I recently traveled to the United Kingdom to deliver a talk to and visit with Institute of Physics staff and leadership. While there, I attended an SLA Europe, BIALL*, and CLSIG CILIP^ event: Open day for new professionals, as well as made several site visits. My entire week was full of conversations with thoughtful and passionate members and professionals. I learned a great deal, and came home with fresh ideas, new and strengthened connections, and excitement for potential future engagement.
First up in my site visits was the Business & IP Centre at the British Library. Neil Infield and Seema Rampersad greeted a group of us from the chapter, and Seema provided an overview of the Centre and its services. Staff hold workshops and clinics for entrepreneurs, providing group and individual guidance. Amongst workshop topics are pitching your product and lean planning — great content for today’s information manager, as well! Industry guides and an e-newsletter are available online, and a wealth of databases and content is available for those visiting the library. In terms of outreach, the Centre has partnerships in South Africa and with the New York Public Library
Health, farming, education, and mobile banking are addressed in the Gates Foundation 2015 Letter. Full of pop-out sections and imbedded videos, the letter is a media-rich report on upcoming advances and a call to action.
The lives of people in poor countries will improve faster in the next 15 years than at any other time in history. And their lives will improve more than anyone else’s.
There is a fifteen-year timeframe, and in that time child deaths (< 5-years) will be cut by half. Polio, Guinea worm and potentially two other diseases will be eradicated. Only one other disease, smallpox, has been eradicated in human history.
Food yields in Africa and other parts of the world can increase by half through knowledge of crop rotation, fertilization, and knowing when and how to plant specific crops. Mobile phones in the hands of farmers will drive education. More varied and nutritious food will drive food security.
Mobile phones will also transform banking for the poor, allowing more control over assets through mobile banking and micro-lending. Finally, global education will be transformed through smart phones, tablets and online learning. This is where we, as library and information professionals, may have the biggest impact. Whether we help develop courses, make resources available through repositories and digital libraries, or participate in the one laptop per child program, we can impact the lives of thousands through global education.
In the Call for Global Citizenssection, Neil deGrasse Tyson speaks about putting boot prints on the moon, and how that accomplishment made everything else seem possible. He asks:
Will there be an end to war? Possibly. Will there be an end to hunger? Possibly. But you have to envision it first. You have to bet on it. Then you’re invested in the outcome. That’s where change comes from.
The Gates Foundation 2015 Letter is inspiring, and calls for each of us to imagine a better future and to help create that future. Interested in becoming a Global Citizen? Sign up here: http://www.globalcitizen.org/
Moving beyond silos, disciplines and borders to solve problems together will be essential for tomorrow’s success. What steps can we take as individuals and professionals to move beyond our own borders?