In recent years, the Peruvian government has begun taking important steps towards transparency, civic engagement, and social inclusion throughout the country. Its digital agenda 2.0 provides a roadmap to build an inclusive society with increased access to information for all. But despite this progress, many Peruvians still face a daunting information gap. Although new information and services are becoming available online, few people in Peru know of these resources — and even fewer have access to the technology or skills they need to use them.
The new Beyond Access project in Peru aims to address this information gap by working with CEDRO, an NGO with experience in the field, and the Peru National Library, which is in charge of mobilizing the country’s 700-plus public libraries to support social and economic development. Already, many of these libraries are social forces that provide vital services to their communities.
With a focus on providing people with new opportunities to access to information and learn to use technology, the project will support three libraries in different areas of Peru: the municipalities of Trujillo, Pucallpa, and Yauya. Intended as a pilot model of a modern library, this project is an integral part of the overall national strategy to strengthen the library system in Peru.
The project includes three components.
Strengthen tech capabilities in pilot libraries so they can provide new services for their communities
The program will provide the three pilot libraries with computers, an internet connection, and digital content to foster community development. To accomplish this, Beyond Access is partnering with other organizations that will help procure new equipment and develop content for the libraries. Project partners are also working with local governments to encourage them to support library operations and the development of innovative community services.
Improve the country’s capacity to promote the role of public libraries in development
The project seeks to strengthen local capacity for monitoring and managing projects. Beyond Access and project partners have developed training sessions for librarians of the National Library and will encourage public agencies, private companies, and civil society organizations to partner with libraries on development programs.
Position libraries as drivers of social and economic development
This component aims to promote the visibility of public libraries in Peru, as well as to position them as important development allies for national and international organizations and local businesses. The goal is that in the future, organizations that do development work will think of libraries when they need partners for collaborative projects.
The project is part of the National Library’s program, “Seeds for Development/Libraries for Development-Peru,” which aims to strengthen public libraries across the country through partnerships between public and private institutions and the community.
This initiative was developed in partnership with the National Library of Peru and CEDRO and has the support of both local and national government agencies as well as non-governmental organizations.