Join Us

Beyond Access supports libraries working to address local development challenges. Our member teams demonstrate — on a global stage — how libraries support community development.

Members have experience implementing development projects — and boundless enthusiasm for sharing and building on their successes.

Who are Beyond Access members?

Beyond Access members are typically three-person teams consisting of a library, a government agency, and a community partner. They are from the developing world, have experience implementing innovative community development programs, and are driven to do more.

Individual international development practitioners can also join as Friends of Beyond Access »

What are the benefits of becoming a member?

Beyond Access members receive:

  • Access to a global online community of library innovators, moderated through a private Facebook group
  • Opportunities to apply to the Beyond Access Outreach Fund, enabling them to share their experiences and ideas at events that focus on information and development
  • Opportunities to get practical assistance on project design, management, and evaluation — as well as access to grant programs to support and strengthen local initiatives

What are the expectations for my participation?

Member teams work closely with with the Beyond Access program team to find opportunities to highlight their current work and incorporate new resources into the development of their project proposals. By the time Beyond Access members attend the annual event in their region, they will be ready to promote their activities and identify new, innovative ways to expand and strengthen their libraries’ programs.

How are membership applications evaluated?

Each year, we put out a call for membership applications. Applications are reviewed by a committee of representatives from the Beyond Access Organizing Committee on a rolling basis over a three- or four-month period. (The deadline for applying for membership in 2013 was April 22. Sign up for our newsletter to be notified of when the next membership round begins.)

The strength of each application is evaluated in the context of creating a community that is geographically diverse and that demonstrates the wide range of libraries’ ability to address local development issues. Applicants with strong government partnerships are especially encouraged to apply. Basic English language skills are also helpful, so members can convey the message about libraries to decision-makers (however this is not a prerequisite).

I applied to become a Beyond Access member last year but was not accepted. Can I reapply this year?

Yes! We encourage you to reapply. Unfortunately, Beyond Access is only able to accept a limited number of new members each year. We encourage you to reapply — and continue following Beyond Access opportunities and online conversations.

NOTE: Beyond Access particularly seeks libraries working on issues not typically associated with libraries.While we value and recognize literacy and reading programs based at libraries, preference in selection is given to libraries working in the areas of youth, gender, open government, civic engagement, employability, and other related community development areas.

If I do not qualify or am not selected, are there other ways I can participate?

Continue to follow Beyond Access, or contact us and share your experiences! We provide resources and webinars for libraries, NGOs, and government officials interested in community development efforts. Additionally, we encourage your participation as we begin online conversations centered on these issues. All experiences and contributions are welcome.

Have a question that’s not answered here?

Contact us »