we launched this three weeks ago was from 22 global NGOs, including your organization, Stuart.  It was meaningful to see that level of support and know there was interest in trying to help the State Department, help like‑minded partners, help industry folks build momentum towards connectivity.  And we are looking forward to supporting the effort here that you're driving and that you're trying to lead and also with respect to kind of any follow‑up discussions that we can have at the State Department working with our embassies to really kind of socialize the principles and the desires of the public libraries around public access. 

So it's my honor to be here, and I look forward to our Q&A and talking to folks maybe even afterwards.  Thank you. 

>> CHRISTINA DE CASTELL:  Great.  Any questions at the moment for Manu on what he's been talking about? 


>> AUDIENCE:  Thank you.  My name is Makane Faye from the African Regional IGF. 

It's good to hear about this initiative.

However, when it comes to funding, when you go to the country level, usually the libraries will not be seen as priority.

So what can be done at the level of the U.S. Government and of the World Bank to make sure that libraries, document centers, archives are part of this funding?  I suggest that really since the inception stage, we try to put the percentages shares on initiatives which will be benefitting on it; otherwise, I'm afraid the libraries will be left out. 

>> MANU BHARDWAJ:  I think it's very good and very smart point.  And I feel that what we have to do is make the case that libraries, like all community centers, are basically open spaces for everyone to kind of see the benefits of connectivity.

We did this domestically in the U.S. through an American Recovery Act program called Broadband Technology Opportunity Program and we basically conditioned some of the ‑‑ we prioritized some of the grants based on whether or not it was a community center that was actually involved.  Libraries. 

And I was at the Commerce Department at the time when we did that.  But I think it has to be kind of at the design stage, and we have to encourage people to do that, whether it's a multilateral development bank or development agency or even talking to international and U.S. industry about how important it is to try to support connectivity for public libraries through satellite technologies, fiber, other ways. 

And I do think we need to be granular with them, like you were just with me, in terms of how exactly they're going to be prioritizing this, but also as a community suggesting that they should and there are good reasons for them to do this. 

But so I fully concur with your sentiment.  I'm hoping in all of our outreach to the development banks, development organizations, other countries, that we encourage them to kind of think about projects, the design phase, that reflect the importance of community centers so we can extend connectivity. 

>> CHRISTINA DE CASTELL:  Do we have any other questions from the floor? 

Okay.  Stuart, go ahead.  

>> STUART HAMILTON:  I hope it's okay to ask a question from the panel. 

So what exactly happens next?  What's the immediate next steps?  How did we get involved?  What can I tell my people? 

>> MANU BHARDWAJ:  So we had ‑‑ our initiative is three weeks old.  It enjoys tremendous political support which is really great.  So we're going to build a global coalition so it won't be U.S. only effort. 

And it will be many of the folks that voice support three weeks ago including your organization, hopefully, and other industry folks and other countries. 

But next ‑‑ we'll have the next event will be showcasing at Global Connect at the WSIS high level meeting in December. 

WSIS, again, is one of those international agreements that we have both talked about where everyone came together ten years ago and thought about action lines to help developing countries in certain ways, whether it was cybersecurity, development, or freedom of expression.  And at kind of the high level meeting, we'll be showcasing not only this global coalition but also trying to enlist the multilateral development banks, major development organizations, around the idea of the Internet infrastructure being as important as traditional infrastructure and some of the other things I talked about. 

And also showcasing that for us to achieve the goals in documents like WSIS, these are the ways that we do it, through some of maybe these innovative solutions, through government policy that are prioritizing public access and other ways. 

But we will be back in New York in December, and we'll have again the international community there; and we're looking forward to finding ways to partner with your organization and other organizations that are here in thinking about how to build more momentum for our Global Connect effort. 

>> CHRISTINA DE CASTELL:  Thank you, Manu. 

So we'll move on now to Ramune Petuchovaite who is going to tell us about some initiatives in Africa. 

>> RAMUNE PETUCHOVAITE:  Please, do we have a possibility to input to dialogue how libraries can be part of a solution to connect next billion in least developed countries and low resource environment? 

My organization, EIFL, which stands for Electronic Information for Libraries, we partner with libraries in developing and transition countries to enable access to education, research, information, also knowledge and skills that allow people to improve their livelihood and develop communities. 

Today, I will share one initiative, the latest initiative that we had in ‑‑ that helped ‑‑ that we had in 2014‑2015 in three African countries ‑‑ Ghana, Kenya, and Uganda. 

And it was meant to help public librarians to become agents or intermediaries to help people use technologies that are already available in public libraries. 

So I will use ‑‑ as this is a case, so I will use some slides because they are nice pictures, and you will see people who are working on the ground to support their communities. 

So our initiative capacity building for public librarians in Africa has reached now ‑‑ we trained 84 librarians from 80 public libraries in Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, libraries that already have computers in their organizations.  And at the same time have no knowledge and skills to use those technologies to support their communities besides opening the doors. 

And at EIFL, the public library organization program that I represent, we believe that public libraries are really powerful vehicles to support communities when access and connectivity is available because it brings the most up‑to‑date resources that communities need to develop their farming practices, to improve health, to understand how to deal with diseases, or resources that support kids to improve their marks at schools, which means putting like fundamental for their future careers and their life in communities. 

Here on the slide I want to show you a result of one of our workshops on new library services in Ghana, Kenya, and Uganda.  And the key word cloud is actually about challenges and issues that librarians saw in their communities and when they thought about how they can help using technologies. 

And some of those words you can recognize.  It's accesses, reading.  Of course, it's about poor, poverty.  It's about support to women and girls, farmers, and so on. 

And we believe that this is the key thing to consider libraries as a place for public access because librarians are there in communities.  They know what challenges and issues communities face. 

At the same time, librarians are quite knowledgeable, also, and think about development of the libraries to support those communities. 

And on the left side probably for you there is another picture from Ghana, regional librarians were thinking about roles that their libraries can play if they would have access to different resources and tools and could provide to their communities.  So ‑‑ and it was ‑‑ I mean we were having this exercise in the ‑‑ it was a perspective of 10 or 15 years, and they were saying that libraries could become creators of local content, economic incubators, a learning space connecting communities and so on and so on.  There were two groups discussing this, and some roles as you see are the same.

And this is also an example that libraries actually are looking at the communities and they are not let's say imposing some standard solutions.  They look what the community needs are and they can use Internet and connectivity to answer those issues that matter in the community.

And we started to work with Ghana, Kenya, Uganda because we saw governments and also other stakeholders coming ‑‑ providing equipment to public libraries.  At the same time, we saw that there was an issue, a big issue with librarians' knowledge and skills to use these tools as I already mentioned. 

And, therefore, we thought, okay, we probably having experience working in, let's say, it was pilot projects, how to use technology in developing countries and different ‑‑ we can help to develop capacity building program for librarians and show how they can open these resource to their community. 

And we built curriculum which is very, very practical and down to Earth that leads to actions in the libraries or leads to new services in the libraries using resources that are there. 

This curriculum consists of four modules such as ICT, advanced ICT skills.  That includes also how to teach others to basic skills.  It includes also the parts online resources and Internet searching, a big gap actually in public libraries that we see in developing countries; and it's a part of information literacy that are complex probably.

And then we had a module on new library services or how to plan new library services when you have technologies or how to fundraise for improving technology infrastructure when you see that there are development, and definitely advocacy and communication because public librarians also should be able to explain to other stakeholders why their mission in the community matters.  And it also includes advocating to governments, to local authorities, but also to communities to understand the importance of new services. 

So I'm really happy to say that our program was very, very successful; and it could be considered as one of good practices, how to connect people locally. 

And I think there were a few key things that helped this program to work because we as international not‑for‑profit organization, we worked with local partners to develop this program and adapt it to needs in each country.  And the curriculum, although it's similar, but actually the training was a little bit different depending on the skills level and also needs in each country, but it also involved local and international trainers so it was a teamworking. 

We also did require our participants to do some practical work after they come to libraries, like to use knowledge they get, try train their peer librarians or communities in ICT after the first module and so on and so on. 

And here are results that I want to share.  80 percent of our participants in four to six weeks when we did our post‑training assessment together with local partners, they started new services.  They started training for people, and they also were addressing different target groups' needs ‑‑ women and girls, school children, farmers, and so on. 

They also started to provide guidance to people on searching Internet and online resources.  And also good news for us was seeing two‑thirds of our participants taking a lead in reaching to their community groups, also media and authorities, explaining why ICT services and digital literacy is important. 

And they also started to fundraise for improvement of their infrastructure and at the same time scaling ICT training program to ‑‑ in their communities.  So it's really a let's say evidence that those services will most probably survive and continue and develop. 

And in conclusion, I would like to say that we believe that such trainings like for public librarians and librarians should be a part of any public access initiatives on national level; and it is not enough to put in infrastructure, but also there needs to have very skilled intermediaries so that the investments would pay off and take off let's say. 

And, also, I can say EIFL is really open for dialogue and discussion on working on such initiatives and ‑‑ especially in Africa but also in other regions where we work. 

And, finally, capacity building is just one of our works.  We also did, as I said, some pilot projects, how ICTs in libraries can help community's development and also we encourage public librarians to share their knowledge of how they use technology, and this works very well to promote good practices.

And that's probably it. 

>> CHRISTINA DE CASTELL:  Thank you, Ramune. 

Does anyone have any questions? 

We'll go first to the person standing and then ‑‑

(Discussion off microphone)

>> CHRISTINA DE CASTELL:  There is a mike up here on the right‑hand side, and it's needed for the remote participants.  Please do come up to the mike. 

>> AUDIENCE:  May name is I'm Azizi, and I come as the Chairman of the Regulatory Authority of Afghanistan. 

It's very interesting to see the way in particular you have been working in Ghana, Kenya, and other African countries. 

In Afghanistan, as part of the universal access fund that is at the disposal of my institution, we have been able to connect more than 90 percent of the public universities in Afghanistan out of 43‑plus universities and institutes of higher education. 

36 of them have been connected either through fiber or through this applied high speed Internet that is available. 

Now, we have also established the computer labs across these universities.  Of course, not enough for everybody; but at least in each university, we've got from one computer lab up to five depending on the number of students. 

And important thing for me is that we have not yet reached to have the local platforms for the digital libraries.  Like one of things is that we are also connected as part of the TIN program of the Pan‑Asia.  We are connected to European countries through a dedicated private line. 

But at the same time, it's important that what resources are available at your disposal that we avoid reinventing the wheel and get a well‑established platform and we could just use it for having the local contents onto it available. 

Thank you. 


Did anyone want to make any comments? 

>> STUART HAMILTON:  I think the don't reinvent the wheel thing is interesting for me for someone who's worked in this space for ten years or so. 

I think back at the beginning of WSIS, we saw a lot of emphasis on the telecenter movement which has had various degrees of success.  In some countries, it has been successful in providing public access; but in other countries, there's a sustainability issue around telecenters.

So what libraries offer, of course, is public libraries are embedded in the budget; and very often, it's easier to increase funding for an institution that's already in a budget line rather than start from scratch. 

Now, I can't speak for that in Afghanistan.  But that phrase rings true with me because it's taken us a long time within the context of WSIS to raise the profile of libraries, even though we've been there a long time.  A lot of that is due to us not raising our own voices so there's a real onus on us.

One of the things that I want to explore when we get down to some work is the Universal Service Funds question that as well and what can be done there to increase public access.

So we'll be more than happy to pick up the conversation and help you not reinvent the wheel and share some of the things that Ramune's organization and our members are doing. 

>> CHRISTINA DE CASTELL:  Thank you, Stuart. 

Sorry.  Ramune, you had a comment? 

>> RAMUNE PETUCHOVAITE:  I forgot to say that, actually, in Kenya and Ghana, public libraries that we worked with got equipment through Universal Access Fund as well. 

And in Uganda, Uganda Communication Commission which is managing these funds, also discussing pilots in public libraries.  And I think this might be a way for libraries to be connected and to be a part of ‑‑ offer public access in remote areas in any country without need to really reinvent something. 

Of course, there are places where libraries do not exist so there should be some policies in the government to make people to connect. 

But where libraries exist, there is I think not ‑‑ there are no better places to put access to knowledge equipment because it's a natural for libraries. 

And, also, you don't need to transfer people who will serve those points which the librarians are there. 

I know that those initiatives that failed in some countries of public access points actually failed because people were transferred from bigger cities to remote areas, and they did not want actually to stay there, even if they were provided some support.  When the government funding stopped, those points did not ‑‑ were not able to generate incomes because they were dealing with least affluent communities that cannot pay. 

>> CHRISTINA DE CASTELL:  I think we have another comment here. 

And then, Sueli, if you want to come to the mike.

>> AUDIENCE:  Thank you very much.  My name is Deirdre Williams.  I come from St. Lucia in the Caribbean. 

I have a specific question.  In your training, what was your strategy for teaching your students to evaluate the value, the reliability of the information that they were finding, because much of it is not coming from where they are.  It's a difficult question where I come from, too.  Thank you. 

>> CHRISTINA DE CASTELL:  We're going to need to keep our answers pretty short so we can get into the concrete work as well. 

Thank you.  And we have another question here. 

>> RAMUNE PETUCHOVAITE:  So quality of information was part of our module that was online resources and Internet searching.  We realize it's too short after piloting this in three countries and now we just started this program in Ethiopia and we are expanding this module and also putting more stress on how to evaluate information. 


And the microphone over here if you want to ask a question or make a comment.

>> AUDIENCE:  Good morning.  My name is Sueli Ferreira.  I'm a librarian in Brazil.  Also, I am a member of the FEBAB, the National Library Association. 

And on behalf of the FEBAB, I'd like to first say publicly thank you to IFLA for all services you're doing for public library, especially for the undeveloping countries.

In Brazil, we have the whole academic libraries connected because you have the research national network and all the academic libraries are connected.

We also have a lot of telecenters, but it doesn't mean that you do have the powerful public library. 

This is very big ‑‑ very difficult problem for us. 

I think in Brazil, the telecenter doesn't work information literacy, and this is something that the public libraries must do.

And then I would like to ask for both, of course, especially for Stuart, if you are looking for some special contribution or some special work in the Latin American and the National Library Association, perhaps if another person from Brazil can join us because we want to work very strong in this.  Thank you. 

>> CHRISTINA DE CASTELL:  One last person, and then we'll go to the talking about concrete actions.

If yours is short, you can also come to the microphone. 

>> AUDIENCE:  I'm not sure it's a question.  Maybe a comment. 

I'm Julie Ward.  I'm a member of the European Parliament.  I'm on the Culture and Education Committee, but I'm a development student as well.  So this is really interesting for me. 

I just want to say how fantastic the work is that you've presented, and it's great to see developing countries value libraries in a way that they are not being valued back in the so‑called developed world. 

We're now cutting our library services.  We don't seem to value them anymore. 

So coming to sessions where the importance of this kind of informal education is really, really valued is fantastic.

And I think we need to be importing some models back into the so‑called developed countries because you get it, and we're somehow saying that it doesn't matter anymore.  It's just a comment. 

And I'd be really pleased to work with you in the future.  Okay.  Thank you. 

I'm on African Caribbean and Pacific delegation. 

>> CHRISTINA DE CASTELL:  Thank you.  And one more person.

>> AUDIENCE:  Hi.  My name is Said, and I'm from Afghanistan representing the Civil Society.  I'm very glad to see that you're focusing more on the least developing countries because that's where the problem of access and price and the problem of reliability and the quality of in particular the Internet, and access to information or knowledge related to Internet governance and books and activities like that. 

So I come from a country that has gone through a conflict of 30 years ‑‑ and I wanted to just probably a comment or question whatever ‑‑ propose a post‑conflict scenarios because in our country, most of the public libraries are either physically damaged or the operations are completely collapsed.

So providing books or operational activities such as workshops and events like you're doing in other countries in the existing public libraries is a lot more challenging than doing something mobile or something like that.  So probably if you could include that in the least developing countries or post‑conflict countries as a separate in itself would probably add more value to your program. 

Thank you. 

>> CHRISTINA DE CASTELL:  Thank you.  That's a great comment to consider the mobile approaches, using mobile for least developed countries in a post‑conflict situation. 

Stuart, did you have a comment? 

>> STUART HAMILTON:  Very quick, because I know we want to discuss the principles. 

Yes, to the comment about library models because I think some of the most interesting things in libraries are being done outside of northern Europe.  I think that northern Europe is asleep.  It's going to wake up in 30 years and discover there are really incredible countries have gone past them in terms of what public can access in the community.  And that's interesting.  Particularly former eastern European countries have come a long way with the library systems, and there's many others I'll be happy to share. 

With the post conflict, you should look at an organization called Bibliotheques Sans Frontieres who have some excellent programs to bring what they call their the Ideas Box to post‑conflict zones and begin to get connection in the community as soon as possible after conflicts and natural disasters and all sorts of things like that.  I'll be happy to introduce you to those guys.

>> CHRISTINA DE CASTELL:  Thank you, Stuart. 

So before we break into groups for our next activity, I'd like to get a bit of an understanding of who we have in the room.  So I'm just going to name the stakeholder groups for the IGF, and if you can put up your hand if you feel you belong to that group.  And you're welcome to put up your hand for more than one group if you have more than one role.

So, first, the technical and academic community. 

Okay.  One person. 

And from government or intergovernmental organizations? 

Yes.  Great. 

And private sector? 

Okay.  No private sector today.  We'll get them in the main session this afternoon, though. 

>> STUART HAMILTON:  We did have a Google for a bit.

>> CHRISTINA DE CASTELL:  Yes, this is a tough time, since it's approaching lunchtime hour. 

And then Civil Society? 

So we're mostly Civil Society.  That's pretty normal.

So what we're going to do next is start looking at the concrete actions that we can take to move forward our principles that we developed over the past several months on the Dynamic Coalition list and the Google doc that we started with. 

So what I'd like to do is split the room into let's say three groups.  So the idea will be to try to come up in your group with one concrete action that each stakeholder group could take to further the principles for public access in libraries so that we can begin to brainstorm. 

This will be the starting place for our work for the next year on the Dynamic Coalition.  So we're not trying to come up with the very best idea today, but to get the work started so that by the time we're here next year and we've solicited the opinions of our private sector, government, and technical and academic communities more, we'll have a robust list of specific things that people can take action on. 

I think that we've seen in the main sessions and the discussions of the intersessional work on connecting the next billion that there is an interest in public access venues and that we are the right people to contribute ideas on where we need assistance for libraries specifically.  So we'd like to start working on that today. 

So if you don't have a copy of the principles on public access in front of you, there should be one on the table nearby. 

Pull that out.  It looks like this. 

And then the specific principles are on page 2. 

So we have one around infrastructure, around policy, copyright, accessibility, privacy, skills development, open access content, and local content. 

So that's the span of the content that we want to work with today; but for now, what we're looking for is if you can try and come up with one concrete action for each stakeholder group that will help us take this further.  So you can pick any area within your group. 

We have let's say 15 minutes to talk about this in the groups.  We can go a little closer to 20.  So we'll come back at 12:17 into our big groups and share the ideas that we've come up with, so that will give us time before we close. 

And then any of the outcomes we'll put those up in the Dynamic Coalition list and on our Google doc so we can start getting our work done for the next couple of years. 

So I'm going to stand up and figure out how many people we have to split into groups.  Looks like first row and then the ‑‑ well, take this section.

(Working in groups)

>> CHRISTINA DE CASTELL:  It's time to come back to report back on an action that you would suggest.

And remember, this is the beginning of our work in this area. 

So can you designate one person who can come to ‑‑ or do we have mikes in each of the groups now?  We have one here. 


>> CHRISTINA DE CASTELL:  Okay.  So I know you each have a microphone, a wireless microphone, so I think you can report back from your groups. 

So starting with the group at the back, I'm going to ask that you report back a couple of ideas that you have.  It can be one from each of the stakeholder groups or if you focused in one area, report a couple of those.

Just as a reminder, this is the beginning of our work on action.  So we'll keep working this over the course of 2016, and we'll put the ideas that are generated into a Google doc so we can collaborate. 

Don't worry if you don't have time to get all the ideas out or you have lots more to talk about.  That was the idea to get the discussion started. 

>> STUART HAMILTON:  In 15 minutes, we've begun a big philosophical discussion on the role of libraries.

So we've covered across the areas of the principles.  Some of our things will need more work to become concrete. 

But I think the suggestion from our colleague from Afghanistan about how the library community needs to learn to connect the expertise from the different stakeholder groups in support of its work is something which can really be done in this forum.  So that's a concrete sort of thing.

We talked a lot about the need to support libraries in a very fundamental way through money and through support for ‑‑ sustainable support for facilities.

And we talked a lot about messaging which is clear that the library community can improve on.  And I think that we are doing that in this context, but also you've seen the work that we've done at the U.N. level.  It needs to happen now at national levels and at different sorts of levels. 

And the last thing I would say that was concrete, although we discussed a lot of things, is perhaps there are more conversations out there that we can crash to talk about libraries.  Just talking about libraries doesn't work.  You need to talk about what libraries can do for open data.  You need to talk about it in that way. 

So that's I hope that's a kind of quick precis of what we discussed.  Although we did get onto intellectual property and we need to get out of here before that ‑‑

>> CHRISTINA DE CASTELL:  Yes, we did that yesterday.

So coming to the group at the front, can you present some of the ideas that you came up with.  This group at the front. 

>> AUDIENCE:  It's Vint Cerf.  We spent an enormous amount of time about preservation of digital content and how hard this is.  There are technical problems.  There are legal frameworks that permit people to have access and use of content that might not normally be permitted under copyright laws.  And, finally, there's a question of long‑term sustainability. 

So the action item here is not ‑‑ we pursue this question and engage with the various stakeholders who can address these three different areas.  So that's one item. 

The second one is very simple.  Connect all the libraries. 

We think we should just connect them. 

And I know that sounds trivial, but it's not. 

But the more important thing is if we do that, then the assets of the libraries and the capabilities of the libraries will become available to all of us, all of them, and they become a grand collaboration.  That would be really exciting. 

We did talk about other things, but let me stop there if that's okay with the group. 

>> CHRISTINA DE CASTELL:  Great.  Thank you. 

And now for our group in the middle. 

>> RAMUNE PETUCHOVAITE:  Actually, we need more time to talk about actions.  But some things we discussed are quite similar. 

We talked about digitization of local content but also creation of local content and making it available and accessible to communities that might be illiterate, for example, or have no education to read research papers on farming and so on. 

We talked also about responsibility of Civil Society in a way that they can use windows of opportunity that they are aware of in their countries to bring libraries into dialogue and get public access and connection.  Sometimes local institutions are left out of those dialogues.  So Civil Society which are more active could be a way to really connect. 

And what else?  We also talked about how private sector and also how public access funds can be used for connecting libraries to Internet and also getting all other services that are important to communities.  But we did not finish.  We just started. 


So what I'm going to ask everyone to do is whoever was taking notes for the group, to provide those to me. 

I'll also share ‑‑ so we'll put some summaries into the Google doc.  And there's someone from the library community who is involved in our coordination in each group so if you share the notes with that person ‑‑ Sueli for this group at the front, Ramune in the middle, and Stuart at the back ‑‑ so that we can make sure we get everything that you talked about today captured.  We'll put that on the list, and then you can take a look at it and improve and add; and we'll start working it towards our outcomes to present at the 2016 IGF. 

So thank you, everyone, for being here today. 

I hope I'll see you at the main session at 4:30 on Dynamic Coalitions where we'll get feedback on the principle statement itself from the broader stakeholder group. 

Thanks, everyone.