France

In France, Libraries Without Borders (BSF) supports the creation and implementation of innovative educational and cultural policies for underserved populations. To this end, BSF develops tools and programs that aim to stimulate and reinforce the networks of public reading and socio-cultural organizations.

Background

In France, large groups of the population have little or no access to education. As studies show the serious extent to which instability, exclusion and illiteracy are tied together, the severity of their situation becomes even clearer.
To add upon the difficulties they face, these communities also tend to live in underserved areas: not only the rural areas but also neighborhoods often identified as the “inner city” (banlieues in France).

Our Approach

BSF’s work focuses on these areas through leading projects such as the Ideas Box, the French version of Khan Academy, and The Code Travelers.
The tools and programs provided by our team (with the most vulnerable in mind) often become a catalyst for local or regional dynamism; hence, BSF gives priority to forming new partnerships in these areas.

Our Work in France


Ideas Box: Creating a library for immigrants

Objective

Emergency & Post-Conflict


Start date

2015


Status

Ongoing


Photos de migrants utilisant l'Ideas Box au centre Jean-Carré à Paris

ACTIONS

In 2015, an Ideas Box was welcomed by the Reception and Orientation Center for unaccompanied foreign minors of the French Red-Cross in Paris. This organization hosted children placed in temporary housing by the French justice system. LWB, in partnership with the local libraries, provided books, access to up-to-date technology, educational media, as well as organizing workshops for the youth of the center.

In Paris, LWB brought its support to the 145 migrants housed in an abandoned high school converted, since mid-February, into an emergency shelter. In partnership with Emmaus Solidarity and the City of Paris, an Ideas Box was deployed to form a socio-cultural space in the center, not only to provide a film club to the residents, but also creating an educational and informational sphere for literacy.

This project was supported by the Libraries of the City of Paris and the non-profit organization Emmaus amongst other local organizations.

Since June, 2016, the Grande-Synthe refugee camp in Northern France has welcomed an Ideas Box in their psychosocial center. The French Red-Cross and the Doctors of the World share in the hosting of this space that aims to support the refugees during the course of their migration or accompany them in their process of integration and settling in France.

BENEFICIARIES

Migrants and refugees

WITH SUPPORT FROM

Financial Partners

Executive Partners

Ideas Box: Creating a Library in Rural Areas

Objective

Education & Cultural Diversity


Start date

2017


Status

Upcoming


Photo de jeunes filles utilisant les tablettes de l'Ideas Box à Rennes

ACTIONS

The Ideas Box that will be deployed in 2017 in Ille-et-Vilaine region of Brittany aims to accompany the local authorities in building projects that foster a cultural, technological, and innovative environment for individual and communal development.  

The authorities will especially benefit from and contribute to creating:

  • A new way to encourage reading amongst the population
  • An updated Technological Literacy Plan

BENEFICIARIES

This project combines many rural and urban components that will allow for a flexible approach in assisting a variety of groups:

The elderly, disabled, isolated, immigrant children, to give a few examples.

WITH SUPPORT FROM

Financial Partners

Ideas Box: Bringing a Library to Underserved Neighborhoods

Objective

Education & Cultural Diversity


Start date

2015


Status

Ongoing


Photo du déploiement d'une Ideas Box à Sarcelles

ACTIONS

In and around Paris, the Ideas Box are operated by the local non-profits both indoors, in schools and shelters, as well as outdoors, in stadiums or public squares. In 2015, an Ideas Box was set up for two months during a Summer Camp event near an intercommunal library, where more than 1000 youths have participated in creative, cultural, educational, and journalistic activities along with coding workshops.

Calais (Northern France) is the first French village to have acquired an Ideas Box. With the support of local media libraries, the Ideas Box was deployed in field houses, commercial centers and social hubs. LWB has focused on creating workshops for children to develop their technological and creative abilities through graphic and game design using the Ideas Box in coordination with MIT’s Scratch software.

In the northern suburbs of Paris, an Ideas Box was deployed every Saturday afternoon in a disadvantaged neighborhood near a public housing complex to conduct outdoors cultural programs and activities while assisting the development of a new media library in 2017.

BENEFICIARIES

Vulnerable populations and/or residents in zones not-covered by the cultural influence in urban areas.

WITH SUPPORT FROM

Financial Partners

Executive Partners

My Online Backpack: Allowing Hospitalized Children to Stay on Track

Objective

Education & Cultural Diversity


Start date

2015


Status

Ongoing


Photo du cartable

BACKGROUND

In France, about 2 million children younger than 18 years old are hospitalized each year. Regardless of the duration of their stay, their illness separates the children from their school, class, and classmates. This results in a double discrimination for the child.

ACTIONS

My Online Backpack is a revolutionary backpack that recreates a link between the hospitalized child and his school. It’s an all-in-one kit that can be installed in few minutes and automatically connects itself to the Internet. From his hospital room, the pupil can attend courses and interact with his class.

Prototyped by the LWB team and tested in Parisian hospitals and schools to optimize its design, functions, and efficiency, the device is now in its second version. This new version of the backpack will be tested in the upcoming months in two schools located in Paris and Nice.

Cette nouvelle version du cartable sera testée dans les prochains mois, en partenariat avec l’IGR, dans deux établissements scolaires de la région parisienne et à Nice (avec la Fondation Lenval).

BENEFICIARIES

Hospitalized children

WITH SUPPORT FROM

Financial Partners

Executive Partners

BSF Education: Questions that everyone wonders about but never asks

Objective

Education & Cultural Diversity


Start date

2016


Status

Ongoing


CONTEXT

Following the January 2015 attacks in Paris, LWB received numerous requests from French  teachers and professors to address serious questions raised by their students.  Many of them were dismayed by their lack of crucial pedagogical tools to help their students better understand the situation.

ACTIONS

Strengthened by our experience in the creation of digital pedagogical contents, we were able to develop content to better conceptualize the serious topics of secularism (laicité), freedom of speech, racism, antisemitism, xenophobia, and blasphemy among many others.
With the help of historians, legal experts, professors, students, writers, and artists, LWB created short videos that were uploaded to its Youtube channel, BSF Education.

BENEFICIARIES

Middle and high school students.

BSF Campus: Training Program for French-speaking Librarians

Objective

Social Entrepreneurship


Start date

2015


Status

Ongoing


Photo atelier de formation BSF Campus

ACTIONS

Launched in 2015 with the support of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, BSF Campus is a free online learning platform (www.bsfcampus.org) for  librarians and cultural entrepreneurs.

BSF Campus regrouped more than 10 hours of video lessons conceived by skilled professionals. Librarianship, cultural outreach, ICT and drive for innovation, management of cultural projects, and advocacy are amongst the available topics.

The lessons are organized in 6 different paths, each with a certificate at the end and exercises along the way for better self-training. The platform is only available in French presently, but plans are ongoing for the creation of an English version.

BENEFICIARIES

French-speaking librarians and cultural entrepreneurs.

WITH SUPPORT FROM

Financial Partners

Logo de la Fondation Bill et Melinda Gates
The Code Travelers: A Program for Digital Introduction and Literacy

Objective

Education & Cultural Diversity


Start date

2015


Status

Ongoing


Photo d'un garçon faisant de la programmation lors d'un atelier VDC

ACTIONS

The Code Travelers is a program for introducing underserved populations to computer programing and coding. Through this program, BSF has also been training and raising awareness among students on the importance of computer programming, especially as a professional skill.

To accomplish this, the Code Travelers draws on a network of clubs created by IT volunteers that organize workshops for ad hoc initiation and long cycles of training in relay structures such as libraries, community centers, schools, and social centers.

The Code Travelers co-construct their program through a web platform run by LWB (voyageursducode.fr), relying on tools like codecademy.com, a learning platform completely free and open to all, adapted into French by the LWB team.

BENEFICIARIES

In the past 2 years, more than 3000 children, adolescents, and their families have been using the program and visiting the 80 clubs that exist in 25 cities of France.

WITH SUPPORT FROM

Financial Partners

Executive Partners

Khan Academy: Learning in Sciences for Everyone, for Free

Objective

Education & Cultural Diversity


Start date

2013


Status

Ongoing


Photo d'enfants avec des ordinateurs travaillant sur la Khan Academy

ACTIONS

The Khan Academy is the first interactive online learning platform of its kind with more than 15 million users worldwide. Known for its short video lessons on a blackboard, it offers personalized educational courses, customized according to the level of its users.

Adapted into French by the Libraries Without Borders under the supervision of a scientific committee composed of scholars and specialists in education, the platform is entirely free and already scores more than 2 million users in France.

In France, LWB provides support to other educational organizations (scholarly establishments, tutoring centers, etc.) in getting acquainted with the platform. Since 2016, the main challenge for LWB in France was to introduce and expand the use use of the platform in underserved neighborhoods.

BENEFICIARIES

  • Users in France
  • The users in all the sectors of education: formal (elementary, middle, and high schools, along with institutions of higher learning) and non-formal (tutoring centers, libraries, local educational support centers, etc.)

WITH SUPPORT FROM

Financial Partners

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