ACCESS | Asia 's Newspaper on Electronic Information Product & Service
June 2005 No.53  
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Chinese library wins the Guust van Wesemael Literacy Prize 
 
 
IFLA has announced that the Yunnan Provincial Library of Kunming, China, is the winner of the Guust van Wesemael Literacy Prize 2005.
The objective of this award is to sponsor a public or school library in a developing country to perform activities in the field of literacy: collection development, promotion, training, policy development or otherwise. The prize provides 3,000 Euros toward these activities.
 
The Yunnan Provincial Library has set out to establish a sustainable literacy programme and service for the blind people in Yunnan, as a follow-up effort to the recently opened Reading Room for the Blind. This is the first service of its kind in that province and the first in the entire Southwestern part of China. 
 
The Jury of the Guust van Wesemael Literacy Prize 2005 consisted of Ms Ellen Tise, Member of IFLA's Executive Committee and Ms Torny Kjekstad, Chair of IFLA's Division of Libraries Serving the General Public; both are members of IFLA's Governing Board. 
 
This year there were 10 applications for the Guust van Wesemael Prize. Their quality was high and the geographical spread was remarkable: they came from 9 different countries in Africa, Asia and South America. 
 
The Jury members were unanimous in their choice of the proposal submitted by the Chinese colleagues for the following reasons: 
 
The number of libraries in China that provide services to the blind and visually impaired is very limited. The initiative of the Yunnan Provincial Library is therefore extra remarkable. 
   
 
 
The work done there will help to maintain and develop the literacy of people with no or a very low degree of vision, a large group of millions of people living at the lowest societal levels.  
 
It was the most interesting of this year's applications, giving clear evidence of the work that has been done and how the prize money will contribute to furtherance of that work: purchasing Braille publications and talking books, as well as Braille software. 
 
On hearing the news of the prize, Rumei Guo of the Yunnan library was very gladly surprised and stated, "It is really a great help and encouragement to us. This will really help us to help and serve more blind people in our Province". An article containing further detailed information will be submitted for a future issue of IFLA Journal.
 
This Prize was established in 1991 by IFLA's Executive Board to commemorate the late Guust van Wesemael, Coordinator of IFLA's Professional Activities from 1979 to 1990 and Deputy Secretary General of IFLA from 1979 to 1991. Funded by donations, the Guust van Wesemael Literacy Prize has been awarded biennially since 1997.
 
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