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
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.

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Unveiling the XXVIth SCECSAL conference 2024 programme

Participants from the Uganda Library and Information
Association at the 2012 SCECSAL Cultural
Evening in Nairobi, Kenya
The Kenyan Library Association has released the program for the XXVIth SCECSAL Conference, scheduled to take place in the vibrant coastal city of Mombasa, Kenya, from 22 to 26 April 2024, at the picturesque PrideInn Paradise Beach Resort, Convention Centre & Spa.  

Kicking off the conference on Monday, 22 April is Prof. Clara Chu, Director and Mortenson Distinguished Professor at the Mortenson Center for International Library Programs, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, USA. Prof. Chu's keynote address, titled “Our Libraries and Our Communities in the Digital Era: Re-imagining Services with Intention,” sets the tone for the innovative discussions to follow.

More than 60 papers are scheduled to be presented, with speakers coming from the United States, Thailand, Namibia, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia, Malawi, Kenya, Tanzania, among other countries.

Among the highlights of the conference are two special sessions: one focusing on SCECSAL@50 and the other on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Libraries. In these sessions, participants will discuss the development of SCECSAL since its establishment in 1974, the successes scored, and challenges faced. They will also share inspiring stories and experiences about how libraries are actively contributing to the achievement of the SDGs, fostering community development, and empowerment.

On Wednesday, April 24th, participants will have the opportunity to engage in enriching training sessions designed to enhance their skills and knowledge in key areas. Prof. Chu will lead a training workshop on 'Strengthening Innovative Library Leaders: Cultivating Your Leadership Style and Library Sustainable Development,' while Prof. Omwoyo Bosire Onyancha from the University of South Africa will deliver a training session on 'Harnessing Research Impact in Library Practice.' These sessions are open to conference participants, and the number of seats is very limited.

On Wednesday, there will also be a meeting of the Standing Conference of African National and University Librarians-Eastern, Central & Southern (SCANUL-ECS), as well as a tour of Mombasa.

As the sun sets over the Indian Ocean, Wednesday will culminate in a Cultural Evening, during which 19 individuals will be honored for their outstanding contributions to library and information sciences in the SCECSAL region. These individuals have played pivotal roles in advancing SCECSAL's mission and have tirelessly worked towards the development of libraries and information services in their communities.

The SCECSAL Cultural Evening also offers participants the opportunity to showcase their national dress and compete in the dancing competition

On Thursday, April 25th, the conference continues with parallel sessions on 'Responsive Information Service and Products,' 'Information Ethics and Practices,' and 'Technology and Innovation'.

On Friday, April 26th, the day begins with a session on SDGs and Libraries, which will include presentations on SDGs and library initiatives, the sharing of stories related to SDGs and libraries, and a panel discussion by practitioners highlighting initiatives aimed at contributing to the achievement of the SDGs in countries within the SCECSAL region.

The XXVIth SCECSAL Conference promises to be a dynamic and inspiring event, bringing together passionate professionals dedicated to shaping the future of information services in the digital era. We look forward to welcoming you to Mombasa for what is sure to be an unforgettable experience!

For more information and to register, visit SCECSAL's conference website. See you in Mombasa!

Download a copy of the conference programme HERE!

Friday, April 12, 2024

Ensure smooth travel to the XXVIth SCECSAL Conference in Mombasa, Kenya

Apply for your Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) today
As the excitement builds for the upcoming XXVIth SCECSAL Conference in Mombasa, Kenya, the
SCECSAL Secretariat would like to bring to the attention of all travelers a crucial requirement for travel to Kenya: the Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA).

The Government of Kenya mandates that all travelers to Kenya must obtain an eTA before entering the country. This includes those attending the SCECSAL Conference. We urge all attendees to apply for their eTA well in advance to ensure a smooth and hassle-free travel experience.

What is an eTA and why is it important?

An Electronic Travel Authorisation (eTA) grants permission to travel to Kenya. It is a mandatory requirement for all visitors entering the country. Without a valid eTA, airlines may refuse boarding to passengers, causing significant disruptions to travel plans.

How to apply for your eTA

To apply for your eTA, please visit the official Government of Kenya website: It is crucial to use the official government portal for your application to avoid any complications or delays.

Important information for your application

Among others, along with your eTA application, you will need to provide proof of confirmed hotel accommodation booking in Mombasa. This ensures that you have arranged for your stay during the conference.

The standard processing time for an eTA is 72 hours. However, in some cases, it may take longer. Therefore, it is advisable to apply for your eTA as soon as possible to avoid any last-minute issues.

Take action now for a seamless travel experience

As we eagerly anticipate the XXVIth SCECSAL Conference in Mombasa, Kenya, we want to ensure that all participants have a smooth and stress-free journey. Applying for your eTA in good time is crucial to avoid any travel disruptions.

If you have not yet applied for your eTA, we urge you to do so immediately by visiting Your timely action will contribute to a successful and enjoyable experience at the conference.