AfLIA Wikipedia in African Libraries report
A busy month at AfLIA
Saying farewell to Main Cohort 1
After 12 weeks of learning , the first Main Cohort of the Wikipedia in African Libraries came to an end on 4th May (for the English speakers) and 5th May (for the French speakers). In groups of 5, participants presented the plans they had for future engagement and continuity with various Wikimedia projects.
To support the participants in the course, we enlisted the help of experienced Wikipedians to facilitate the live sessions over 5 sections each dealing with a crucial aspect of engagement with Wikipedia. This was supplemented with a weekly office hour and support through peer WhatsApp groups. At the end of it, we were able to register 311 editors who created 528 articles and contributed 1756 images.
Although emphasis was based on developing skills and confidence on interacting and editing with Wikipedia in their local context, we encouraged participants to contribute images of the various information institutions they are associated with as well as historical images from their collections.
Below are some of the images contributed by participants :
The Hamu Mukasa Library, Mukono, Uganda
Madibeng Library, South Africa
Patidar Samaj Building housing the National Library of Uganda
Gweru Memorial Library, Zimbabwe
Kyambogo University Central Library, Uganda
Old library building structure of Kawambwa District Library, Zambia
AfLIA pre-conference Wikipedia day
As part of the 4th AfLIA conference and 6th African Libraries Summit, AfLIA had a pre-conference day dedicated to the realities of Wikipedia for information workers in Africa on Monday 24th May. We had virtual parallel sessions in both English and French and they were free for all to attend.
Starting at 1000GMT and spanning 5 hours, over 100 attendees interacted with various presenters on the topics shown in the poster (right).The topics for the sessions were chosen basing on the factors that are considered challenges to African Librarians interacting with Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects i.e
- Limited understanding of the relationship and mission alignment between Wikipedia/the world of free knowledge and Libraries
- Dealing with local languages in the Wiki-world
- Unreliable electricity supply and expensive internet connections
- Understanding the community that is Wikimedia
The day was concluded with an office hour for the upcoming 1Lib1Ref and the African Librarians Week
African Librarians Week 2021
For the second time running, African Librarians under AfLIA as a collective came together to contribute to the global #1Lib1Ref campaign. Between 17th-24th May, 2021, AfLIA launched the second African Librarians Week, where African library and information professionals concertedly provided reliable and factual information to the world through Wikipedia as part of the global #1Lib1Ref campaign.
The week-long virtual campaign engaged the African library community to help fill key gaps in African content on Wikipedia by adding missing references to articles about Africa on the online encyclopedia. This year, we focused on the theme; “Learning in Africa“ - as Africans we recognize that learning takes place within classroom walls and within community created systems and networks that pass on information from one generation to another. The theme encompasses.
At the time of writing this, at least 4,200 references have been added with at least 483 articles created by 241 editors.
This is great and comprehensive. I am happy to be part of this Maiden WikiAfLib Cohort 1. Learning took place and I am proud to be implementing the lessons learnt from the traning.
Long Live AfLIA.
Long Live Wikimedia.
Long Live Wikipedia.
Long Live Librarians.