Library for All

Library For All (LFA) aims at unlocking knowledge and opportunities for children in developing countries. With limited access to educational materials, these children are given access to a cloud-based library of e-books. In areas where books are scarce but mobile networks are growing, the digital library serves the critical need for quality educational materials. The Library is filled with primary and secondary education content that is culturally relevant and available in local and international languages.

In every country, the e-book collection is reviewed and organized by an in-country Advisory Board. The platform is designed specifically for low-bandwidth environments, and is accessible on a full range of low-cost devices including tablets and mobile phones. Reading can be done offline, and data on usage collected through the platform when online. The Library is flexible and scalable, and most importantly, responsive to the needs of educators and children in developing countries. The organization does not provide hardware, but rather identifies existing in-country devices and then customizes the platform accordingly. As the solution can be used on devices already found in the developing world, including low-cost tablets and mobile phones, LFA is both inexpensive and highly scalable.

Content is delivered from donations from international and local publishers, NGOs, governments or local stakeholders. Library For All has collaborated with leading distributors to deliver publisher content to readers in a secure, automated fashion. The Library tool protects IP through a digital rights management (DRM) system; so international publishers can distribute their content freely on the Library without fear of piracy. Since the Library is cloud-based, a publisher can add to or update the settings on a book the Library at any time.

In the fight against global poverty, improving literacy is critical.

Today, 250 million children worldwide are not learning basic reading and math skills, despite attending school. 70% of those children live in the developing world, where UNESCO estimates one in four young people are unable to read at all. One of the obstacles in basic education is the lack of books in developing countries. The problem remains significant even after decades of attempts to get books to readers. This is due in part to the expense of purchasing and shipping books, and in part to the challenge of providing appropriate books in the languages of readers.

In Haiti, the location LFA’s first program, a scarcity of resources greatly impacts educational outcomes. Only 15% of Haitian schools have a functioning library. 37.9% of individuals are unable to read or write, compared to about 12% in other Latin American countries. The nation struggles to provide quality education for its children. By 6th grade, over 60% of Haitian children drop out of school.

Capitalizing on a digital environment, the company has developed a cloud-based library. According to the World Bank, 5 billion out of the 6 billion mobile phone subscribers live in developing countries and readers are increasingly accessing books through mobile devices.

LFA partners with, and targets major international NGOs, governments or individual donors currently in Haiti, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Cambodia.

At individual schools or community centers, LFA charges 3 USD per user per year. This is capped at 600 USD per site regardless of the number of users. This ensures that the cost for implementation is never prohibitive. Currently, schools and NGOs have elected to cover this implementation cost. Many partners have indicated their long-term plans to include this cost in school tuition fees.

The organization has a model for Blueprint implementation partners. These Blueprint Partners pay to build a localized library in new countries. This fee covers costs of content strategy and acquisition, platform customization, communications and support. This cost is paid upfront before a program launches. There is an also ongoing fee for service and maintenance.

Further, Library For All does not provide users with devices but partners with device manufacturers for revenue shares. When these devices are sold, Library For All receives a 3 USD per device revenue.

HUB Data Distribution Model developed by LFA so Library can be consistently updated with new reading materials and information on reading habits can be collated.

The HUB is a pocket-sized device built on Raspberry Pi technology, able to connect to the internet periodically using either a USB internet stick or an Ethernet cable. Once connected, the HUB downloads new library content and uploads usage reports to LFA automatically. When powered, the HUB creates a Wi-Fi signal that will appear on any device within 20 meters, providing up-to-date Library access to all users in a given classroom or school. The HUB model ensures that even schools without internet access can easily use the platform.

Key Facts

Organization: Library for All
Contact: Isabel Sheinman
Used in: Mongolia, Haiti, Rwanda, DRC and Cambodia




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