Being chosen for International Network of Emerging Library Innovators (INELI) program by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has definitely placed higher expectations on this year for me. A cherry on top of that was seeing an email to Sujata from Prof. M S Swaminathan (Father of Indian green revolution – whom I have only read about in my school text books and I never imagined that I would find a letter from him mentioning my name and the selection).
The International Network of Emerging Library Innovators (INELI) the global library leadership capacity building programme across seven regions in the world is primarily funded by the Global Libraries Initiative of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF). INELI India is one of the seven regional INELIs that have been initiated in August 2015 exclusively for Indian public librarians and is managed by the M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF), Chennai.
INELI India, as the regional initiative, is based on the success of the global INELI project implemented by BMGF over a decade. The overall goal of INELI is to make Public Libraries dynamic in fulfilling the information and knowledge needs of the community, leveraging modern Information and Communication Technologies.
The objective of the programme is to develop leadership skills of librarians, especially Public Library professionals as Library Innovators and to position libraries as a critical community Hub for driving community development through information and knowledge services.
INELI India program being implemented by M S Swaminathan Research Foundation intends to build leadership capacity of 40 Public Librarians as “Library Innovators” across India.
The major goals of the program includes build leadership skills among the innovators, develop innovative services for the community and building a network of library professionals who will support the Indian Public Libraries.
As part of the program there are three face to face meetings (convening) and a lot of online learning being implemented. The first convening happened from 9th to 12th of February at Chennai. This was a wonderful opportunity to get to know all the 26 innovators selected from all over the India, the mentors and the INELI India team. The other thing I learned was; I was the youngest among the 26 innovators, I was excited and worried at the same time as everyone else in the team are much more experienced than me and there were only 2 NGO libraries, others were all from public libraries run by the govt.
Over the course of four days, many things were planned by MSSRF as part of facilitating the program including team building exercises, briefing about the program, planning way forward, visiting Connemara Public Library & Anna Centenary Library and lots of sharing from the innovators, mentors and the INELI India team. We also got to interact with Pilar Pacheco who is the Senior Program Officer, Global Libraries Program, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Prof M S Swaminathan himself. As part of our work at Bookworm, what Sujata really focuses on is the professional development of everyone in the team through meetings, feedback sharing, discussing research papers and books, workshops, team building and literacy reinforcement games. This has developed a reflective lens in me which helped a lot during the convening. The other major home-coming like feeling was that everyone at INELI including innovators, mentors and the INELI India team was so warm towards one another. Also with 26 innovators from all over the country, this might be the most diverse group I have ever been part of. It’s an incredible learning and sharing opportunity because of the diversity and warmth of the group.
Last week we were initiated into moodle were lots of online learning is going to happen and I am looking forward to it. Also Sujata has seeded an innovation idea which I am going to explore 🙂
Well, I am not done yet with this post yet. All the innovators are invited to India Public Library Conference (IPLC) happening in New Delhi from the 7th to 9th of March and I am so glad that I will get to meet everyone else in the team so soon. As I have attended first edition of IPLC with Sujata and Melcom, this is even more exciting to attend it this year. Also being able to witness the launch of India Public Libraries Movement (IPLM) will be a great kick-starter for this journey as I had never imagined myself being involved in libraries when I was back in college and being able to put my skills and thinking in the field of library work is highly exciting.