2021 Annual Report


Rima Kuprytė, Director of EIFL

At the time of writing this report, the war in Ukraine was very much on our minds. We stand by the people of Ukraine as they fight to defend their country. Ukraine is a country we know and love, and it is heartbreaking to see the suffering of its people and the destruction of our partner universities and libraries.

2021 had positive developments with respect to access to knowledge.

It was good to see the adoption of the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science by UNESCO member states in November. Our Open Access Programme Manager, Iryna Kuchma, served on the UNESCO Open Science Advisory Committee as an international expert. The Recommendation sets international standards for open science, and we expect that it will advance open science policy development in many more countries, increasing openness to scientific research and knowledge.

COP26 (26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties) in Glasgow led to a global agreement on tackling the climate crisis. During a COP26 fringe event, the CEO of Creative Commons publicly announced a global campaign led by Creative Commons, EIFL and SPARC to promote open access, open science and open data as effective enabling strategies to accelerate progress towards solving the climate crisis and preserving global biodiversity. You will hear more about our campaign in 2022.

In 2021, we launched and started implementing our 2021 - 2023 strategic plan. In this report, under Who We Are (page 5), we highlight the results of our work in 2021. We also mark the 10th Anniversary of the EIFL Public Library Innovation Awards, featuring a selection of winning library services that are improving people’s lives.

Thank you to everyone, our partners and funders, our board members and staff, who help to bring us closer to achieving our vision of a world in which all people have the knowledge they need to achieve their full potential.

Our vision is a world in which all people have the knowledge they need to achieve their full potential.


EIFL worked in 38 developing and transition economy countries. Here are key achievements in relation to our three main goals.

Advance the transition from paywalled to open access content

3 countries and 8 institutions adopted open access and open science policies mandating deposit of research output in repositories

12 agreements available for free / reduced-price open access publishing

938 authors benefited from the agreements, publishing 1055 articles in open access

Foster digital transformation of public library services

25 Ugandan public libraries joined training-of-trainers programme

1100+ women and youth in Uganda trained to use ICT by public library trainers

Uganda training wins recognition - 50 computers donated to 10 public and community libraries

Support research, teaching and learning

169 libraries subscribed to services allowing remote access to e-resources

Supported Marrakesh Treaty implementation in 4 countries

30+ open access repositories and journals improved

1355 downloads of the ‘EIFL Digital Research Literacy Training Programme Outline for Librarians’


Using knowledge to change their lives and the lives of others


* Phionah Agaba, Uganda


* Oleksandr Berezko, Ukraine


* Joseph M. Kavulya, Kenya



“My dream is that the revised Intellectual Property Bill will address library concerns about supporting research, teaching and learning in Kenya.”

Professor Joseph Kavulya is chairperson of EIFL’s partner consortium in Kenya, the Kenya Library and Information Services Consortium (KLISC), and has been involved in national and international copyright reform.

In 2019, he was one of five African librarians supported by EIFL to take part in negotiations at the WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) meeting in Geneva on copyright limitations and exceptions for libraries, archives and museums.

“I was proud to be one of those voicing the concerns of African nations at the WIPO meeting,” says Joseph.

“In Kenya, copyright law is restrictive and not very clear. As a result, librarians are fearful of copying case studies, tables or even excerpts from texts. They decline to copy even a few pages for users to avoid the risk of litigation. They are afraid of breaking the law.”

EIFL has played an important role in facilitating the relationship between KLISC and KECOBO (the Kenya Copyright Board), he says. In 2020, EIFL and KLISC submitted joint comments to KECOBO on Kenya’s draft Intellectual Property Bill 2020. “In the draft bill, there was no prior input from librarians. Through our comments, KECOBO is now more aware of the importance of limitations and exceptions for libraries and educational institutions, and has committed to reviewing the bill,” says Joseph.

In 2021, EIFL, KLISC and KECOBO worked together to plan a series of webinars for various stakeholders in Kenya on copyright exceptions and other key topics that will continue in 2022. “We expect that these webinars that include local and international experts will raise awareness and support our case while the law is being reviewed.”

Find out more about EIFL's Copyright and Libraries Programme



“We are happy with the income we are earning. We could not have succeeded without the help of the library and the skills we learnt there.”

During the COVID-19 lockdown, Pheona Agaba, of Mbarara City, was keen to keep busy and to help other women earn desperately needed income. She was in contact with a small group of widows, single mothers and girls who were struggling to make a living selling crafts.

She began using her smartphone to research the internet for ideas to help the group to increase their earnings. But browsing was expensive. She quickly ran out of data and could not afford to top-up.

“We heard about the free internet and training at Mbarara City Library, so we went to investigate. It was perfect - but most of our group had never used a computer before,” says Phionah.

The librarian, who had completed a training- of-trainers programme organized by EIFL, Maendeleo Foundation and the National Library of Uganda, offered to teach members of the group to use computers and the internet.

“We became regular visitors to the library, learning to use computers properly, and researching YouTube for new craft skills - how to make kilims, to dye mats, to make mirrors and Christmas decorations.

“Just before Christmas, we rented a shop to sell our products as gifts. The librarian taught us about digital marketing, using social media, and we also started selling our produce online.

“Now we are doing outreach work to teach craft skills to women in other communities. And next year we will start our own learning channel on YouTube to share skills videos in Ugandan languages,” says Phionah.

Find out more about EIFL's Public Library Innovation Programme



“Open Science is science done right. It is a unique opportunity for Ukrainian research to become fully integrated into the European and global systems and finally leave all the post-Soviet rudiments behind. Implementation of Open Science in Ukraine will be one of the urgent tasks after the victory over Russia.”

In November 2021, Ukraine launched a draft National Plan for Open Science. The plan was the culmination of six months of intensive meetings organized by the Ministerial Working Group on Development of the Ukrainian National Plan for Open Science.

Oleksandr Berezko coordinates the Working Group, which comprises experts from 18 Higher Education Institutions, research institutes, libraries, and NGOs - including EIFL.

Ukraine was one of the first countries where EIFL began promoting open access, with an awareness raising workshop in 2004. Over the years EIFL has, through a variety of strategies and activities, helped to build open access and open science capacity of scholars, research managers and librarians. Today, Ukraine has over 160 open access institutional repositories and 17 institutions have adopted open access policies.

“EIFL’s long and consistent involvement helped lay the ground and smooth the passage of the draft National Plan,” said Oleksandr.

Once formalized, the National Plan will mandate open access to research output and create conditions for effective work with Open / FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable) data. The draft Plan is currently being reviewed by government ministries, and discussed at a series of public events.

“The plan will help integrate our research infrastructures into European e-infrastructures - the EOSC (European Open Science Cloud). And it will reform research assessment, promote citizen science, and build capacity in open science,” said Oleksandr.

Find out more about EIFL's Open Access Programme



“LMBA has partnered with EIFL for over 20 years, since 1999. We benefited from big discounts negotiated by EIFL for 30 e-resources, and the starting prices ensure that we continue to pay affordable prices for these products.”

The Lithuanian Research Library Consortium (LMBA), EIFL’s partner consortium, has 46 member institutions. Aušra Vaškevičienė, EIFL Licensing Coordinator in Lithuania, is part of the LMBA team that conducts annual negotiations with publishers for licensed access to scholarly e-resources for LMBA members. LMBA also joins agreements negotiated by EIFL.

In 2021, LMBA member libraries subscribed to 78 scholarly journals, databases and e-book collections, including five negotiated by EIFL. The e-resources are very well used: in 2021 more than 3.2 million journal articles and more than 538,000 e-book chapters were downloaded.

“We use the EIFL model licence as the basis for our negotiations with publishers. We also learned from EIFL on how to negotiate Read & Publish agreements and we apply EIFL’s negotiating principles,” says Aušra.

In 2021, the LMBA signed two Read & Publish agreements, which combine reading access with free publishing in open access for authors. “We were encouraged that authors used all 17 vouchers for publishing in open access in the American Chemical Society journals. For 2022, we will have Read & Publish agreements with two more publishers, bringing our total to four.

“We also promote to researchers the agreements that EIFL negotiates for waived or discounted Article Processing Charges. In 2021, 29 articles were published in open access in journals of three publishers,” says Aušra.

Find out more about EIFL's Licensing Programme

“I’m glad we can find this kind of library service in our city. My family encouraged me to try the library’s smartphone training. I was scared and hesitant, but now I’m very happy I did!”

- Zeljko Salomon, aged 70, who joined a smartphone training service for seniors offered by public library ‘Fran Galovic’ Koprivnica in Croatia



Celebrating 10 years of the EIFL Public Library Innovation Award

The EIFL Public Library Innovation Awards in numbers




calls for applications







Every year EIFL invites public and community libraries in developing and transition countries to apply for an EIFL Public Library Innovation Award. The calls highlight important community development issues and recognize innovative uses of digital technology in services that improve people’s lives.

Since 2011 EIFL has completed 15 innovation award calls and announced the names of 53 winners in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean. As we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the awards, we take pleasure in sharing with you a selection of the winners. Many of these libraries have encouraged governments to invest in public library connectivity and inspired other libraries to introduce similar services in their communities.

Thank you to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Global Libraries Programme for supporting the EIFL Public Library Innovation Awards. Thanks also to the evaluators who reviewed applications and helped us to identify the winners.

Public libraries contributing to community economic wellbeing

Kenya - Meru Public Library / Winner 2018

“Young people have the mentality that farming is for old people. They do not think farming is cool,” says Richard Wanjohi, head of Meru Public Library. The library is changing young people’s attitudes to farming, and opening up new avenues for income generation by training them to use ICT, teaching them business skills and then allowing them to work on a 100 square metre farm, which the library manages. “We start with quick growing crops - kale, capsicums and spinach - so our learners can see results,” said Richard. The library also connects the young people to online information services for farmers. “I have been able to put my family land into good use to get better produce. That was made possible through the skills and ICT connection to farming,” said one young farmer.

Philippines - Butuan City Library / Winner 2018

Every year, over two million Filipinos travel abroad to earn higher wages so that they can help support their families back home. “We call them our ‘modern heroes’ for helping our economy with their remittances,” said Jessica Clarito, head of Butuan City Library. In partnership with the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, the library’s e-government support service and computer literacy training has helped over 10,000 people with online applications for Overseas Employment Certificates. “This is already my fourth year under a six-year contract as an Overseas Filipino Worker in Dubai. I used to go to Manila just to get my Certificate, but now it is much closer and the librarians will help you on what you need to do,” said Shereen, who works as a Health Technician in Dubai.

Serbia – Belgrade City Library / Winner 2012

This library’s financial literacy training is helping students, young adults, families and pensioners to manage their money wisely and save for the future. In addition to providing financial literacy training, the library established the ‘Novcici’ (‘Coins’) website, which gives practical advice about budgets, banks, credit and investments. The service is extremely popular. In the period 2010/12, 3,500 high school students attended financial literacy workshops in the library, and almost 100 people a day visited the website. “I visit my library’s Novcici website every time I have a dilemma about my finances,” said Doroteja Kovacevi, a successful saver.

Public libraries contributing to community health

Brazil - ‘Argentina Lopes Tristão’ library / Winner 2018

This library, in Domingos Martins, is changing the lives of vulnerable women suffering from depression through an ICT training programme, in which young people do the training. The course lasts 90 hours, covering Microsoft applications (Word, Excel and PowerPoint) and how to use the internet. “The basic computer course in the library has changed my life. I used to live without perspectives, in a vulnerable situation, and I never imagined that I could learn so many good things. Now I know I can. It is as if a new world arises. I have gone back to school and I will not stop studying,” said Lucineia Helena Tavares.

Romania - ‘Gh.Asachi’ County Library Iași / Winner 2012

“From the bottom of my heart, I thank the library that taught me how to save somebody’s life!” said Carmen Pasat, teacher at High School ‘Miron Costin’. ‘Gh.Asachi’ County Library in Iași trains librarians in a network of 86 public libraries across Romania in First Aid skills, and they in turn offer First Aid workshops in their communities. The library partners with the Red Cross, hospitals and the ambulance service. Health professionals and ambulance staff volunteer to give lectures and help manage an online training course provided through the library’s website. In just over a year (2011/12) the library trained over 90 librarians in the network, who trained over 2,000 people in vital First Aid skills.

Uganda - Hoima Public Library / Winner 2012

The number of library users seeking health information more than doubled after Hoima Public Library introduced its health service in 2010, according to an impact assessment survey conducted in 2012. The survey also found that 20% more mothers who use the library now have mosquito nets in their homes, and sleep under them regularly. The service provides free access to the internet in an e-health corner, and, from 2010-2012, working with the Red Cross, NGO’s and local hospitals, trained over 400 health workers, 2,000 students and 700 members of the general public to use the internet to access reliable health information. “The library’s ICT health corner guides our patients and also provides access to programmes like Skype, Twitter, Facebook and email, which are all very important in service delivery,” said Brian Macoine, clinical officer, Hoima Regional Referral Hospital.

Public libraries contributing to social inclusion

Croatia - Public Library ‘Fran Galovic’ Koprivnica / Winner 2012 and 2018

The library is breaking down social barriers and stigma between Roma and Croat communities through activities, including ICT training, that bring children and youth from the two communities together in the library. The activities increased library membership from Roma communities and drew praise from the (then) Deputy Mayor of Koprivnica, Vesna Želježnjak, who said: “The library’s training programme is a significant contribution towards integration of the Roma population.” In 2018 the library introduced another service to promote social inclusion - helping seniors to use their smartphones to improve their quality of life. Three high school students volunteered to conduct training and provide individual consultations for learners. “My family says I’m smarter now!” said 70-year-old Nada Dombai, a newly-skilled smartphone user.

Kazakhstan - ‘Oralkhan Bokeev’ City Library of Ust-Kamenogorsk / Winner 2019

By teaching digital skills to young people living with disabilities the library is helping them to become more active, confident and independent. The majority of the library’s trainees are people with neuro-psychological disability and cerebral palsy. Librarians develop training programmes focused on the personal needs and interests of each learner. Two young motorcycle enthusiasts inspired fellow trainees to take an interest in researching the internet to learn more about different brands and models, the history and production of motorcycles and legal issues related to vehicle ownership. “Now I understand different brands and even made a short online video about my favourite bike models,” said Sasha Gerasimov.

Uganda - Kitengesa Community Library / Winner 2012

This library, which serves rural communities in Masaka District, is playing a vital role in ending the isolation of deaf children, who for the first time are sharing space with hearing children in the library, taking part in lessons in computer use and English language, playing games and using Skype to communicate with friends in Canada. The library also established a Ugandan sign language club, in which deaf students teach sign language to hearing children. “Through the library, deaf students learn from other community members by interacting with them,” said Lydia, who is one of 100 students from the Good Samaritan School for the Deaf.

Public libraries responding to COVID-19

Kenya - Nakuru Public Library / Winner 2021

When Kenyan schools closed due to COVID-19 in March 2020, Government guidance was to move teaching online. However, most teachers in public (state-run) schools had not yet integrated computers into their classes, and lacked digital skills. The library decided to address this situation by raising teachers’ awareness about free online teaching and learning tools, like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Classroom and 9 | EIFL 2021 Annual Report Moodle, and training teachers to use these tools. By the time lockdown restrictions were lifted just under a year later, the library had trained 30 teachers at 10 schools: “I am now able to use the internet to transmit knowledge to students. My students can confidently access e-resources and submit assignments online,” said Doreen Nyamosi, a teacher at Nakuru Central Secondary School.

Peru - Main Public Library of Lima / Winner 2020

“This is a blessing for me since the pandemic is there, and I cannot go to the library.” When the country went into lockdown, the library moved services online. However, librarians were worried about people who did not have access to the internet, and might be isolated and lonely. They came up with the idea of a telephone reading service - ‘Aló BNP’. In just a few months, over 200 people registered - the majority (60%) were seniors - the oldest aged 95, the youngest five. Clients provided information about their age, gender, topics of interest and reading preferences, for example, books, newspapers or magazines, poetry, fiction or nonfiction. The library assigned each new client a reader, who then telephoned the client for reading sessions at agreed times.

Ukraine - ‘A. Gaidar’ Central City Children’s Library Melitopol / Winner 2020

To help families cope with stress and keep children busy and creative during the national lockdown, the library moved its popular free School of Drawing online - but with a difference: instead of professional art teachers, the children became the teachers. Within a couple of months, the Video School of Drawing, on the library’s Facebook page, had become the most popular library activity in the city of Melitopol. Ten young teachers recorded dozens of classes, teaching different painting styles and techniques: abstract, landscape, animation, 3D. The youngest teacher was aged seven, and the most experienced was 14. The classes attracted hundreds of positive comments: “I love watercolour, I thought it was really difficult to work with, but Anastasia is such a clear teacher,” wrote Polina.

Public libraries contributing to education

Cameroon - ‘Cercle de lecture et d’animation culturelle’ (CLAC) / Winner 2016

CLAC’s mobile library - known as ‘Street CLAC’ - takes laptop and tablet computers and books to schools in poor neighbourhoods of Yaoundé and offers children free online maths and computer coding classes. The fun online maths classes, developed by the library’s NGO partner, Khan Academy, include video tutorials and exercises. In coding classes, the children learn how to programme animations and create interactive stories and videos. The service was launched in 2016, and within a few months it was reaching over 1,500 children in seven schools. After school hours, the mobile library travels across the city and stops at locations like markets, and offers free ICT, job- seeking and entrepreneurship training.

Colombia – Biblioteca Oasis del Saber, Bogotá / Winner 2015

“Before, at the market, I had to ask people to help me to read the names of the products. Now I’m proud to do it for myself,” said Ana Cecilia Vera Pava. Ana is a graduate of the library’s literacy and numeracy course, titled ‘Growing Adults’, in which learners aged from 14 to 80 learn together. The course includes lessons, online games, quizzes, listening to audiobooks and the radio, and watching animated films. All learners must complete the full course, attending 12 hours of classes per week, for 10 months. At the end of the course, learners achieve the same level of literacy and numeracy as grade three primary school students.

Lithuania - Kaunas Municipal ‘Vincas Kudirka’ Public Library / Winner 2016 and 2020

The library’s ICT training initiative is encouraging young people to take up careers in digital technology and technical engineering. Training takes place in the library’s ‘Future Laboratory 3D’, a space where learners can find equipment like 3D printers, robotics kits and software for computer-aided design, engineering and coding. They are free to experiment and get practical experience while working on simple and complex projects. Training is supported by careers guidance, site visits to technology companies and work experience internships. “I know that my future will be in engineering and programming. Activities in the library’s laboratory have opened up a whole new world of possibilities for the future,” said Marius Kibilda, student, aged 19. At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the library’s 3D printers worked day and night to print hands-free door openers to prevent infection and vital protective equipment for medics. EIFL awarded the library an Innovation Award for Responding to COVID-19 in 2020.


EIFL income and expenditure 2021

    Programme income 2,512,233 69.6%
    Participation fees 432,362 12.0%
    General Support 603,063 16.7%
    Sponsorship, interest and other income 62,186 1.7%
Total 3,609,844
    Programme delivery 538,836 80.8%
    Personnel & contracted expenses 105,309 15.8%
    Operating expenses 22,645 3.4%
Total 666,790
    Committed expenditure for 2022 to 2023 programme delivery 2,928,292
    Continuity reserve 392,485


We would like to thank the following organizations for their generous support for our work in 2021.

  • Arcadia Fund through American University, Washington College of Law
  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Embassy of Denmark, Myanmar
  • European Commission Erasmus+ Programme through Lviv Polytechnic National University, Ukraine
  • European Commission Horizon 2020 Programme
  • Luxembourg Development Cooperation Agency (LuxDev)
  • Open Society Foundations
  • SPIDER, the Swedish Program for ICT in Developing Regions
  • University of Luxembourg (UNILU)
  • Wehubit Programme (implemented by the Belgian development agency, Enabel)


EIFL (Electronic Information for Libraries) is an international not-for-profit organization that works with libraries in developing and transition countries to enable access to knowledge for education, learning, research and sustainable community development.


EIFL works in collaboration with libraries in 53 developing and transition countries.


Meet our Staff, Management Board and Network.


EIFL has built relationships with a wide range of organizations to make knowledge more accessible. See the list of partners we worked with in 2021.


In 2021, EIFL organized, supported or took part in 149 events, workshops and conferences about issues that affect access to knowledge.


  • Top background image: Women and young people attend computer and internet training organized by the EIFL Public Library Innovation Programme in Uganda. Photo by Jjumba Martin.

  • Vision background image, and EIFL Director: Photos by Augustinas Žukovas.

  • Phionah Agaba: Photo by Mwesigwa Allan.

  • Financial report background image: Namibian public librarians at an EIFL training-of-trainers workshop in Windhoek, Namibia.

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