About this project
Library For All was founded for those who have little or no access to books in developing countries.
Imagine walking into a library with stacks of empty shelves. You reach the back of the library and find a table with a small stack of worn books on it. What if the span of knowledge available to you was just those thirty books?
This is the situation for 260 million children globally.
This is why we are building Library For All, a digital library platform for the developing world.
We are harnessing the power of technology, and mobile phone networks found across the developing world, to give low-cost access to a digital library of relevant content.
The library brings together content from Open Source providers and top global publishers. It is designed for low-bandwidth environments through the use of a local network topology. The platform is designed to be device agnostic. That means it can be accessed via mobile phones, e-readers or even low-cost tablets.
Those living in poverty will get access to the Library through government services, NGOs, charities and other agencies in developing countries who are Partners and Members of the Library.
We believe we have a massive opportunity now to create a scalable solution to the lack of access to books for those living in poverty. With your backing, we can reach the poorest communities across the world with ebooks!
Product Development and Timeline
Our MVP (Minimum Viable Product) is essentially an aggregation system, bringing together e-book content from different sources. Our development shop partner is ThoughtWorks, a company with a dedicated Social Impact Program with extensive experience working in Haiti and other impoverished communities across the developing world.
We have completed the design phase, and will begin coding after the successful completion of this Kickstarter campaign. We expect to complete the first release of the platform in September 2013, and pilot at our first school site in Haiti beginning in October 2013. We will keep our launch community in the loop with a quarterly email newsletter.
The MVP will allow us to test our value hypothesis in a relatively low cost way with a streamlined system that can host and add content, authenticate users, enable downloading of content to a reader and track some usage metrics.
Later releases of the product will include a custom reading application and increased opportunities for student-teacher and peer-to-peer interaction.
Research and Monitoring and Evaluation
Our goal is to reach 5 million users within the next 5 years. To do this, we need the most effective strategy to scale across the developing world.
So, we have partnered with a team at the Stern School at New York University to do a research project at our pilot site at Respire School in Gressier, Haiti. The results will help us improve our model and scale our impact.
Haiti is our pilot country because our CEO and COO have worked on the ground there and have built strong relationships. But Haiti is just the beginning. We are currently in discussions with government-level partners to pilot the project in another country, and we are inviting inquiries from potential partners of all sizes through our website.
Library For All is a non-profit effort. This is great news for you as it means your donation is tax-deductible and may also qualify for matching funds from your employer if they support such a program for charitable contributions. While we file for our own non-profit status, which can take 6-9 months, we have teamed up with a reputable 501.c3 fiscal sponsor, I-58 Network. For any contributions you make you will receive a letter from I-58 Network/Library For All verifying that your contribution qualifies as tax-deductible.
How Kickstarter Works
Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing model; if we don’t reach our goal by the end of the fundraiser, your account will not be charged.
To pledge to a project, just click the green “Back This Project” button on this page. You will be asked to input your pledge amount and select a reward. From there, you will go through the Amazon checkout process. Note that you must finish the Amazon checkout process for your pledge to be recorded. Again, some people run into trouble completing their donation-- If you encounter a problem, please contact us through our website at www.libraryforall.org.
Here’s a link to the Kickstarter Frequently Asked Questions
For more information
Visit us at www.libraryforall.org
Risks and challenges
Risk of working in developing countries:
Working in the developing world is inherently riskier then working in the developed world where laws and governments are more predictable. This is one of the reasons we are launching in Haiti. Our CEO has lived in Haiti since December 2010 and has built a strong network of connections and partnerships. Through these relationships we have minimized the risk to our pilot, and plans are already underway to launch in October 2013.
Platform Development delays and cost overruns:
This is one of the reasons we have chosen Thoughtworks as our digital partner. Thoughtworks has extensive knowledge designing and implementing projects in the developing world, including in Haiti. They also have a dedicated Social Impact Program at the core of their business and are committed to being engaged with projects that will create positive social change.
We are confident in our budget planning for the project and Thoughtworks ability to deliver as per our roll out strategy. We have a significant buffer period in our development timeline to allow for any unforeseen delays.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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