CILIP Conference Day 1 Plenary

Barbara Schack
Innovative approaches in access to information, education, and culture for vulnerable populations: the Ideas Box

Bibliotheques Sans Frontieres / Libraries Without Borders

Experience working in Haiti. The work they did there was essential and helped people become human again and take steps beyond meeting their immediate physical needs. You can check off food, shelter, medicine but how do you define access to culture?

Started to define terms of reference for a media centre you could transport to anywhere in the world within an hour. The Ideas Box is a set of 6 heat, water and dust proof cases that transforms into a learning space. It features technology but also craft material with a focus on creativity. By providing a space and facilitators, people start to the contribute their information and knowledge.

First Ideas Box sent to Burundi in 2013. The boxes are designed to be filled with wonder. The community should feel excited by their arrival “like a circus coming into town”. They need to be able to escape to a “dreamboat” from the crisis/conflict that surrounds them. The community participate I opening the boxes and creating the space.

Three key impacts:

  • child protection. The library is a space beyond school where children can go and take part in activities tailored to their age and needs.
  • better education. Teachers are able to access new resources and pedagogy.
  • recreating a vibrant community. Inside a camp or an emergency situation is not what you bring but how much you enable them to bring to their situation.

If you want to help, librarians can:

  • contribute their knowledge on what content to put into boxes for particular situations
  • help curate the content that works with the tools

There is a workshop tomorrow in the Ideas Box to hack the box.

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