From 22-28 October, libraries throughout the world will be taking part in Open Access Week (OAW) activities. This week, we will feature a number of posts focused around this event. For the most part, these will be taken from the winners of the 2012 INASP/UNESCO OAW Competition. This is the third year the competition has run, providing institutions in developing countries small grants to supplement their Open Access (OA) activities. Over the years we have received a wide variety of proposals and this year was no different. Some of the applications have focused on raising awareness of OA sources, others on the value of contributing to OA repositories, but all have the potential to make a significant difference to their community and indicate institutional commitment to sustainability.
With a modest grant awarded to each of the winners, the competition helps institutions produce materials that promote the innovative ways in which they engage research, faculty and library colleagues in OA and other library activities. The competitive process also helps with internal advocacy as winning an award raises their profile and encourages them to continue being creative and resourceful.
The prizes are intended to support activities that were already being planned as it is often a challenge to find funding for extra little details in producing promotional materials and organising events.
The Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) has been a very active participant in OAW for several years. The library partners with students who bring in additional energy and creativity to the events and they have designed promotional posters, invitation cards, bandanas, name tags and a banner that is mounted at the University’s main gate. These student ambassadors have been a key feature of JKUAT activities and the librarians concerned have commented on “their exceptional contribution, passion and enthusiasm that helped kick the entire events into high gear. Their creativity and resourcefulness was amazing”.
The librarians are equally innovative and enthusiastic and staff transfer has meant that Jane Gikandi, one of the librarians involved in the initial programme at JKUAT, is taking a similarly active stance at Catholic University of East Africa.