Training librarians for the digital age in African university libraries

08 Nov 2013

African universities have made tremendous strides in implementing computerization projects both through their own funding and donor support. Various types of Information Management Systems (IMS) for administrative and academic purposes are now operational in these institutions. African university libraries have benefited in the process, with many digital projects now being implemented. The benefits include implementation of integrated library automation systems, the creation of standalone databases, digitization of theses and dissertation collections and lately the creation of various types of IR (Institutional Repositories). The digital age is here to stay with us and for African university libraries the pressure to go digital has never been more apparent. There are still many challenges, though, facing African university libraries in the implementation of digital library projects, especially regarding funding, human resources training and retention of skills, Internet connectivity, telecommunications infrastructure, copyright issues, etc. This paper analyses some of the existing literature on digital libraries education and training and attempts to outline the training requirements in African university libraries for sustainable implementation of digital projects. The areas that training for the digital age should focus on are: awareness of digital projects, the tools and resources for building digital collections, collection development and management and the marketing of the digital resources. The continued brain drain from the continent poses a serious threat to both knowledge creation and its management, and the paper suggests what African university libraries could do to retain skilled manpower.