The meeting, held at Centrum Kreatywności Targowa, Warsaw on June 20 and 21, was opened by the Polish-American Freedom Foundation Program Director Joanna Lempart and President of Information Society Development Foundation (ISDF) Jacek Królikowski.
Joanna Lempart congratulated the representatives of 168 libraries who were accepted to participate in the 5th round of the Library Development Program and thus joined the network of over 4,000 participating libraries. She recalled the history of that initiative, and cooperation with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, pointing to the fact that libraries have changed very much over the past 15 years and have become the centers of social activity. Jacek Królikowski emphasized how important it is for the library to build trust, be open to diversity and respond to current needs and challenges. “Let a library be an asylum where you can do good,” the President of ISDF said.
The first day of workshops was on cooperation and networking. The librarians took part in professional Tree of Life business cooperation game conducted by Game Lab.
On the second day there were eight workshops on various subjects such as making a diagnosis, working with seniors, activities promoting openness, diversity and tolerance, development of library as an environmentally friendly place or personal development of the library staff. The workshops were conducted by coaches and experts cooperating with Information Society Development Foundation within the Library Development Program.
The Library Development Program has been run since 2008 and its objective is to support public libraries in Poland in playing the role of modern local points of access to information, culture, education, and social activity. An important objective is also to improve competence and strengthen professional prestige of librarians. By 2015 the initiative was run by Polish-American Freedom Foundation in partnership with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation under the broader Global Libraries initiative of the Gates Foundation implemented in a dozen of countries. In Poland it weas initially implemented by the Information Society Foundation established by PAFF in 2008. The Gates Foundation awarded PAFF a grant of USD 31 m for that program.
Under four rounds implemented so far, support was offered to 4,055 libraries in 1335 municipalities and rural communes, that is to 70 per cent of target group. Over 12,000 librarians were involved in activities carried out under the program. In the present 5th round, 168 libraries are participating, including 60 new ones.