Ngqwele Dube, Life Correspondent
ZIMBABWE Library Association Matabeleland region chairperson, Jerry Mathema is in the United States attending a four-week fellowship programme expected to equip him with the latest technological trends in the industry.
Mathema left on 15 March for the programme that began on 17 March and ends on 13 April. The Masiyephambili College librarian is one of the five participants chosen from across the globe for the 2017 Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) /International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) Fellows for 2017.
According to an OCLC website other fellows also on the programme are Patience Ngizi-Hara from Zambia, Eric Nelson Haumba of Uganda, Sharisse Rae Lim (Philippines) and Nguyen Van Kep (Vietnam).
Mathema, who holds the post of the director in the International Association of School Librarianship Region 1: Africa Sub Sahara said he expects the course to enable him keep abreast with emerging technologies in the digital age to remain relevant in a rapidly changing information environment.
The programme gives Fellows opportunities to meet with leading information practitioners and explore topics including information technologies, library operations and management, and global cooperative librarianship.
Some of the industry leaders they are scheduled to meet the first female and African American Library of Congress librarian, Carla Hayden, president of the OCLC Global Council, Peter Sidorko and OCLC president and chief executive, Skip Pritchard.
“Integration of both print and electronic resources is the new trend these days hence the need to be skilful in that area of expertise. Global co-operative librarianship addresses the issues of inadequate funding in that libraries will share the resources that are otherwise difficult to procure on an individual basis. As Zimbabwean librarians we do not exist in isolation and for us to be in sync with what is transpiring the world over there is need to acquire and impart these digital skills and network with colleagues across the globe,” said Mathema.
Some of the institutions on the itinerary of the fellows include Ohio State House, Ohio State University Library (Thompson, Research Commons and Depository), Westerville Public Library in Ohio, Library of Congress & Smithsonian’s in Washington DC, The University of Chicago, Chicago Illinois, Otterbein, The Graduate School of Library & Information Science’s Mortenson Center at Urbana Champaign, Illinois and the Indianapolis Public Library.
The Fellows have also had a chance to observe OCLC’s governance structure in action, gaining insight into issues affecting the global library co-operative.