Esther brings life to Nyegina Community Library with innovative access to information
Libraries are for provision of information. When libraries are situated in communities, the expectation is that the facilities, resources and space will be utilized by the community to better and transform their lives, aid quality education and serve as a learning, cultural, literacy and information hub for all sections of the community.
Service provision by Nyegina Community Library to users to meet their information requirements was on a very low level. Esther’s community in Nyegina, Musoma district of Mara Region, Tanzania was hardly using the library located there despite the available resources, study carrels and other facilities in the library. The few people that used the library complained of inability to access current information that they needed. The library was faced by lack of access to needed resources, making clients unsatisfied and so keeping them away.
Before getting enrolled on the AfLIA’s INELI SSAf Esther had an understanding that the library was there to provide information that users will surely need. She never considered the possibility of innovative ways to ensuring that more and current resources and information got to users. INELI-SSAf completely changed her mind-set and attitude.
She learnt that as a librarian she can be creative and bring up innovative services to serve her user community better. Through the Time Management module in the INELI-SSAf programme, shelearnt how to avoid work delays or escape procrastination. Every day after the training when she remembered the phrase , ‘Don’t be a procrastinator’ it spurred her on to use time creditably in serving and not be a laggard. She strived to work hard by dividing her duties into small manageable chunks with milestones that ensured she finished all on time. She now uses a diary to schedule her appointments, daily and monthly duties to ensure that every work is done on time. This is a big step for her.
In addition, she created a WhatsApp group for users to provide Current Awareness Services (CAS) and also began displaying new books or journals. This helps her community members to have a feeling of belongingness about the library and begin to seek how the library can help them more with their information needs. The WhatsApp group also provides a forum for community members to ask questions and receive answers from the library.
She went further to create stickers and a brochure with library services information for advertisement including the year’s calendar. This helps the community members to better understand how to access resources physical and electronically, the opening times of the library and other information that make the library easier to use.
The INELI-SSAf training has made Esther confident to learn and acquire further skills so much so that she has taught herself how to use online information including the use of Mendeley software that is used by researchers, authors and students in writing their papers. Esther is so happy that she is now an expert on that and able to train her users on how to use this software for citation and referencing in APA style. She also trains library users on how to search other databases.
INELI SSAf has changed Esther’s perspective on different things and she now knows that impossible is just an opinion. The training has made her to make Nyegina Community library to be more responsive to the information requirements of her user community. The library is now a beehive of activities and a hub for students, teachers, lecturers and others whom the library serves.
Esther says with joy in her eyes, that “Personally, the training has equipped me with confidence to stand before crowds and share my thoughts or run trainings. The advocacy module of the INELI-SSAf programme has also provided avenues for me to engage community leaders for the purposes of assisting the library. Most importantly, the training has helped me to provide solutions on current information accessibility to my users”. Esther could not have said it better than this.Attachments: