Making Libraries Matter: Beyond Access Conference 2012

October 25, 2012 • by colin

We do so much work for clients abroad (either in different countries or different continents), so we always love when we get the chance to meet face to face. We were therefore very excited to be able to go down to Washington D.C. to attend the Beyond Access 2012 Conference Local Alternatives for Global Development: Rediscovering Libraries on October 3rd, put on by our client Beyond Access. In partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the conference aims to explore the “how” of information access, bringing public libraries into discussions of development for the first time. This year, 20 library delegations from every continent were in attendance, presenting their innovative community ideas to over 300 participants.

During the Libraries for Development Innovation Fair and Contest, participants presented their project proposals to a panel of judges and the voting public. This year’s People’s Choice Award went to the Jhuwani Community Library and Resource Center in Nepal, for their project addressing issues of social inclusion and economic sustainability, particularly focused on women’s empowerment as a fundamental aspect of social inclusion.

Stresslimit partner Colin Vernon also had the chance to catch up with one of our favourite collaborators, Christine Prefontaine of Facilitating Change, who was a major organiser of the conference. We helped out as the WordPress & PressBooks expert at the workshop-based Tech Conference, the first two days leading up to the main conference. Here we see Christine standing in front of the main entrance booth at the venue.

Thanks to the whole Beyond Access team for putting on such a great event with a great cause, there were tons of interesting people and fascinating talks. It’s always inspiring to meet our collaborators in person and see the results of our projects in action.