Kwa heri

Goodbye and see you, as this is my last day in Iringa. Tomorrow Daniel will take me to Dar es Salaam to take the overnight flight to Amsterdam.

It was a busy but fruitful period and it’s always a bit sad to take leave of the nice people here in Iringa and especially the people from Tumaini University College. Many started a chat with me, asking who I was and where I came from; enquiring what I was doing at Tumaini and if I enjoyed my stay. Well, I did!

Yesterday, we had the final session with the deputy librarians and Rev. Simba. We talked about leadership and coaching. Later on we discussed collaboration and collaborative teaching. Important issues in an educational library and there was much interest in learning new things.

I’m leaving Iringa with many impressions and ideas, as teaching is learning as well. You learn from your students through their questions and feedback; your learn by observing what other people are doing and you learn to enjoy simple things, staying in a house without all the tools and equipment we, western people are used to.

Today I went to Hasty Tasty Too for lunch; another ‘last time’ for this visit. I’m gonna miss this small place with its great meals and a tv-set: the only tv I saw for 12 days.

Contrary to Sunday, there is no nice singing in the chapel behind the house: this time they’ve decided to do it LOUD and off key: I’m not going to miss that ;-). While the pastor is using the microphone as if he addressing a football stadium, I close the series of blogs on Tumaini, Iringa – Tanzania.

I hope you all enjoyed reading them. Who knows, maybe there will be a third visit. If so, I will share it with you again.
Now it’s time to pack my things and make sure I don’t forget anything. Tomorrow we’ll pass Mikumi Park and I hope to see some wild life, like last year when the elephants came to drink – a wonderful view.
So, cross your fingers for me and thank you for joining.

Intellectual Apathy

Contrary to yesterday it was sunny and warm today. Yesterday there was heavy rain and walking from the office to the library, which is only 500 metres, made me soaking wet. The temperature is so nice that it doesn’t take long to dry up again, so no worries about that.

Two lectures were on my schedule for today, each 1,5 hours. The first group was quite responsive, but the second class started at 12.30 pm and they were very quiet and some even fell asleep. Their stomacs were empty, and without food the brain cannot work. Interesting, especially when one of the topics was ‘critical thinking’. I comfort myself with the fact, that it must have been the timing – not my lecture ;-).

Later on Rev. Simba and I went for lunch on the campus and I had typical Tanzanian food, which was really nice. There is so much to talk about, that we could have chatted all afternoon, but one has to do other things, like preparing the following day.

Danny took me in the car together with Bukaza Chachage to town and I was invited to visit the new bookshop Bukaza started recently. A challenging and interesting undertaking and it was good to see there is a children’s section with picture books and of course a section with business and economics textbooks, of which I recognized several being in the MSM-collection.
I was more interested in African publications and managed to buy two books: Poems from Tanzania co-ordinated by Richard S. Mabala ISBN 978 9976 1 0205 5 and Nature Notes from Tanzania by Anne Outwater ISBN 9976 973 74 8.
Very nice reading stuff!

Back at the house we found out that the power was down: no electricity at all. Luckily enough I asked Danny to come inside to check the hot water system as I had a problem with that. Danny and the caretaker managed to fix the problem. I had no idea what I should have done without electricity: no computer working, no lights and no coffee – that’s probably the worst.

Tomorrow, another interesting day when I’m going to work with Andrew and Isa on planning the implementation of an automated catalogue, based on KOHA. First, I will help the staff to shelve the books: a task that takes them at least two hours every day and they are working on it with the whole team. It’s one of the less agreeable jobs in the library so they can use some help.

I’m closing this blog with copying one of the poems I found in the book I bought today. The poem is called ‘Intellectual apathy’ by E.L. Baregu. I finished the second session of today with a story about my grandmother, but the relation to this poem is purely coincidental.

Intellectual Apathy

One day I’m gonna tire
of reasoning out with Darwin
on the origins of man,
for what then did god do
those seven days?
I’m simply gonna tire
of the sermons of the philosophers
on man and society,
on religion and politics,
on science and arts.

I say
I’m gonna stop prying
the colonial scars
that have healed outside but
bleed inside.

I simply will grow numb
to the thorns of imperialism
that prick my being and threaten
to disease it.

I’ll be apathic to this giant strangler.
I swear
I’ll close my eyes to the maleficence
of exploitation
I’ll just lie back and let it
sap me dry;
I’m gonna let its worms ravish
my flesh to the bones
That day
I shall reject completely the doctrine of Karl Marx.
I shall plead ignorance to any kind of ‘ism’
I shall appraise no more the efforts of Lenin,
I will block my mind to the thoughts of Mao.
That day,
     Before I’m finally engulfed,
     I shall go to grandpa to hear some

Karibu – How are you?

With the words above people are greeting you when they meet you; it doesn’t matter where you are: on the street, in the restaurant, on the campus, in the library. The Tanzanians are not only friendly but truly interested in others.
Meeting people and talking to them is easy, as long as you’re returning the question with the same prhase. They always want to know where you come from,what you’re doing in Tanzania and if you like it here.
For me, it gives a welcoming feeling and it’s one of the charms of being in Tanzania.

I have not shared with you my travel experiences. The flight was fine: on time and I finally managed to get an aisle seat; very helpful when you have a sore back and cannot move around easy.
Daniel was waiting for me at the airport and on Sunday Dr. Bukaza Chachage (project coordinator) was there to greet me too and join us on the travel to Iringa.
On the way we picked up another traveller from Tumaini (an MBA-student) and we had a nice lunch at the Swiss restaurant just outside Mikumi Park.
Travelling through Mikumi brought us a wonderfull view on a herd of elephants; I’m sure the babies I saw last year were there too: grown but still not as big as their parents.
On the way we did some shopping the Tanzanian way, which means you stop alongside the road and start negociating the price of oinions, meat or other things you want to buy. As soon as you stop the traders come to the car to show their goods and I was happy that I did not had to decide what to buy: to me all the onions looked the same ;-).

Today, the real thing started: a workshop with the deputy heads and the chief librarian, Rev. Cornelius Simba on the challenges and opportunities for the library.
We discussed strategic management issues and used a SWOT-analysis to define the strengts, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the library. Making the SWOT turned out to be instrumental in coming up with strategic choices for the future. Some of these choices are: collaboration with the other universities in Iringa to improve services for all students en to beat the competencies of the staff. Accountability is another focus as well as marketing the library. The workshop will be continued on Monday morning and then we’re going to discuss leadership issues, coaching and intermediation and the different roles of the library professional in an educational library.
A big challenge for the library, its staff and users is the availability of a fast and reliable internet connection. The trend to provide more and more resources online is difficult to follow if the connection is too slow and blocks the access to resources and tools. This item is going to be discussed further on Thursday and Friday when we going to talk about the new automation system and library trends.

Tomorrow two lectures are scheduled: one on research techniques for a group of counselling students and a lecture on information literacy for a group of students of the faculty of journalism. I’ve just finished preparing these lectures and although they’re based on the lectures I did last year, all links, screenshots etc. had to be checked and if necessary updated.
I will be interesting to see what the feedback of the students will be, but about that, I will tell you in the next blog.

Back to base

Although global (net)working is core-business, some providers seem to think differently. So, that’s why it took some time time to write on this blog: I simply did not have internet connection even with a modem and satellite connection.

 Anyway, Tanzanians are wonderful people, at least the man from the Zain shop (Tanzanian provider), who helped (which took an hour) and made it work. Three hurrays for this person!!

So, I’m back to base and it feels already as being home. I’m back at the project house, my own comfort zone, where I can work quietly and prepare for a full program. I’m remembering the noises in the background: a dog whining and a pig rooting about in the ground, behind the house and of course the mosque making sure I’m not sleeping late.

As I said, a full program again, which is good, because that’s what I came for. Here is an outline of ‘things to do’: training sessions with staff on Tuesday and Monday; lectures to students on Wednesday; meetings with the library staff on Thursday and Friday and a session with Rev. Simba, chief librarian on performance appraisal on Saturday. Well, I will not be bored. I’m sure, there will be some time to share a few thoughts and happenings on this blog. For now, this is it. I’m off to dreamland.

Till next time.

‘Designing The Future’

Onder bovenstaande titel vindt van 18 oktober tot en met 8 november de 3e Online Conferentie van plaats.

De eerste twee conferenties waren een groot succes, zowel door het aantal deelnemers als hun positieve reacties op de diversiteit en kwaliteit van de presentaties.
David Loertscher, bekend vanwege zijn groot aantal publicaties over samenwerking tussen mediathecarissen en leraren, is een van de presentatoren in de derde editie.

Deze conferenties zijn interactief. Het is dus leren met elkaar en door elkaar en dat maakt het extra interessant.

De rest van je leven (= toekomst) begint vandaag, dus meld je aan en doe mee. Meer informatie is te vinden via de links.

IASL 2009 in Abano Terme (Italië)

Net terug uit Italië, met tassen vol wasgoed, een Pc vol met nog af te handelen emailtjes en werk en m’n hoofd vol met nieuwe ideeën, gedachten en inspiratie, wil ik graag een paar zaken alvast met jullie delen.

Het is geweldig dat dit jaar voor het eerst leden van de LWSVO hebben deelgenomen aan HET internationale congres op ons vakgebied, nl. de 38e editie van de International Conference en het 13e Research Forum van IASL (International Association of School Librarianship) in Abano Terme in Italië. Er waren ruim 300 deelnemers (leraren, schoolleiders, mediathecarissen) uit meer dan 50 landen: van Japan tot de UK en van China tot Nieuw Zeeland.
De kwaliteit van de sessies was, zoals gewoonlijk, weer hoog en de onderlinge contacten hartverwarmend.

Voor mij voelt de IASL conferentie altijd als een warm bad: ontspannend en verfrissend tegelijkertijd. Eindelijk weer eens gesprekken over je vak waar je wat van meeneemt; discussies over zaken die er echt toe doen met mensen met verstand van zaken en interessante ideeën. Genoeg ‘food for thought’ voor een jaar. En nu gaan sparen voor de volgende conferentie(s): 2010 in Brisbane (Australië), 2011 Kingston (Jamaica) en 2012 Texas (VS).

Voor degenen die er waren en nog even willen nagenieten en degenen die er niet waren en willen weten wat ze gemist hebben: kijk op de site van Library Media Net waar David DiGregorio video’s heeft gepost van o.a. de sessies met Aidan Chambers, Prof. Donatello Lombello en Prof. Dr. Ross Todd. Enjoy!

Vakantie in Abano

Nog één regio en dan is de vakantie in Nederland echt begonnen. Dat geldt niet voor iedereen: er zijn nog enige noeste werkers, waaronder ikzelf.
Ik vier mijn vakantie dit jaar in Abano – Italië en wel van 1 – 4 september a.s. Daar vindt de IASL-conferentie plaats: een internationaal evenement voor iedereen die zich interesseert voor onderwijs en bibliotheken, informatievaardigheden en web 2.0

Een aantal mensen is hard aan het werk om er een echt ‘Italiaanse’ week van te maken. Meer weten, kijk dan ook eens op de (openbare) IASL-Ning.

Registreren kan nog, dus tot ziens in Abano!

Online Conferentie ‘Information Literacy with Web 2.0’

Het regent momenteel seminars, trainingsessies, studiedagen, kijkjes in de keuken en congressen en nou kom ik ook nog eens met een evenement 🙂

Op het gevaar af van overkill toch alvast de aankondiging dat er voor mediathecarissen, onderwijsbibliothecarissen en alle andere geïnteresseerden in deskundigheidsbevordering in onderwijs en mediatheek een interessante online conferentie gaat plaatsvinden in juni a.s.
Deze tweede conferentie (de 1e Online Conferentie ‘Transforming School Libraries with Web 2.0′ (Februari 2009) was met ruim 200 deelnemers en positieve feedback, een groot succes) met als titel ‘Information Literacy with Web 2.0′ wordt groter en vooral ook breder met presentaties in meerdere talen (Engels, Nederlands en Portugees) en met presentatoren uit een groot aantal verschillende landen, waaronder Mike Eisenberg, wereldberoemd door zijn Big6-model. Deze conferentie is voor Nederlandse en Vlaamse deelnemers extra interessant omdat een aantal Nederlandse presentaties deel zal uitmaken van het totale aanbod.
Er is trouwens nog een heel praktische reden om mee te doen: je hoeft er de deur niet voor uit en je kunt in je eigen tijd en op een moment dat het jou schikt, de presentaties ‘consumeren’.

Deze online conferenties zijn een initiatief van James Henri en Sandra Lee, oprichters van Meer informatie over James en Sandra en de conferentie is te vinden op de website.

Inschrijven en meedoen
Nederlandse en Vlaamse deelnemers kunnen zich inschrijven via Meles Meles SMD, zodat simpelweg met euro’s kan worden betaald en er geen internationale overschrijvingen hoeven plaats te vinden.
De kosten van deelname zijn:
Inschrijving individueel € 70,00 p/p
Inschrijving per groep (bijvoorbeeld regio’s LWSVO)
€ 140,00 voor de eerste drie deelnemers + € 20,00 voor elke extra deelnemer.

Heb je vragen, stuur dan een email naar

LWSVO stimuleert deelname IASL-conferentie 2009

Jaarlijks organiseert de International Association of School Librarianship (IASL) een internationale conferentie voor onderwijsbibliothecarissen, mediathecarissen, leraren en researchers. In 2009 vindt deze conferentie plaats in Abano, Italië. Het thema is ‘School libraries in the picture: preparing pupils and students for the future’.
De LWSVO is al jaren lid van IASL en dit lidmaatschap geeft de leden van de LWSVO recht op de speciale (Zone A) ledenprijs bij registratie voor deze conferentie. Dit maakt deelname alleszins betaalbaar (ca. € 100,00 voor dit driedaagse congres bij registratie voor eind februari), maar als extra stimulans heeft het bestuur van de LWSVO besloten bij voldoende belangstelling een speciale conferentiereis per bus naar Abano te organiseren. Meer informatie over deze reis volgt via de reguliere LWSVO-kanalen.
Deelnemers worden opgeroepen ook een paper in te dienen en op deze manier actief bij te dragen aan het succes van de conferentie.
Voorafgaand aan de IASL-happening, organiseert de Universiteit in Padua een zgn. Pre-conference met als thema ‘Reading in the digital age’. De prijs voor dit eendaagse congres bedraagt slechts € 30,00.
Wil je alles nog even beknopt op een rijtje? Download dan de flyer iasl2009_promo_2-nl1.

Tot ziens in Abano!