SDG 2. 2. Library Policies and Best Practices
Rural libraries are community information centres disseminating the necessary information for farmers’ day to day problems. They promote community engagement and participation, also trying to encourage economic vitality within the community. They are, therefore, the natural prime movers of projects falling within the scope of SDG 2, especially in those regions where agriculture is still a significant source of income for the population.
When situated in cities, public libraries have often promoted seed banks for loan exchange. It is in rural areas, however, that ambitious projects implementing SDG 2 seem to take place. The Jagodina municipality (Republic of Serbia) is an area where half the population lives in villages and 70% of the economy is agricultural. In this region, the Agrolib project aims to fill the gap existing between the Serbian government online notification system about subsidies and incentives for farmers and the level of ICT literacy in the region. By revitalizing five rural libraries, the Agrolib project endowed them with modern technologies and advanced library services, aiming to link farmers with the State, farmers among themselves and farmers with potential sellers and buyers of agricultural products, machinery and services. Farmers’ visits to rural libraries boomed and changed the local cultural outlook. The Agrolib project was replicated in rural areas of Latvia, Lithuania and North Macedonia.
(Crnkovic, Vesna (2013). Access to Information and Knowledge: AgroLib Ja (Agricultural Libraries in Jagodina) (Serbia), W SIS Stocktaking: Success Stories 2013, https://read.itu-ilibrary.org/science-and-technology/wsis-stocktaking_pub/80858f17-e0df5802-en#page1)
In Romania, through the Biblionet project funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, public libraries saved $1.25 million and 230,000 working days for 116,000 farmers between 2011 and 2014. Furthermore, farmers received $205 million of subsidies. This impressive score was achieved thanks to an activity implemented by IREX Romania, which concluded a collaboration agreement with the Agency for Payments and Interventions in Agriculture (APIA), aimed at using the computers donated to the public libraries to fill in online the agricultural subsidy applications managed by APIA.
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