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International Relations Committee at 2012 ALA Annual

LITA International Relations Committee

2012 ALA Annual Conference

Saturday, June 23, 2012 4:00-5:30 p.m.


Attendees:  Jason Battles (Chair), Mark Dehmlow (Notre Dame), Melissa Lament (SDSU), Karen Starr (Board Liaison), Evviva Weinraub (Oregon State). Guest: Eva Kaplan (Maria’s Libraries).

1. Eva Kaplan of Maria’s Libraries (http://mariaslibraries.org) discussed her non-profit organization and their work in building libraries in Kenya.

  • They are looking for guidance on networking libraries, resource sharing, mobile development, and wireless mesh technology. They are also looking into how best to build both individual and group learning spaces with technology.

With resource sharing in a low bandwidth environment, they are looking for solutions that incorporate social media components like Facebook and file sharing similar to Dropbox.

  • One of their initial projects, focuses on providing agricultural information for small scale farming that has relevance to each and every community they are looking to serve.
  • Education programs are also a priority. This effort includes disseminating via libraries practical information of the impact of Kenya’s new constitution on individuals. Cultural preservation is an important part of their efforts and they hope the libraries can take a greater role in safeguarding these resources.
  • They are already pursuing improved mobile accessibility and tablet content. Mark suggested Maria’s Libraries consider responsive design approaches and generic publication formats to deliver their content.
  • Overall they are seeking guidance from librarians on how to proceed with some of their initiatives in Kenya. The LITA-IR committee will continue to work with Eva and Maria’s Libraries and reach out to our LITA and ALA colleagues to build connections that will help in their efforts.

Karen recommended other organizations that could help: ALA’s International Round Table, IFLA’s Africa Section, Beyond Access (http://www.beyondaccess.net), and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. She also suggested leveraging the Emerging Leaders tool to collect skill set information from interested library colleagues.


2. The committee discussed the best ways to create a sustainable online resource of international library technology projects.

  • Mark suggested reaching out to national libraries across the globe and perhaps the European Automation Libraries in particular.
  • Melissa mentioned REFORMA (http://www.reforma.org) as another source.
  • Evviva recommended tapping other international groups like the IRRT sister libraries, ACRL, the UN Libraries, and even international educational organizations.


3. Evviva presented an idea for a committee-sponsored program at the 2013 ALA Annual conference.

  • With limitations on LITA programs for 2013 ALA Annual, it was agreed that the committee should consider a joint proposal with other LITA or ALA committees or IG.
  • The suggested topic for our 2013 program is “big data” and specifically how librarians in northern Europe are successfully tackling the growing need to handle and preserve large data sets. 
  • The next step is to engage the new LITA IR committee members and drafting a proposal for submission.