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Next generation of library leaders supported by INASP grants – INASP Blog

Next generation of library leaders supported by INASP grants

Leadership is a critical part of building stronger research systems. To play their part – by ensuring researchers have access to the latest information – libraries and national library consortia need good leaders too. INASP is supporting partner consortia to develop the next generation of library leaders through a small-grants programme, enabling key individuals to build skills, knowledge and networks. These individuals will go on to provide leadership in their own institutions, and support the development of the consortia and national bodies they belong to.

Both institutions and consortia stand to benefit, as winners bring back what they have learned. Feedback from grant holders demonstrates some of the positive changes and improvements they are making in local systems and practices as a result of their own professional development.  There is also clear commitment to share learning with a wider audience, as a winner from Bangladesh reported, “My hopes are to share my experiences with members of my consortium. I hope to achieve this by facilitating training and workshops.”

In the 2013-2014 grants cycle, eight professional development grants were awarded. The winners were Senior, Assistant and System Librarians as well as Consortium Coordinators from countries around the world including Bangladesh, Nicaragua, Ethiopia and Uganda. Winners also felt the wide geographical reach of the programme with one beneficiary commenting, “I extended my intellectual network from Windhoek to Accra and from Stockholm to North Carolina.”

Nominees were identified by consortia, who were invited to consider their own strategic objectives, and identify individuals committed to supporting the consortium, as well as their individual institutions.  Grants were used for activities such as attending workshops or conferences and regional learning visits.

We hear below from two of the latest grant holders.

Robert Stalone Buwele – Senior Assistant Librarian, Kyambogo University, Uganda – member of the Consortium of Ugandan University Libraries

I was fortunate to receive a grant from INASP to attend the Standing Conference of Eastern Central and Southern African Librarians in July 2014.  This conference is for Librarians and information workers to learn and share experiences with each other.

I was delighted to be one of the delegates at the conference.  The most memorable experience was being selected to present my paper [which related to strengthening the information service that the library provides to students and researchers].  I received so many insightful comments following the presentation that I intend to include to enhance the final paper.  This has helped to increase my profile in the scholarly world while meeting and sharing experiences with new colleagues and distinguished professionals.

I have been greatly inspired to continue doing research, writing and publishing.

Ivan Joseph Mmari, Assistant Librarian, Mwenge University College of Education (MWUCE), Tanzania – member of The Consortium of Tanzania University and Research Libraries

I received an INASP professional development grant to conduct educational visits to three university libraries in Tanzania and Kenya. The study visit was guided by an interview guide that I and other colleagues at MWUCE prepared prior to the learning visits.

As an assistant librarian, the primary purpose of my role at MWUCE Library is to ensure that information resources at the library are fully accessible to library users and also they understand how to utilise such resources. It has been extremely valuable to connect with other professionals and learn from them.  I have gained new knowledge and skills about innovative practices at other libraries in East Africa – including how they disseminate information to users – and I can now take what I’ve learned and apply it myself; for example I have proposed that we replace outdated systems and software and I am upgrading our training for staff and users.

I plan to begin an interlibrary loan project at MWUCE – an initiative I had never heard of before.  I realised that the NWUCE Library has a long road to travel.  We have about 24,000 books, whereas most university Libraries have up to 800,000.  Hopefully we can all share in the positive results of my training, and the resulting growth of our library. I envisage that the knowledge and skills I gained as well as the personal connections I’ve made in my visits will assist in the development of MWUCE.


One Response to “Next generation of library leaders supported by INASP grants

  • I appreciate what INASP has been doing in uplifting the standards of members of the Ugandan Consortia (CUUL) in information dissemination. I was together with Robert S.Buuwule in Malawi during the SCECSAL Conference, his presentation really inspired me. Many thanks goes to Emma Farrow for being with us in Uganda