Friday, October 17, 2014

How New Information Hubs are Advancing Agriculture in Serbia

Increased agricultural productivity is key to boosting incomes and creating jobs in rural Serbia. And for farmers to increase their productivity, they need access to agricultural information and training, along with access to markets and financial opportunities.
In Jagodina, a rural town in central Serbia, the local public library partnered with the farming community to develop the AgroLib-Ja project, which transformed local libraries into information hubs. The Jagodina Public Library has revitalized five rural libraries through the Beyond Access-supportedLibraries for Development grant and close partnerships with the local city council and media outlets. Library staff have added agriculture-focused research materials to the library’s resources, hosted agricultural trainings, and implemented children’s education programs.
Perhaps just as important, the AgroLib-Ja project has improved Internet access for rural Jagodinans. Farmers can visit their community libraries to access the Internet and participate in technology training, where they learn new skills to access government services or obtain small business loans. Farmers and other small business owners can also access the AgroLib-Ja online marketplace, where they can reach new local, regional, and national markets to sell their goods.
Read the Jagodina Library’s case study to learn more about the AgroLib-Ja project, or contact us You can also take a look at EIFL’s write-up of the project, or visit the Jagodina Library’s blog.
This post was written by Nolen Deibert, a Program Associate working mainly with the Beyond Access initiative in Africa. It originally appeared on Beyond Access.
An initiative of IREX and partner organizations, Beyond Access is a movement of people and organizations committed to the idea that modern public libraries help drive economic and social development.