Web-connected libraries for Africa

From  in The Observer series: Ebooks: the new reading on Saturday 18 May 2013, “Web-connected libraries for Africa: the dream of digital knowledge for all.”

“New venture Librii is seeking to set up self-sustaining libraries with internet access in poor and isolated communities.”

Now, with an initial funding of $50,000 from Kickstarter, library startup Librii is building its first “eHub” prototype: a shipping container filled with computers, printers and training materials, connected to a simple, low-cost study centre, which will let visitors access information, print books and other materials and, crucially, contribute back to the project and the web at large. Once the prototype is complete and tested, a partnership with the University of Ghana and Librarians Without Borders is intended to start shipping the embryonic libraries to Africa, following the frontiers of fibreoptic cable as they push into the continent. While Librii is an NGO, the libraries will be fully self-supporting after the first year, seeking local sponsorship and generating their own income. Recognising that local knowledge, architecture, infrastructure and education are all vital components in the project is what makes Librii’s approach an exciting one.

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