Libraries as ICT and Information Access Points in Africa

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Outline. Libraries as Information Access PointsICT in LibrariesOverview of ICT Development in AfricaStatus of ICT in Libraries in AfricaKenya Library and Information Services ConsortiumIssues of ConcernKey to Success (Recommendations) . Libraries as Information Access Points in Africa. The un

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Libraries as ICT and Information Access Points in Africa

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1. Libraries as ICT and Information Access Points in Africa Success Cases and Best Practices Jacinta Were Systems Librarian University of Nairobi, Kenya/

2. Outline Libraries as Information Access Points ICT in Libraries Overview of ICT Development in Africa Status of ICT in Libraries in Africa Kenya Library and Information Services Consortium Issues of Concern Key to Success (Recommendations)

3. Libraries as Information Access Points in Africa “The unique feature of libraries and information services is that they respond to the particular questions and needs of individuals, complementing the general transmission of knowledge by the mass media”. (Alex Byrne, President of IFLA, WSIS, Tunis, 18 Nov, 2005)

4. Libraries as access points cont… With adequate support, libraries in Africa can be used as Information Access Points in the achievement of the UN’s millennium goals. Libraries have the professional potential to: Develop quality content for indigenous research Provide access to quality information for research Provide access to information for informed decisions Provide information for basic needs in all communities Enhance information literacy programmes Support national development projects

5. ICTs in Libraries (Opportunities) Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) play an important role in enhancing efficiency in national development process and improving governance “…Libraries build capacity and provide support and training for effective use of digital and other information resources” - Alex Byrne (Tunis Nov. 2005) This potential can be exploited by integrating ICTs in the management of libraries and information centres

6. Opportunities 1. Libraries have an enormous amount of well organized quality information for research. Application of ICTS will enhance access to this information and maximizes on benefits. Digitization should be given a priority 2. Librarians have the professional and technical know-how to identify, evaluate, organize and classify information for teaching and research. Collaboration between IT professionals and librarians will give better results on web content development

7. Opportunities cont…. 3. Librarians have the technical know-how on educating information users and guiding them to the resources that will best meet their needs Application of ICTs in library management will provide ideal information access points for realizing the millennium goals

8. Overview of ICT Development in Africa Does the continent provide an enabling environment to facilitate effective use of ICTs? The embracement of Information Society Concept in Africa has greatly promoted integration of ICTs in national development plans resulting in commendable developments

9. Internet Connectivity Internet connectivity has improved 1996 – only 5 countries connected By 2001 – all countries connected

10. Countries with more than 10,000 Internet subscribers (Oct. 2002) - UN ICT Task Force Report

11. Internet Users Internet users have increased 2001 - Internet users went up to 6.2 million 2005 – Users doubled to 12.9 million

12. Growth Rate has been Commendable Growth Rate 2000-2005 – Growth rate recorded was 186.8% (fasted in the world) compared to a World growth of 126.4% Distribution 2005 - 50% of Internet users in Africa were shared by 2 countries – SA (27.2%) and Egypt (20.9%) Africa’s Internet connectivity made only 1.4% of the world’s 12.7% Africa’s users made only 1.6% of world’s users

13. Status of ICT in Libraries in Africa In general terms Libraries in Africa have yet to take advantage of the explosion of ICT developments on the continent. How do we close this digital gap? Even in cases where the organization has high level of ICT development, the library unit remains inadequately equipped African States must embrace the concept of Integrating ICTs in the management of information to realize the millennium goals

14. Sub-Saharan Anglophone (Results of a survey by Diana Rosenberg of INASP)  20 countries participated in the survey (Mainly universities) 15% - reported fully automated 21% - reported no automation activities 35% - reported connected to Internet Ratio: 1 computer per 500 students ONLY 2 universities (Makerere and Namibia) reported major projects on digitizing institutional repositories

15. MAIN OBSTACLE The main challenge cited by all institutions was FUNDING!!! The initial cost of automation is high ICT Infrastructure (hardware, software, connectivity, bandwidth, etc.) Subscription to e-resources is out of reach Sustainability is a major problem

16. Kenya Library and Information Services Consortium (KLISC) Kenya has partially overcome this challenge by developing a national Consortium Very Successful Initiative!!!

17. Status of KLISC Launched in 2004 with a common goal of sustaining the Programme for Enhancement of Research Information (PERI) Membership consists of Universities (public and private) Research Institutes Tertiary Colleges Public Libraries and Archives 35 members (by February 2006)

18. Objectives of KLISC MAIN OBJECTIVES (among others) Collective procurement of electronic information Resource sharing Capacity Building Collective advocacy Sharing of professional experience

19. Achievements Collective subscription to e-journals (2004, 2005, 2006 through PERI) – accessing quality and timely information Journal budgets per institution has dropped by over 90% Successful ICT training for librarians and researchers Enhance ICT infrastructure !!!!! Researchers and librarians in partnership SUSTAINABLE ICT STRATEGIES

20. Issues of Concern in Africa Digital Gap issues Internet Connectivity Bandwidth Issues Inadequate ICT facilities (computers) Technical know-how National and organizational Priorities

21. Key to Success Development of ICT Policies Development of human resource capacity Support Consortia efforts Explore open source options Explore options for developing affordable technologies Development of local indigenous content

22. Key to Success cont… Collaboration with Telecentres Creating partnership at national and international levels Political goodwill Organizational commitment on ICT as a priority “The three top priorities of my government are: Education, Education and Education” Tony Blair Policy Announcement 2000

23. CONCLUSION IFLA urges national, regional and local governments as well as international organizations to “invest in library and information services as vital elements of Information Society strategies, policies and budgets”

24. THANK YOU

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