Tuesday, December 16, 2014

ZimLA Announces 49th Conference Call for Papers

The Zimbabwe Library Association (ZimLA) last week announced the Call for Papers for the 49th ZimLA Conference and Annual General Meeting slatted for Kariba from 23 – 25 June 2015. The theme of the conference is Libraries driving the economy: a 21st century trajectory.

According to ZimLA, “National development can be achieved through the provision of information through which libraries play an important part.” It is against this background that the sub-themes of the 49th conference set address the position of libraries in economic growth. Several sub-themes for the conference include; Innovative marketing strategies for library and information products and services, Information Literacy and National Development, Role of libraries in socio-economic transformation and Intellectual property rights and national development among others.

The first call for papers is out and abstract submission deadline is February 28, 2015. ZimLA expect to notify acceptance of abstracts by March 15, 2015. ZimLA announced that prospective speakers will meet their own cost for the conference.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Resource Description and Access for ZULC members

I had an opportunity to attend a presentation on Resource Description and Access (RDA) organized by the Zimbabwe University Libraries Consortium (ZULC) recently. The presenters; Charlie Molepo and Mandisa Lakheni, were from Universal knowledge Software (UKS) an innovative company providing sophisticated library and archival products. At this presentation I got an opportunity to meet Charlie, whom I had met at the 48th ZimLA Conference in Victoria Falls were he presented on the various libraries and archival software and training services they offer. Besides, he had an exquisite exhibition and distributed very attractive mugs. (I will always remember him for these ones.)

Anyway, RDA according to the Joint Steering Committee for the Development of RDA was developed to replace the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules, 2nd Edition Revised, which were first published in 1978. The OCLC website reported that The Library of Congress announced full implementation of RDA in March 31, 2013. Initially, RDA was envisioned as a third edition of the Anglo-American Cataloging Rules, and was accordingly called AACR3, but in an effort to emphasize the break from the past it was renamed to RDA, according to Coyle and Hillmann (2007). Miksa (2009) maintains that “The principal goal of the new rules is to facilitate resource discovery through library catalogs in a more consistent and powerful way than is currently possible with AACR2.” According to Coyle and Hillmann (2007), RDA is being presented by the JSC as a change in practice that will position libraries for the electronic age.

Oliver (2007) cited in Miksa (2009) points out that “RDA is a content standard, not a display standard and not a metadata schema. RDA is a set of guidelines that indicates how to describe a resource, focusing on the pieces of information (or attributes) that a user is most likely to need to know. It also encourages the description of relationships between related resources and between resources and persons or bodies that contributed to creation of that resource.” An important component of RDA discussed as the conceptual model is FRBR (Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records) and FRAD (Functional Requirements for Authority Data). To get a good understanding of FRBR and FRAD reading an article by Mark K. Ehlert titled RDA: Building Blocks would help.

The presentation by Charlie Molepo and Mandisa Lakheni was insightful in that it discussed the reasons to replace AACR2 which I found convincing. Among the reasons given by Charlie Molepo and Mandisa Lakheni are that the internet caused an exponential growth in resource format, we are no longer using card catalogues, we have more information carriers than before, technology is growing every day and the biggest of all, AACR2 was developed in the era of the card catalogue. In this regard, Coyle and Hillmann (2007) stated that “The early cataloging rules, dating back to the catalog of the British Museum in 1841, evolved primarily to handle textual, published resources.” It therefore means that as information sources change formats mainly caused by the digital environment and the internet.

Charlie Molepo and Mandisa Lakheni further discussed how RDA works in a real setting. They mentioned that RDA simplifies the process of transcription by taking what you see on the resource, and eliminating many of the AACR2 rules that instruct cataloguers to alter the data that they are transcribing to abbreviations. Basically, UKS presenters observed that the new elements being added to RDA solve problems with demonstrated in AACR2. Whilst explaining the simplicity of RDA over AACR2 Mandisa highlighted that cataloguers are expected to write every detail in full, in contrast to the use of abbreviations in AACR2; for instance Second edition and not 2nd ed.. The basic rule, as I understood it in RDA is writing everything in full. On the other hand the main difference I noticed is that RDA is designed for the web environment whilst AACR2 does not match the web environment.

A few disadvantages of RDA were highlighted by Mandisa which included the initial implementation is costly due to subscription and training; the RDA toolkit needs to be made available on all computers and all cataloguing records need to be converted from AACR2 to RDA, however this is not mandatory; library staff require training to acquire skills on how to use RDA and institutions must pay a subscription rate to use the RDA Toolkit online. There is a contention that RDA may also inherit short falls of AACR2 were it has its roots. Coyle and Hillmann (2007) stated that , “The challenges of this rapidly changing environment may be more than the developers of RDA can accommodate, given the firmness of their ties to AACR.”

Basically this is it. I could have gone on and on writing about RDA stuff I learnt but you can find out more on the Internet. A simple Google search for ‘Resource Description and Access’ can yield good hits which are all good reads. And visit the OCLC web site for training materials.


Coyle, K., and Hillmann, D. (2007). Resource Description and Access (RDA): Cataloging Rules for the 20th Century. D-Lib Magazine, 13(1/2). Retrieved December 10, 2014, from http://www.dlib.org/dlib/january07/coyle/01coyle.html

Miksa, S. D. (2009). Resource Description and Access (RDA) and New Research Potentials. Bulletin of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 35(5). Retrieved December 10, 2014, from https://www.asis.org/Bulletin/Jun-09/JunJul09_Miksa.pdf

Molepo, C., and Lakheni, M. (2014). RDA Information Session held in Harare. Harare, Zimbabwe.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

IFLA officially Launched the Lyon Declaration in Lyon, France

The 80th IFLA World Library and Information Congress going on in Lyon, France is the biggest library event which brings more than 4,000 participants is running under the theme 'Libraries, Citizens, Societies: Confluence for Knowledge'. The congress shall end on August 22.

Yesterday, IFLA officially launched the Lyon Declaration on Access to Information and Development that outlines the need for access to information to be recognised in the United Nations post-2015 development framework. The Lyon Declaration will succeed the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and is expected to set the agenda for development for the next decade. According to the IFLA media release the framework which has been signed by more than 125 institutions and associations from within and beyond the library sector, including development agencies, media organisations, gender, ICT and education campaigners have signed pre-launch, already making the Lyon Declaration the most successful campaign of its type that IFLA has ever undertaken.

IFLA further noted that the framework will give IFLA members and libraries the tools to advocate for the inclusion of access to information in the final goals, and to be ready to support national governments in implementation of the framework. IFLA therefore encourage librarians to meet with Member State representatives to promote the Lyon Declaration and highlight the role that specific library services, such as government information, literacy, children's services and ICT can play in supporting development. For the coming ear IFLA shall continue to seek signatories to the Declaration and will continue to create more awareness of the framework to governments through UN.

The Lyon Declaration is the new development agenda that UN is discussing to succeed the MDGs that is expected to guide all countries on approaches to improving people’s lives, and outline a new set of goals to be reached during the period 2016-2030. Through the framework, sustainable development is to be achieved through a sound library system that ensure everyone has access to, and is able to understand, use and share the information to promote democratic societies.

The Lyon Declaration is available at http://www.lyondeclaration.org/

Friday, July 11, 2014

Zimbabwe Library Association (ZimLA) Timeline

1957 – Established as Central African Branch of the South African Library Association (CABSALA).
1959 – Established as the Library Association of Rhodesia and Nyasaland (now Zimbabwe, Malawi and Zambia,
1964 – Became Central African Library Association,
1967 – Renamed Rhodesia Library Association
1980 – Zimbabwe Library Association (ZimLA)
Changed the acronym form ZLA to ZimLA to distinguish from Zambia Library Association which also used ZLA.
2012, 2013, 2014 - Successfully hosted annual conferences in Kadoma, Mutare and Victoria Falls
2015 - 49th ZimLA Conference and Annual general Meeting (AGM) in Kariba 


World guide to library, archive, and information science associations. 2nd completely and expanded ed. Munchen: IFLA. Retrieved from http://goo.gl/6DgH9N (Accessed 11 July 2014).

Monday, July 7, 2014

Library Association crafting a Strategic Plan

The Zimbabwe Library Association (ZimLA) recently held its annual conference and Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Victoria Falls from 23 to 28 June 2014 at the magnificent A’Zambezi River Lodge. The conference run under the theme “Working Smarter and Adding Value: Library services in a new Paradigm was attended by close to 70 delegates including exhibitors and regional participants from Namibia, Zambia, Botswana and South Africa.

The conference papers tackled various sub-themes including Social media and libraries, library partnerships and innovation. Besides the presentation from 20 presenters, the AGM was an important part of this conference that elected a new leadership for ZimLA National Executive Council (NEC). The elections were held for the National Executive Council (NEC) as required by the ZimLA Constitution for the President, Vice President, Secretary General, Treasurer, Editor and Advocacy Officer. The outcome of the elections is as follows: President, Lantern Fusire, the Vice President is Wadzanai Chihombori whilst Harriet Ncube retained the Secretary General position. Hosea Tokwe retained the Treasurer’s position and Jasper Lee Maenzanise was elected to the Advocacy Officer position with Kenneth Mangemba being the Editor. Their office term shall run to 2016.
Zimbabwe Library Association National Executive Council (ZimLA NEC) and branch chairpersons who participated the strategic planning workshop that was held at the A’Zambezi River Lodge after the 48th ZimLA Conference and AGM. From left: Jerry Mathema (Matebeleland Branch Chairperson), Lantern Fusire (ZimLA President), Hosea Tokwe (ZimLA Treasurer), Lewis Mukucha (NLDS Deputy Director), Mrs Tesah Stima (NLDS Acting Director), Kenneth Mangemba (ZimLA Editor), Harriet Ncube (ZimLA Secretary General), Ujala Satgoor (LIASA President and workshop facilitator), Wadzanai Chihombori (ZimLA Vice -President) and Shadreck Ndinde (Masvingo Branch Chairperson). (Picture Courtesy of ZimLA 2014.)
The strategic planning workshop was a critical exercise after the conference that was attended by NEC, ZimLA Branch Chairpersons and National Library and Documentation Services (NLDS) representatives, Acting Director Tesah Stima and Lewis Mukucha, the Deputy Director. However, Manicaland was not present at the strategic workshop. The workshop was facilitated by Ujala Satgoor, a Director of Library Services at Rhodes University and President of the Library and Information Association of South Africa (LIASA) who has vast library leadership experience. The strategic workshop came at a time when ZimLA was struggling to find feet in its operations.
Ujala Satgoor LIASA President and Director of Library Services at Rhodes University during the ZimLA strategic planning workshop sponsored by IFLA held recenlty n Vic Falls. (Picture by ZimLA, 2014).

ZimLA is making frantic efforts to make the working document available to its constituency once consultations are done. The valuable document shall define a new Vision, Mission statement and Core values for the library association. It shall identify the position of ZimLA among its membership guiding the library association in its effort to meet membership expectations.

Satgoor’s vast experience in library leadership provided a sound background for the exercise and was instrumental in driving ZimLA participants to a desired outcome. The participation of Satgoor strengthen relationship between LIASA and ZimLA that started back in 2012 when the immediate past President Naomi Haasbroek attended the 46th ZimLA Conference in Kadoma and mooted the crafting of a strategic plan for ZimLA. The draft strategic plan is expected to be made public soon before its adaptation to allow wider consultation with stakeholders.
LIASA immediate past President Naomi Haasbroek (centre)  flanged by past ZimLA President T. G. Bhowa and the then Kadoma Mayor during the opening of the 46th ZimLA Conference in 2012 in Kadoma at the Kadoma Hotel. (Picture Courtesy of ZimLA) 

Once the strategic plan is available the association is expected to increase its drive for visibility. This would also build on the success of the 49th ZimLA Conference to be hosted by the Mashonaland branch slatted for Kariba on dates to be advised soon.

Monday, June 23, 2014

ZimLA 48th Conference on this Week

Information professionals and interested stakeholders are traveling to Victoria Falls for the historic 48th ZimLA Conference and Annual General Meeting to be held at the A’Zambezi River Lodge. A Keynote address is expected to be given by Kgomotso Radijeng of the Botswana Library Association. Participants started traveling yesterday (Sunday)  to the majestic Victoria Falls which is considered Africa's adventure capital and the best hub for safaris into Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana and Namibia.
The conference is running under the theme “Working Smarter and Adding Value: Library services in a new Paradigm” will see more than 20 papers being presented treating many sub themes. The conference will also see the strategic planning meeting taking place that is expected to revitalize the operations of ZimLA and define the future for the information professional in Zimbabwe. IFLA is keen to see ZimLA regaining its strength and visibility so that it can execute its duties well.
The AGM is another activity that is likely to bring change in the national structures that bona fide ZimLA members participate in accordance with the current ZimLA Constitution. The AGM is expected to iron out outstanding issues within the association and pave way for the strategic meeting in identifying key areas that the association needs to look into. Branch representatives are expected to present branch reports that will also be used as a benchmark on the performance of ZimLA.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

History of libraries in Zimbabwe

(I took this from my other blog librarysituation)

The history of libraries in Zimbabwe is sketch but word has it that in Africa libraries have existed for the past 6,000 years or so. It is on record that many Egyptian scholars, priests and kings had accumulated books for personal knowledge and power during ancient times (Plumbe, 1968 in Alema, 1994). It is a fascinating history that lack tangible evidence on the development of libraries in Africa. Several documents traced the development of libraries in Africa from the colonial period pointing the coming of Western civilization.

Zimbabwe has a poorly documented history of the development of libraries with a good number of publications noting that library development was an initiation of colonial settlers. The library system developed catered for the settlers and the education system was developed to espouse the learning process for the settler’s children. This imbalance persisted for a long time which later gave birth to the conception that libraries are a preserve for the white. Welford (2009) noted that, “Prior to Zimbabwe’s independence, libraries were viewed as the preserve of the small white population, and it was only they who had access to well-stocked libraries.” Nelson (2008) stated that library service was historically a service provided only to whites, Asians and “Colored’s” (people of mixed heritage). All these assertions generate questions relating to what was the situation before the settlers arrive in Zimbabwe. Did Munhumutapa State Kings have a library? Did the Kings and rulers generated any form or written communication? All these questions and others similar to these remain unanswered and no publication is clearly providing a historical background to libraries in Zimbabwe prior colonization.
Soon after independence the new government’s challenge was to address the imbalance in library and information services distribution in Zimbabwe. Library services were situated in major cities and areas where the white population resides. The expansion of library services was a recommendation from the Greenfield report of 1971. Nelson (2008) observed that prior to, and continuing after independence, libraries were dispersed in such a way that only those living in a dense population area, such as a city or large township. The new government’s challenge was colossal and required financial resources to establish universal library services to both urban and rural communities. Recommendations from the Greenfield report calling for improved funding to library services, development of school libraries and the development of a library school in Zimbabwe (Nelson, 2008). After 1980, the Alison report was created and recommended the establishment of a new National Library Headquarters that would pave way for fast development of a national library services and saw the inauguration of the National Library and Documentation Service in October 1981 and started operations in 1985 (Nelson, 2008).

The Zimbabwe Librarian which was first published as Rhodesian Librarian in 1969 was the key communication medium for librarians that covered issues as they unfold in the library sector was instrumental in making known the recommendations of the Alison report and created debate on some of the recommendations. A number of challenges overshadow the establishment of a vibrant library service in Zimbabwe as a well elaborate plan was available but the will of the government and the necessary funds had disappeared (Nelson, 2008). The Alison report encouraged the government to commission the Swedish Library Commission to carry out another feasibility study that recommended the establishment of a Documentation Centre in Harare and a Culture house in each of the 55 rural districts of Zimbabwe (Welford, 2009). Meanwhile, the public library system was facing a myriad of challenges as financial support from government was reduced and donor funds become scarce leaving the library system in a deplorable situation. The price of imported books skyrocket and inflation was taking a toll on funds awarded to them by parent body. Underfunding becomes the new challenge to the library system that until today is causing havoc in the management of information centres in Zimbabwe.

The public library system flourished for a while before the economic crunch of registered in Zimbabwe between 2000 and 2010 affect the operations badly that they fail to revive operations due to underfunding if not no funding is provided to them for services besides staff salaries. The major cities house the public libraries that are using space created before independence and no initiative has been put to establish new state-of-the-art buildings to cope with demand for services. Despite the acknowledgement the government has that free access to information is critical to fight obstacles bedeviling the country no plan has been put to change the face of library services after the economic downturn. Much effort is put in the economy failing to realise the significant role libraries and information play in shaping and changing the economy.
Information is a valuable resource and there is need to put up sound infrastructure to allow smooth access to it at every level both in rural and urban areas in supporting the education system. Several initiatives through NGOs and library institution have been executed but are failing shot as the demand for library service is overwhelming.
Alemna, Anaba ‘Alternative approaches to funding university libraries in Africa.’ New Library World, 95 (1112), 1994, p. 15 – 17.
Nelson, Megan Sapp ‘Once upon a time in Zimbabwe.’ New Library World, 109 (9/10), 2008, p. 419 – 430.
Welford, John ‘The Development of community libraries in Zimbabwe.’ [Internet] Available at http://www.helium.com/items/1387300-development-of-rural-community-libraries-in-zimbabwe. (Accessed 21/10/2011).

Monday, March 24, 2014

Revisiting the code of ethics for the information professions

Reading through this article titled St Matthias librarian dupes parents, students" from one of the popular news papers made me think about revisiting the code of ethics for the information professions that was published by the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) and our own code of ethics that the Zimbabwe Library Association (ZimLA) has put together to guide librarians and related professionals. Honestly speaking no one is willing to report their case if they are on the wrong side as seen in the article hyper linked above.

So my fellow librarian as reported in the new article was collecting registration fees from unsuspecting parents purporting to be doing it for the school he was working for.  He would also pocket overdue fine for personal use and it is reported that quite a number of books are missing from the school library. All these actions constitute misconduct and would put the profession into disgrace.

According to IFLA “The function of codes of ethics can be described as encouraging reflection on principles on which librarians and other information workers can form policies and handle dilemmas; improving professional self-awareness and providing transparency to users and society in general.” ZimLA on the other hand stipulated that the “purpose of this Professional Code of Conduct is to set out the standards of professional conduct expected of members of ZimLA and to indicate what matters may be regarded by the Disciplinary Committee as being contrary to the aims, objects and interests of ZimLA or contrary to the profession of librarianship, documentation, information, records and archival management.” Basically the essence of the code of ethics is to provide a guideline of conduct towards the community and the general awareness of what is right and wrong. The wrongs will convict one while the right behaviour provide stability in the work environment. The issues discussed in the article above are a serious case of malpractice that put the profession into disrepute.

I am sure the librarian’s case is not an isolated case. There might be more other cases happening in our communities relating to librarians which are failing to reach ZimLA for appropriate actions. ZimLA code of conduct and ethics item 2 sub-items 2.1 state that “Members must not engage in conduct which may seriously prejudice the standing and reputation of the library, documentation, information, records and archival management professions or of ZimLA.” Such conduct may refer to the conduct of the librarian report in the St Matthias case which includes working outside your jurisdictions. Such behaviour becomes misconduct that should be treated with appropriate measures. The constitution of ZimLA provide for actions to be followed which include to appear before a Disciplinary Committee and other actions are stipulated in the Code of Conduct and Ethics of the Association.

However due to communication challenges, ZimLA National Executive Council (NEC) could not have heard about this incident which was supposed to have been reported to ZimLA Manicaland Branch and the branch would then pass the information to NEC. Perhaps it comes back to us librarians to show commitment to the Association so that it functions well. The Association has a number of objectives it should action as given in the constitution (the Association constitution) and only paid up members constitutes the defined ZimLA membership. The drafting of the code of ethics is one such objective that the Association has of which the branch is the watchdog for implementation and to note cases of malpractice. The major stabling block is the lack of a membership directory that should be maintained, but as highlighted earlier that with no membership having such a directory is a mammoth task.

The code of conduct and ethics by ZimLA in section 7.3 state that “Members must report the facts to the National Secretary if convicted of an offence involving dishonesty or one which brings the profession into disrepute.” Well, I am not sure how many of us can do the requirements of section 7.3. Honestly speaking no one is willing to report their case if they are on the wrong side as seen in the article hyperlinked above. The provision of this section might require revision to state that “Institutions should report ZimLA members convicted of any offences that involve dishonesty or which bring the profession into disrepute to ZimLA NEC.”

The matter of conduct in workplaces should be sustained through training and advocacy. At this stage the Association has a lot of work to establish the branches and special interest groups. Once this phase is done I hope to see such trainings on ethics becoming an integral part of ZimLA work to promote professional conduct and uphold competences.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Call for papers for ZimLA 48th Conference and AGM, Vic Falls June 23 - 26, 2014

The Zimbabwe Library Association (ZimLA) has send out a 3rd and final call for papers that is closing on March 28, 2014 for the upcoming 48th Conference and Annual General Meeting (AGM) that is  penciled for Victoria Falls to run from June 23 – 26, 2014.
A group photo for the participants of the ZimLA 46th Conference in Kadoma held at the Kadoma Hotel in 2012.

The theme of the conference is ‘Working smarter and adding value: Library services in a new paradigm’. The announcement noted that the internet has opened a new world to information seekers from academic, researchers, business communities and even those with a casual information need. It is against this context that libraries should add value to their services in this new paradigm.
ZimLA further noted that the question that arises from many views is that; Is the library still playing an indispensable role in today’s information society? The announcement states that “It is against this backdrop that the Zimbabwe Library Association (ZimLA) invites interested professionals from the broad, interdisciplinary Library and Information Science field to submit abstracts of papers to be presented at its 48TH Conference and AGM. These papers should attempt to address the above main theme but stemming from, but not necessarily limited to the sub-themes listed below.”

·         Innovation in library services
·         Information literacy and lifelong learning
-       In different types of libraries
-       (approaches/models in academic and school curricula
-       As a vital life skill
-       In protecting Intellectual property and Copyright
·         Embedded librarianship
·         Responsiveness to changing information and technology landscape
·         Information brokering and infopreneurship
·         Community librarianship
·         Library out-reach services
·         Corporate librarianship
·         Use of social media in library services
·         Changing roles of librarians
·         Proactive librarianship
·         Knowledge management
·         Open access
      In 2012 the ZimLA annual conference was held in Kadoma under the theme " Information Professionals at the Crossroads: Opportunity for Change” and was attended by a number of regional fellows from Malawi and South African including the then LIASA President Naomi Haasbroek. In 2013 the 47th conference was in Mutare at the prestigious Golden Peacock and was attended by regional exhibitors from South Africa. The conference was held under the theme “Informing Zimbabwe Developing Zimbabwe: libraries powering development.” 
     Abstracts for the 48th conference are being sent to the following contacts:
     Ronald Munatsi [ronaldmunatsi@gmail.com]
     Harriet R Ncube [hrncube@nrz.co.zw; hrncube@gmail.com]