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Public library development project Trešais tēva dēls

05.06.2008

Valmiera district libraries participated in Public library development project.

Read more about the project activities and benefits in an extract from the official website of the project http://www.3td.lv/index.php/en/par/

Public library development project

In autumn 2006, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, based in Seattle USA, donated US$16.2 million for the development of Latvia’s municipal public libraries. This was an outcome of Latvia’s own investment in the sphere of new communication and information technologies within the scope of the Latvian National Library’s Gaismas tīkls (network of light) project, rated highly by the Foundation. In addition to the Foundation’s grant, public library development project Trešais tēva dēls is also being co-financed by the Latvian government and municipalities. In addition, Microsoft has been a major contributor through the donation of software. All of these resources are being utilised in the development of Latvia’s public library information and communication technologies.

The following objectives have been set for the duration of the project’s implementation (from November 2006 to June 2008):

Installing around 4000 computers (an average of 3.4 computers per library) in Latvia’s 874 libraries;

Equipping the Latvian Library for the Blind and its seven branches with special computers for blind and site-impaired users

Equipping the 28 main regional libraries with special computers for site-impaired users

Connecting 17 libraries to the internet for the first time

Increasing the speed of the internet connection at 853 libraries

Installing equipment enabling wireless access to the internet at 874 libraries

Training all librarians in the use of computers and the latest software, in user support and undertaking innovative activities in libraries

Training library users in basic computer skills

Informing the public about the benefits arising from the project, as well as ensuring the sustainability of project outcomes

Assessing project impact by surveying both librarians and the public


Public library development project Trešais tēva dēls activities:

Supply of computers – all Latvia’s municipal public libraries are being supplied with new computers. There will be an average of 3.4 computers per library. The number of computers is being calculated on the basis of the members of the public served by each library. Specially equipped computers are also being supplied to the Latvian Library for the Blind and its seven branches throughout Latvia, also special computers for site-impaired users are going to Latvia’s 28 main regional libraries. In addition to the computers, libraries will also receive multi-functional equipment for copying, scanning and printing. The Library for the Blind will receive special Braille printers. All the equipment is intended for use by the public.
Within the scope of the project, ten permanent and ten mobile, fully-equipped, computerised training rooms of regional significance have been constructed and commissioned. They have been set up overall to optimise training processes for the latest equipment, including portable computers, interactive whiteboards, multi-functional equipment, projectors and screen, as well as memory-card readers for working with electronic signatures.

Supply of software – all the computers are loaded with the latest software enabling library users to utilise state-of-the-art techniques for searching and processing information. The computers in libraries and at the librarian-training centres are each loaded with about 15 different types of software.

Improvement of local area networks and internet connections – so that the full capabilities of the new computer equipment can be utilised, improvement of local area networks and internet connections is being undertaken in parallel. When this process is completed, all public libraries will have broadband access to the internet, available both to people working with the library’s computers and to those who come to the library with their own laptops, because free wireless access to the internet will be available at all libraries and in their immediate vicinity.

Training of librarians – within the scope of the project, ten special librarian-training centres were constructed to ensure that librarians are successfully trained to work with the new equipment and software, as well as trained in the use of electronic signatures, innovative library activities and other topics. They are situated all around Latvia, their locations having been chosen to make it easier for librarians to get to them and participate in training activities. Altogether, every librarian has undergone a 140-hour training programme within the project.

Public communication – we plan to inform the general public about the opportunities provided by the public library development project. The Trešais tēva dēls brand is the creative foundation of the message and forms the basis of all five communication campaigns. The communication objective is to make sure that the general public knows about the changes in libraries, and that support for libraries is ensured both currently and in the future, from national and local governments as well as both the non-government and private sectors.

Project-impact assessment – to give the financers and implementers of the project a better view about the success of the project and how many members of the public have improved their quality of life, surveys of the public and particular groups were and will be undertaken prior to the project, throughout its duration and after its completion. The impact assessment of the project will help evaluate the project’s successful and less-successful aspects and to establish what requires attention in the future. This project-impact assessment is the largest-ever research undertaken in relation to Latvia’s libraries.

 
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