‘Overwhelming’ results of EIFL’s Zambia training
EIFL and Library and Information Association of Zambia complete intensive 12-month training programme for public librarians

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Three public librarians writing on newsprint during training.
Group work - Zambian public librarians get to grips with community needs assessment during an EIFL workshop.

EIFL has completed a 12-month intensive training programme for public librarians in Zambia, organized in partnership with the Library and Information Association of Zambia.

The training was designed to equip public librarians with skills that will enable them to initiate new public library services that use technology to meet community needs. Trainees were selected from public libraries that have computers and the internet for public use. In all, 30 public librarians from 12 libraries attended the training.

In a post-training survey, librarians reported a strong improvement in their skills across all training areas.

SKILLS IMPROVEMENT IN DIFFERENT AREAS

A key component of ICT training was planning and conducting ICT training in communities, and according to the post training survey, trainees’ skills in this area improved by an average of 46%. In Zambia, a predominantly rural country where just 28% of people use the internet, public libraries that provide free access to ICT and ICT training play a vital role in bringing people online.

Skills in new service development and implementation, including community needs assessment, project design and planning, project management, budgeting and fundraising improved by 42%.

Communications and advocacy skills, to enable the librarians to publicize new services, and to advocate with government and other supporters for funding to improve, sustain and continue services, improved by 48%.

“The growth in knowledge in each training area has been overwhelming,” said Velenasi Mwale Munsanje, who is coordinating this project on behalf of LIAZ. “The trainees appreciated the content, and the facilitators were highly-rated,” she added.

IMPACT IN COMMUNITIES

The training is already making an impact. “Some of the trainees are now offering ICT training to groups and individuals in their communities - which they were not doing before the training,” said Velenasi.

Among them is Allan Hagwelele Mudenda, from the Provincial Education Office, which manages libraries in Zambia’s Southern Province. “In Choma Provincial Library, we are targeting school leavers who are preparing to apply for further education, and also senior citizens who want to know how to use computers for banking. For the seniors we also offer mobile information literacy training,” said Allan.

“E-resources and internet search training has also helped us to serve people who come to the library to find information online. Before, we were not focused in our searches. The EIFL training has shown us how, and where, to find free and open access sources that are appropriate for our users’ needs.”

INTERNET FOR LIBRARIES IN THE PIPELINE

While the training progressed, LIAZ and EIFL jointly advocated for investment to improve ICT in public libraries.

“We are happy to say we now have an agreement in principle with a telecommunications company that will provide a number of our libraries with some computers, internet routers and the internet. We are confirming the details and look forward to making an announcement soon,” said Velenasi.

The trainees will be sharing their learning at workshops and seminars during the LIAZ annual conference, which takes place in July 2019. “Other librarians from across the country will be attending the conference, and we are excited that we will have 30 potential facilitators of our own to use!

“LIAZ and the participants on the programme are very thankful for this opportunity. It has transformed the librarians,” said Velenasi.

FIND OUT MORE

Find out more about EIFL’s training of public librarians in Zambia.