(In picture: ZimLA President Mr Lantern Fusire and Advocacy Officer Mr. Jasper Maenzanise with other library association leaders who atttended the ILFA Building Strong Library Association Global meeting held in held in Manila, Philippines from 30 May – 2 June 2016)
ZimLA leadership of President, Mr. Lantern Fusire and Advocacy Officer, Mr. Jasper Lee Maenzanise, attended IFLA's highly successful Building Strong Library Associations (BSLA) global meeting held in Manila, Philippines from 30 May – 2 June 2016. The global meeting was hosted by IFLA and the Philippines Library Association (PLA).
According to IFLA, the BSLA programme has been expanded through a series of workshops and projects at the regional level in Africa, Asia and Oceania, Latin America and the Caribbean since 2014, now reaching more than 60 countries since the Programme began in 2010. Zimbabwe has been benefitting from the programme since 2014.
Mr Fusire indicated that the Manila Global meeting was held to train participants to be active Change Agents who are able to respond and align Library Associations and library activities so that these contribute significantly to the attainment of national development goals in their member countries as well as respond to the international sustainable development goals as well as address the Africa Agenda 20163. The Global Meeting provided a platform for all library associations to report on their activities as well as provide a bird’s eye-view to other participants on how each association is implementing and evaluating the various BSLA sponsored projects in member countries and regions.
ZimLA representatives got the opportunity to meet with IFLA President, Donna Scheeder, and the incoming and new IFLA Secretary General, Gerald Leitner. Mr Fusire said that, “It was a very successful meeting where we had the opportunity of networking and initiating collaborations between and among various national and regional professional associations. Helping each other, we were able to develop strategies on how to improve our image as library associations and how to be actively involved in national developmental plans. These strategies would be shared with all professionals at our 50th Conference.”
What was significant to note with other associations is the rate at which their membership is growing since the BSLA Meeting in Ghana in 2014. Compared to how the ZimLA membership is growing, one could not help but observe that our membership is but a pale shadow to most of these associations. The ZimLA must be seized with a vigorous membership drive from all professionals in the country.
The need to put in place active advocacy plans of action could not be overemphasized. It is essential for the ZimLA to identify advocacy programmes that would be followed and implemented by all librarians. There is need therefore to train Branch personnel in effective advocacy work. This will be an area of focus in future IFLA-sponsored projects.
Another important area that was focus on is the need for financial prudence and transparency in the management of association funds. This could be enhanced with the training of association members who are elected and entrusted to such positions as Treasurer or Fund Managers. Thus training such Finance for Non-Finance Managers would therefore be essential. This also forms another possible area for project funding by IFLA-ALP. Where possible, these training could be arranged to take place at regional level so as to involve more association needing similar training.
It would be essential for the ZimLA Leadership to plan and hold mini-workshops for Branch membership across the country and share most of ideas and knowledge gained from the BSLA workshops and meetings. This will enable all of us to be on the same platform and wavelength with these critical issues that affect the management and effective running of professional associations.
(Additional information from IFLA Website)