Library Information Literacy Program Impact

Through small projects, school teachers, librarians and students have explored inquiry-based, collaborative, community-centered learning in various fields, including oral history and local cultural studies, inquiry-based studies on nature, agriculture, environment, which eventually results in students developing 21-Century literacy competencies and contributing to their community. Public/community libraries expanded their services to meet diversified community educational needs in early literacy, livelihood, cultural preservation, health care, and ICT. In extended projects, multiple school libraries and/or public/community libraries have worked together to provide a thematic in-depth service to an expanded population, such as ICT training and health education for school students, township residents, and farmers in nearby villagers.

An independent evaluation research report on the EEF Community Informatics Program concluded that:

"The program empowers villagers in three ways: Firstly, they become conscious about their information and digital literacy needs, computer and the Internet access and usage needs; Secondly they have more autonomous controls on their access to and usage of public computing sites and private computers; Thirdly, rural residents are empowered by value-added information seeking and usage, their original social capital are strengthened through online information creation and knowledge sharing." (p. 22)

This study was also published in a scholarly journal with an abstract that summarizes the main research findings:

"The authors found that on the whole, the EEF's training programs helped people move up the pyramid of digital inequality."

An additional scholarly journal article presents a case study of the partnership between EEF and EEF supported libraries.  The authors concluded that:

"Initially the EEF had to largely rely on librarians from the United States to educate Chinese librarians on how to set up library services, establish policies, manage user-centered programs, and utilize limited technological resources.  For participating Chinese librarians and school administrators, the EEF opened a door for them to meet library professionals in the United States and other countries.  They eagerly embraced opportunities to learn from their Western counterparts at EEF international conferences."  (p. 229)

"The school library-centered community information service cluster that EEF champions has spread to libraries in other rural regions.  In the cases we presented, Chinese librarians have been successful with program planning and implementation." (p. 229)

Over the years, rural libraries supported by Evergreen Education Foundation initiated changes that have improved their status and made them the flagships in their regions, with a positive influence on other libraries in the region that includes promoting information literacy to the public. Evergreen’s model of improving education and learning for rural China by library development has been widely recognized.

In 2004, the China Evergreen Rural Library Service Center , the Foundation’s administrative arm in China, was awarded the 2004 Access to Learning Award by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for its accomplishments and innovative approach:

“… the foundation has granted the Access to Learning Award (ATLA) to highlight the innovative ways libraries and similar organizations around the world provide services to people, and to promote the development and replication of new ways to increase public access to information technology.”

- Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Evergreen Education Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit charity registered in California, United States. Registration number 68-0474814.