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Africa meeting supports sustainability of library consortia

News for Ethiopia

July 23, 2015

Tags: Access, Africa, Library consortia, meeting, sustainability

Africa meeting will promote sustainable development of INASP library consortium partners through stronger network and collective thinking

INASP’s meeting of African library consortia will take place in Ethiopia between the 27th and 31st July. Seven African consortia from Ethiopia, Ghana, Tanzania, Malawi, Kenya, Uganda and Zimbabwe will gather together in Addis Ababa for five days of collective problem-solving, learning and sharing.

As part of the Strengthening Research and Knowledge Systems (SRKS) programme, INASP is working to support national library consortia as they take responsibility for securing, providing and managing access to research literature. In order for consortia to do this in a sustainable way they need to develop as organizations, as well as have technical expertise in different areas.

The seven consortia have either completed the activities in the strategic plans they agreed with INASP or they are nearing that point. The meeting will serve as an opportunity to reflect on some of the successes and challenges faced up until now.

Each consortium has nominated three participants to attend the meeting, predominantly executive-level decision makers such as Consortia Chairs, Committee Chairs and long-time members who are in positions to drive consortia forwards. All these consortia have been working to different extents to strengthen their structures and management. They have demonstrated their commitment to growth and development and are ready to take the next steps.

INASP staff from the Research Access and Availability team will be taking part in the meeting together with INASP Associate Helena Asamoah-Hassan from Ghana and experienced consortium leader Jacinta Were from Kenya. INASP staff, together with consortium representatives, will begin to think about the next steps for African library consortia, and how they can best prepare to take on more responsibility for managing access to e-resources and negotiations with publishers.

The group will be able to share learning and experience, strengthen relationships across the region, identify common problems and generate practical solutions. Sessions have been designed to respond to the needs of the participating consortia and will include topics such as monitoring and evaluation, and advocacy, with plenty of opportunities for participants to talk about approaches they have tried out.

Towards the end of the meeting, participants will reflect on what they have learnt and discussed throughout the week and consider what they can apply and how, on their return home.

Jon Harle, INASP’s Senior Programme Manager, Research, Access and Availability, will be in Ethiopia for the event. He spoke about some of the aims of the meeting: “Library consortia play a vital role in a country's research system. It's through these networks of libraries working together that universities and research institutes can secure the critical journals and books they need. And importantly, get much better value than they could independently.

“There's a huge amount of expertise and experience within INASP's network, so we hope that this workshop enables partners to draw on that and think together about how to tackle some of the common challenges.”

Follow us on Twitter for updates during the week using the hashtag #inaspAfrica.

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