Friday, February 12, 2021

Librarians in the SCECSAL region urged to engage in "politics" to get extra budgets for libraries

Honourable Veno Kauaria at
the 25th SCECSAL Conference
On Thursday, Honourable Veno Kauaria, Member of Parliament in Namibia, urged librarians in the SCECSAL region to play politics of reaching out and innovation to get extra funding for their libraries, while maintaining their neutrality. 

"With the current diminishing budgets every financial year, it is up to the librarians to became politicians", Hon. Kauaria told library and information professionals during the closing ceremony of the 25th SCECSAL Conference in Windhoek, Namibia.

Libraries are neutral institutions and librarians should continue to maintain their neutrality, while striving to get the extra budget for their institutions. 

Librarians should be involved in the politics of engagement, politics of communication, and politics of persuasion. This is politics of reaching out and to innovate, she said.

Library advocacy is political engagement, it is about persuasion, it is about communication, and about reaching out, Hon. Kauaria told the gathering.. 

Librarians should know how to advocate for more funds for their libraries, they need to select who to reach out to and should engage with people who will advance their cause. Advocating for libraries is now more important than before and is within easy reach of librarians.

Hon. Kauaria reminded conference participants that people who allocate budgets, some who live with librarians in the communities and meet and engage with them at churches, need to know what librarians are doing if they are to support libraries’ cause. 

Most politicians like to hear numbers and statistics, and librarians should include in their advocacy strategies, talking to politicians in their area in terms of the number of youth visiting the library, people using libraries, to generate interest in the politicians who will see this in terms of the number of potential voters.

Hon. Kuaria, before moving into politics, worked and gained her experience in the library profession. 

She holds a B.A. in Sociology and a Master of Science in Library and Information Science both from Long Island University, in the United States of America. Her work and professional experience in the library and information sector, before going into politics, including serving as Director American Information Centre in Windhoek, Namibia; Director of Namibia Library and Archives Service under the Ministry of Education, and Executive Director (Permanent Secretary) in the Department of Lifelong Learning.

Hon. Kauaria is a founder member of the Namibian Information Workers Association (now called National Information Workers Association of Namibia). She served as NIWAM Chairperson from 2015 to 2019 during which she played a critical role in NIWAN's bid to host the 25th SCECSAL Conference. She has also served on the Bill and Melinda Gates Public Libraries Committee, and as Chairperson of ESARBICA.

His Excellence Dr Elia G. Kaiyamo 
Namibia Ambassador to China 

Earlier on during the closing ceremony, His Excellence Dr Elia G. Kaiyamo, Namibia Ambassador to China and NIWAN Patron, congratulated library and information professionals in the SCECSAL region, and extended a big thank you to SCECSAL 2021 conference organizers, paper presenters, and participants for a very successful conference. Dr Kaiyamo also called upon librarians to lead by example by reading more and doing research and join in the fight against the COVID-19. He further urged librarians to a build good working relationship with governments, especially with government institutions concerned with libraries, to contribute to the development of the people.

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