Upgrading of Davao City’s public library to start in 2013

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/30 November)— Upgrading this city’s public library into an “idea center” will begin this January as partners of Beyond Access, an international initiative to advance the field of Libraries and Development, paid a visit here on Thursday.

Speaking at the regular I-speak media forum, Bert Barriga, executive vice president of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Davao, Inc., said the system design of the library development project should have been done by now.

“This may be the first library in the world that will hold and nurture ideas and establish a support system to transform them into actual businesses,” he told MindaNews.

He said this project will be a “pooled contributions” by different sectors, such as the telecommunication that will provide internet connection in the library.

One of the features that will attract people to visit the public library is that it will have the “fastest” broadband connection in the city, Bariga added.

Also at the I-speak forum, Ashley Ross, researcher of the International Research Exchange (IREX), a partner of Beyond Access, said that international organizations will help link Davao to the global community for the marketing of the ideas that would be generated from the “idea center.”

IREX is an international organization providing “innovative programs to improve quality of education, strengthen independent media, and foster pluralistic civil society development.”

Its funding agencies include the United States (US) Department of State, US Agency for International Development, World Bank, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Represented by Barriga, this city’s public library was among the few that joined the Beyond Access conference of global community of library innovators last October.

Other participants included groups from Bhutan, Uganda, Kyrgyzstan, Zambia, Nepal, Serbia, Venezuela, Kenya, Ethiopia, Ghana, Brazil and Peru.

City librarian Nora Fe Alajar said the library’s transformation will bring “big, big changes” that will allow the city government to reach out to more communities.

She cited that 14,000 individuals are benefitting from the use of the city library every month, including the beneficiaries of the community reach out program that provides mobile library services to out-of-school youth.

Alajar said that everyday, at least 200 persons visit the public library located at the third floor of the Sangguniang Panglunsod building. (Lorie Ann A. Cascaro/MindaNews)