Our organization

Since 2007, Libraries Without Borders has worked to bring knowledge to those in need. In 12 years, we have contributed to changing the lives of more than 6 million people in 50 countries.

Our Mission

Access to knowledge encourages the excercise of rights, inclusion in society and freedom for all. For this reason, we have been working since 2007 to bring knowledge to those who are in need. More than a collection of books, libraries are places for personal development, creativity and freedom. However, they are often absent in places where populations need them most.

Whether virtual or physical, fixed or mobile, libraries provide everyone with the tools to comprehend and grasp the world. They provide free access to new instruments of education, culture, and digital information. In doing so, they play a fundamental role for equal rights as places of discovery, social class intermingling, cultural diversity and freedom. They are the foundation of a society open to the world, and inspire the ability to imagine the future.

By creating methodologies and innovative tools, Libraries Without Borders participates in reinventing the shape and missions of libraries, as well the way in which they are perceived and adopted by the most vulnerable populations. In 12 years, the organization has contributed to changing the lives of over 6 million people in 50 countries.

Our story

Under the leadership of historian Patrick Weil, Libraries without Borders was established in January 2007. LWB emerged from a sense of urgency to give each person around the world — especially the poorest — the tools to access information and education, and fulfill their maximum potential.

Since its founding, LWB has advocated for a modern approach to cultural cooperation with countries in need, especially when it comes to rethinking book donations and building sustainable economical models for public and community libraries.

After the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, LWB broadened its activities. It developed a strong expertise in humanitarian emergency programs. In partnership with designer Philippe Starck, LWB launched the Ideas Box,  a mobile “pop up” multimedia center that can be unpacked in twenty minutes, and is fully autonomous, portable, and durable.

During that same period, LWB began to shift its efforts towards the digital, working extensively on innovative pedagogies and technologies to reach remote and underserved populations, such as Khan Academy, Code Travelers and LWB’s KoomBook.

Our values

Libraries are places where the poorest and most underserved people can broaden their horizons, transform their lives and build social capital. They are places of creativity and living laboratories of democracy that offer incomparable access to information, education and culture. In that sense, they are key spaces for the future, nd the development of the human race and of our societies.

Through its action for libraries, LWB advocates that:

LWB envisions this right as the freedom and ability for everyone to access open and quality information as well as the ability to contribute to the creation of information.

Education should lift people, foster critical thinking, creativity and the capacity to undertake action, cultivate justice and help build free and democratic societies.

LWB collaborates with local actors around the world – libraries, organizations, communities – to implement reinforcement programs for educational and cultural activities. Respecting their cultures, practices and beliefs, provides the prerequisite for establishing solid and sustainable actions in their territories.

LWB respects and promotes linguistic diversity, local publishing and creatives industries in countries where the organization works. LWB never forces contents (may they be books or digital contents) on a partner.

Innovation, evaluation and research of the durable impact of our projects for local populations are at the center of our actions. Libraries Without Borders recognizes the importance of paper support for learning to read, and advocates for a balance between paper and the digital.

LWB network

Libraries Without Borders is a network of non-governemental organisations.

Libraries Without Borders is a non-profit organization 501(c)(3), based in Washington, D.C. 

Address
1342 Florida Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20009

Leadership
The Board of Directors | The team

Legal documents
Articles of association

Bibliothèques Sans Frontières is a non profit-making charity under the French law of 1901, recognised as such beneficial to the general interest. It is the founding organisation, which initiated the BSF movement. BSF France consists of its headquarters, located in Montreuil, its logistics base in Epône (78) and regional branches (Toulouse, Lille, Marseille). 

Addresses
France and international headquarters : 8-10 rue de Valmy, 93100 Montreuil
Logistics base : 66 Avenue de Pâtis, 78680 Epône

Leadership
The Board of Directors | The team

Legal documents
Articles of association (in French) | Internal regulations (in French) | Code of ethics (in French)

Adresse: Cantersteen 10-12, 1000 Bruxelles

Contact: bsf@bibliosansfrontieres.be

BSF Services, the commercial branch

In 2015, LWB founded a commercial entity: BSF Services.

BSF Services is a one-person simplified joint-stock company (Actions Simplifiée Unipersonnelle (SASU)). It is presided by LWB’s Board and has its headquarters at LWB’s logistics base, in Epone.

BSF Services manages all sales of second-hand books, as well as services outside of LWB’s missions (such as training, expertise, logistics, etc.).

The company’s benefits are donated every year to LWB as dividends. The founding of the company is part of LWB’s commitment to diversify its sources of funding, in order to strengthen its autonomy in its activities.

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