A “Library for All” around the world and volunteer opportunity

June 8, 2016 meeting of the Library for All Board of Directors, Advisory Board, and Young Professional Board in New York City.

June 8, 2016 meeting of the Library for All Board of Directors, Advisory Board, and Young Professional Board in New York City.

Last week, I was in New York City for a board meeting for Library For All (LFA), a nonprofit organization that has built a digital library platform to address the lack of access to quality educational materials in developing countries. Among other things, I learned about the latest LFA success—in Cambodia, where the kids’ demand for ebooks came to exceed the supply, at least temporarily.

Designed for low-bandwidth environments, the LFA digital library is a customizable, user-friendly digital platform that delivers ebooks to low cost devices such as mobile phones, tablets and computers. The collection is filled with content that is culturally relevant and available in local and international languages. The Library currently reaches readers in Haiti, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Cambodia, and Mongolia.

The Volunteer Opportunity:  Country Curators

LFA has a particular need for curators of specialized collections for their country libraries. Some of the topical areas include girls, early grade literacy, adult literacy, and health—but other topics are of interest as well.

booksforasia (2)Responsibilities of the volunteer curator may include:

  • Identify titles that will make up a specific collection
  • Research and have a broad understanding of the collection you’re curating
  • You will be researching existing open source content as well as evaluating what publishers / NGOs already have available
  • Work with the Content Manager to reach out to existing publishers who may have suitable content
  • You will work with the Content Manager and take ownership of the curation and implementation of the collection
  • By the end of your time you will have a specialized collection uploading and being read in the digital library
  • Reach out to publishers and NGOs to see if we can use the content on our library platform
  • Add metadata to the content and upload books onto our Digital Assets Management

The specific tasks and timetable for a given volunteer will vary and are flexible, though generally LFA seeks those who can provide a block of time over a couple of months rather than a lesser engagement over many months. Fluency in English required; fluency in French, or one of the current LFA local languages, Haitian Creole, Khmer, Mongolian a plus but not essential.

For Further Information about the Opportunity or LFA

Those who are interested in learning more should contact Georgia Tyndale at Georgia@libraryforall.org. Also, note that Rebecca McDonald, CEO of Library For All, will be at the upcoming ALA Annual Conference in Orlando. Those interested in learning more about this volunteer opportunity or about LFA generally are invited to meet with her there. To arrange a meeting, contact Rebecca at rebeccam@libraryforall.org.

About Alan Inouye

Alan S. Inouye is the director of ALA's Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP). Previously, he was the coordinator of the President's Information Technology Advisory Committee in the Executive Office of the President and a study director at the National Academy of Sciences. Alan completed his Ph.D. at the University of California at Berkeley.

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