Thursday, September 7, 2017

Zambia benefits from AfLIA’s INELI programme

By Raymond Sikanyika

Ms. Kalaba Mweni, Zambia’s INELI Innovator.
[Photo: Brian Chileshe] 
Zambia is one of the 32 countries benefitting from the International Network of Emerging Library Innovators (INELI) programme. INELI is an initiative of the Global Libraries (GL) programme, managed by the African Library and Information Associations and Institutions (AfLIA), that was established to support the transformation of public libraries into engines of development. It does this by supporting upcoming public librarians to develop innovative services for the benefit of their communities. AfLIA is the professional trusted voice for libraries and librarians in Africa.

Zambia is represented by Luapula Provincial Librarian, Ms. Kalaba Mweni Kolandi, a dedicated and committed public librarian who has been practicing librarianship for 14 years. Since the inception of the INELI programme in April, 2016, Zambia has benefited tremendously through this programme.

Being a network of library leaders around the world, INELI has proved to be a useful network where public librarians are learning from other librarians and working together online to acquire skills and share experiences in developing and implementing innovative services for communities.

Through this programme, the Zambian INELI Innovator, Kalaba, has grown her knowledge in providing better and innovative library services in her library. In Luapula Province, where her public library is located, Kalaba has been working with school librarians to better library service delivery through innovation. With her exposure, the Zambian INELI innovator, is able to facilitate workshops based on other workshops she has attended. In July 2016, during the Library and Information Association of Zambia (LIAZ) Annual General Conference, She made a presentation to the delegates on the INELI programme, explaining what the programme is about, its objectives and how she intended to impart the knowledge she was learning with other librarians in the country. At this conference, Kalaba attended a session on Customer Care and Customer Service in libraries which she later shared with school librarians in her province through a workshop she facilitated. She has done presentations to senior provincial government officials on the role of libraries in helping achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s). In the Provincial Library, Ms. Kalaba has created a Water Corner, promoting SDG number 6 which looks at ensuring the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all. The Corner has materials promoting water conservation and good sanitation. The library also provides computer lessons to Grade 6 pupils.

The Mansa town community continues to benefit from the partnership which the provincial library has with Chakopo Primary School to teach reading and writing to adults who have dropped out of school. There is also a homework clinic for learners whose parents do not have skills to enable them help the children or are busy and unable to help. The provincial library staff have also developed outreach programmes to Mansa General Hospital and Senama Clinic children’s wards where the library takes books and toys for children among other things. The library staff read stories with the children and play with them.

On a national level, Kalaba joined other experts in facilitating at a public librarians workshop on
Ms. Kalaba Mweni facilitating at the 2017 LIAZ Annual General Conference
[Photo: Brian Chileshe] 
innovation in libraries in March, 2017. The workshop was organized by LIAZ in partnership with Lubuto Library Partners in the Southern Province of Zambia. A total of 26 public librarians benefitted from this training workshop. In addition, Kalaba also made a presentation to 115 delegates during the 2017 LIAZ Annual General Conference that was held in Siavonga. She presented on Community partnerships and enlightened delegates including association leaders of what makes up good partnerships and how partnerships can help us improve service delivery in libraries.

The INELI innovator has also done various publications on the INELI programme in the LIAZ Newsletters.

The Programme is having a lot of positive impact on librarians as the knowledge being gained is being shared with other librarians in the country. There has been a lot of emphasis on innovation in libraries in Zambia. The country is grateful to this programme and look forward to more of such initiatives by AfLIA.

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