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CDNLAO Newsletter

No. 83, August 2015


National Library of the Philippines implements the INELI-ASEAN Project

By Blesila P. Velasco, National Library of the Philippines

Taking on the challenge to facilitate information exchange through an innovative learning strategy and mechanisms across borders in the universal landscapes, the Global Libraries (GL) initiative of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) started in 2011. They believed that "the most effective way to ensure that emerging library leaders don't act with yesterday's logic is to provide them with opportunities to connect with each other to explore new ideas, experiment with new services, and to learn from one another." One very significant effort that the BMGF began, to support and, as a strategy, to address public libraries' issues is the International Network of Emerging Library Innovators (INELI). It is a network of library leaders around the world who have skills and experiences in developing innovative services for library users.

Established in 2011, the first INELI Cohort consisted of 19 library workers from 17 countries including the Philippines. It was a two-year project which was implemented from October 2011 to October 2013. Three convenings were held in New Zealand, South Korea and the Netherlands. Based on the success of this cohort, the GL decided to create the second cohort that is still ongoing and will run from October 2013 to October 2015. Their first convening was held in Netherlands, the second convening in Chile and the last convening will be held in Cape Town, South Africa in October, 2015.

The GL started to wind-down in March 2014 and prompted the BMGF to communicate with INELI first cohort mentors and sponsors via e-mail. In June 2015, the BMGF decided to exit the field of global library leadership, but wanted to leave the sector strong. They identified legacy partners and asked to submit concept papers and/or proposals to carry forward the GL's strategy goals of improving lives through public libraries around the world which they call INELI Regional Network Development or INELI Track. At present, there are seven existing INELI Tracks, namely: INELI-ASEAN, INELI-Balkans, INELI-India, INELI-Latin America, INELI-MENA, INELI-Oceania and INELI-Sub-Saharan Africa. The INELI-Oceania was the first to implement INELI in their region, followed by INELI-Balkans, INELI-Latin America, INELI-ASEAN and INELI-MENA. The rest are still working on their proposals for approval of the BMGF.

After almost a year of haggling and meticulously going through the process of applying a grant, on April 30, 2015, the BMGF has finally awarded it to the National Library of the Philippines (NLP) to fund its INELI-ASEAN Project. On June 11, 2015, the INELI-ASEAN Launching and Pre-Convening activities were held at the Bangkok International Trade and Exhibition Centre, Bangkok, Thailand. This was the first activity of the Project which coincided with the 16th Congress of Southeast Asian Librarians (CONSAL). The Launching and Pre-Convening activities primarily aimed to brief National Library Directors and/or National Library Association Presidents on the INELI-ASEAN Project. The reception of the Project was overwhelming as there were a number of questions raised, and further highlighted with the willingness and eagerness of some ASEAN member countries to host the convenings. The INELI-ASEAN Project Team took also the opportunity to visit booths of publishers and providers of electronic resources to promote the project, and to ask for their support.

< Group Photo of the INELI-ASEAN >
Sponsors with the INELI-ASEAN Project Team. In the photo are National Library Directors of Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and Timor Leste; and Presidents of Library Associations of Brunei, Cambodia, Singapore and Malaysia.

The INELI-ASEAN project involves ASEAN member countries such as Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor Leste and Vietnam. The project participants will be brought together in three convenings to be held in Malaysia on October 21-24, 2015; Singapore in October, 2016 and Vietnam in October, 2017. The project will build the skills level of 40 Innovators through online learning modules and workshops during the convenings. There will be experienced mentors and learning facilitators who will guide the participants/Innovators throughout the duration of the program.

The Innovators will be selected and nominated by the sponsors consisting of National Library Directors and Presidents of National Library Associations of the ASEAN countries. The eligible Innovators are expected to be talented and highly-skilled library professionals. Although, there is no age limit for Innovators, it is expected that those selected will be closer to the beginning or middle or their career rather than being close to retirement. In addition, the criteria for nomination/selection of Innovators include abilities to: (1) demonstrate a potential for Leadership, Innovation, and Collaboration; (2) completion of at least two years’ work experience in the home organization; (3) good command of the English language; and (4) knowledge, skills and access to reliable and robust technology (computer, software, Internet connectivity) at work or home and sufficient computer skills (proficient in Word, email, etc.) to enable to participate in the INELI-ASEAN activities. Final selection of Innovators will be the responsibility of the INELI-ASEAN Project Team, based on the results of evaluation and interview, if necessary.

Atty. Antonio M. Santos, Director of NLP leads the INELI-ASEAN Project Team ( as Project Director. Below are the names list of the project team.

Project Director Atty. Antonio M. Santos, Director of the NLP
Assistant Project Directors Ms. Blesila P. Velasco, Ms. Melody M. Madrid
Technical Senior Staff Ms. Chona S. Galo, Ms. Xenia B. Romero
Finance Staff Ms. Fe B. Basagre, Mr. Roman G. Bersamira
Administrative Staff Ms. Ginalene M. Magallano
Support Staff Mr. Christopher T. Diaz
Project Consultant Mr. Joel C. Cruz

The INELI-ASEAN Project Team is still in the process of selecting and recruiting two Learning Facilitators to complete the Project Team.

The core goal of the INELI-ASEAN Project is the establishment of ASEAN Public Libraries Information Network (APLiN), which is expected to be organized during the last convening in October 2017. This will be participated in by public libraries with all innovators serving as its first organizational founders and members. The APLiN will serve as a network, information hub, common and practical platform wherein public libraries in Southeast Asia can connect with each other. It is a mechanism that will create future collaboration and partnerships among stakeholders within the region. It will provide easy access to vital information and a conducive venue for relevant knowledge, information exchange and best practices.

To ensure successful implementation of the INELI-ASEAN Project and sustainability of the the APLiN, national libraries in Southeast Asia; local, national and international library associations; government agencies; non-government organizations; public libraries; local government units; and providers of electronic resources from the private sector, will be tapped as potential partners to assist the funding of the three-year project.

Copyright (C) 2015 National Library of the Philippines


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