Strengthened library consortium helps ensure long-term research information access in Ghana
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Theresa Adu of CARLIGH (Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries) in Ghana shares her experiences and reflects on how strong partnership between INASP and CARLIGH has helped the consortia transition to direct management with strengthened leadership.

Why is access to electronic research information important?

You need access to e-resources to enable you to publish, do your research, and basically to study. To be able to do good research and study, you need access to e-resources. And to me, getting access to them is very important. Because otherwise, you cannot study.

What are the challenges around the availability of e-resources?

One of the biggest challenges is getting access to the internet. We normally get access to e-resources through CARLIGH. But most of the time, getting access to the materials themselves becomes a challenge because of intermittent breaks in internet access. Since my institution is a private institution, one of the biggest challenges we have is payment for our e-resources. Not just us, a lot of private institutions are having issues with funding and finances as it is a bit difficult to pay upfront. We therefore end up staggering our payments.

As CARLIGH transitions to direct management, what has been the biggest achievement over the course of the partnership?

One thing that has really helped is strengthening the leadership in CARLIGH. I think all the training programmes we’ve had and the mentoring processes we’ve gone through have helped strengthen leadership in CARLIGH. INASP’s relationship with us has helped. We have had various training programmes. I also had been to quite a number of training programmes, sponsored by INASP. I think this has helped me to be in a very good position to handle the affairs of CARLIGH now.

Also, the fact that we have been able to re make our strategic plan is an achievement. Our strategic plan had been an issue for us previously. Since INASP brought in Caplor Horizons to help us to with our strategic plan, we have been able to recraft our strategic objectives as well as our strategic plans. I think now we are in a better position to move CARLIGH forward.

What does the future holds for CARLIGH?  

I think that one of the things we said during the strategic planning is for CARLIGH to be a leader when it comes to e-resources, when it comes to enhancing access to information. And I think that that is the way forward for CARLIGH now. We are trying to build up capacity for advocacy and marketing so that we can promote issues about CARLIGH a bit more. I think CARLIGH is now able to grow from where it used to be into a greater institution. We are trying to get a lot more of our institutions to join CARLIGH. In fact, what we said is that, by the year 2027, we should be able to get about 90% of all tertiary institutions in Ghana to be members of CARLIGH and we believe that if we are able to do this, it would improve our finances, it would improve visibility for CARLIGH and it would make CARLIGH stronger so that we can provide access to the e-resources.

How has the partnership with INASP helped?

I have been active in CARLIGH for a few years now and over the period I have realized that INASP has been very strong in partnering with CARLIGH. We have done a lot of training programmes and capacity building which has been sponsored by INASP. And the training is not only in our country, but we get training elsewhere, in various places. We have also had e-resources negotiated for us by INASP, which of course makes e-resources cheaper for members. And then also we get to network with other institutions such as CUUL, KLISC, ZULC [library consortia in Uganda, Kenya and Zimbabwe] and various other institutions. It’s good because when you have such a network, then you can pull resources together, you can pull ideas together, you can talk with each other, you tap in to each other’s ideas and strengths. I think partnering with INASP has been very good for CARLIGH.

On behalf of CARLIGH we would want to express our very deep gratitude to INASP. I think this has been a very fruitful partnership. Sometimes you know what to do, you know how to go about things, but I think getting that push, that encouragement, that financial support which all came from INASP, that has been very great.

A very big thank you to INASP for helping CARLIGH to come this far. And of course, to Caplor Horizons as well.

Theresa Adu works with Wisconsin International University College and she is currently there as the head librarian. She is CARLIGH Treasurer and also the Head for Advocacy and Marketing at CARLIGH.

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