May Seminar 2017

May Seminar: The critical role of “Advocacy” in libraries

The IFLA International Advocacy Programme was launched in 2016 with 4 Regional Workshops which involved more than 100 participants from library associations and public library representatives from 50 countries.

On the 23rd to 24th of November 2016, South Africa hosted the Africa regional IAP workshop which was held in Pretoria and there were seven LIASA Members attended wearing different caps. Before the workshop, participants signed an agreement with IFLA to carry out awareness-raising activities and to meet with policy makers to ensure libraries are recognized as key partners in supporting the United Nations 2030 Agenda. With these agreements, IFLA has established an engaged community of advocates who will work in increase the profile and impact of library and information professionals in the achievement of sustainable development goals.

Library and Information Association of South Africa (LIASA) together with the National Library of South Africa (NLSA) have committed to a partnership through which they will assume a direct role in the development of an Advocacy Programme for South Africa’s political leadership and Library & Information Services Professionals.

This initiative is intended to elevate the Library & Information Services (LIS) profession. Libraries, especially Public Libraries are central to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s). Therefore, the role of libraries in this regard should be appreciated and not under-estimated. The global post-2015 agenda has brought about a new set of goals as determined in the bold and transformative 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by world leaders. South Africa’s response to the intention to finding the balance between meeting both present and future needs is found in the National Development Plan 2030.

Libraries among other relevant stakeholders have a critical role to play within the National Development Plan to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals over the next 15 years. The eradication of information illiteracy and building of a modern, efficient and equitable library and information system was highlighted as an important developmental action by the LIS Transformation Charter.

The LIS Policy Team is currently engaging and consulting widely both within the sector and society at large engaging with scholars, practitioners, users’ services, publishers, civil society and political leaders with the aim of imminent within the policy that will be for Academic, Public, School, Special and Research libraries subsequently policy will be an advocacy tool that is embedded on the right of access to information which is enshrined in the South African Bill of Rights and.

On the 9 – 10 February 2017, the Library and Information Association of South Africa (LIASA) Representative Council supported IAP and decided that all May Seminars and workshops will concentrate on IAP.

The planning team met at the National Library of SA on the 23rd of February 2017. The awareness of librarians or Members in all provinces was also made during the National LIS Policy consultations. More than 3000 librarians in different provinces have been informed about the upcoming May Seminars/Workshops on IAP.

Implementation of advocacy plan to position libraries as partners in the National Development Plan, All 10 Branches of LIASA in nine provinces will conduct workshops which are called May Seminars based on IAP as a main facilitation of the program.

The seminars will encourage the spirit of ownership for library staff, decision makers and patrons or communities in relation to the presidential  theme “Libraries for Communities” and further commitment of stakeholder to raise awareness in relation to burning and malicious damages of Libraries in this country.

Goals of the seminar:

  • To create partnerships that will support library agenda
  • To help re-align libraries with the UN 2030 Agenda
  • To enhance skills in building up the LIS leaders that supports the ecosystem approach within LIS, bearing in mind existing library policies, human resources, skills and any other types of advocacy agendas

The framework for a topic to be covered:

The critical role of “Advocacy” in libraries

Expected outcomes:

  1. Enhanced visibility of the South African LIS sector and the role it plays in supporting government to meet targets laid down in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and South Africa’s National Development Plan, Vision 2030.
  2. A robust and resilient LIS sector that supports societies’ information needs and assists in the attainment of South Africa’s development imperatives.
  3. Positioning of the South African libraries ecosystem as partners to government in the attainment of SDG’s.