Beyond Access Makes the Case for Libraries in Global Development

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Beyond Access Makes the Case for Libraries in Global Development

Launch event to spark debate on alternative development approaches among policymakers, global funding institutions, NGOs and library innovators
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Beyond Access Makes the Case for Libraries in Global Development
Monday, July 2, 2012 - 12:05pm

CONTENT: Press Release

WASHINGTON, July 2, 2012 / 3BL Media /PRNewswire/ -- Thoughtful discussion, interactive debates and inspiring development stories are all on the agenda at Local Alternatives for Global Development: Rediscovering Libraries on October 3, 2012, at Washington, D.C.'s Arena Stage.

The first libraries and development-focused event of its kind, Local Alternatives for Global Development takes as its starting point the central role that information access plays in global health and development. But the event aims to go a step further, encouraging debate around the "how" of information access, particularly at a time when resources are scarce and top-down, infrastructure-dependent development approaches have not lived up to their billing.   

"It's widely recognized that the world's poor often lack access to existing knowledge that can improve health outcomes, match workers with available jobs and encourage the adoption of better agricultural techniques," said Deborah Jacobs, director of Global Libraries at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the event's sponsor. "How best to promote locally relevant, sustainable information access is the bigger question. Even though public libraries check many of the boxes that the development community looks for in local partners, they haven't traditionally been thought of as a development alternative."

Lively PowerPoint-free Dialogues, Debates and Discussions
Local Alternatives for Global Development is turning the traditional development event on its head, shunning PowerPoint slides and the traditional keynote-followed-by-breakout-session format. Instead, participants will be encouraged to be active contributors in development coffee lounges, technology roundtables and an innovation fair.    

"Beyond Access doesn't claim to have a silver bullet for every development challenge," said Rob Cronin, vice president for civil society at IREX, the event's host. "Our objective is more specific: bring together some of the most creative development practitioners in a setting that facilitates as much dialogue, debate and discussion as possible around the untapped potential of trusted local development partners like libraries."

Online and in Person Participation

  • Registration is now open at for development practitioners, multilateral lending institution program managers, library innovators and media  
  • For more information on confirmed discussion leads, please visit  

To track and engage in the local development alternatives conversation in the lead up to, during and following Local Alternatives for Global Development:

About Beyond Access
Beyond Access is an initiative of IREX, EIFL, IFLA, Makaia, Civic Regeneration, TASCHA, the Riecken Foundation, and READ Global, with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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