The EIFL Public Library Innovation Programme (EIFL-PLIP) builds the capacity of public librarians to integrate information and communication technology (ICT) into their services. EIFL-PLIP also builds skills and confidence of librarians to teach people in their communities to use ICT.
The EIFL-PLIP capacity building initiative targets public libraries that already have, or are about to receive, computers and internet connections. The training is designed to enable librarians to use this technology effectively to serve their communities, for example, in services that meet farmers’ information needs, provide information about local health issues, or in extra-mural activities that support children’s education.
Since 2014, EIFL-PLIP has launched major national capacity building programmes for public librarians in Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya and Uganda.
THE MAIN ELEMENTS OF THE EIFL CAPACITY BUILDING INITIATIVE
- A training programme adapted to local context and needs. The curriculum draws on EIFL’s experience of supporting development of innovative public library services that are being offered by over 300 libraries in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America.
- A participatory and practical training methodology. Gaps of at least a month between training sessions enable librarians to return to their libraries and practise newly-learnt skills in their daily work.
- Experienced local and international trainers. EIFL’s trainers include public librarians from Africa who already have experience of integrating digital technology into community development services.
WHAT THE TRAINING COVERS
The core curriculum comprises four main topics:
Advanced ICT skills for public librarians
- Using Word, Excel, PowerPoint, email, internet and social media tools
- How to develop an ICT training programme for your community; how to train community members to use computers and the internet.
Internet searching and e-resources
- Using internet search engines; internet research and finding information resources that are relevant to local needs.
New public library services
- How to conduct a community needs assessment
- How to plan and manage a library project
- Assessing the community impact of library projects and services
- Raising funds - developing fundraising strategies and campaigns and writing fundraising proposals
- Managing partners and other stakeholders.
Communications and advocacy for new services
- Knowing your advocacy audiences and creating messages
- Incorporating relevant statistics into your messages
- How to work with journalists and the media
- Presenting your library’s story effectively
- Developing and managing an advocacy plan.
May 2014 to January 2017.
- The training has reached all public libraries in Ghana, Kenya and Uganda that have computers and internet connections, and which offer public access to this technology.
- Evaluation conducted after the training found that 90% of trainees believed they were ready to introduce technology into existing services, and felt inspired to take action to create new services.
- In Ghana, almost 90% of participants reported starting new services at their libraries.
- In Kenya, 80% of participants reported that they had integrated ICT into their library services, or had initiated new services.
- In Uganda, 70% of trainees said that they felt more confident about integrating ICT into services to benefit communities, and over 65% said they had started new services, using ICT.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR EIFL’S AFRICA CAPACITY BUILDING INITIATIVE?
- To create opportunities for trainees to practise grant writing and advocacy skills learnt during training, EIFL invited trainees to apply for funding to initiate new services that use ICT to serve community needs. Grants will be awarded in 2016 on a matching funds basis (applicants must raise 50% of the cost of their services from local sources).
- EIFL is working with public library authorities in Ghana, Kenya and Uganda to identify further gaps in public librarians’ knowledge and skills; to develop the training curriculum further to meet advanced skills needs; and to assess systems and structures for continued professional education of public librarians to see what is needed to strengthen them.
- To complete and evaluate capacity building currently underway in Ethiopia, involving librarians from 11 public libraries in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia’s capital city).
- To open a call for expressions of interest in partnership with EIFL from other countries in Sub-Saharan African.
FIND OUT MORE
To find out more about EIFL’s capacity building initiative in Africa, contact Ramune Petuchovaite, EIFL-PLIP manager, email@example.com