Friday, April 29, 2016

SCECSAL 2018 heads to Uganda

The SCECSAL General Assembly on Friday, 29 April, in eZulwini, Swaziland, endorsed the Uganda Library and Information Association (ULIA)'s bid to host the XXIVth Standing Conference of Eastern Central and Southern African Library and Information Associations in April 2018.

The Nambian Library and Information Workers Association (NIWA) will be on standby to ULIA and thus the favourite to host SCECSAL in 2020.

ULIA will be hosting the Forum for the third time having done so in 1990 and 2004.

Sights from the SCECSAL 2016 Cultural Evening

Each SCECSAL Cultural Evening event is unique and the one held on 27 April 2016 at the University of Swaziland’s Ligcabho Lemaswati Sports Emporium was no different. The event was beautiful, colourful and entertaining. Below is a selection of some photos from the event.

Some participants from South Africa

Prof. Rocky Relebipi-Simela (L) and
Jennefer Nicholson (R)
Team from Namibia

Team from Zambia

Part of the team from Botswana
Prof. Kigongo-Bukenya from Uganda
Uganda on the dance floor
Participants from Botswana dancing in style

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Lone participant from Lesotho scoops top award at SCECSAL 2016 Cultural Evening

Ms Masechele Qoola (R) receiving the trophy from
Ms Joy Dlamini, Director, Swaziland National
Library Services
A lone participant from Lesotho, Ms Masechele Qoola, defiled all odds when she scooped the top award at the colourful SCECSAL Cultural Evening dance competition held at the University of Swaziland’s Ligcabho Lemaswati Sports Emporium on Wednesday evening.

Donned in a Sesotho traditional dress and a Sesotho blanket covering her shoulders, Ms Qoola captivated the audience with her graceful dance movements and danced her away to victory with 75 points.

The hosts, Swaziland, put up a colourful display of their traditional attire and well-choreographed moves and came in second position with 70 points.

The final standings were as follows:

1st Position – Lesotho (75pts)
2nd Position – Swaziland (70pts)
3rd Position – Botswana (68pts)
4th Position – Malawi (66pts)
5th Position – Uganda (65.5pts)
6th Position – Tanzania (65pts)
7th Position – Namibia and South Africa (64pts each))
8th Position – Zambia and Zimbabwe (62pts each)

Kenya failed to show up for the dance competition.

The two judges for the evening, Ms Sibongile Mamba and Mr. Mathakosha Sibia, took into account the songs used, choreography, expression, and costume worn by the dancers to arrive at the rankings of the participants.

Dancers from from Malawi
Library and information professionals from Botswana improved on their past performances, and their combination of dance, poetry and ululations received loud applause from the participants.

Malawi were original in their choice of song and dance, and the seriousness they showed in their performance earned them many supporters among the participants.

The SCECSAL Cultural Evening is a major feature of each SCECSAL conference provides conference participants with an opportunity to showcase their traditional dancing skills in a relaxed environment.

Sights from Day 2 of SCECSAL 2016

Day 2 at SCECSAL 2016 was full of activities and life. Below are some of the sights from the day.

SCECSAL volunteers (L-R): Nkosingiphile Sithole,
Nozipho Mabuza, Bongekile Simelane & Lindiwe Cebe

John Tsebe addressing the participants

Participants attentively listening to the presentations

Participants troop out of the meeting
room at the end of the session

Casual walk to the restaurant for lunch

Preparing the presentations

EBSCOhost Stand

SirsiDynix Stand

AfLIA Stand

How do you increase accessibility to research with a “closed access” institutional repository?

Mr. Amoni Gray Kapasule
presenting the paper
The second day of SCECSAL 2016 included a presentation of the paper - Revolutionizing Scholarly Communications Through Institutional Repositories: Empirical Findings from a University (college) in Malawi by Amoni Gray Kapasule & Winner Chawinga - which highlighted two key challenges facing most librarians in Africa when the embark on developing institutional repositories (IRs) as modes of providing access to their institutions’ knowledge resources. Challenges related to lack of support from or the unwillingness of the the researchers/lecturers to contribute content to the IRs, and the absence of an enabling institutional environment to facilitate opening access to research.

The paper, based on a study focusing on Kamuzu College of Nursing (KCN) Library’s institutional repository, indicated that among the reasons for establishing the IR by KCN were to increase accessibility to research outputs and to promote image of College through online visibility.

The findings of the study tell a different story and shows that it will be difficult, if not impossible, for KCN to achieve the above two objectives.

While 81% of the lecturers that took part in the study indicated that one major benefit of IRs is that they help to communicate research results, only 7% were contributing to the IR. Furthermore, the IR is only accessible on the local intranet.

How do you increase accessibility to research output when researchers/lecturers who generate the content are not contributing to the IR? How can you also enhance the image of the institution through online visibility when IR is not available to the wider community beyond the confines of the institution?

KCN Library is not the only library facing these challenges. There are many other libraries in Africa that are in the same boat.

Setting up institutional repositories to provide access to research outputs in most libraries in Africa is more of a fad than initiatives aimed at achieving objectives of opening access to the continent’s research. It is a question of our neighbours are have setup an IR and so we should also have one otherwise we will be seen as being lagging behind the trend. Genuine conviction to provide access to research outputs of the institutions, worse still to open access, is missing in most institutions.

Reluctance by the learned researchers/lecturers to contribute content to IR
Some of the challenges faced by KCN Library
initiatives is just one of the major challenge besieging librarians who embark on developing IRs. Absence of an enabling environment (national and institutional policies favourable to sharing research outputs with the outside world, institutional guidelines, and incentives to promote sharing of research), and the never ending technical challenges (lack of access to computers, poor internet connectivity in institutions even when better connectivity is available in the countries) impact on initiatives to open access to research.

If IR initiatives are to succeed in Africa, universities or institutions “should launch OA institutional repositories (IRs) and adopt effective policies to fill them with their research output. That is, they should actually provide OA to their research output, not just wish for it, request it, encourage it, settle for ineffective policies to provide it, or sign statements calling for it elsewhere

Monday, April 25, 2016

Sights from Day 1 of SCECSAL 2016

SCECSAL 2016 opened on Monday, 25 April 2016 at the Royal Swazi Spa, in eZulwini, Swaziland. The first day saw the arrival of participants from the SCECSAL member countries and beyond. The whole morning was dedicated to registration and the opening session. Here are some of the sights of the first day of the event.

Dr Buhle Mbambo-Thata, Executive Director of Library Services at
the University of South Africa arriving at the conference venue

Ms Segametsi Molawa, LIASA President
Mr. Geoffrey Salanje, University Librarian, Lilongwe University
of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR),

Professor King Mchombu arriving at the conference venu

Swazi officials arriving at the conference venue
to prepare for the arrival of the Guests of Honour

Prof. Bosire Onyancha, University of South Africa

Delegates completing registration forms
Mr Eric Nelson Haumba from Uganda presenting a paper

Her Royal Highness Princess Sikhanyiso opens SCECSAL 2016 conference

Her Royal Highness Princess Sikhanyiso delivering her statement
Her Royal Highness Princess Sikhanyiso, who is also the patron of the Swaziland Library Association, has officially opened the XXIInd biennial Standing Conference for Eastern, Central and Southern African Library and Information Associations (SCECSAL), which this year is taking place at the Royal Swazi Spa, in the small town of eZulwini, Swaziland.

In her opening speech, Princes Sikhanyiso urged libraries and librarians in the SCECSAL region to adopt modern information and communication technologies to facilitate digital transformation.

“A massive library with no computers or Internet in this modern age is likely to be as quite as graveyard”, Princess Sikhanyiso told participants at the opening session. “How do we keep libraries useful and relevant in the 21st Century?”, asked the Princess.

Under the theme - "Digital Transformation and the Changing Role of Libraries and Information Centres in the Sustainable Development of Africa", speakers and participants at the conference will deliberate on various sub-themes including emerging technologies and their role (Big data, cloud computing, mobile applications, semantic web, text mining, next generation web services etc.); e-governance, e-agriculture, e-health – their roles and impact in development; and the role of social media, social networks and networked information on development.

The papers to be presented at SCECSAL 2016 include:

  • Prof. Ondari-Okemwa Ezra - Developing Digital Information Literacy at institutions of higher learning in sub-Saharan Africa: Opportunities and Challenges.
  • Dr. Sarah Kaddu & Eric Nelson Haumba - Promoting ICT based agricultural knowledge management for increased production by smallholder rural farmers in Uganda: A case of Communication and Information Technology for Agriculture and Rural Development (CITARD), Butaleja.
  • Clement Anubi Fulano - An assessment of the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) Radio in the dissemination of agricultural information: a case study of Balaka District.
  • Khosie Ndlangamandla & Justin Chisenga - Social media in university libraries in the SADC Region.
  • Dr. Connie Bitso - Using WhatsApp to sustain functional school libraries in Khayelitsha.
  • Imbamba Esther Nderitu & Nancy M Kimile - Assessing the status of e-Government development in Kenya.
  • Lantern Rangarirai Fusire & Similo Ngwenya - Promoting innovations from indigenous knowledge in selected communities in Zimbabwe.
  • Hamis Lack Abdullah, Lusayo Mwabumba & Winner Chawinga - Diffusion of information/knowledge for growing forest herbs amongst traditional healers: a case of traditional healers at Ekwendeni, Malawi.
Her Royal Highness Princess Sikhanyiso with participants at the conference
Although the SCECSAL region covers 26 countries in Eastern, Central and Southern Africa, most participants are expected to come from 11 countries in the region – Botswana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The biennial conference is hosted by SCECSAL member Library and Information Associations, and the Swaziland Library Association (SWALA) is hosting the SCECSAL for the second time, 28 years after hosting the conference in 1988.

On Friday, 29 April, the SCECSAL General Assembly will announce the member Association to host the conference in April 2018 and unveil a new logo for SCECSAL.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

SCECSAL 2016 - Highly discounted registration fee for students announced

Due to a constant demand from students for a discounted registration fee, SCECSAL Local Organising Committee has introduced a new registration category for Non-Salaried Students. Any student who is currently not employed and would like to attend the conference can use this highly discounted registration of US$200. For more details go to or write to

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Fire destroys Mzuzu University Library

Malawi Library Association (MALA) has learnt with great shock and disbelief about the fire incident
The Library on fire. [Photo credit: Maravi Post]
which occurred at Mzuzu University Library on Friday 18th December, 2015 in which over 45 000 books, journals, and related resources as well as equipment, furniture and fittings got burnt down to ashes and some got badly damaged by the blaze. This is a very big loss, not only to Mzuzu University but also Malawi as a nation. Mzuzu University Library was a model library in the provision of modern library and information services in the country. All the books, journals, equipment, furniture and related fittings were carefully selected in line with modern standards. It was one of the richest reservoirs of knowledge in Malawi and beyond.

Malawi Library Association is therefore very saddened that such a model library and a hard-earned reservoir of knowledge has been lost in a fire incident. The situation is now very worrisome considering that the expensive books, equipment and other resources lost in the blaze as well as the damage caused to the library building cannot be replaced any time soon. This will adversely affect the delivery of academic programmes at the University. It is also important to note that the situation will not only affect Mzuzu University community, but also the membership of the Malawi Library Association as most of our members were benefitting from Mzuzu University Library in different ways.

In view of the fore-going, MALA would therefore like to extend its heart-felt sympathy to management, staff, students, and surrounding communities of Mzuzu University about the sad loss of our model and precious Mzuzu University Library. It is our sincere hope that all parties concerned about this situation will be able to respond positively to any calls to support Mzuzu University to re-build its library.

Richard Sabawo     
Fiskani Ngwira

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

50 full fellowships available for IFLA 2016 Congress in Columbus, Ohio

The IFLA 2016 National Committee, through generous donations from the North American library community, will offer up to 50 full fellowships to librarians from outside North America (U.S. and Canada) to attend the IFLA 2016 Congress in Columbus, Ohio.
Visit IFLA 2016 website for detailed information, including eligibility and applications forms for the fellowships.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

SCECSAL XXII (2016) Call for papers

Swaziland Library Association (SWALA) will host the Twenty-Second Standing Conference of Eastern, Central and Southern Africa Library and Information Associations (SCECSAL XXII), 25-29 April 2016 at the Royal Swazi Sun, eZulwini, Swaziland.

SWALA invites the submission of abstracts to be considered for papers to be presented at SCECSAL XXII.

Abstracts with approximately 300 words addressing the theme and the sub-themes and written in English should have the following details.
  1. Title of the Abstract
  2. Name(s) of the Authors with official titles or professional role,
  3. Author’s affiliated institution and
  4. Keywords (minimum of three)
Conference Theme:

Digital transformation and the changing role of libraries and lnformation centres in the sustainable development of Africa

Sub Themes:
  • Emerging technologies and their Role (Big data, Cloud computing, Mobile applications, Semantic web, Text mining, Next generation web services etc.)
  • Issues of Digital Rights Management and Intellectual Property Rights
  • E – infrastructure development for sustainable development
  • E – governance, E- Agriculture, E-Health – their roles and impact
  • Indigenous Knowledge and digital transformations
  • Knowledge Management and Resource Discovery Tools
  • Digital preservation of Cultural Heritage and cultural archives
  • Quality assurance and best practices in digital scholarship
  • Role of Social Media, social networks and Networked information
  • Library Advocacy
Guidelines for Abstract Proposals:

Abstracts with approximately 300 words, must address the sub-themes and written in English should have the following details. 1) Title of the Abstract, 2) Name(s) of the Authors with official titles or professional role, 3) Author’s affiliated institution and 4) Keywords (minimum of three).

Guidelines for paper preparation:

The guidelines for submitting papers once your abstracts are ready is provided as a downloadable document. Click here to access the guidelines for submitting papers:

Please email your abstracts to or or

Important Dates:

Submission of Abstracts : 30th September 2015
Notification of Acceptance: 30th November 2015
Submission of Full paper: 31st January 2016
Submission of presentation slides: 31st March 2016
More Information & Related Websites


Monday, February 2, 2015

Call for applications: Carnegie Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programme

Applications for the fourth intake of the Carnegie-funded Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programme, which is aimed at enhancing ICT skills for research enablement in African universities opened on the 1st of February 2015 and closes on the 13th of March 2015. The course will begin on the 23rd of May 2015. Academic librarians and LIS faculty in Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda are eligible to apply for admission to this programme.

Eight four-week training sessions will take place over a period of three years. 32 participants will be selected for each intake. 

This four-week residential training programme with both practical (70%) and theoretical (30%) components will cover the following topics:

  1. Setting the context: Libraries, ICTs and research 
  2. Leadership and innovation
  3. Information literacy
  4. Social media for research discoverability in an academic environment
  5. Mobile technology and mobility
  6. Managing and organising information
  7. Personal Information Management
  8. Open Scholarship and Open Science (OS/S) – Publishing
  9. Open Scholarship and Open Science - Institutional Repositories.
  10. Open Scholarship and Open Science - Understanding and using research data management
  11. Digitisation
  12. Evaluating website architecture
  13. Cloud services and storage
  14. Virtual research environments
  15. The next generation librarian 

This is a fully funded programme which will take place in Pretoria, South Africa. The funding covers books and other academic expenditures, flights, accommodation, and a daily stipend while in Pretoria. All participants are expected to reside in the accommodation provided in Pretoria for the duration of the programme.

Grant exclusions:

  • Visa applications, personal expenses (for example medicine, laundry, phone calls, etc.)
  • ICT equipment such as laptops, modems, internet access top-ups etc.
  • Travel to and from the airport in your home country

Application for the third intake closes on 13th of March 2015. No late applications will be considered. (There will be a fifth intake in November 2015, as well as a further three intakes in 2016.)

For additional information on the programme content, eligibility and selection criteria, application procedures, important dates, etc., please see:
 All correspondence or enquiries: Joan de la Haye at
Kind Regards
Joan De La Haye
Carnegie CPD Programme Administrator
+27 (0) 12 420 2887

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Open Access Virtual Road Show 2014

The following webinars on Open Access related issues are proudly brought to you by LIASA HELIG,in order to address needs expressed by libraries from all sectors. All four webinars will be presented free of charge, but registering is a requirement.

17 Sept. 14:00 - 15:00: ORCID ID's for researchers
19 Sept. 11:00 - 12:00: Open Access for public and school libraries
29 Sept. 14:00 - 15:00: Open Access and the role of faculty librarians
30 Sept. 11:00 - 12:00: Starting an Open Access journal hosting service at your library

Please register for the applicable webinar:

Virtual venue: (Internet connection and sound required)


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

SCECSAL 2014 was an eye opener

By Ocatvia Kgwasa
Participant from South Africa

Participants at a parallel session durng SCECSAl 2014
Being a young professional in the Library and Information Science (LIS) field, SCECSAL 2014 was an eye-opener. The papers presented showed how far information professionals and librarians have come in this ever changing technological world. The theme was relevant to what’s happening today. We need an information literate society for our continent to thrive and prosper. It is true, the Internet, has brought about a few challenges for the LIS professionals. How we have overcome those challenges and manage to remain relevant and important is interesting. The ideas shared through research are inspirational. The conference was well organised. It’s very unfortunate that some of the presenters were not able to make it. On the whole, the conference is necessary.

Given the opportunity, I would attend the next SCECSAL conference. It provides one with a platform to learn from LIS professionals in other countries and how far ahead, or behind one’s institution is in terms of the technological advancements and techniques in the field.

It’s always a great opportunity to be out of the office to attend training or a conference, especially when it is in another country. With that being said, I will admit, it was an awesome opportunity to be able to have attended SCECSAL XXI in Malawi.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Lyon Declaration on Access to Information and Development

Please, access, read and sign the Lyon Declaration on Access to Information and Development. The Declaration is also available in PDF in English, French, Arabic and Spanish.

Here is the list of stakeholders that have already signed the Declaration.

The Declaration was drafted by IFLA and a number of strategic partners in the library and development communities between January and May 2014.