Amazing Years as a Volunteer Librarian from 1997-2017

PAIVA, Marie (2018) Amazing Years as a Volunteer Librarian from 1997-2017. Paper presented at: IFLA WLIC 2018 – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Transform Libraries, Transform Societies in Session 153 - Poster Session.

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Language: English (Original)
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Amazing Years as a Volunteer Librarian from 1997-2017

• First, I was awarded a Library Fellowship by the American Library Association and the United States Information Agency to serve as a consultant to the National Library of Ethiopia for six months in 1997. From my position at the University of Utah’s Marriott Library, I took a leave of absence to work in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. From there, I made contacts at Addis Ababa University (AAU) and volunteered during sabbatical and research leave time from the University of Utah to the Kennedy Library. This led me to provide training to the Institute of Ethiopian Studies Library at AAU. • After the first leave of absence with the National Library of Ethiopia, my short term assignments have been on a volunteer basis on a self-funded system. • Ethiopian librarians have asked for training with the Library of Congress classification system, the Dewey Decimal system, reviewing and discussing the subjects within their academic disciplines, simple book repair, and writing a mission statement. Most Ethiopian librarians do not have the opportunity to study abroad or travel to conferences or for training. • Ethiopia has a rich history which includes an indigenous script to their languages such as Ge’ez and Amharic where many religious and other works can be found written by hand on vellum. Muslim books relating to Islam and medicine are found alongside Orthodox Christian materials. In most Ethiopian libraries, books in the English language and western languages are found on the shelves. However, their collections tend to be outdated and few in number. • The challenges to Ethiopian libraries include inadequate funding, poor infrastructure, lack of professional training, limited resources and more. From time to time there is no electricity or Internet. However, librarians and library staff have been enthusiastic at the short term training offered from time to time. • It is my hope that this short term training can be repeated from time to time if there is interest by the Ethiopian library community. In 2015 and 2017, I was also invited to rural areas to provide library training in Dessie and in Jinka.

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