National Library of the Philippines implements the INELI-ASEAN Project
By Blesila 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.