EIFL Public Library Innovation Award 16, supported by the LEGO Foundation

Public library programmes and activities that enable learning through play

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The 16th EIFL Public Library Innovation Award is open to all public and community libraries in developing and transition countries that enable learning through play.

The 2022 award is supported by the LEGO Foundation, as part of the Foundation’s Build a World of Play campaign. The LEGO Foundation is dedicated to ensuring that children globally have every opportunity to learn through play, which develops in them essential skills to thrive in life and reach their full potential.

The award seeks to showcase innovative public and community library programmes and activities that enable learning through play.

‘Play’ can provide many kinds of learning experiences. It can build children's physical, social, emotional, cognitive and creative skills and boost their confidence for the future. Play can include toys, everyday objects or technology, or take place without any objects, for example, make-believe. Programmes and activities can include children of any abilities and ages, from 0 to 18, and can also include other family members, guardians and carers.

Tell us your story and enter the competition. The deadline for applications is Monday, 14 November 2022.

We are accepting applications in English, French, Russian and Spanish.


  • Each winner will receive a trophy, and a prize of US$1,500 to be used to further their work in enabling learning through play.
  • A representative from each of the winning libraries will be invited to participate in the NEXT Library 2023 Festival, and co-create a session with Aarhus public libraries and LEGO Foundation at the public library and cultural centre, Dokk1, in Aarhus,  Denmark.
  • International publicity – EIFL will share your story widely through its publicity channels.


Public libraries are uniquely placed to provide a secure environment, ideas and resources for children to get together and engage in playful learning activities.

Here are some examples of libraries enabling learning through play -

  • A city library in Ukraine invited children to a fun five-day ‘vacation’ with learning experiences in the library: each day had a different color and mood, and included creative activities like decorating keychains, becoming a scarecrow, creating a museum, playing home-made musical instruments, making paper space rockets, and competing in quests and quizzes.
  • A public library in Egypt is helping children to improve their English language skills through online educational games, designing personalized online exercise books, participating in quizzes and other group activities, and Scratch coding (Scratch is a visual interface that allows children to create digital stories, games and animations).
  • A library in Poland created an urban game, turning the city into a physical game board that challenges children and their families to explore the city and experience and learn about local history and culture.
  • A public library in Lithuania created an animated educational computer game that engages children in fun tasks related to subjects in the school curriculum, encourages contact with teachers, and allows them to win points and improve their school results.
  • A library in Chile builds children’s love of reading by engaging young readers in theater and dance performances, and art and media workshops.
  • In response to the COVID-19 lockdown, a public library in the USA built an outdoor summer reading programme consisting of sidewalk obstacle course, scavenger hunt and a StoryWalk for active learning and community engagement.  


To enter the competition, you must meet all of the following criteria:

  • You must be a public or community library.
  • The library must be in a transition or developing economy country [pdf].
  • The programme/activity should be new, i.e. started during or after 2020.
  • The programme/activity should have been operational for at least six (6) months, and must be operational at the time of application.
  • You must provide evidence of positive results of the programme/activity including statistics regarding the number of children engaged and stories by participants about how the programme/activity has had a positive impact on their learning, and, if relevant, evidence of increased adult awareness about the importance of play in holistic child development.
  • Only one programme/activity can be presented per application.


We will not accept applications seeking funding to start new programmes/activities.


This call is now open. The deadline for submitting applications is 14 November 2022.


There will be up to three winners. The number of winners will depend on the quality of applications received.


Application form
Rules and guidelines for submission
Selection and eligibility criteria
Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
Online Application Submission