Established in 2007 on the initiative of Patrick Weil, Libraries Without Borders / Bibliothèques Sans Frontières is one of the leading NGOs working in culture and knowledge-based development. It is an NGO defending the notion that access to information and the diffusion of culture are two essential, yet underestimated, components of economic and human development as well as societal democratisation.
LWB supports local initiatives in more than 20 countries by creating libraries, training librarians, distributing books, supporting local publishing, designing library networks, promoting cultural heritage, and reducing the digital divide. LWB is headquartered in Paris and has staff stationed across France, the Unites States, Belgium, and Haiti.
In 7 years, Libraries Without Borders has lead projects in over 20 countries worldwide, supported 225 libraries and trained more than 450 librarians.
LWB establishes libraries and information resource centres in universities and schools. This support manifests itself in the donation of materials, technical equipment, texts, and multimedia and electronic resources. LWB also accompanies teachers in their educational responsibilities by putting in place educational resource centres as well as creating educational digital content.
# INFORMATION AND ACCESS TO THE WORLD
LWB supports the development of structures providing access to books, information and culture in developing countries. LWB enters into partnerships with libraries to help develop their textual and digital resources and setting up quality cultural programs. LWB also accompanies the creation of cultural projects for specific and disadvantaged groups like visibility reduced persons, detainees and refugee populations.
# CAPACITY BUILDING
LWB initiates innovative specialized resource projects to reinforce the capacities of specific groups like professionals from the medical or justice sectors, for example. In facilitating access to verified and quality-controlled information, LWB accompanies their daily work in servicing their communities as well as their scientific research.
# PROMOTION AND CONSERVATION OF CULTURAL HERITAGE
LWB assists in the conservation and promotion of local written or oral heritage through the creation of specialised structures (libraries, cultural centres) and the training of personnel in these professions. Within the framework of promoting local knowledge and supporting publishers in developing countries, LWB also promotes the diffusion of local literature.
# CULTURAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP
LWB works alongside cultural project developers to conceive of innovative and sustainable economic models. Through setting up income-generating activities and training in management strategies, libraries are re-invented as social and cultural entrepreneurs with major economic benefits for their communities.