15 JANUARY, 2020
AfLIA (African Library and Information Associations and Institutions) rejoices with Wikipedia, as it marks its 20th anniversary. Reacting to the 20 years milestone of the world’s largest free online encyclopedia, the Executive Director of AfLIA, Dr. Helena Asamoah-Hassan, pointed out that the organization totally identifies with Wikipedia as the resource celebrates its 20th birthday.
“Through the Wikipedia in African Libraries (#WikiAfLibs) course, Librarians have been given the global platform to widely learn how to collaborate in digital spaces, open up knowledge by telling our stories as Africans and making such accessible to all”, she said. AfLIA’s ED further reiterated that AfLIA will remain Wikipedia’s ally in Africa for creating and sharing open content.
Wikipedia signed a Memorandum of Understanding with AfLIA in 2019. An integral part of the Agreement was the institution of an African Librarians Week (#AfLibWk) within the May #1lib1ref campaign, the first of which took place in 2020. Impressive work was done by African librarians on Wikipedia.
Country Champions for #AfLibWk have also sent birthday wishes to Wikipedia. The lead Champion in Botswana, Lynn Jibril, who is also an educator with University of Botswana as well as the Chairperson of Botswana Library Association sent her birthday wishes to Wikipedia in form of a poem. Lynn is of the view that Wikipedia’s impact has been felt far and beyond, as the resource connects, inspires and empowers with marvelous, limitless opportunities. While wishing Wikipedia a terrific 20th birthday, she wrote:
Wikipedia, Wikipedia, Wikipedia
What a wonderful partner you have been
Igniting the passion and love for promoting African scholars
Knowledge so incomparable and rich, accurate and authentic
Instilling invaluable lifelong, digital, editing and citation skills
Partnering with AfLIA to inspire librarians and make their voice even louder on a global scale
Educators, academics, researchers and students now have the confidence to cite wiki sources
Developing the library profession through sharing factual knowledge has been your major goal
Intriguing potential and capabilities to raise the librarianship profile
Amazingly uniting African librarians across the continent and beyond on your wonderful, user friendly platform has been the greatest experience of a lifetime.
Ngozi Perpetua Osuchukwu, a Nigerian librarian, lecturer, poet, author, development practitioner is one other Champion for #AfLibWk 2020. According to Ngozi, Wikipedia has enhanced her abilities as my a Librarian and a teacher. She composed a song as a 20th birthday wish for Wikipedia:
A Song for Wikipedia @20
This birthday is one so exciting
A grand celebration of all times
For being a learning field for all
It excites, intoxicates and mesmerizes
Aye! #Wikipedia has that magic
A touch that changes perception
A touch that makes you stay in touch
And I lost myself in this unending value
Drinking in the wealth so sweet
Sharing the cup with thirsty friends
Drawing them to the full sweetness
It becomes music to my ears
With a lithe to my steps
Forming a new dance for the wiggle
I waltz into my space feeling giddy
The joy of #Wikipedia20
With new gait on information contribution
The accuracy and authenticity
And then! “your edits are successful”
The confirmation that brings the sweetest smiles
And the magnet to edit again.
It is the height of it all.
This is for you #Wikipedia20
To show my love and gait
To give back what I received
In less than one year an Editor
With amazing learning stamped
In my brain, my mind and my heart
My whole body feels it, gingerly
Aye! The sound of pure joy
Happy birthday, Wikipedia
With lots of love, always.
All #AfLibWk Champions and participants from Namibia, Ghana, Kenya, Cote d’Ivorie, South Africa, Cameroon, Senegal, Mali, Seychelles, Togo, the Gambia, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe also wish Wikipedia a happy 20th birthday.