SFA is a one day workshop for library professionals that want to use statistics to study, to document and to promote their libraries. The workshop, which is planned for Monday July 2, will use the digital training facilities of Maklib. The curriculum was created by the Statistics and Evaluation Section of IFLA, the International Federation of Library and Information Associations.
Irene, Philliam and Monica from Maklib followed the LATINA course in Oslo in 2010.
The training is part of a coherent series of training modules developed by IFLA for competence building in library associations. The main focus is advocacy, or the ability
- to mobilize people, politicians, parties and governments
- at all levels in society
- to support libraries
- based on their actual contributions to the communities they serve
The program is called Building Strong Library Associations (BSLA).
The SFA projected was initiated at the IFLA meeting in Milan in August 2009. Tord Høivik coordinated the small group that developed the course. IFLA helped us organize an international workshop in the Hague, in December, and run a pilot course in Chania, Crete, in May 2010. In the Hague, we benefited from the input of several international experts – including Elisha R.T. Chiware, the library director at Cape Peninsula University of Technology in South Africa. Maria Musoke attended the first pilot course in Greece. Since then several courses have been held in Sweden (IFLA pilot 2), Norway, Lithuania and Ukraine – but not, so far, in Africa.
The statistical systems and practices in most African countries are rather rudimentary. In Uganda we will clearly need cases and exercises that work when national library statistics just don’t exist, as Elisha Chiware (below) points out.
For more information about the global background, see
Additional materials at
- Global statistics for advocacy. The project blog.
- Plinius on statistics. Index to blog posts on library statistics
Stories from BSLA
Botswana Library Association has recorded a 100% increase in membership and largest attendance ever at their last national conference. They have received government grants, and are working more closely with the Minister for Education to support school libraries.
ABADCAM Cameroon shared how learning from their first workshop in 2011 gave a librarian in Buea the skills to present a plan to save a school library from closure. The association successfully advocated to the Ministry for Culture for 50 new librarians to be trained, and these new librarians are now employed in public libraries across the country.
Library statistics in Africa
These notes on library statistics in Africa and South Africa were provided by Elisha Chiware – Director of Libraries Cape Peninsula University of Technology, South Africa – for the GLOSSA planning workshop in the Hague in December 2009
Collection of library statistics in Africa
- There is no standard on the type of library statistics to be collected
- There is no shared position on how data must be collected, analyzed, presented and applied
- There is a wide gap in the type and frequency of statistics between technologically advanced libraries and those less fortunate
- There is no national or regional African databases of comparative library statistics available
Use of library statistics for advocacy in Africa
- There is no clear use of library statistics in Africa for advocacy – because of the limited importance that officials in governments and institutions place on libraries
- Library support is based on other considerations rather feedback from statistical data on libraries’ use and impact
- Library statistics in Africa should be used for development aspects e.g. to support literacy programme, agriculture, education and health.
Collection of statistics in South Africa
The collection of library statistics in South Africa is more advanced than the rest of the continent
- In academic libraries the collection of library statistics is guided by CHELSA (Committee of Higher Education Libraries in South Africa)
- CHELSA was established in 2004
- Its mission is to strive through visionary leadership to ensure that the higher education sector is provided with optimal access to information for the purpose of learning, teaching and research and community development
- CHELSA identified quality management in higher education libraries as one of its priorities – is response to government’s introduction of quality audits in higher education institutions through HEQC (Higher Education Quality Committee)
- The development of an agreed upon set of measures to be collected by higher education libraries
- Development of a Guide to the Self Review of University libraries
Use of library statistics for advocacy in South Africa
- Statistics collection tends to be quantitative and there is no trend analysis yet
- There is an absence of readily available centralized sources of library data in the country
- To a large extent the allocation of university library budgets in South Africa is based on factors other than statistical data that reflect library use and impact
- There is need for authoritative statistical studies identifying institutions’ standing within a peer group in order to convince institutional executive managements of the need for more resources – it is important to use peer groups that are acceptable to management
- Many academic libraries have undertaken LibQUAL surveys to solicit, track, understand and act upon users’ opinions of service quality
- Lack of accurate statistics in the e-arena creates problems for forecasting future trends
- Presenting statistics in a meaningful way is a challenge for many academic and public libraries in Africa
The trainers’ manual (TM) now contains
- an introduction for trainers. This introduction describes
- the historical background of the workshop
- the specific resources needed to conduct a succesful course
- a course plan for trainers
- the workshop manual (for participants – see below)
- link to a collection of Case materials
- link to a collection of Exercises
The workshop manual (WM) now contains
- an introduction for participants. The introduction the aim of the course
- a short course plan with descriptions of the seven workshop sessions
- link to Lecture notes (for sessions 3, 5 and 6)