Europe, Middle East and Africa

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Plenary Sessions

Monday 24th February

Plenary Session 1: Working Collaboratively - challenges for the global library community


What makes cooperatives and community good models for innovation and creativity?  This session explores how the challenges we face in the 21st century lend themselves to a collective response. 


Charles Leadbeater: The Frugal Innovator - solutions for the 21st Century

The world faces unprecedented innovation challenges.  Lacklustre growth in the developed world.  Exploding demand among poorer consumers in the developing world. Growing constraints on resources, especially water and energy, driven in part by climate change. Charles Leadbeater argues that we need a new approach to innovation to cope with these challenges, a frugal approach which helps us to live more successfully by husbanding resources. In this talk he will lay out the ideas in his new book The Frugal Innovator, looking at the characteristics of innovations that will provide solutions to the challenges of the 21st century. They will be lean, simple, social and clean, wherever possible reusing and recycling resources, adapting proven technologies and providing shared solutions. Leadbeater will look at the future of libraries and knowledge sharing in the context of these challenges and the need for frugal innovation, arguing that many of the principles that libraries stand for - simple, open, shared use of recycled material, will be even more important in the years to come.


Skip Prichard: Meeting the innovation challenge…cooperatively

The OCLC cooperative has been a model of frugal innovation since its inception more than four decades ago. Working together, librarians have built the world’s largest database of cultural heritage holdings in a cost-effective, efficient manner. This history is impressive, but what of the future? Skip will look at OCLC in Charles’s context: what else can we do cooperatively as a library community to improve our service? What is OCLC’s role in engendering even greater efficiencies in furthering access to the world’s information? Given the complexities of the environments in which we operate, how can we work together to create and implement lean, simple, and social tools that will enable our users to be successful in their endeavors? Skip believes that the library community is ready and eager to face the innovation challenge.

Plenary Session 2: South African Libraries Spotlight


Facilitated by Ellen Tise, University of Stellenbosch

The EMEA Regional Council invited South African librarians to submit their proposals for a lightning talk on the theme: "If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together".  We wanted to hear about projects or programs in the South African library community that reflected the idea that we can achieve more when we act in unison, than when we act alone as individual institutions.  This session will unveil the best stories of collaboration from the region and we will be rewarding the talk voted by the audience, as the most engaging with a prize.


John Tsebe: The Role of National Libraries in Collaboration: National, Regional and Global Perspective

The importance of collaboration and partnerships will be presented from a National Library perspective. An overview will be given of national, regional and global initiatives. National Libraries play a significant role in building relationships among library professionals and the profession in their respective countries. A future partnership model for National Libraries in global cooperative will be discussed.

Tuesday 25th February

Plenary Session 3: Library Community in Action 


In our final session of the Meeting we will explore two very real, but very different examples of our  ‘library community in action”.   The first half of the session, addresses the challenge of innovation, how by working together as a community we ensure that our users who are out on the web are continuing to find us, connect with us,  and our valuable collections.  In the second half of the session we look at the challenge of protecting and preserving our cultural heritage.  We will hear how a community of librarians from Mali, mobilised after civil unrest to protect a huge and priceless collection of manuscripts from the threat of destruction.


Richard Wallis and Ted Fons: Collective Impact and the Power of Shared Data

As the web has enabled ubiquitous and instantaneous discovery of information, library users expect to find material online.  Libraries must aggregate their data to be more relevant on the web; it's not enough to have collections accessible only through an online catalogue, we need to weave library data throughout the web.  This talk will demonstrate why we must use the latest ideas and technologies to make our shared library data consumable by library web services and rethink the model of shared cataloguing--to move away from record management to the management of entities that can be recognised and consumed on the web. 

Stephanie Diakité: The story of the Timbuktu Archives

Over the past 1000 years an important global legacy has developed, the literate culture of Africa, which is symbolised by the extraordinary richness of historical manuscripts that still survive, often precariously, in the Niger valley and its desert Hinterland.

In 2012, when Mali was thrust into a sociopolitical and cultural crisis that resulted in the annexing of the northern regions of Timbuktu, Stephanie Diakité and Abdel Kader Haidara undertook a vast and secret operation to safeguard the hundreds of thousands of manuscripts of Timbuktu in collaboration with the members of SAVAMA DCI. Many of the members, like Abdel Kader, are direct descendants of the ancient scholars of Timbuktu whose work they curate in their family libraries.

Stephanie will recount the compelling story of how more than 300,000 manuscripts were brought to safety in the south of Mali under harrowing conditions of socio-political unrest in the south and warfare in the north.

Stephanie and Abdel Kader began T160K - the Timbuktu Libraries in Exile Knowledge, to support the safeguarding of the manuscripts until they can be returned to their home in Timbuktu.  T160K successfully implemented an Indiegogo crowd sourcing activity to raise funds for urgent conservation work in the corpus of evacuated manuscripts which were previously always stored in the dry Sahara desert, but which are now subject to exposure to significant humidity in the south of Mali. 

We are a worldwide library cooperative, owned, governed and sustained by members since 1967. Our public purpose is a statement of commitment to each other—that we will work together to improve access to the information held in libraries around the globe, and find ways to reduce costs for libraries through collaboration. Learn more »