Brief History

      • The first strategic area of investment of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was the US Library Program.The Foundation’s library was established in 1997.
      • International efforts began in 2001, supporting projects and programs for public libraries worldwide.

      • The Strategic Goal of 1997-2003 is if you can reach a public library, you can reach the internet.

      • In 2011, one effort that the Foundation began to support is the International Network of Emerging Library Innovators (INELI), a Network of library leaders around the world who have skills and experiences in developing innovative services for users.

      • The INELI’s first cohort was carried out in October 2011-October 2013. Three (3) convenings were held in New Zealand, Korea and Netherlands.

      • The INELI’s second cohort (October 2013 –October 2015) is still ongoing. The first convening was held in Netherlands.  The second convening in Chile and the last convening will be held in Capetown, South Africa in October, 2015.

      • In March 2014, the Foundation started the Global Libraries (GL) wind-down. They started to tap regional implementers to provide opportunities to explore and be connected where stakeholders can share information and best practices, and not to reinvent the wheel.

      • The Strategic Goal of 2014 -2030 is to improve lives of one billion information poor by positioning the world’s 320,000public libraries as critical community assets and providers of information through relevant programs and services.

      • In June 2015, the BMGF decided to exit the field of global library leadership, but wanted to leave the sector strong and identified legacy partners to carry forward 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 (7) existing INELI Tracks, namely: INELI-ASEAN, INELI-Balkans, INELI-India, INELI -Latin America, INELI-MENA, INELI-Oceania and INELI -Sub-Saharan Africa.