Speech delivered by the Mr. Mandla Ntombela, President of AfLIA on 23rd April, 2020.
Moderator Dr Sarah Kaddu,
Ms Ingrid Thomson (Resource Person),
AfLIA and Wikimedia Team that has led this process,
Librarians and Information Workers all over the continent and Worldwide,
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is indeed a great honour to launch the African Librarians Week. On behalf of AfLIA, I am pleased to be part of this initiative of knowledge sharing and capacity building of Librarians in the continent.
Thank you Wikimedia and AfLIA Team, who have been involved in leading this initiative and making it a dream, come true. Although this historical launch is taking place in the midst of the global epidemic called coronavirus that is challenging the whole world. Please take heed of the call made by governments and stay at home while you do your duties virtually if possible. On this day, we also recommend that librarians keep on supporting reading and providing information that will keep us going until the battle of this pandemic is over.
The launch of the African Librarians Week – #AfLibWk also coincides with the World Book Day which is all about celebrating the wonderful power of books and the joy of reading.
AfLIA as the unifying platform for the African library field is interested not just in building the capacity of librarians to deliver relevant cutting-edge targeted and purposive information services. AfLIA is also deeply committed to the upliftment of Africa as a continent;
That is why we are partnering with the Wikimedia Foundation to ensure that Wikipedia, which ranks amongst the most consulted sites online has large, relevant and accurate articles about who we are and what we have done and are doing. As librarians, we are in the forefront of knowledge dissemination and I dare say knowledge creation as we walk and work together in AfLIA.
It is therefore with great joy as the President of AfLIA that I launch the campaign for the first ever African Librarians Week scheduled to take place from 24th – 30th May 2020, with the theme ‘Promoting African scholars to the world’. It will be a week that African librarians will update articles about Africa and African scholars in all disciplines with references, citations and further readings thus, contributing to creation of reliable content on Africa on Wikipedia for the benefit of global readers.
This has been the essence of all the webinars we have organized on Wikipedia. A dedicated page has been set up on the AfLIA website to share more details about the African Librarians Week, How to Participate, and Frequently Asked Questions (FAOs). It also hosts several simplified resources (including webinar recordings and other tutorial videos) to help prepare you adequately to participate. A support team is also on stand-by to assist you should you encounter any problems. Therefore, visit the AfLIA Website, www.aflia.net/aflibwk/, to learn more.
To ensure a coordinated campaign on social media, the official hashtags for the Week is #1lib1ref and #AfLibWk.
I encourage all librarians from national libraries, academic and special libraries, public and community libraries, school libraries as well as LIS institutions in Africa to get ready and be a part of changing the narrative of Africa and African scholars in Wikipedia. There will be recognition and award of certificates to the best 50 participating librarians while the top 5 contributors will receive prizes during the 2020 AfLIA Conference in Accra. Ensure that you represent your institution and country well in this exercise.
By this I declare the campaign for the African Library Week duly launched.
God bless African Librarians. God bless AfLIA. God bless Wikimedia. God bless Africa!
Thank you very much for your kind attention!