About the Program

We believe that a library can become a center of local activity: that people visiting a library in a small town will not only have the opportunity to lend a book but also to read the latest local and other news on computers, use instant messaging to contact their families abroad, find the best deal on the product they are looking for and handle any official matters they may have. We imagine that libraries will become the venues of regular, interesting classes for children and adolescents, computer classes and meetings with popular people (writers, actors, athletes), and that books will be available for reservation also via the Internet. 

In almost a year of preparations for the Library Development Program, we conducted thorough sociological studies which helped us determine the situation of rural libraries and librarians, as well as local residents. Our ideas have been verified by experts from the librarian, local government and nongovernment communities. 

We know that libraries are places with potential. Villages and small towns have a stable network of 6600 libraries employing 9600 well-educated librarians (41% with full tertiary and 21% with post-secondary education) who enjoy high levels of social trust.
We know that residents of small towns need a quiet and safe place were they could spend their free time in an interesting way, meet other people, pursue their interests and fulfill their aspirations. The library can be such a place.
Upon completion of the Library Development Program:
  • libraries in small towns will better serve the needs of local inhabitants,
  • librarians and library users will use modern ICT, 
  • libraries will fulfill an important role in the development of local residents, communities and the country as a whole.
The Library Development Program is addressed to public libraries in all rural and rural-municipal communes with up to 20,000 residents. We are particularly concerned with delivering our program to branch libraries which are often the only public institutions in their local townships. Our studies indicate that almost half of branch libraries have no computer equipment available to library users.
The Library Development Program prepares librarians to run their libraries in a modern way, to organize interesting events that fulfill local resident expectations, secure additional non-budget funds and promote themselves and communes. One of the Program's strengths are active and very practical forms of training.
The multimedia and ICT equipment delivered as part of the Program - desktop and laptop computers (with software provided free of charge by Microsoft Corporation) as well as projectors and peripherals enhance the attractiveness of libraries and help them pursue interesting projects.
Libraries and local governments have the opportunity to initiate cooperation with other communes in implementing the Program. Regional conferences, national scale congresses, best practices programs and grants will facilitate the ongoing exchange of information and experiences.
The Program contributes to strengthening the entire library system, integrating the community, and implementing more advanced and effective forms of communication between libraries and librarians. Our information campaign puts the library issue on public debate, and our promotional and advocacy efforts contribute to building the prestige of the librarian profession.
3808 libraries from small localities take part in the Library Development Program. The Program will be implemented in 2009–2015. We are also working to ensure the sustainability of initiated changes. Small local libraries must continue to operate and develop after the conclusion of the Program. That is why we are acquiring allies and developing partnerships to build a national scale library support program.
Based on trilateral agreements signed between regional authorities and the Information Society Development Foundation (FRSI), Regional Partnerships for Library Development are being established throughout the country. These Partnerships may be joined by other institutions important for regional development: higher schools, educational authorities, representatives of churches, nongovernment and business organizations. The main task of the Partnerships is to promote the idea of modernizing public libraries in rural areas and to support initiatives that help transform libraries into effective centers of local activity.
Of particular importance for the Program are regional public libraries. Directors of all 18 regional libraries have been very involved in the program's preparations. Each library appointed a regional coordinator who supports individual stages of the Program's implementation. Regional public libraries play an important role in ensuring the sustainability of changes initiated by the Program.