Monthly Archives: July 2021

EIFL’s CPD Strategy for Public Libraries in Africa: Based on Assessment (Part I) by SUSAN SCHNUER and UGNE LIPEIKAITE

EIFL photo: EIFL and National Library Authorities of Ghana, Kenya, and Uganda meeting to review continuous professional development of public librarians (2016)

From 2014 to 2017 EIFL (Electronic Information for Libraries – implemented extensive capacity building programmes in Kenya, Ghana and Uganda, aimed at development of technology-based library services in public libraries that had computers and internet access for public use. While working with local library authorities and training librarians, we observed that library systems, mainly for financial reasons, struggle to offer continued professional development (CPD) to assist librarians in providing modern and technology-oriented services to their communities. This lack of professional development support led EIFL to engage in the development of a new CPD strategy that is sustainable, country-wide, and affordable, by using skilled local trainers. From 2018 to 2020 we tested this strategy through capacity building initiatives in Kenya, Namibia, Zambia and Uganda and in a series of three blogs, EIFL will share key attributes and outcomes of this CPD approach.

In our experience, the key to the strategy, and to the success of CPD programmes based on this strategy, is assessment at the outset, of existing CPD systems, and of training needs of both libraries and librarians. To transform existing CDP practices into sustainable systems, with training provided by local trainers, EIFL worked with national library authorities. We started by meeting potential partners – Kenya National Library Services (KNLS), National Library of Uganda (NLU) and Ghana Library Authority (GhLA) – to review the CPD situation and particular needs in each country and to discuss next steps. At that moment KNLS was the most ready to take a commitment for a multi-year effort, so we started by planning a more specific intervention within the KNLS network. This was done collaboratively during a three-day meeting between the EIFL Public Library Innovation Programme (EIFL-PLIP) team and representatives of different departments of KNLS. Together, we came up with a vision of a CPD system for public libraries in Kenya as well as initial criteria for selection of librarians to become trainers.

The next step was a skills audit of librarians who were selected to become trainers. We examined candidates’ skills and confidence in 4 key areas, that were foreseen to become the backbone of the training of trainers (ToT) programme: 1) Training Abilities (principles of adult training, building training programmes and materials, running training events, evaluating training results); 2) Technology (using Microsoft office applications, internet searching, open and subscribed e-resources and strategies of digital skills training to community); 3) Development of New Library Services (community needs assessment, project management, fundraising and stakeholder management, monitoring and evaluation); 4) Communications and Advocacy (building messages, developing advocacy plans, conducting effective presentations, working with media). The information on competences of trainers was collected via a Google-based online survey and was used to shape the  ToT programme as well as to assess the effectiveness of the programme, as we compared their skills before and after the training. Quantitative data was complemented by personal interviews with the trainers-to-be, where we talked to them about their background education, training experience, subject skills and professional interests and, finally, their personal traits and motivation to become trainers.

Lastly, and maybe most importantly, we wanted to find a way to assess the needs of public libraries for professional development and service provision. Through in-depth discussions with staff from different KNLS departments, the KNLS and EIFL-PLIP team identified gaps and challenges of existing training needs assessment practices, which comprised a bi-annual Training Needs Assessment survey through which librarians would indicate what they would like to learn. The weakness of this approach was that it generated information about librarians’ personal needs and interests, which were not necessarily aligned with the organizational goals of KNLS or the service improvement needs of a particular library. Also it was not always possible to respond to the training needs expressed by librarians, as most CPD happened through external opportunities offered by development organizations, which – though welcome – were not necessarily related to librarians’ needs.

To address this gap, EIFL-PLIP and KNLS co-developed a Capacity Building Framework, a self-assessment tool to be filled in by the heads of libraries in the KNLS network. The Framework looks at 7 areas of library operations, identified by KNLS as the key, such as Community Needs Assessment, ICT, Customer Service, Services and Programs, Collections, Library Facilities and Assets and Library Management. It enables the heads of libraries to assess their library in relation to an ‘ideal library’ situation through a system of indicators and evidence, used to assign a library to a Group A, B or C, where A meant good, B – medium and C – not very good. The application of the Framework includes three steps:

  • The head of each KNLS branch library assesses the present situation / operations of the library and submits the information to KNLS headquarters.
  • KNLS Staff Training and Advisory Committee (STAC) reviews and analyses the assessments provided by heads of libraries, to understand what capacity building is required in relation to library service development targets, and to set staff capacity building priorities for each library.
  • KNLS STAC builds a plan for staff capacity building, and implements the plan, drawing on internal resources and external opportunities.

This Framework was piloted in 17 libraries and later applied to 45 KNLS branch libraries and provided valuable and deep insights on the current state of library operations and needs for capacity building. However, the complexity of the tool showed that it requires a significant amount of effort to apply and skills to analyze the data, so for the post training evaluation instead of open questions, we developed a more structured questionnaire with Likert scale response options for most of the questions.

To summarize our learnings from this process, we can say a comprehensive pre-assessment strategy is essential for the success and sustainability of CPD programmes. This strategy must consider capacity building at both the library level, where the need for service improvement should be evaluated, and at the individual level of trainers and local librarians, which leads to tailored training content adapted to the local context.

Watch out for our next blog, which will look at how we helped public librarians to become skilled Trainers!

To find out about other activities of EIFL’s Public Library Innovation Programme, please visit:


SUSAN SCHNUER, EIFL’s Public Library Innovation Programme, Capacity Building Manager

For over 27 years Susan Schnuer has trained librarians, in developing and transition economy countries, to be agents of change in their communities. Her passion is to identify and coach talented librarians, helping them to explore their potential as leaders and trainers in their communities. Her philosophy is to ‘tread lightly’ by co-developing training programmes that are tailored to meet the unique needs of librarians in different countries or regions.

UGNE LIPEIKAITE, EIFL’s Public Library Innovation Programme, Impact Manager

Ugne Lipeikaite’s expertise in developing impact evaluation methodologies and tools for measuring the outcomes of public library services has grown over a period of 15 years. Ugne has contributed to the design and implementation of major international research projects to measure the impact of public internet access in libraries and the role of libraries in providing connectivity and digital skills in communities. Ugne has developed training courses and trained public and community librarians in several countries in Africa on how to assess the needs of communities and the impact of library services.

CPDWL and M&M Online Coaching during WLIC 2021

Need assistance in achieving your goals or expand your professional development or career? Would you like to tackle challenging situations? Have you ever tried the business method of coaching?

The IFLA Coaching Initiative, founded by IFLA’s Continuing Professional Development and Workplace Learning (CPDWL) and Management & Marketing (M&M) Sections, invites colleagues registered for WLIC 2021 without any additional costs to take part in an online coaching session.

Coaching is currently available in the following languages: Bosnian, Cantonese/Mandarin, Croatian, Dutch, English, German, Hindi, Italian, Portuguese, Punjabi, Russian, Serbian, Spanish and Swedish.

To prepare for the session as a coachee please visit the Coachee Information and Preparation page:

Book with an individual coach in your time zone at .

Available Dates: August 9 – 13 & 23 – 27, 2021

For further information please contact


Professional Development and Learning: An Interview with Christine Bolivar, Project Coordinator for the Developing Leaders in California Libraries (USA)

In this interview, I speak with Christine Bolivar on professional development opportunities and learning approaches. Christine Bolivar is the Project Coordinator for the Developing Leaders in California Libraries in the United States. Beyond project management, she has experience in libraries and information organizations including public libraries, academic libraries, museums and art galleries. Christine is a true believer in lifelong learning and collaboration. Currently, Christine serves on the California Library Association’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Interest Group and the American Library Association’s EDI Assembly.

Ray: Thank you for taking the time to chat with us! Can you briefly tell us about your work and interest in supporting professional development?

Christine: Currently, I am the Project Coordinator for the California Library Association’s Developing Leaders in California Libraries (DLCL) project (a LSTA funded project administered by the California State Librarian). The project is broken into three parts. The first, offers cohort members a variety of training workshops in leadership skills to help them discover, develop and refine their strengths in these areas. It also provides a network building platform for cohort members. The second is called the Leadership Challenge, in which participants work in groups to research challenges in the library profession and present solutions. And the third is a series of conversations with library leaders about their journey from their early careers to where they are now, called My Leadership Journey (which recordings can be found on our website,

Through the DLCL project, I get to connect with a lot of smart, talented, creative library professionals and connect them with resources and training opportunities to support their professional growth. So not only do their supervisors believe in them, we do too.

I’m a true believer in professional development just as I believe in supporting life long learners. Professional development allows staff (at all levels) to get more involved, it creates opportunities for engagement and it shows that your organization is invested in it’s team, the community/communities it serves and your profession.

Ray: What do you think are the challenges in engaging library staff in professional development activities?

Christine: Oh yes, challenges, the top item that comes to mind is work culture. It’s hard to get staff interested in professional development if you never asked or required them to participate in the past. Or if they have never experienced this type of work culture. Sometimes it’s hard to get staff on board if your leaders are not demonstrating the value and need of professional development themselves.

Ray: What are some trends or areas in LIS field do you see from your experiences coordinating professional development?

Christine: I think that really depends on who you are finding the training opportunities for and your organization’s vision. Right now, it’s really not the topics but more of the delivery of the topics. I’m also seeing a shift in who is being invited to participate in professional development activities. I think that there are a lot of efforts to opening professional development opportunities to non-degree holding LIS staff. Which is great for many reasons.

Ray: What resources or opportunities would you like to share to highlight the professional development activities for the LIS community?

Christine: There are a lot of LIS and non-profit associations out there that offer professional development opportunities including IFLA, the American Library Association and Webjunction. The pandemic has also pushed for many trainings to be delivered virtually which has created a little more accessibility. Here in California, US we have a number of grant supported opportunities that are free to our participants including California Libraries Learn and Developing Leaders in California Libraries. I would say that many associations host social media feeds where they publish articles and recordings for FREE.

But I would also like to emphasize the need to put the learning into practice. So really it is important that individuals get the opportunity to share, showcase and put into practice what they are learning. Ultimately that portion can be another learning opportunity in itself.

Ray: Anything else you’d like to share that we didn’t get to talk about?

Christine: I’m a huge fan of teamwork and collaboration. I really enjoy it when I see people reach out to others to work together and collaborate on projects and presentations. I think we are learning on how to do that more. Our current use of technology has really pushed for more platforms for collaboration. This gives more people the opportunity to participate and bring their voices to the table.

Besides that, thank you Ray for inviting me, I know you have contributed a lot to the LIS profession and it’s been an absolute pleasure to know you. Maybe someday we will work on something together in the future.

Revisiting Online Conferences and Learning, and Internet Librarian at 25: An Interview with Jane Dysart (Part II)

Photo: Jane Dysart

Reflecting on how online learning and professional development learning has been transformed over the year by COVID and by other factors, this conversation brings back Jane Dysart, Program Director of Internet Librarian 2021. Jane is a member of IFLA’s Knowledge Management Standing Committee and a past member of Continuing Professional Development Committee and Workplace Learning Standing Committee. Missed the first part of the conversation? See here!

Ray: Thank you for taking the time to speak with me! It’s been almost 11 months since we last chatted about online conferences, the impact of COVID-19 and your thoughts in shifting into digital learning. What lessons or insights can you share with us about your thoughts with professional development learning?

Jane: Charlene Li,, author, consultant, digital transformation & disruptive leadership expert, said last year when speaking at the first virtual KMWorld event, that in times of crisis innovation soars.  I truly believe that as we are seeing more user friendly, and easy to use, collaborative platforms and learning environments. Our skills are increasing as we use a wider variety of new and exciting tools.  For example, the subject-oriented standing committees of IFLA are now doing many targeted virtual events that are reaching a global audience.  Awesome!! The growth in interactive learning environments has not only opened up the playing field for those seeking professional development, but also to those who have wonderful expertise to share that we would not otherwise experience in our local venues.

I think we will continue to see these types of virtual events as well as in-person events.  I’m not sure about hybrid events that offer both in-person and virtual participation in a big way, but as I said, innovation is the name of the game these days and we will see more in the future for professional development and learning environments, especially in the area of extended reality development meeting tools – augmented and virtual reality being the foremost ones.  If you want more about that, talk to Chad Mairn, Librarian, Innovation Lab Manager, St. Petersburg College, he’s a popular Computers in Libraries and Internet Librarian instructor who leads some sessions in VR, and some do not require the wearing of goggles!


Ray: The Internet Librarian 2021 is celebrating its 25th anniversary! It is held in-person on Oct 25-28, 2021 in Monterey CA, USA. What are some of your favorite memories that you’d like to share?

Jane: Wow, there are so many wonderful past experiences from Internet Librarian, most of which were held in Monterey but there were a couple in other cities.  I remember first meeting Jenny Levine in our Palm Springs venue, the retail shopping at close by retail outlets in San Diego, the fabulous auditorium in Pasadena that is often used for Hollywood events.  I certainly remember so many of our excellent speakers/practitioners who share their experiences so we can all learn, but there are few keynotes who stand out to me – Vint Cerf, author J. A. Jance, Nina Simon, Howard Rheingold, Roy Tennant vs Rich Wiggins on the Next Big Library, entrepreneurial women software innovators, students from Monterey area schools, Lee Raine, Danny Sullivan, and so many more!!

Many of my favorite memories revolve around people and the fun interactions: our evening fun/learning events that have included skits, wrestling matches, music, debates, games as well as an earthquake which California resident Cindy Hill immediately pointed out was happening as the chandeliers were shaking; our extra-curricular activities like Karaoke, Whale Watching, guided walking tours, butterfly sanctuary in Pacific Grove, the lone pine we use in many of pics, in-town farmers market, Portola Plaza concerts and art sales, Fisherman’s Wharf and all it’s great restaurants; and of course, our fabulous audience representing all types of libraries and organizations.  And then there are all the fog incidents causing travel havoc in many ways including several workshop leaders to participate from the Denver and other airports; the seals barking or climbing on boats in the bay; the Hallowe’en pumpkin contest at the Portola.  As I say, just so many wonderful members over the last 25 years of the internet (so new when we began!) and Internet Librarian. You really stimulated me with this question and I’ve now tweeted and put on Internet Librarian’s Facebook page that we’d like more people’s memories of Internet Librarian shared and perhaps even highlighted in a 25th anniversary and pandemic breakout party at our event in October!  Stay tuned for more details!

Ray: Any sessions in the upcoming conference you’d like to highlight? 

Absolutely! Our theme, Call To Action: Innovation In Library Technology & Communities has sparked many interesting and diverse speakers for Internet Librarian 2021.  Our program has just gone live online,, with key themes around search and discovery, digital presence, community engagement (especially during and after COVID-19), insights and practices in data, content management and open access, management, technology updates (especially the latest in Makerspaces, Innovation Labs, XR, AI, Robotics as well as library and meeting platforms), innovative practices and the future for libraries!

We start with pre-conference workshops on a range of topics, Our keynote speakers include: the former Smithsonian and U.N. tech visionary Michael Edson, a popular and thought provoking speakers representing the entire GLAM community; author Alex Deschamps-Sonsino, on ideas from her new book, Creating a Culture of Innovation; and long-time knowledge management guru Jean-Claude Monney who sparked so much interest a few years ago when he talked to internet librarians about Skype applications (like auto translation) when they were purchased by Microsoft where he worked at the time; as well as our traditional closing panel of librarians on challenges and opportunities for 2022+!  Returning favorites: Games & Gadgets featuring a VR meeting experience and lots of new tech entrepreneurs, Showcase Networking Reception, Evening learning event populated by information/library community students in “Wheel of Library Vision: Listening to Different Voices”.  New networking feature: early bird chat arounds over breakfast before the morning keynote, some great topics!

Ray: Finally, we discussed what trends you were seeing for the international library community — are these trends that you described still valid and/or are there other emerging ones? 

Well, I mentioned earlier about IFLA units doing more global online events making our library and information world much more connected throughout the year and I do think this is a terrific new trend that will continue and hopefully we will also do more cross-fertilization with other types of organizations who could become partners in the journey to fulfilling the world’s critical challenges and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  We need to build more partnerships with organizations who can help us in our communities in many different ways. For instance, with emerging new collaborative technologies like the SLA Canada chapter who is doing a free workshop on “Standing Tall: Articulating Our Value” on a new meeting platform, Airmeet. Or, with broadband providers who can help our goal of bridging the digital divide. Or with other health-related or social groups who can support our outreach to our community.

Last time you asked me about trends  I said, “I really believe we need to reset, not look for a new normal or try to fit the old ways into the new environment, but really rethink what we want to accomplish in our communities.” I believe our community has definitely been innovative and creative (and have been recognized for doing so in lots of press), and will continue to do so in the coming future – we still have many challenges in our world! I also said, “We definitely need to build up our digital collections in libraries with many different learning and discovery avenues, such as couch safaris to different places, zoos, museums, art galleries, aquariums, etc; virtual bird watching expeditions using webcams all over the world; as well as open access to our research and scientific resources and lots more.  I think we need to build more relationships with our communities (academic campuses, municipalities, enterprises, schools), bridging many of these communities in our geographic locations.  We also need to look for strong partners as IFLA always says – stronger together.  We need support from many new and diverse partners.” I do think libraries have definitely strengthened their digital collections and services, and they will only get stronger in the future since we’ve engaged new muscles in this area. Keep flexing them! I still think we need to do more to build more relationships and partnerships.  Our work is never done!

Thanks for asking me these questions, they never fail to energize me and spark new ideas!


JANE DYSART, Founding Partner of Dysart & Jones and Curator of Curiosity, She specializes in designing learning and leadership events and customized conference planning. Jane has brought together experts and facilitators, keynote speakers and presenters for more than 100 successful events in Canada, the US and the UK.

Did librarians in Ancient Rome know about the importance of continuing professional development? Maybe yes, maybe no – but the IFLA Guidelines for CPD poster is now available in Latin!

History tells us that one of the first libraries in Rome resulted from the looting of collections of classical Greek literature. After the conquest of Macedonia in 168 BC, the Roman general Aemilius Paullus removed volumes of text from the royal palace to establish a library for his sons in Rome (Affleck, 2012). This led to a growing interest amongst Roman nobles in the study of Greek philosophy and literature; some years later Lucius Cornelius Sulla seized the library of Apellicon of Teos in Athens and transported the collection back to Rome.

Around 44 BC Julius Caesar chose Marcus Terentius Varro to develop his vision for a ‘public library’. Varro’s qualifications included being the only known person in the Roman era to write a ‘library manual’, De Bibliothecis. This text has sadly not survived and poor Caesar died before the construction of his library began.

One of the more important owners of a private library was Cicero: it is recorded that he had libraries in his city residence, as well as in many of his country villas. While Cicero apparently employed trained ‘library-slaves’ (librarioli) to manage and maintain his libraries, there is documentary evidence to show that by the end of Roman Republic in 27 BC, the sophistication of Roman libraries had led to need for a diversified staff of library professionals.


Image: History Collection

Of course, we actually know very little about the education and training of these library professionals in Ancient Rome. Did they know about the importance of continuing professional development and workplace learning? Maybe yes, maybe no – but had IFLA been around in those days, the librarians would undoubtedly have benefitted from the poster on the IFLA Guidelines for CPD: Principles and Best Practices, now available in LATIN!










Our warmest thanks go to Brittany Garcia for her work on the translation of the poster!

If you visit the CPDWL website, you will see that the IFLA Guidelines for CPD poster is already available in 36 languages, but there is room for more! If you would like to translate the poster into your own language, please contact Gill Hallam for a copy of the template (email: gillian.hallam1(at)



Affleck, M. (2012). Roman libraries during the Late Republic and Early Empire: with special reference to the library of Pliny the Elder. PhD thesis. University of Queensland.




Former Co-Chair of CPDWL, Sylvia Piggott, died on June 7, 2021

With great sadness we have learn that Sylvia Piggott, former member of CPDWL died on June 7, at the age of 82.

Our sincere condolences goes to her husband, daughters and family.

Sylvia was a long-standing member of the Special Libraries Association (SLA) and served as its president (1996-1997).

She became very active in several IFLA sections after her retirement from the position of Deputy Division Chief of Information Services, Joint World Bank / IMF Library in Washington, in 2002. Beside her engagement in professional organizations she was also very involved in a variety of community associations.

Sylvia joined the CPDWL section as a personal member, and remained a member after she concluded her two terms in 2013. She served first as Information Coordinator, from 2005 to 2011. During that time, she was responsible for introducing the benefits of social media to the Standing Committee.

And then I had the opportunity to serve with her as Co-Chairs, from 2011 to 2013. She was always very constructive, helpful and forward thinking. She also had a close look at the finances, as she was also Treasurer. After her eight years as a Standing Committee member in our section, she joined the Social Science Libraries Section SC, where she also worked as Treasurer and Secretary from 2013 to 2017. When she joined the Knowledge Management Section in 2017, the connection with the CPDWL Section became strong again, via the Knowledge Café that we organized every year with members of both sections, on various topics.

Sylvia was all the time interested in new technological approaches, full of good ideas to serve the international library community and always open to support the newcomers in our profession.

She will always be remembered for her active spirit and sense of humor. Picture by