Flexible strategies for uncertain times: an innovative approach to LIS education in the Middle East and North Africa

MORAN, Barbara B. and AHMED, Sumayya and CLICK, Amanda B. and HILL, Jacob and MARTIN III, John D. (2014) Flexible strategies for uncertain times: an innovative approach to LIS education in the Middle East and North Africa. Paper presented at: IFLA WLIC 2014 - Lyon - Libraries, Citizens, Societies: Confluence for Knowledge in Session 150 - LIS Education in Developing Countries Special Interest Group. In: IFLA WLIC 2014, 16-22 August 2014, Lyon, France.

Bookmark or cite this item: http://library.ifla.org/id/eprint/848
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Language: English (Original)
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Abstract

Flexible strategies for uncertain times: an innovative approach to LIS education in the Middle East and North Africa

Countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) are at important crossroads in becoming knowledge societies, despite complications caused by recent turmoil in the region. Although there are variations among countries in the area, on the whole there is great interest in increasing access to information and libraries. The need for library and information science (LIS) professionals in MENA is expected to grow significantly for many years to come. Since 2010, a group of LIS faculty and doctoral students from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have been involved in an international project, Educating Librarians in the Middle East: Building Bridges for the 21st Century (ELIME-21), working with partners in Egypt, Morocco and Lebanon to develop workshops, training opportunities and resources to help expand LIS education in MENA. Over the course of ELIME-21, the project personnel have responded to unpredictable conditions as a result of institutional changes, ongoing conflict and political tumult by adapting their strategies for carrying out original plans. As a result, the methods for delivery of content and interaction with our international partners were changed to better accommodate circumstances. In-person workshops have been increasingly replaced with webinars and interactive, online lectures. Online training modules have been substituted for in-person training programs. These changes have resulted in unanticipated outcomes from the project, but fortunately the outcomes have exceeded goal expectations in terms of scope and quality. This paper is both a reflection on the activities and outcomes of ELIME-21 project and a discussion of how the work of this project could be extended to other developing countries. For example, LIS educators in developing countries could incorporate short freely available online modules into already existing classes, adapting the material to local conditions. More generally, those interested in developing similar international programs can benefit from the lessons learned by the ELIME-21 participants.

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