Libraries without borders, Australia

Libraries Without Borders (LWB) is a remarkable organisation that has developed the ‘Ideas Box’: a mobile multimedia centre for vulnerable populations. It uses satellite technology to connect remote communities – in particular refugees – to the Internet, and the wider world. Ideas Boxes also contain tablets, computers, e-readers, hard copy books, films, games, and servers loaded with educational content. They can be installed anywhere and under rough conditions. So far, they have been delivered to children and adults in refugee camps and more recently to urban neighbourhoods. 

The Ideas Box rollout in Australia is being led by State Library of Queensland in partnership with Libraries Without Borders, Mapoon Aboriginal Shire Council, Kowanyama Aboriginal Shire Council and State Library of Western Australia, and with the support of the Puma Energy Foundation, Tim Fairfax Family Foundation and Queensland Library Foundation.

Where they work

Our partnership

For three years (2015-2017), the Foundation will support LWB in a roll-out of their Australian pilot programme to Aboriginal communities around Queensland, Western Australia and South Australia. The project will reach two-to-three communities in each State, serving a total of 6,000 beneficiaries. In close collaboration with Australian State Libraries, LWB facilitators on the ground carry out consultations with the local communities in each State to identify the content of the Ideas Box. Together, they also discuss the kind of workshops and training courses users would benefit from. Since Aboriginal communities in Australia tend to have significantly lower access to employment, education, health, and literacy than other Australians, this tailored programme aims to increase access to information and communication technologies and help close the ‘opportunities gap’.

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