What impact do emerging technologies have on university library services in developing countries? This was the key question of the IATUL Directors’ Summit 2017 in Windhoek, Namibia. The two days event was hosted by the University Library of the Namibia University of Science and Technology in Windhoek. 21 university Library Directors from Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe, Canada, Germany and the UK attended to the event.
Following the World Café method, the delegates dealt with six subtopics, each introduced in a 10-minute keynote presentation. Each workshop day consisted of three keynote presentations followed by breakout sessions to engage with the subtopics.
- New Service environment and service skills development
- Interaction between University infrastructure and Library development
- Ubiquitous Library
- Building research support services
- Adaptive Library structures
- Mission, Vision, reality and networking
The discussions were lively and informative – resulting in a rich collection of thoughts and ideas.
Metrics and Research Data Management turned out be of very high relevance for the region. As a consequence, the newly founded IATUL Special Interest Group SIG-METRICS will share its expertise its members to the benefit of library service development in Southern Africa. Similarly, the IATUL Special Interest Group for e-research support will include respective requirements in Southern Africa in their agenda for 2018. The need for leadership training was identified and the idea to revive the IATUL Leadership Academy, adopted to the region’s needs, was captured. The topic that probably found most of delegates’ attention was fundraising. The direct consequence will be the development of an online seminar open to university library managers in the region.
Feedback from the delegates revealed that the event as well as its format were well received and they found the discussions valuable and stimulating. The fact that all the delegates were directors was a unifying factor and people felt free to share challenges and inspiring success stories. It was clear that new friendships were being forged and that there would be follow-ups after the summit amongst delegates. The breakout sessions assisted in identifying the main priority areas for further investigation by IATUL.
The event succeeded to set the stage for potential IATUL initiatives to assist where necessary but also for Library Directors to engage and arrive at possible solutions together.
If you would like to get information that is more detailed on the summit’s structure and results, please have a look at the full report written by the IATUL Board member Lucille Webster.
Some pictures have been uploaded to the IATUL website, too.
IATUL would like to thank the local hosts from the University Library of NUST and of course all delegates for making this successful and inspiring IATUL Directors’ Summit possible.