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Agnieszka Koszowska (Information Society Development Foundation, Poland) in a presentation ‘Public libraries as “third places” addressing the digital divide’ showcased a Polish edition of the Get Online Week 2011 initiative. During the GOW public libraries throughout the whole Poland, participating in a special nationwide competition, organized informal meetings for digitally excluded citizens (predominantly aged over 50) and introduced them to the ICT tools. Get Online Week 2011 in Poland was a successful effort to encourage digitally excluded people to use new technologies in their everyday lives. Public libraries played an essential role in bridging the gap in digital divide, being a traditional ‘third’ meeting places, regarded by the residents as neutral, reliable and trusted institutions. The GOW 2011 in Poland has created demand for the ICT training for digitally excluded citizens delivered by libraries. More training opportunities for senior citizens are available now in Polish public libraries as a result of the initiative. Joyce Ray of University College London, Johns Hopkins University (previously with the Institute of Museum and Library Services) delivered presentation ‘Public Libraries in Action in the Digital Age’. She presented the IMLS activities supporting libraries and museums in the US to implement innovative programs and digital competency initiatives. The US public library successfully combine physical space and services to engage the audience and help their users develop digital skills. The examples include the New York Public Library (competitions announced via social media tools, the management blogs) and Chicago Public Library (YOUmedia – a learning lab for the youth) and learning resources for librarians to provide services for the unemployed (Project Compass: Lifeline for the Unemployed, The Learner Web: Web-based Adult Learning). The presentation ‘Public Libraries – key agents for accessible and inclusive technology’, prepared by Alistair McNaught and Dr Simon Ball of JISC, and delivered by dr Simon Ball, discussed the role of libraries in providing accessible technology to users and assisting them to effectively use the ICT tools. Public libraries may be the only place to learn about existing ICT tools, their applications, benefits as well as alternative formats or sources of information. Free of charge and easy to use tools (such as MyStudyBar) and simple techniques (changing word processor or browser settings) may increase the accessibility of digital content. Public libraries’ role and responsibilities to provide assistive technology and support for disabled users were also discussed. Disabled patrons (who may not necessarily regard themselves as disabled) experience barriers when accessing information available in various tools and formats

Workshop 3 | Sustainable Partnerships This workshop, chaired by Sally McMahon, Head of Public Libraries for Brighton and Hove in the UK, considered how public libraries can build relationships and partnerships with other organizations to deliver services and to respond to a world where interaction with Learning Providers, Public Services and Commercial Retailers is increasingly taking place. The workshop session opened with the presentation of Simon Bell, Head of Strategic Partnership and Licensing with the British Library. He demonstrated how the British Library benefited from no less than nine strategic partnerships. The need to digitize the collection, without the immediate funding at its disposal, led the British Library to work together with very diverse 16

ECEI11 Conference Report  
ECEI11 Conference Report  

Conference Report of the European Congress on e-Inclusion 2011