Saturday, November 16, 2019

African Ministerial Conference on Information Access held in Accra

The 3rd Ministerial Roundtable meeting for African Ministers with oversight responsibilities for Libraries was held from 28-30 October 2019, at Labadi Beach Hotel, Accra, Ghana under the auspices of the Ministry of Education. The two-day conference was under the theme, “Libraries on the African Development Agenda: Progress made” purposefully fell within the framework of the AU 2063 Agenda, the Charter for  African Renaissance and the related outcomes of the AU Commission meeting held in Algeria in October 2018. The conference was aimed at providing leadership and guidance on how African governments can integrate libraries in their national development plans and ensure allocation of resources towards the achievement of the development goals. 
Ghana’s Minister of Education Hon. Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh
announcing the Accra Declaration

In his address to the delegates, the Host Minister, Ghana’s Minister of Education Hon. Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh echoed the core of libraries and information access. The Hon Minister acknowledged that information has become very crucial to every enterprise in life, hence its acquisition, storage, dissemination, evaluation and use needs to be properly positioned. 

Libraries play a role in the organization of the deluge of information available today as a consequence of technological advancement,” he said. The Minister further detailed that the government of Ghana under the leadership of His Excellency President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo recognizes the importance of libraries in development and has rolled out interventions that have seen a rejuvenated public library service in the country. He concluded by disclosing that reforms have been taking place at public libraries in Ghana including increase in staff strength at Ghana Library Authority, opening up of new libraries, renovating existing libraries, increasing the number of books and adoption of technology in various forms of operations and service delivery.

In his address, AfLIA President Mr Mandla Ntombela highlighted the intention of the continental library body as to equip public libraries, even in remote rural areas of the continent, with 21st Century skills in LIS Sector that includes support of internet-connected libraries. This would have a far-reaching impact in promoting access to online information in a safe environment, with qualified library staff to guide patrons in the best use of the internet as an educational resource. On the future of community libraries, Mr Mandla noted that AfLIA visualizes an expanded community library network playing a vital role in nurturing cohesion because the libraries can provide a safe environment for social interaction, the exchange of information and ideas and development of skills. 

As AfLIA, we exist to empower the library and information community, so that they can positively contribute towards the achievement of the African Development Agenda (AU Agenda 2063) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), through dynamic services that transform the livelihoods of Africans. AfLIA family of information leaders, fully embrace the strategic value of Access to Information  as a fundamental Human Right- Mandla emphasized.
Mr. Mandla Ntombela AfLIA President addressing participants 

The AfLIA supremo also noted that African libraries and information services face huge challenges in the documentation and communication of indigenous knowledge. These include the lack of financial resources, human capacity, technology shortages and the lack of legal frameworks at national and international level to support the library efforts to document and communicate indigenous knowledge. The fast-developing information and communication technologies continue to pose challenges on how best libraries can document and disseminate this oral and community-based knowledge to a globally accepted knowledge base.

Thirty-two (32) African countries were represented at the conference consisting of ministers, Directors of libraries and high-level emerging library leaders on the continent. At the end of the conference, African governments were expected to make commitments to strategies mapped out towards the development of libraries on the African continent. 

                                                 Courtesy of Dr. Sarah Kaddu. 

Thursday, October 24, 2019

EASLIS, CoCIS host Workshop on Digitalising LIS Curriculum.

The East African School of Library and Information Sciences (EASLIS), College of Computing & Information Sciences (CoCIS), Makerere University in partnership with King’s College London (KCL) recently hosted a workshop on digitalizing the curriculum from 7th to 9th:, October 2019. The workshop theme was: “Towards an Education Programme for Digital Information Science in East Africa”, attracted a total of 37 participants from Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and Nigeria, many of whom were academics and practitioners. In her introductory remarks, the workshop coordinator, Dr. Sarah Kaddu highlighted the aims of the workshop as to:  ensure that participants gain a plan of digitalised curriculum in 20th century, identify the key components of the digital curriculum, come up with the requirements of the digitalised curriculum, and, also draft an outlie curriculum an information science programme as they saw it fit.

In his welcome remarks, the Dean of EASLIS Professor Constant Okello -Obura noted that there was need for information professionals to reflect on the current trends, discover what is new in the world, and understand the skills and competencies required for the changing times. He also emphasized the need for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4th IR) skills and competencies which appreciates the new technologies used currently. Professor Obura also highlighted the need to develop smart ways, and to discover methods to make information responsive to the demand for the situation out there in the world.

In attendance, was the Principal College of Computing and Information Sciences (COCIS) Prof. Tonny Oyana who also represented the Deputy Vice Chancellor for Academics. In his remarks, Professor Oyana noted that digitalising the curriculum is at the forefront of the College of Computing and Information Sciences. He specified that a lot needs to be done in terms of considering the structured, semi structured and unstructured data.  In terms of disseminating information, Prof. Oyana pointed out that there are different types of consumers for example, children, gender component, old age, and the need to cater for all this audience.

Participants of the Workshop
On issues concerning the level of detail that is required (content), Oyana noted that there are behavioral components determined by the different audiences, such as issues of costs and as well as standards. He advised all the information professionals to be aware of all the laws, polices and standards within the country and beyond. He gave an example of the recent Uganda Data Protection Act that was passed earlier this year. He reminded all the stakeholders that digitalizing the curriculum requires hardware, software and human resources. 

Some of the topics covered during the three day workshop included: The Job Market for Digital Information Experts, the (Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums- GLAM),  Resources and Strategies for successful implementation of digital information science education curriculum, practice and research in East Africa, research data management, Computational Archival Science – Computational Methods and Digital Archives and Information Ethics in Digital Archiving among other. Among the facilitators were Mark Hedges and David Jordan from King’s College London. 

The workshop was a huge success and of immense benefit to all the participants. Participants noted that the job market for digital archivists exists; but currently, they are out sourced. It was also noted that in most cases, the records managers are not part of the team that designs the systems and yet they are expected to run these systems. It was agreed that there is a crucial need for LIS professionals to work together with IT professionals. It was evident that there is a huge importance to look at IT as a tool and not as replacing Librarians and or Information Professionals since the role of the librarians/Information professionals is to connect users to the information they need. 
Workshop participants in a group discussion
It was also noted that presently, there is no curriculum that prepares learners to be digital experts; it only stops at the elementary. Therefore Library and Information Science schools should introduce options in the curriculum so that students can have more time and have hands-on with the digital aspects. On the role of the students, much emphasis was put on changing the mindset of students in order to explore the opportunities for becoming digital experts. Furthermore, some participants felt the need to conduct tracer studies for the digital aspects and the employers’ needs. 

In his closing remarks, Prof Constant Okello Obura noted that LIS schools needed the advice of employers, urging the employers who were present to keep in touch with LIS schools so that they can get the right graduates. He also advised the Uganda Library and Information Association to take up the initiative and support the implementation of this digitalized curriculum.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Courses at SCECSAL 2020 in Namibia

Make your choice.

Are you a library and information services (LIS) professional residing in any of the SCECSAL region countries? Are you planning to attend the SCECSAL conference in 2020?

The SCECSAL Secretariat in collaboration with the Namibia Information Workers Association will organize courses for LIS professionals attending the XXIVth SCECSAL conference in Windhoek, Namibia, 20-24 April 2020.

The following six courses have been proposed. Which one would you participate in?

  • Course 1: LibraryThing and the application of mobile technology in library services
  • Course 2: Marketing Libraries
  • Course 3: Facilitating Multi-stakeholder Processes (i.e. Group Meetings and Events)
  • Course 4: Mobile Apps for Librarians
  • Course 5: Social media: managing your library’s account in the 21st century
  • Course 6: Social Media for the Libraries: Twitter, Blogs and Instagram

Make it known at: SCECSAL 2020 Training Courses

Monday, February 11, 2019

NIWA issues a call for abstracts for XXIV SCECSAL conference in 2020

The Namibia Information Workers Association (NIWA) has issued a call for abstracts for paper and poster presentations to be delivered at the XXIV SCECSAL conference to held in Windhoek, Namibia from 20-24 April 2020.

The them for the XXIV SCECSAL conference will be “Inclusive Libraries and Information Services Toward Achieving Prosperity for Sustainable Development in Africa”.

Abstracts, due by 30 April 2019, may cover any of the 21 sub-themes proposed for the conference, among them the following:
  • Access to information: issues, challenges and solutions (e.g. Marrakesh Treaty; Cape Town Declaration)
  • African libraries as drivers of the National Development Agenda Building capacities of library and information professionals to contribute toward attaining the 2030 Agenda
  • Digital preservation and access 
  • Open Data, Open Access and Open Science in development 
  • Specialised information services in support of development (e.g. in agriculture, climate change, health, environment, science and technology, industrialisation agenda, etc.) 

Further information is available at the following sites:

Call for abstracts – XXIV SCECSAL Conference (PDF)
NIWA – XXIV SCECSAL Conference website

Monday, February 4, 2019

Training workshops at SCECSAL 2020: call for proposals

The SCECSAL Secretariat today issued a call for proposals for training workshops to be organized during the XXIVth SCECSAL conference in 2020 to be hosted by the Namibia Information Workers Association (NIWA) in Windhoek.

In April 2018, in Entebbe, Uganda, the SCECSAL Council recommended that Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programmes targeting library and information professionals in the SCECSAL regional should be a regular feature of all future SCECSAL conferences.

The Windhoek conference will, in addition to optional tours on 22 April 2020 also include optional training courses for conference participants.

Individuals and organizations interested in offering courses during the conference should submit their proposals t by 15 February 2019 to:

Mr. John Anbu Paul
SCECSAL Secretariat

Download call for proposals.