One of the most rewarding aspects of my job at OCLC is managing the IFLA/OCLC Early Career Development Fellowship Program each year. This program promotes librarianship globally and champions rising leaders from countries with developing economies.
Since 2001, we’ve welcomed 80 library and information science professionals from 38 countries, many of whom, after completing the program, go on to serve in leadership roles and have a significant impact on those they serve in their home countries.
As we prepare to name the 17th class of Fellows at the 2016 IFLA World Library and Information Congress, I am remembering so many of the Fellows who participated in the program. We recently re-connected with Rashidah Bolhassan from Malaysia from the very first class for a Skype interview. She is now the CEO of the Sarawak State Library in Malaysia. In the interview, she talks about the challenges of managing the library and how the training she received 15 years ago in the Fellowship program, particularly on the power of collaboration, has served her well in her current role.
Of course the memories that are the freshest in my mind are the phenomenal four weeks with our most recent group, the 2016 Fellows. These Fellows also were truly inspiring.
They visited libraries, explored technology and met leaders in the field throughout their stay. They were energized about what they could accomplish at home. We’re helping these young professionals make breakthroughs in their careers and within their communities, advancing the sharing of knowledge around the world.
Here are some of their thoughts:
“Library cooperation, as I’ve experienced and learned about from OCLC, will go a long way in helping Nigerian libraries meet the information needs of the most populous country in Africa.”
Idowu Adegbilero-Iwari, Systems Librarian/Head, E-Library Services, Elizade University, Nigeria
“Peer-education is the most efficient way to advance in our profession. The importance of sharing ideas and best practices is enormously valuable.”
Željko Dimitrijević, Electronic Resources Librarian, Consortium National Licensing Coordinator, National Library of Serbia
“Libraries in Kenya tend to operate independently. I will host workshops to present what I have learned so that we can join hands and address library issues together.”
Penninah Musangi, Senior Librarian, Karatina University, Kenya
“I now see things from a different point of view. I am a better librarian, ready to overcome challenges faced by Philippine libraries.”
Rhea Jade Nabusan, Acting Library Director, Tarlac College of Agriculture, Philippines
“I knew this Fellowship would be a life changing opportunity and it was! Educating me will help educate Bangladesh.”
Shaharima Parvin, Library Circulation Officer, East West University, Dhaka, Bangladesh
The IFLA/OCLC Fellowship Program provides early career development and continuing education for library and information science professionals from countries with developing economies. It is jointly sponsored by the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) and OCLC.
What career guidance might you share with these rising library professionals? Share on twitter with hashtag #OCLCnext.