Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Zambia Library Association AGM and conference

Soon after Nora left for the States - remember she and Bill went to Cape Town and East London in South Africa visiting friends for a week.  Nora
Nora returned to Lusaka for two nights because her flight originated in Lusaka.  She met Bill briefly in the Johannesburg airport and then both returned on separate airlines to the States arriving in St. Paul within 2 hours of each other - I left for the Zambia Library Association's annual conference and meeting.  We traveled by bus to Lake Kariba and the town of Siavonga.  The lodge is built on a pennisula that juts out into the Lake. Wonderful venue, excellent food - a hearty English breakfast        followed by lunch and dinner in the Zambian style. As you can see from the photo, my room overlooked the  lake.

I watched the full moon rise in the evenings and the fisherfolk return with the night's catch in the early morning.  The conference itself was good with the theme of what contributions librarians can make in a fast changing global world.  Many papers including mine looked at new roles for librarians and information professionals.  I focused on four populations public libraries can serve even in times of limited resources: children, job seekers, use of ICTs and immigrant/emigres.

Once back in Lusaka the new academic term began in earnest.  I lecture in 4 courses, one of graduate students in reference needs, service and sources and two undergraduate courses - school libraries and the introductory course.

The intro course has two sections, one in the mornings and one in the evenings.100+ students in each section makes active learning a challenge.  We have been able to do some team work and some round robin discussions but since active learning strategies are not the norm here, some students are quite confused and others disappointed in the lack of notes they have.  So, to address some of the challenges all my lecture notes are written out, taken to a large container where they are photocopied on demand.

The school libraries is intended for teachers who will likely also be responsible for the secondary school library in the school.  There are 6 male math teachers in this course.  We are looking at information literacy across the curriculum and especially what they can do as math teachers to get kids reading.

Last evening all the LIS lecturers went out dinner and karoke.  We had a really fine time!  It is ironic to me that the gift I was presented with is a clock made of copper and in the shape of Zambia.  Ironic since almost no clock in the School of Education keeps correct time and classes, meetings, etc. never start at the stated time. Regardless, it will be treasured as will the friendships made with colleagues this year. 

I am entering into the in-between times - not home yet but also not staying in Zambia.  It requires some distancing from both here and there.  In some ways a travel time of some 24 hours is good for transistions.

I shall see many of you who are reading the blog, very soon.

-Mary

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