Monday, July 8, 2024

2024 LIAZ Annual General Conference

The Library and Information Association of Zambia (LIAZ) will be hosting its 51st Annual General Conference (AGC) from August 20-23, 2024 at the Avani Victoria Falls Resort in Livingstone, Zambia. The conference theme is "Charting New Frontiers: Redefining Information Management in the Digital Era".

As part of the event, LIAZ will hold its inaugural Awards and Gala Dinner at the Avani Victoria Falls Resort, which all conference delegates are invited to attend.

Interested exhibitors should contact the LIAZ secretariat for more information.

 For personalized invitations and additional details, individuals can reach out to LIAZ on WhatsApp at +260 979 805 780 or by email at liaz@zambia.co.zm

Thursday, May 23, 2024

IFLA Statistics & Evaluation Committee announces "Focus on Impact series"

Register today and participate in five FREE sessions offering a different perspective on demonstrating library impact.

The IFLA Statistics & Evaluation Committee (S&E) is happy to announce its upcoming series, Focus on Impact.  The Focus on Impact series provides attendees with five sessions, each offering a different perspective on demonstrating library impact. Each session features a different format for participant engagement. Attendance is free. The sessions will explore impact case studies, key performance indicators, data storytelling, building a community of practice, how S&E can serve its members, and findings from a global survey on library experience.
 
1.      Panel Presentation

Date: June 5, 11:30am - 1:00pm (BST/GMT+1)
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Registration
 
The assessment of library impact can take many different forms.  Three panellists with very different experiences will share their perspectives and experiences in this presentation. Grand Mutando will discuss the African Capacity Building Foundation's (ACBF) role in enhancing the community of practice and capacity development in Africa. Sherine Eid will demonstrate how ISO 16439 acts as a guide for assessing library impact. Dr. Leo Appleton will discuss library assessment methodologies and practices.
 
Speakers:
  • Grand Mutondo, Information Management Associate (The African Capacity Building Foundation).
  • Sherine Eid, Acting Head Quality Improvement Unit (Bibliotheca Alexandrina).
  • Dr Leo Appleton, Senior University Teacher, University of Sheffield.
 
Moderators: Christine Brown (Head Faculty Engagement, University of Alberta) and Justine Wheeler (Assessment Librarian, University of Calgary)
 
2.      Article Discussion

Date: June 12, 3:00pm - 4:00pm (CEST), 
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Participants will come to the session having read the following article. Bring your questions about the article and hear from the author on how you might use data storytelling to demonstrate the impact of your library services.
 
Kate McDowell (2024). Library Data Storytelling: Obstacles and Paths Forward. Public Library Quarterly, 43(2), 202-222. DOI: 10.1080/01616846.2023.2241514
 
To link to this article: https://doi.org/10.1080/01616846.2023.2241514
 
Speaker:  Kate McDowell (Author of Article)
Moderators: Christine Brown (Head Faculty Engagement, University of Alberta) and Justine Wheeler (Assessment Librarian, University of Calgary)
 
3.      Forming Your Community of Practice
 
Date: June 19, 5:00pm-6:00pm (MDT), June 20th 9:00-10:00 am (AEST)
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In this webinar, participants will learn what a Community of Practice (CoP) is and how it can support library assessment activities. Our speakers have created a Value & Impact Community of Practice to assist staff at university libraries, in Australia and New Zealand, share best practices around evaluating and assessing their activities and services.
 
Speakers:
  • Joanna Logan, Quality and Planning Manager, Queensland University of Technology.
  • Simon Hart, Policy Planning and Evaluation Librarian, University of Otago.
 Moderators: Christine Brown (Head Faculty Engagement, University of Alberta) and Justine Wheeler (Assessment Librarian, University of Calgary)
 
4.      Let’s Hear from You about Impact
 
Date: July 3, 10:00am - 11:00am (MDT)
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The Statistics and Evaluation Committee seeks your input on how we can help you learn more about library assessment and promote your impact. In this session, Committee members will be ready to hear your comments, questions, and success stories.  We will take this information in and use it to formulate programs and activities.
 
Facilitators: Statistics & Evaluation Committee Members
 
5.      Redefining the Library Experience
 
Date: July 10, 11:00am -12:00pm (EDT)
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“Libraries are continually evolving how they engage with users to make the most impact within their communities. Recently, this has included a renewed emphasis on proactively shaping experiences around library spaces, programming, collections, and staff development” (Connaway et al., 2023). These words open,  Redefining the library experience: Findings from the 2023 OCLC Global Council survey The findings from this report are based on a global survey from the library community, and included all library types. In total, more than 1600 responses were collected from respondents located in approximately 77 countries/territories. Dr Connaway will discuss the findings and implications. Please join us for this insightful and thought-provoking presentation. 
 
Speaker: Dr Lynn Silipigni Connaway, Executive Director, Research, at OCLC.
Moderator: Bella Gerlich (Dean of Libraries, Missouri University of Science and Technology).

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

2024 LIASA Annual Conference

 Call for papers

The 2024 LIASA Annual Conference will take place from 1-4 October at the Durban International Convention Centre in Durban, South Africa. This year's conference theme, "Libraries in an Age of Democracy," will reflect on the 30-year journey of South Africa's democracy and its impact on the country’s libraries.

For details and the call for papers, visit the conference website: https://www.liasa.org.za/page/conf2024



Thursday, May 9, 2024

Embracing new horizons in career and professional development: my experience at my first SCECSAL conference

 By Pauline Namulomba Nchemba

As I reflect on my first participation in the XXVI Standing Conference of Eastern, Central and

Southern African Library and Information Associations (SCECSAL) held in Mombasa, Kenya, from 22 to 26 April, a wave of emotions floods my mind. From the exhilarating moments of moderating a panel discussion to the jubilation of winning the cultural evening award with my colleagues from Zambia, every experience has left an indelible mark on me.

Before I even set foot on the SCECSAL journey, I made a promise to myself: I was going to make waves, make connections, and have a blast while doing it. And boy, did I deliver!

It all began with a bang as I arrived at PrideIn Paradise Hotel, eagerly embracing every opportunity that presented itself. Meeting with Dr. Justin Chisenga, a SCECSAL stalwart, and Mr. Kepi Madumo, National Librarian & CEO - National Library of South Africa, stood out as a memorable moment on my first day in Mombasa. Engaging in a stimulating discussion about passion, initiative, and personal growth in one's profession truly set the stage for the adventure ahead.

In church after Catholic mass

Anticipating the whirlwind of activities ahead, I found moments of personal reflection and discovery. The rainy Sunday morning became magical as I attended mass draped in my vibrant Zambian Catholic Chitenge design. It was a soulful experience, a fusion of spirituality and cultural immersion that SCECSAL in Mombasa uniquely offered.

My professional journey began even before the official start of the conference, with a visit to the Technical University of Mombasa for a workshop on emergency readiness and disaster management. Witnessing the dedication of participants from various countries in Eastern, Central and Southern Africa reaffirmed my belief in the power of continuous learning within our field.

The pinnacle of excitement was reached on Monday as I took the stage to moderate a panel discussion titled “SCECSAL@50: The Past, The Present, and the Future”. This session evolved into an engaging dialogue between esteemed panelists and enthusiastic participants, transforming it into a dynamic exchange of ideas and insights. SCECSAL, established in 1974, had indeed come a long way, and I am benefiting from its existence. 

At the SCECSAL cultural evening

On Wednesday, a unique blend of cultural celebration and camaraderie was brought forth at the SCECSAL Cultural and Awards event held at the neighbouring Mombasa Continental Resort. Clad in our vibrant Lozi-themed attire, my colleagues from Zambia and I showcased our passion for libraries and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through a presentation that blended Zambian traditions, dance, and storytelling. The overwhelming joy of winning the cultural evening award for the fourth time resonated deeply, reinforcing the impact of our collective efforts in promoting the potential of library initiatives’ contributions to the SDGs.

As the conference drew to a close on Friday, I found myself once again in the spotlight, delivering a presentation at the session on 'SDGs and Libraries.' Sharing LIAZ’s initiatives on igniting youth leadership towards SDG attainment sparked a newfound sense of awareness and enthusiasm among participants. Witnessing the realization dawn upon them that they too were instrumental in SDG-related endeavors was immensely gratifying.

Listening to Dr Helen Kay Raseroka

Beyond the professional engagements, SCECSAL 2024 offered me invaluable opportunities for networking and mentorship. Interactions with esteemed veterans like Dr Kay Raseroka and Jacinta Were instilled in me a sense of purpose and encouragement to pursue excellence in my profession. Imagine receiving personalized mentorship immediately after a presentation on how to make your next presentation even more interesting. Kay Raseroka did just that, boosting my mood and igniting a craving to do more.

Looking ahead, as Zambia prepares to host the XXVIII SCECSAL Conference in 2026, I am filled with anticipation and excitement. Eager to extend the same warm hospitality and enriching experiences to fellow colleagues and first-timers, I envision a conference that not only fosters professional growth but also celebrates the rich diversity and heritage of our region.

In essence, my journey at SCECSAL 2024 has been nothing short of transformative. It has reinforced my belief in the power of collaboration, innovation, and lifelong learning within the field of library and information sciences.  As I carry forward the lessons learned and memories cherished, I am grateful for the opportunity to be part of a vibrant community dedicated to advancing library and information services across Eastern, Central, and Southern Africa.

I made intelligent noise and am glad it yielded results beyond what I expected and am glad am getting positive feedback on my participation at the conference. 

Did I deliver? YES, I DID!

Friday, May 3, 2024

The SCECSAL conference provided me with an excellent networking opportunity

 By Veronica Muthoni Kariuki, State Department for Cooperatives, Kenya

Greetings, SCESCAL fraternity!

It brings me great pleasure to share my experience attending the 2024 SCESCAL conference at the Pride Inn Paradise Hotel in Mombasa. The journey was filled with excitement, knowing that I would meet fellow professionals from Eastern, Central, and Southern African countries. The conference provided an excellent networking opportunity, and I learned a great deal from the presentations.

Veronica Muthoni Kariuki at the SCECSAL conference
in Mombasa, Kenya

The sessions were of the highest quality, emphasizing the need for us to be agents of change in the digital era. As everything rapidly evolves, embracing these changes is crucial to avoid being left behind by the ever-advancing tide.

One of the highlights was the culture dinner, where African diversity was beautifully showcased.

From captivating stories to national anthems, traditional dances, and attire, the evening was truly exciting.

As I reflect on this experience, I pray that I will have the privilege of attending future SCESCAL conferences, wherever they may be held. Long live SCESCAL!


Reflecting on my first SCECSAL Conference: Insights from Bosco Buruga

By Bosco Buruga, Librarian, Muni University, Uganda

It is exactly one week since the XXVI SCECSAL Conference ended in Mombasa. A truly inspiring experience of some sorts for the delegates both first-timers and regulars. The conference was a vibrant gathering of brilliant minds, each sharing their unique research findings and perspectives. We asked some delegates specifically those attending the region professional showpiece for the first time to share their insights about the conference and this is what they had to say. 

The conference was a transformative experience that allowed me to deeply appreciate the LIS landscape.

My name is Bosco Buruga, a librarian at Muni University, and an executive committee member of the Uganda Library and Information Association (ULIA) representing Northern Uganda. I would like to share some of my experiences at the SCECSAL XXVI 2024 Conference and Assembly held in Mombasa, Kenya from 22nd to 26th April, 2024. This conference was not just an event, but a transformative experience that allowed me to deeply appreciate the library and information science landscape in Eastern, Central, and Southern Africa.

Mr.Bosco Buruga presenting his paper during SCECSAL XXVI

When I learned that the 2024 SCECSAL Conference was going to be hosted by the Kenya Library Association, I saw it as a golden opportunity for me to attend the first SCECSAL Conference in my career. I immediately sprang into action, strategizing on how I could participate in this life-enriching conference. 

The first step was setting a goal for myself: to broaden my professional network and gain knowledge from the conference presentations. The second step was responding to the call for abstracts. I, along with two other colleagues, wrote an abstract and submitted it to the local conference organizing committee. I am grateful that our abstract was accepted, and we were able to submit a full paper, marking the beginning of a truly enriching journey. Our paper was Applying SWOT analysis to assess drivers and barriers of using e-resources among selected academic libraries in Uganda.

My dream of attending the SCECSAL XXVI 2024 Conference at PrideInn Paradise Beach Resort, Convention Centre & Spa Mombasa almost died because I failed to get funding from my institution to pay for conference fees, accommodation, and transport. I decided not to disappoint myself by missing the golden opportunity to attend my first SCECSAL Conference. I borrowed money and ventured into an exciting trip of about 1,700 km on the road using a bus from Arua City in northern Uganda to Mombasa, Kenya, for this important professional event of my life. It took me three days to reach Mombasa and another three days to return to Arua after the conference. Some Ugandan colleagues who flew from Mombasa arrived in Kampala before I started my journey from Mombasa to Nairobi city.

The sacrifice that I made to attend SCECSAL 2024 enabled me to achieve the following:

1. I had the rare opportunity to represent the president of the Uganda Library and Information Association (ULIA), as a SCECSAL delegate. This enabled me to attend the SCECSAL General Council Meeting. You cannot imagine my joy in representing ULIA and attending a meeting of Presidents of Library Associations in Eastern, Central and Southern Africa. The sacrifice I made was worth it because I networked and knew the leaders of the African Library Associations in person. I am happy I actively represented my country well because I made valuable submissions in the meeting.

2. The conference presentations were rich in content and aroused my desire to do more research and build collaborations and networks. I was moved by the president of the Library and Information Association of Zambia (LIAZ) 's presentation on supporting SDGs initiatives by establishing a children's information centre in a public hospital. I am reflecting on her presentation and developing a concept that will be used to source supporters and possible donors for establishing such an information centre in our regional referral hospital.

3. I was able to present my conference paper and received very good feedback from the conference participants. The positive reception has motivated me to respond in the future to other calls for abstract submission from SCECSAL and/or any other relevant professional conferences.

4. I met esteemed personalities in the profession, such as Prof. Clara Chu, Prof. Maria G. N. Musoke, Dr. Justin Chisenga, Dr. Kay Raseroka, Madam Getrude Kayanga Mulindwa, and Ms Jacinta Were. I was blessed to have tapped knowledge from these celebrated personalities in SCECSAL. May God give them more years to mentor us in the profession. 

5. I attended the Cultural Evening, which was characterised by a dancing competition from diverse African cultures and an awards ceremony. Africa is blessed with beautiful dances, but the time for the cultural evening was not enough. I was blessed with another opportunity to receive an award on behalf of Phenny Birungi (SCECSAL Presidents Award) and another for ULIA (SCECSAL Hosts Award).

Ugandan delegates performing during the cultural evening

6. Throughout the conference, I had the opportunity to attend various sessions from exhibitors, ranging from library systems or technologies to library information resources. All the sessions provided unique perspectives and valuable takeaways, making the conference enjoyable and less boring.

In a nutshell, the SCECSAL Conference 2024 was a success because I enjoyed all the aspects of the conference, ranging from paper presentations, workshop sessions, and Country SDGs reports to SCECSAL Country reports. A crucial take-home assignment is that, as a Ugandan librarian, I need to get involved in documenting and sharing my library's contribution to supporting the implementation of the SDGs. I will now be an ambassador of SDGs in my Library Association. I have already recommended the SCECSAL conference to my young colleagues in the profession because it offers them an opportunity to expand their professional network and fresh insights and perspectives that will enrich their work moving forward.

Mr. Buruga receiving an award on behalf of Phenny Birungi

I have started preparing for the SCECSAL conference of 2026, which the Library and Information Association of Zambia will host in the city of Livingstone. This is my time to visit the home of the Victoria Falls. God willing, I will have to be physically in Zambia to consolidate my established professional networks, get new ones, and participate in knowledge exchange in the SCECSAL region by presenting conference papers and listening to other presenters. God bless SCECSAL and its leadership.

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

Bridging worlds: Maasai indigenous knowledge and cultural heritage and library services in the digital age

By Priscah Kirwa

Priscah Kirwa, Senior Librarian
Maasai Mara University, Kenya
The combination of Maasai culture and librarianship offers a unique opportunity to merge traditional values and knowledge with modern information practices. As we redesign information products and services for the digital age, it's critical to leverage technological advances while emphasizing accessibility, inclusivity, and user-centered design. Librarians must take the lead in efforts to maintain relevance in this digital landscape. Maasai land is home to an indigenous culture where the vibrant colors of traditional attire blend with the vast landscapes of the savannah. This marks the beginning of a new chapter in library and information services in Maasai land, one that integrates the rich heritage of Maasai culture with the transformative power of digital technology.

At a time when the world is becoming increasingly connected through the digital realm, Maasai communities are employing innovative approaches to preserve their cultural heritage, promote educational opportunities, and improve access to information. Maasai Mara University Library is committed to promoting indigenous knowledge, fostering community engagement, leveraging digital innovation, supporting environmental conservation, and celebrating Maasai cultural heritage.

In keeping with our dedication to cultural sensitivity and respect for indigenous knowledge, the library has put in place strict measures to ensure the protection of the Maasai's intellectual property rights to their indigenous knowledge and cultural heritage. These protocols include obtaining explicit consent from the Maasai community before featuring any materials or information about their traditions, following ethical guidelines for the documentation and dissemination of Maasai cultural materials, and actively engaging with Maasai representatives to address any concerns or issues about cultural sensitivity and tradition. 

Through strategic initiatives and partnerships, the University Library is involved in a strategic collaboration with local Maasai groups. This collaboration focuses on initiatives such as community-led archival projects and educational outreach programs aimed at preserving and promoting Maasai cultural heritage. These efforts enrich our collections and enable the Maasai community to recover and celebrate their traditional identity. This benefits both the Maasai people and the academic community. The University Library serves as a catalyst for positive change and empowerment within the Maasai community and beyond. 

Friday, April 26, 2024

SCECSAL General Assembly's resolutions: Advancing sustainable development and professional growth

Participants at the SCECSAL conference
The XXVI SCECSAL Conference ended in Mombasa today with the  SCECSAL General Assembly adopting a series of important resolutions aimed at pushing libraries and information professionals towards greater alignment with global development agendas while fostering professional growth and innovation. 

The General Assembly, recognizing the importance of aligning library activities with national and global development agendas, urged SCECSAL member Associations to map out library activities related to each SDG in their respective countries. Additionally, member Associations were requested to contribute to the IFLA Library Map of the World with SDG stories, highlighting the vital role of libraries in achieving sustainable development.

The General Assembly also emphasized the need for enhanced engagement and reporting on the contributions of libraries towards SDGs. Therefore, to facilitate knowledge sharing on SDGs and libraries related activities and initiatives, the General Assembly mandated the Library and Information Association of Zambia (LIAZ) to organize a poster session during the SCECSAL 2026 conference, to provide member Associations with a platform to showcase their SDG-oriented projects and initiatives.

Esther Tobias from Namibia presenting a paper
at the SCECSAL conference
Acknowledging the significant presence of young professionals and students in library and information science at SCECSAL conferences, the General Assembly resolved to establish a dedicated session for academic research papers from students at future SCECSAL conferences. This initiative aims to ensure that young professionals receive constructive feedback on their work and support. Additionally, the General Assembly resolved to organize webinars on presentation skills for paper presenters to enhance their presentation abilities. 

Recognizing the importance of staying abreast of emerging trends, the Assembly encouraged library professionals and institutions to embrace bibliometric analysis as a tool for informed decision-making and innovation.

These resolutions reflect SCECSAL's commitment to advocating for the contributions of libraries towards achieving the SDGs, and fostering professional excellence and innovation within the library and information science community in the SCECSAL region. By aligning activities with global agendas, empowering the next generation, and embracing emerging trends, SCECSAL continues to play a pivotal role in shaping the future of libraries and the profession in the region.

You can download a copy of the 2024 SCECSAL General Assembly resolution document on the SCECSAL resolutions webpage.


Thursday, April 25, 2024

Innovative libraries need innovative leaders

Innovative libraries are critical community assets with services that bring information, in all formats, to everyone in the community. According to Professor Prof Clara M. Chu, innovative libraries need innovative leaders. Librarians and library staff must become library leaders, willing to challenge the status quo for the sake of providing valued services to their users.

Professor Clara M. Chu, who is the Director and Mortenson Center Distinguished Professor, Mortenson Center for International Library Programs, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign affirmed to this during a workshop she conducted for the delegates at SCECSAL 2024, in Mombasa Kenya on the 24th of April 2024.

Prof Chu noted that “Leadership is influencing people to take action. She further noted that in the workplace, leadership is the art of getting work done through other people. Leadership can be widely distributed within an organization – most everyone leads at some time or another, if not all the time. And it’s highly situational: anyone might step forward to lead, given the right circumstances.”

Prof Clara M. Chu

While citing Daniel Golema’s Leadership Styles, the distinguished Professor noted that every leader showcases many, if not all the styles advanced by Daniel Goleman such as Commanding leadership, visionary leadership, affiliative leadership, democratic leadership, pacesetting leadership and coaching leadership. 

She urged all library leaders to solve the right problems by deeply defining the problem while taking the responsibility for the problem & avoid blaming others.  
She further advised delegates to always sufficiently gather information regarding problems, discuss solutions, implement the best solution and reviewing the decision. 

In another workshop conducted by Professor Omwoyo Bosire Onyancha from the College of Human Science, University of South Africa, he discussed the aspect of bibliometrics/ informatrics support services in libraries. Onyancha said bibliometrics support services are critical in empowering academic librarians to navigate the metrics tide in academic libraries in Sub-Saharan Africa. 

While addressing the delegates on the topic “Navigating the Rising Research Metrics Tide: Opportunities for Academic Librarians in the 21st Century”, Prof Onyancha warned that academic librarians in sub-Saharan Africa, just like their counterparts in the rest of the world, are under pressure to provide relevant information services to satisfy varied client needs. Research administrators, grant offices, researchers, students and university managers, among others, are increasingly turning to academic librarians for information to meet their numerous research-related information and metrics needs.

Professor Omwoyo Bosire Onyancha

Sub-Saharan African countries’ emphasis on strengthening science, technology and innovation has exerted further pressure on information professionals and other stakeholders to develop and appropriately apply bibliometrics and altmetrics to inform decision-making and policy-formulation processes. Research output and impact metrics are not only quickly evolving but their volume has been unprecedented.

He advised that as librarians, we need to: create awareness of different metrics-yielding tools and the metrics used to measure research performance among academics;  identify and suggest the most relevant and high-quality journals where authors can publish their papers; provide explanations on why specific journals are not suitable places to publish (for example, predatory and hijacked journals); and provide information on the type of metrics that can be used for specific research-related purposes among other roles. 

Prof Onyancha also noted that the changing nature of the environment demands a commitment to lifelong learning with academic librarians being more self-directed and self-motivated to develop new skills that will enable the fullest use of new technology and resources.

We need to interest ourselves with the new technologies for linked data

The web has evolved from the global documents space of both documents and data. This  evolution is underpinned by a set of best practices for publishing and connecting structured data on the web, known as Linked Data. According to Winny Akullo Nekesa, Manager Libraries at NSSF Uganda, librarians need to familiarize themselves with the latest technological advancements in order to effectively organize data and integrate it  with other systems so that we can easily share with our users. Although some librarians still feel challenged in understanding the concept of Linked data, many of them in Uganda  

Ms Winny Nekesa, Manager Library, NSSF Uganda

In separate presentation, Ms Esther N. Tobias, a chief librarian from Namibia government ministry noted that some libraries in Namibia exclude marginalized users due to the fact that libraries fear that the majority of their users will feel uncomfortable or unsafe if the marginalized groups are allowed to enter the library.  

These were highlighted as SCECSAL 2024 entered its fourth day at PrideInn Paradise Hotel, Mombasa Kenya.

SCECSAL recognises individuals and associations at the 2024 SCECSAL Awards Ceremony

Prof. Peter Gatiti, KLA President (Left) receiving
the award for KLA from Hon. Joseph Munsanje MP
SCECSAL has recognised individuals and associations for their contributions to both the field of library and information science (LIS) and the advancement of SCECSAL itself. The SCECSAL Cultural Evening on 24 April served as the backdrop for the SCECSAL Awards Ceremony at which 20 individuals and 4 SCECSAL member Associations were recognised with awards in form of plaques. 

This year's Awards ceremony was particularly special as it not only celebrated the remarkable contributions of individuals and member associations to library and information science but also commemorated half a century of SCECSAL's unwavering commitment to advancing the field across the region.

The SCECSAL Awards encompassed several categories, each designed to honour distinct facets of dedication, innovation, and leadership within the SCECSAL region.

SCECSAL Hosts Award

In acknowledgment of the pivotal role played by member associations in nurturing SCECSAL through hosting SCECSAL conferences, the SCECSAL Hosts Award recognized the Kenya Library Association (KLA), Malawi Library Association (MALA), Uganda Library and Information Association (ULIA) and the Tanzania Library Association (TLA) that have served as hosts for three SCECSAL conferences each up to 31 December 2023. Their commitment to fostering knowledge exchange and collaboration through these conferences has been exemplary.

SCECSAL Presidents Award

Dr Helen Kay Raseroka receiving her award from
Mr Charles Mambia
The SCECSAL Presidents Award, a symbol of visionary leadership and dedication, honoured individuals who have steered SCECSAL member associations during the pivotal juncture of hosting their first SCECSAL Conference. These leaders, through their foresight and dedication, have not only facilitated the organization of these conferences but have also contributed significantly to the growth and expansion of SCECSAL within the region. The recipients of the 2024 award were:

  • Ezekiel Enock Kaungamno (Posthumous), Tanzania Library Association (1974).
  • Dr Hudwell Mwacalimba, Zambia Library Association (now LIAZ) (1976).
  • Jafred Shalimba Musisi (Posthumous), Kenya Library Association (1978).
  • ‘Mampaila Martha Lebotsa (Posthumous), Lesotho Library Association (1980)
  • Prof. Joseph J. Uta, Malawi Library Association (1982)
  • Prof. Stanislas Matienga Made (Posthumous), Zimbabwe Library Association (1984).
  • Dr Helen Kay Raseroka, Botswana Library Association (1986).  
  • Ben J. K. Kingsley (Posthumous), Swaziland Library Association (now ESWALA) (1988).  
  • Phenny Birungi, Uganda Library Association (now ULIA) (1990).
  • Prof. Ellen Ndeshi Namhila, Namibia Information Workers Association (now NIWAN) (2002)
  • Ellen R. Tise, Library and Information Association of South Africa (2002).

SCECSAL Recognition Award

Velenasi Mwale Munsanje receiving her award from
Hon. Joseph Munsanje, MP
The SCECSAL Recognition Award paid tribute to the unsung heroes and heroines whose behind-the-
scenes efforts have been instrumental in shaping the SCECSAL landscape. These individuals, through their tireless contributions, have enriched SCECSAL's ethos of collaboration, knowledge sharing, and professional development, thereby leaving an indelible mark on the organization. In this category, SCECSAL recognised the following four individuals:

  • Prof. Stephen M. Mutula - in recognition of his contribution to SCECSAL and knowledge generation in library, information and knowledge field focusing on application of ICTs, and contribution to SCECSAL development.
  • Dr Helen Kay Raseroka - In recognition of her leadership in the library and information services field and contribution to SCECSAL development
  • Dr John K. Tsebe - In recognition of his leadership in the library and information services field and contribution to SCECSAL development
  • Prof. Kingo Mchombu - In recognition of his leadership in LIS, contribution to SCECSAL and knowledge generation in LIS focusing on the role of libraries, information and knowledge in development, and contribution to SCECSAL development

SCECSAL Excellence Award

Prof. Maria Musoke receiving her award from 
Hon. Joseph Munsanje, MP
The pinnacle of recognition, the SCECSAL Excellence Award, celebrated individuals whose extraordinary contributions have propelled SCECSAL to greater heights. Their dedication, innovation, and commitment to advancing library and information science in their countries and across Eastern, Central, and Southern Africa have not only enriched the profession but have also inspired countless others within the SCECSAL region. The 2024 Excellence Award went to:

  • Velenasi Mwale Munsanje - in recognition of her leadership in the library and information services field and contribution to strengthening the Library and Information Association of Zambia
  • Prof. Maria G. N. Musoke - in recognition of her contribution to knowledge generation focusing on health information and services in the SCECSAL region.

Additionally, the SCECSAL Secretariat also seized the opportunity to hand over the plaques to the 2020 Excellence Award recipients, who due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the control measures that were put in place, could not receive the plaques. These were:

  • Prof. Dennis N. Ocholla - in recognition of his contribution to knowledge generation in library, information, and knowledge management field, capacity development of LIS professionals in the SCECSAL region, and contribution to SCECSAL development.
  • Jacinta Were - in recognition of her leadership in the library and information services field, mentoring and coaching young LIS professionals, and contribution to SCECSAL development.
  • Nomsa Nqobile Victoria Mkhwanazi [Posthumous] - in recognition of her contribution to SCECSAL.

As the evening unfolded, each award served as a reminder of SCECSAL's rich legacy and its ongoing journey of growth and innovation. The recipients, representing a diverse array of academic and professionals backgrounds, stood as shining examples to the upcoming library and information professionals in the region. 

Celebrating diversity and talent: LIAZ emerges as overall winner of the SCECSAL Cultural Evening 2024 contest

Some LIAZ members and the guests of honour 
The SCECSAL Cultural Evening held on 24 April at the Mombasa Continent Resort was a vibrant
celebration of cultural diversity and talent within the library and information profession in the SCECSAL region. With more than 150 enthusiastic participants from across Botswana, Eswatini, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, the event offered a dazzling array of performances that exceeded all expectations.

From traditional dances to storytelling, the evening was a testament to the diverse talents of library and information professionals. Each country brought its own flair, so the event contained a rich spectrum of cultures and traditions.

KLA members during the dancing competition
In a closely contested competition, the Library and Information Association of Zambia (LIAZ) emerged as the overall winner, securing its fourth victory since its first success at the SCECSAL Cultural Evening in Johannesburg 2002. The performance from LIAZ not only showcased an innovative approach that blended dancing, libraries issues and the SDGs, but also great attention to detail in costume and organization. Botswana claimed the second position, impressing the judges with their originality and humorous presentations. Meanwhile, Lesotho's enthusiasm shone through, earning them the top spot in the Enthusiasm Category.

The jury, consisting of esteemed personalities such as Dr. Charles Ngui Nzivo, Prof. Clara Chu and Getrude Kayanga Mulindwa, had the difficult task of evaluating the performances. Their expertise ensured fairness and transparency throughout the event.

Kay Raseroka from Botswana telling a story
One of the highlights of the evening was the dancing competition, a tradition dating back to the SCECSAL conferences since 2000. It has become a highly anticipated part of the event, showcasing not only the participants' dancing skills but also their camaraderie and passion for cultural exchange.

The highlight of the Cultural evening is always the dance competition, a tradition that dates back to the SCECSAL conference in Windhoek, Namibia in 2000. The Cultural Evening has become a highly anticipated part of the the SCECSAL conferences. 

As Zambia clinched the trophy and the honour of keeping it permanently, plans are already underway to unveil a new Cultural Evening trophy at the SCECSAL conference in 2026, which incidentally will be hosted by LIAZ in the city of Livingstone, the home of the Victoria Falls. 

The members of the jury
The SCECSAL Cultural Evening serves as a reminder of the profound impact that cultural exchange and collaboration can have within the LIS community. Beyond professional development, it provides a platform for personal growth, friendship, and celebration. As we look forward to future editions of SCECSAL conferences, let us continue to embrace diversity, nurture talent, and uphold the spirit of inclusivity that defines the LIS profession in the region.

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Academic libraries in the SCECSAL region need to adopt Artificial Intelligence (AI)

By Rahab Koech

Rahab Koech
Rahab Koech, Senior Library Assistant
 Maasai Mara University, Kenya
Academic libraries are tasked with supporting their institutions in teaching, learning, and research.
Technological advancements have rapidly transformed the way services are delivered, enabling libraries to better serve their users. As we stroll through the aisles of an academic library, contemplating which book to explore, it becomes evident that different generations have distinct preferences. While older patrons may still find comfort in perusing physical shelves, younger generations, such as Gen Z, are increasingly reliant on digital platforms for information, utilizing social media, messaging apps, and educational videos to satisfy their curiosity.

In this digital age, the role of artificial intelligence (AI) in academic libraries cannot be overlooked. As Professor Clara M. Chu highlighted in her keynote address at the XXVIth SCESCAL Conference, focusing on three steps: Show up, Un(learn), and Act, libraries in the SCECSAL region must adapt and embrace new technologies to remain relevant. AI offers the potential to revolutionize library services, enhancing search capabilities and providing personalized recommendations based on user preferences and behaviors. By leveraging AI tools, academic libraries can streamline processes, improve accessibility to resources, and empower users to navigate the vast sea of information more efficiently.

It's time for academic libraries in the SCECSAL region to rise to the occasion, to unlearn outdated practices, and to embrace the transformative power of AI. Let us heed Professor Chu's call to action and usher in a new era of innovation and excellence in library services.

Monday, April 22, 2024

SCECSAL Conference 2024 - Day 1 in photos

 The XXVIth Standing Conference of Eastern, Central and Southern African Library and Information Associations kicked off on Monday, 22nd April at the Prideinn Paradise Beach Resort in Mombasa, Kenya. Here are photos from the first day of the conference.

Delegates from Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe going
 through the registration process

Dr Helen Kay Raseroka (Botswana) and
Pauline Namulomba Nchemba (Zambia)
consulting on arrangements for the
session on SCECSAL@50

Prof. Constantine Nyamboga (recent past KLA President) and
Prof. Peter Gatiti (current KLA President) in a jovial mood

Prof. Clara Chu from
 Mortenson Center for International Library Programs,
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
delivering her keynote address

A participant contributing to the discussions
on the keynote address

Participants following SCECSAL proceedings

Librarians and archivists gather to enhance emergency readiness and disaster management skills

Technical University of Mombasa hosts ERDM workshop for pre-SCECSAL/SCANUL-ECS conference

Mr Kepi Madumo (right) and Prof. Peter Gatiti (middle)
handing the certificate of participation to a participant
In a proactive initiative aimed at bolstering emergency readiness and disaster management (ERDM) capabilities among professionals in archives and libraries, the National Library of South Africa, IFLA PAC Southern African Region, and IFLA Africa Office in partnership with the Technical University of Mombasa have organized a two-day pre SCECSAL/SCANUL-ECS workshop on ERDM. The workshop, hosted by the Technical University of Mombasa (TUM) from the 20th to the 21st of April, drew participation from 38  enthusiastic individuals from libraries, archives, and library and information science schools in Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, and Zambia.

The TUM Vice Chancellor, Prof Laila Abubakar, officiated at the opening session of the pre-conference workshop. In her opening remarks, she emphasized the necessity of continuing professional development and capacity building to enable teams of librarians and archivists to develop and strengthen their skills and abilities. She further stated that this skills transfer would, in turn, assist the teams in achieving their objectives, managing challenges faced by documentary heritage institutions and workplaces, and establishing meaningful partnerships that would yield lasting collaborations. In her remarks, she also alluded to the need for the African continent to increase its knowledge and understanding of the elements of ERDM, relevant knowledge in preparedness, response, and recovery in the cases of disasters.

During the closing and certificate award ceremony, Mr. Kepi Madumo, the National Librarian and CEO of the National Library of South Africa, emphasized the importance of translating acquired knowledge and skills into actionable plans during times of crisis. He was accompanied by Prof. Peter Gatiti, President of the Kenya Library Association (KLA), and Ms. Mutinta Nabuyanda, President of the Library and Information Association of Zambia (LIAZ).

The workshop delved into crucial aspects of ERDM, covering key concepts, background insights, and the phases of prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery. Participants engaged in interactive sessions exploring the intricacies of developing effective disaster management plans, with a particular focus on practical application.

Participants at the ERDM pre-SCECSAL/SCABUL-ECS
conference
Noteworthy sessions included a demonstration of the Disaster Box, a vital resource in crisis situations, and practical exercises on handling books damaged by fire and water. These hands-on activities provided invaluable insights into salvaging valuable resources in the aftermath of disasters, ensuring the preservation of cultural heritage and knowledge repositories.

Mr Nazeem Israel and Ms Sonto Moleme, from the  National Library of South Africa, spearheaded the facilitation of the workshop, guiding participants through engaging discussions and practical demonstrations. 

The ERDM workshop at the Technical University of Mombasa stands as a testament to the proactive stance of the National Library of South Africa, IFLA and the SCECSAL/SCANUL-ECS community in addressing critical challenges facing the sector. By equipping professionals with the necessary tools and knowledge, such initiatives pave the way for a more resilient and adaptive library and archival landscape, capable of weathering the storms of uncertainty with confidence and competence.