(From left: ZimLA president, Mr. Lantern Fusire flanked with LIASA president, Mr. Mandla Ntombela, the session chair, Mr. Tonderai Chanakira and LIAZ president, Mrs. Velenasi Mwale Munsanje at the 51th ZimLA Conference and Annual General Meeting held in Gweru at the Fairmile Regency Hotel from July 4 - 7, 2017.)
The Zimbabwe Library Association (ZimLA) is poised for growth following increased strategies for stakeholder engagement. This was narrated by ZimLA president, Mr. Lantern Fusire at the 51th ZimLA Conference and Annual General Meeting (AGM) held at the Fairmile Regency Hotel in Gweru from July 4 – 7, 2017.
The conference held under the theme Libraries in the National Development Agenda: Repositioning libraries for sustainable development was attended by many information professionals from Botswana, South Africa and Zambia.
Presenting his annual report, the ZimLA president outlined the various stakeholder engagements that the association accomplished. He attributed the success of the engagement to teamwork, regional and international libraries bodies support. Last year the association representatives and AfLIA president, Mr. John Tsebe managed to engage with the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education to discuss various issues surrounding library development in Zimbabwe.
Several other initiatives were undertaken including the recent call to the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education Permanent Secretary, Dr. Utete-Masango to discuss the role of library association in achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Mr. Fusire highlighted on the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) International Advocacy Programme (IAP) Africa workshop held in Pretoria, South Africa which he attended with Ms. Tinashe Kuzuwazuwa and Ms. Kathy Matsika that discussed advocacy plans on national development plans, African Union plans and United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). According to the IFLA website, the IFLA-IAP is a new capacity-building programme designed to promote and support the role libraries can play in the planning and implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda and the SDGs.
The president however bemoaned the low membership that is a cause for concern for the library association. “We have so many opportunities from AfLIA and IFLA that require members to participant in the programmes, we failed to nominate enough participants for the AfLIA INELI initiatives as we do not have a sound public library interest group that can assist Branch Chairs to identify active members to take part in such programmes”, said the ZimLA president. “Our thrust for the coming year which is an elective year is to increase membership by a wide margin so that we can run a successful election supported by ZimLA members”, he said.
ZimLA president stated that, “A strong membership is the backbone of any library association and the vitality of the membership is a stepping stone for growth.” He urged information professionals in Zimbabwe to understand the library association’s membership dynamics instead of openly criticizing the leadership without openly contributing to the growth of the association.
He concluded that there is need to amend the current constitution and the exercise should start soon so that it’s completed by March 2018. The new constitution should be launched at the 52nd ZimLA Conference. The ZimLA president indicated that further work need to be done on the strategic plan and a new plan should be ready by 2018.