Thanks to Marcy Carrel, Technical Information Specialist, Peace Corps, for this guest post on sustainable library development training resources.
Literacy and access to information are fundamental to individual development as well as the development of society. By providing access to books, information, and lifelong learning environments, libraries enable development to flourish.
Across the developing world, there are myriad examples of innovative libraries that have brought positive contributions and great benefit to individuals and the communities served. Children are introduced to reading for fun; youth receive homework assistance; farmers access information on markets for their products; young adults develop computer skills; and community members have a space to collaborate.
Unfortunately, there are also examples of ‘failed’ library projects – such as the forgotten storage rooms with old textbooks or donated books in non-native languages and content that is inappropriate for the local community.
The prospective benefits and potential of libraries has driven the development of libraries of various types across the developing world. Any successful library project, however, must address issues of sustainability – cultural, political, economic, managerial, and environmental sustainability. For example, a culturally sustainable library selects books that are appropriate for the local culture and language(s); a managerially sustainable library has trained and supported staff.
Peace Corps Volunteers have been involved in library development throughout most of the 50-year history of the agency. While many Peace Corps Volunteers engage in library projects around the word, most are not well-trained in library and information science. Volunteers are well-versed in sustainable development, yet translating sustainability to the library context requires more specific consideration and training.
To address these needs, my colleague Gail Wadsworth and I, with input from Peace Corps field staff, developed a set of resources for training Peace Corps Volunteers in sustainable library development. The training package is intended to provide Volunteers with standardized training and guidance for library activities and recommendations for other appropriate resources to support library development in their communities. It includes session plans developed by librarians with input from training experts, ensuring that they meet Peace Corps’ interactive and learner-focused training style. We are pleased that we are able to publicly release these materials and share them with the larger library community. As we will continue to develop additional training resources, we welcome feedback on this training package.
Below is a brief description and links to the resources on the Peace Corps public website:
Sustainable Library Development Training Package (scroll to alphabetical listing)
The purpose of the Sustainable Library Development Training Package is to support and provide guidance to Peace Corps Volunteers engaged in library projects as both primary work assignments and secondary project activities. Training packages are used at Peace Corps posts worldwide to train and prepare Volunteers for their work in the field. The Sustainable Library Development Training Package can also be used by Volunteers to facilitate workshops on library development in their host country communities. Each session plan is stand-alone and includes all relevant handouts; some handouts are repeated from session to session. Listed below are links to the training package with session plans, PowerPoint materials, and all referenced publications.
Sustainable Library Development Training Package (includes session plans)
- PowerPoint: Session: Peace Corps Resources for Library Projects AND Introduction to Sustainable Library Development; Trainer Material 1: PowerPoint Library Photos
- PowerPoint: Session: Library Supplementary Services; Trainer Material 1: PowerPoint-Library Scene Cartoons A and B
- Libraries for All! (No. RE035)
- Setting Up and Running a School Library (No. ED204)
- Sources of Donated Books for Schools and Libraries (No. RE003)
- PACA Using Participatory Analysis for Community Action: Idea Book (No. M0086)
- New Project Design and Management Workshop Training Manual, The (No. T0107)