Digital Inclusion and Public Access to the Internet: What Policymakers Need and how Libraries and Other Community Services can deliver

06 November 2012 - A Workshop on Baku,Azerbaijan


Building on discussions at the 2011 IGF and 2012 EuroDIG, this workshop will take the form of a dialogue between policymakers, technology companies, funding bodies and representatives from the regional and international library communities, and others on the subject of digital inclusion policies and practices. Taking as its starting point recent research which shows that in many countries libraries still remain largely overlooked as community development partners despite idealistic support for their activities from policymakers and communities, the workshop will explore the case for future investment and support of public library and community services to ensure sure that libraries and other services meet existing community needs today and can continue to work to meet the changing needs of communities in the future. By creating a forum for policymakers and other stakeholders to explain what they need from libraries and other community services in order to meet their development goals, and by highlighting existing innovative digital inclusion projects (such as investment in public library innovation by foundations and communities in developing countries and ongoing large-scale digital inclusion projects being carried out around the world) that involve stakeholders from all sectors, the workshop will explore the way public libraries and other community services can be utilised to deliver policies relating to online inclusion, including increased access to technology and the skills needed to find and post crucial information online.

Placing public access to the Internet through libraries on the agenda of IGF cuts across a number of key IGF themes such as Internet governance for development (IG4D) and Access and Diversity. The workshop will be supported by members of the Dynamic Coalition on Public Access in Libraries, which was founded following the 2011 IGF in Nairobi. The DC is a virtual multi stake-holder forum with geographical and gender balance which aims to bring library representatives into contact with policy makers in pursuit of sustainable funding and favourable policies towards libraries and public Internet access.