Patrick Weil, president of Bibliothèques Sans Frontières (Libraries Without Borders), asks this crucial question:
“What is a man, a woman, a child, once his or her life has been saved, his or her food and shelter has been found, if, without any activity, he or she cannot read, write, draw or communicate, in order to better project himself or herself into the future and rebuild his or her life?”
This week, the NGO Libraries Without Borders (LWB) celebrates fifteen years of existence in France and in now more than 30 countries.
These fifteen years have been dedicated to the creation of innovative cultural and educational spaces that have enabled people affected by crises and precariousness to learn, entertain themselves, create links and build their future. LWB’s founding objective is “to empower vulnerable populations by facilitating their access to education, culture and information”.
The NGO has created tools, customised content and innovative services. It also fostered the vocation of librarians to become entrepreneurs of change in their territory “to make the library a space for incubation and initiative”. It promoted autonomous digital libraries that operate off-line; and finally, a Lab that constitutes the Research and Development pole.
LWB’s strength has undoubtedly been its decision to open up to digital technology in order to conquer new audiences, particularly in remote areas.
Libraries Without Borders has contributed to changing the lives of more than 6 million people in 25 languages. It has announced that it has selected 35,000 publications to strengthen the capacities of populations around the major issues that make up today’s world: “literacy, digital, health, employment, hospitality or integration.”