The Standing Conference of Eastern, Central and Southern African Library and Information Associations (SCECSAL 2021) proceedings took place in Windhoek, Namibia from 8 to 12 February 2021. The overall theme of SCECSAL 2021 focused on inclusivity of information services. The demand to provide inclusive services in terms of information is paramount to ensure that library and information services are extending a hand to all members of society. To achieve UN sustainable goals 2030 and Africa Union Agenda 2063, a knowledge-based society is necessary to create a knowledgeable society which will make the correct decisions towards this vision.
Marlene Holmner, associate professor and package coordinator for the undergraduate Information Science degree, presented a paper alongside colleagues Gorrety Maria Juma from Ndejje University Library, and Sarah Nakaziba from Aga Khan University, titled Building strong academic libraries and library professionals in Uganda through the University of Pretoria Carnegie CPD Programme.
The abstract for the paper reads as follows:
Academic libraries are encountering numerous changes due to the emerging Information Communication Technological trends and the ever-changing information-seeking behaviour of their users. For the librarians to effectively implement these trends and remain competitive, they need to be regularly equipped with knowledge and skills through Continuing Professional Development. The study aimed to find out the factors that influenced the motivation to participate in the University of Pretoria (UP) Carnegie Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programme and the potential impact on service delivery of the selected academic libraries in Uganda as represented in the programme. The study applied a qualitative research design with an interpretive research approach. Exponential non-discriminative snowball sampling was used to recruit participants. The sample size of the study included eight Academic Librarians who attended the UP Carnegie CPD programme between 2014 and 2018. These were from Makerere University, Islamic University in Uganda (IUIU), Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST) and Muni University. Data was collected using face to face semi-structured interviews and electronically using ZOOM (online platform). The findings of this study show that most UP Carnegie CPD participants mainly attended the programme due to its rich content; they were intrigued by the hands-on subject coverage and new ICT trends, and the need to build their professional networks. The findings further revealed that the participants’ expectations were fulfilled by the various practical sessions held. This explains the reasons for the high 85 applicability of the knowledge and skills acquired by the participants when they went back to their institutions. Finally, the study revealed the following challenges that were encountered by the participants during the implementations of the various initiatives drawn from the CPD knowledge and skills: difficulty in managing social media platform, lack of IR back-end support, limited data analysis skills required in providing research support, library users’ lack of interest in IL training, limited collaboration between Faculty and Librarians, and technophobia from some library staff who frustrate implementation efforts. The study provides recommendations on how to address these challenges.