Monday, November 20, 2017

SCECSAL General Council reaffirms its decision to establish a permanent secretariat for SCECSAL

The SCECSAL General Council last week, on Tuesday and Wednesday, voted overwhelmingly to implement its
Members of the SCECSAL General Council at the XXII SCECSAL
conference in Ezulwini, Swaziland in April 2016.
29 April 2016 decision to establish a permanent SCECSAL Secretariat.

In a secret ballot held on the platform, nine out of 11 SCECSAL member Associations took part and 88% voted to go ahead with the 2016 decision while 12% voted against.

The vote was called following weeks of delays and hesitations to discuss and approve the draft guidelines for selecting the host and the terms of reference for the proposed permanent Secretariat.

The members voted on the motion: Should SCECSAL go ahead and establish a Permanent Secretariat?

The members will now hold further consultations on the draft terms of reference for the permanent Secretariat, guidelines for selecting the permanent host, the memorandum of understanding to govern the arrangements for the Secretariat, and discuss the best way to implement the decision without losing the autonomy they currently enjoy, especially in organizing the biennial SCECSAL conferences on a rotational basis.

In April 2016, at the XXII SCECSAL conference in Ezulwini, Swaziland, the General Council adopted a resolution  to establish a permanent secretariat for SCECSAL and to amend the constitution to include a provision and terms of reference for the secretariat.

The Swaziland Library Association has been hosting the SCECSAL Secretariat on a temporary basis since April 2016.

The General Council is made up of Presidents/Chairpersons of SCECSAL member associations that currently include Botswana Library Association, Kenya Library Association, Lesotho Library Association, Library and Information Association of South Africa, Library and Information Association of Zambia, Malawi Library Association, Namibia Information Workers Associations, Swaziland Library Association, Tanzania Library Association, Uganda Library and Information Association and Zimbabwe Library Association.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

MMU hosts ULIA’s 3rd regional workshop for IFLA International Advocacy Programme

Workshop participants 
Mountains of the Moon University (MMU) hosted the first of its kind International Advocacy Programme for all western Uganda librarians. Sponsored by IFLA, in association with ULIA (Uganda Library and Information Association), the western Uganda regional workshop rode on the theme “Role of Libraries in the Implementation of UN 2030 Agenda and SDGS”.

The third IAP workshop was held from Monday 6th to Wednesday 9th November 2017 at MMUs’ famous Saaka Main Campus, 8 Km off Fortportal town. The western university touches the quiet and tiny Lake Saaka just below the magnificent Rwenzori Mountains, offering a beautiful view of 
mountain sceneries all of which make the campus very unique. The workshop attracted thirty five participants from across the western region. Among those who addressed the participants during the colourful opening ceremony, are: Prof. John Kasenene the Principal, Mountains of the Moon University (MMU). 
Ms. Margaret Kahiika- Chairperson LC5 opening the Workshop
Professor Kasenene spoke on the “importance of advocacy, community outreach, value of librarians and the librarians’ roles in changing the mind-sets and attitudes of people. He highlighted the need to package relevant information to serve all diverse groups with the right information so that they apply it to their daily needs and supporting the realisation of the SDGS. He requested ULIA to continue effectively serving communities as one of the new areas to address if we are to impact on our society positively. Prof. Kasenene appreciated ULIA’s role in advocacy issues. 
He warned ULIA on the igger task she has to set a strong profession, “from hunters to good information citizens”. The participants were challenged by the vocal professor who had set up Kibaale Science Centre which is serving the community by providing the necessary information. 
Ms. Margaret Kahiika- Chairperson LC5 officially opened the workshop. She noted that Kabarole district is prioritizing at  least four SDGS as per needs of each community: poverty eradication, quality education, good health, water and sanitation and climate change so that they could ably account to the communities they serve on order to make reasonable impact by 2030. She further pointed out the importance of retooling librarians so that they improve the information provision to effectively impact the communities they serve. 

ULIA president Dr. Sarah Kaddu gave an overview of the IAP workshop, emphasising the importance of sustainable development as a process which requires steps to follow, facing challenges and reflecting on what went wrong and restart all over again for sustainable development; and importance of having quality leaders for quality library services provision. Kaddu, also the IFLA IAP trainer further talked about advocacy and lobbying, the advocacy planning cycle, developing an advocacy plan to support the un 2030 agenda, identifying programmes to support SDGS, facilitated the role play and writing advocacy plans to support 
                     Some participants carried along their infants
the un 2030 agenda. 

Mr. Eric Nelson Haumba, one of the beneficiaries of the IAP– talked about the UN 2030 agenda, Uganda’s vision 2040, Uganda’s national development plan and the role of libraries in the un 2030 development agenda. 

Participants praised ULIA for having chosen Kabarole district and for having imparted knowledge and skills on a very new area in library science- advocacy and having enlightened them on SDGS and what the roles of librarians could be to support development and in realisation of the un 2030 agenda and SDGS. Many were heard to say: "this is my first time to hear about SDGS. I had heard about the SDGS but i didn’t know what was involved and what roles library and information professionals could play".  Mr Hatega Emmanuel of Kisoro Community Library in Kisoro district was all smiles and praises about ULIA and IFLA. He promised to start awareness campaigns immediately on SDGS so that people in Kisoro district would know about SDGS and also promised to support the policy and political leaders with their development agendas. He added: we, the western region participants thank IFLA- the funders and assure them that their efforts and sacrifice was not in vain because we resolved to go out as very active and pragmatic ambassadors of the UN 2030 Agenda and the 17 SDGS gospel. 

Speaking after the three day workshop, the IAP workshop coordinator Ms.Winny Nekesa-Akullo noted that the workshop was very practical, a great success and she’s expecting a better ultimate IAP workshop that will be held in central Uganda between 27th -29th  of November, 2017.  At the end of the three days, participants had drafted their advocacy programmes to share with their institutions. 
Well-done ULIA.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Is there space for a Sub-Saharan Africa association for individual LIS professionals?

In 1976, C. C. Aguolu in his article “Library Associations in West Africa and the Concept of a Profession” in the Int. Lib. Rev., 8, 23-31, wrote that: “One of the main characteristics of any profession is the existence of an active professional association to protect the interests of its members, to determine the standards of education and performance expected of them and to ensure that its members truly live up to their expectations”.

Isaac Kikongo-Bukenya also indicated that the "cardinal responsibilities of library associations should be education and training to create educated and trained corps, among other responsibilities".

Do existing library and information services (LIS) associations/organizations in Sub-Saharan Africa protect the interests of LIS professionals? Do they have a say on the standards of LIS education and the performance expected of LIS professionals on the continent?

Sub-Saharan Africa has several national and regional LIS associations of which very few could be said to carry out the functions highlighted by Aguolu and Kikongo-Bukenya.

Most countries have national LIS associations and examples include the Library and Information Association of South Africa (LIASA), Nigerian Library Association (NLA), Ghana Library Association (GLA), Association des Bibliothécaires, Archivistes, Documentalistes et Muséographes du Cameroun (ABADCAM), Uganda Library and Information Association (ULIA), Kenya Library Association (KLA), Library and Information Association of Zambia (LIAZ), Association Sénégalaise des Bibliothécaires, Archivistes et Documentalistes, and many others.

Although most national LIS associations on the continent pursue several objectives, many largely carry out only one activity: organize national LIS annual general meetings, and in some cases, annual conferences.

At the sub-regional level, the Standing Conference of Eastern, Central and Southern Africa (SCECSAL), established in 1974, and the Standing of Conference of University and National Librarians of Eastern, Central and Southern Africa (SCANUL/ECS) are the two main active LIS organizations.

At the continental level, the main associations are the Association for Health Information and Libraries in Africa (AHILA) founded in Nairobi, in August 1984; the International Association of Agricultural Information Specialists - Africa Chapter (IAALD Africa), also established in Nairobi in May 2006; and the African Library and Information Associations and Institutions (AFLIA), formally launched in Pretoria, in 5 July 2013.

Membership to AfLIA, SCECSAL and SCACUL-ECS is open only to LIS institutions and organizations while membership to IAALD Africa and AHILA is largely for individual professionals.

AFLIA was established to provide a platform to discuss issues and further the cause of the library and information sector in Africa and in additions to its annual conferences, it also carries out advocacy related activities and capacity development initiatives that have recently largely focused on supporting public libraries, a matter that has received criticisms in some quarters.

While both IAALD Africa and AHILA admit individuals (personal membership) in addition to institutions/organizations, they were established more as platforms for promoting the exchange of ideas and access to information in their respective fields rather than as bodies to represent the professional interests of their members; their activities largely tend to focus on organizing annual/biennial conferences, and carrying out continuing professional development initiatives targeting their members.

SCECSAL and SCEANUL-ECS, as their full names indicate, are forums (or conferences) for enhancing cooperation among their members (institutions/organizations) and the exchange of experiences and knowledge in the library and information field.
Existing LIS professional associations and organizations rarely focus their efforts on protecting the interests of the library and information professionals, establishing or monitoring standards for LIS education and performance of the LIS professionals.

Therefore, is there space for a Sub-Saharan Africa-wide membership subscription association for individual library and information professionals? Or should the focus be on building the capacities of exiting national and regional associations to enable them to carry out the functions highlighted by Aguolu and Kikongo-Bukenya?

Saturday, November 4, 2017

UCU graduates first LIS Master’s students

Uganda Christian University (UCU), Mukono has graduated her first Master of Science in Information Science students. As the University (UCU) marked its 20th anniversary last month, 1,177 students (54% female and 46% male) received diplomas and degrees in 38 specialties at the fourth part of her eighteenth graduation ceremony. The colourful ceremony was held at her main campus in Mukono on  Friday October 27, 2017. 
The total of 10 students from the Library School graduated with Masters Degrees in Library & Information Science at the christian founded University in Mukono. Among the other master’s degrees graduating for the first time was Master of Arts in Child Development. The graduation ceremony was attended by a number of leading LIS trainers in Uganda. Among them was Professor I.M.N Kingongo Bukenya and Dr Sarah Kaddu, the ULIA President. Dr Kaddu who is also a top LIS trainer in Uganda lauded the achievement made by the University. 
Some of the graduates at the graduation ceremony
Speaking after the graduation, the hopeful Kaddu said “LIS Graduate Education is on the increase in Uganda! Kaddu further noted that a number of graduate information professionals with MSC Information Science and PhD Info science is making strong strides in Uganda. She cited an example of about fifty Master students and seven PhDs have graduated from the East African School of Library and Information Science (EASLIS), and recently, ten Masters in Library and Information Studies on the Programme of LIS, Uganda Christian University graduated”. 
This development hugely lessens the burden on Makerere Univeirty which has been the sole provider on LIS graduate Education in Uganda. In a related development, the MSC RAM (Records and Archives Management) of East African School of Library and Information Science (EASLIS), are due to graduate in January 2019.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Malawi Library Association commended for its role in training LIS personnel

By Robert Chalochiwawa

Malawi Library Association (MALA) has been commended for its role in the training of personnel in
The graduating students
Library and Information Science Studies in the country.

Speaking during the graduation ceremony of 68 students from various institutions held at Domasi College of Education in Zomba on Thursday, Principal of Chancellor College, Professor Richard Tambulasi, said MALA is playing a vital role in producing qualified staff in public and private institutions.

“As a person coming from an academic institution and being an academician and researcher, I value the importance of the library and the work of a librarian. An academic institution cannot operate without a library and its staff,” he said.

Tambulasi said libraries, archives and documentation centres play a key role in providing electronic and printed information for different uses including academic purposes.

“Literary, every sector in humanity such as military, the academia, public and private sectors, including media, need the library both electronic and print,” he said.

He, therefore, assured MALA that Chancellor College would continue hosting the course for librarians.

Taking her turn, MALA President, Gift Kadzamira, said the association would continue contributing towards the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals and being an active player in the implementation of the Access to Information Act.

She added the association would ensure that issues in the Marakesh Treaty are incorporated into Malawi’s Copyright Act.

According to the MALA President, her association advocates for professionalism and strives that its members are innovative and passionate leaders who are responsive to the clients’ needs.

She revealed that plans were underway to adopt a strategic management plan which would help develop the sector further.

MALA has been supporting the library course since 1979 and has produced over 1, 000 graduates who are working in various libraries and Information and Documentation Centres in Malawi.