Awards 1998 The Cable and Wireless Award for Effective Communication

The Cable and Wireless Award for Effective Communication

The Winner: Library Supply (International) Ltd.

Outstanding innovative and successful approaches to the support of education, in its widest sense, have been shown by specialist export bookseller, Library Supply (International). LSI supplies books and information products to developing countries: this includes specific projects, governments or institutions, funded by international aid agencies.

With recent supply contracts in Rwanda, Ghana, Swaziland, St Helena, Tanzania, Bangladesh, the Caribbean and the Russian Federation/ Commonwealth of Independent States, LSI's operations are global and demonstrate broad exporting skills.

LSI operates in many sectors. In education it serves not only schools, colleges and universities, but also general literacy and practical skills projects for adults and children outside formal education. It supplies development projects focused on agriculture and forestry, medicine and health care, science and technology including the environment, and the social sciences especially business studies.

Books must be appropriate for the region. In the tropics and sub tropics, medical or agricultural development projects require titles which would not be relevant for the northern hemisphere. This can involve consolidating purchases in the country of origin for direct export to the intended project, requiring exporting as well as book acquisition know-how and co-ordination of reliable agencies. Managing international supply is acknowledged to be difficult, but LSI has succeeded and recipients have commented on the speed, efficiency and appropriateness of materials supplied.

Access to books and information is fundamental to development in all societies, and supply of appropriate materials therefore plays a significant role in sustainable development. Books offer practical opportunities for development at all levels. Books give people a chance to contribute to their societies, in the process of realising their own potential. Children are the key in this. Half the population of some sub-Saharan countries are under 18.

What matters is the appropriateness of the materials supplied, at correct levels and at the right time. Hence the importance of LSI's professional input, involving the understanding of customer requirements, the aims of the development project, the recipient and local background. Book orders are usually drawn up by the client but LSI often provides specific assistance.

LSI is very much aware of factors which often go unnoticed: books broaden horizons, assist in creative thinking and in giving hope. In this respect, they are vital tools for many aspects of self and community development.

Thirty-five thousand books supplied by LSI to Rwandan schools and medical centres under various contracts were from Britain and France. But LSI deliveries were also co-ordinated in Kenya and Uganda, thus ensuring appropriateness and retaining costs. All consignments, packed for multiple delivery addresses, were despatched three weeks after orders were placed. Because of the El Niņo effect, they reached East Africa when roads had been washed away. LSI monitored progress ensuring that forwarders did not give up, under international freighting guidelines. Consignments were in mint condition when opened, reflecting LSI's packing standards.

Several projects in Bangladesh involved the supply of technical books. An engineering library required materials for irrigation, drainage, soils, sewerage, excavations, tunnelling, bridges, docks, and all needed to be appropriate for that part of the world. LSI sourced the requirements in nine countries.

Sylvia Martin, managing director of LSI, has 25 years experience in the library and information world, including over 20 in exporting. She therefore plays a significant role in the success of LSI.

Setting up in 1995 as a result of demand for a good, professionally based supplier focused on the developing world, Sylvia was confident of a competitive service. There were new technologies enabling both low overheads and more sophisticated supply systems. The positive acceptance of new methods of operating has proven significant enabling low costs and high quality services. All this, with analysis of the supply chain and competitive buying, has controlled prices.

LSI has shown fresh approaches in every facet of its operations. It has demonstrated serious commitment to supporting education in the developing world. The support is both practical and professional, contributing to sustainable development through its direct impact on local people.

Library Supply (International) Ltd, The Stables, Castle Yard, Off Castle Close, Fillongley CV7 8PB
Tel: 01676 541884 Fax: 01676 542827