PPTX - African Public Libraries Summit

Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Youth
Sport and Culture, Botswana
• Looks at the evolution of public libraries as
knowledge stimulants within Botswana’s longterm strategy;
• Demonstrates their steady transformation
from conventional print based collections to
value adding catalysts to quality of lives;
• Acknowledges partnerships that have played a
role in retooling skills of public librarians in
Abstract cont…
• Magnifies Sesigo e-public library project,
citing empirical evidence gathered through
impact studies;
• Argues that public libraries’ results and impact
have remained subtle in socioeconomic
progress terms;
• Provides linkage between these connectors of
knowledge showing contribution to national
Development Goals context;
Background: Country Profile
• Botswana is a landlocked, semi-arid country of
582,000 square kilometres, about the same
size as Kenya and France. It shares borders
with Zimbabwe, South Africa, Namibia and
• Preliminary results of the 2011 Population and
Housing Census show that there were 2 038
228 persons enumerated in Botswana during
the 2011 Population and Housing Census,
compared with 1 680 863 enumerated in
• The annual population growth rate between
2001 and 2011 is 1.9 % compared to 2.4 in
Unemployment Rate
• According to the results of the Botswana Core Welfare
Indicators (Poverty) Survey of 2009/10, which were
released in December 2011, the overall unemployment
rate was estimated at 17.8% of the total labour force
compared to 17.5 % as indicated in the 2005/06 Labour
Force Survey.
• Generally unemployment rate decreases with age, as
those aged from 15 to 19 have the highest
unemployment rate at 41.4 % followed by those aged
from 20 to 24 years at 34.0 %.
Poverty Reduction
• Botswana has made commendable strides towards
reducing abject poverty. Results of the Botswana Core
Welfare Indicators (Poverty) Survey of 2009/10 indicate
that the number of individuals falling below the
Botswana Poverty Datum Line declined from 30.6 % of
the population in 2002/03 to 20.7 % in 2009/10.
• The same Survey indicates that the national estimates
for persons living below the internationally comparable
measure of US$1.25 per day dropped from 23.4 % to
6.5% over the same period.
Legal Framework on ICT
• The National Vision 2016 has identified the
importance of information, developing of
efficient information system and networks to
support research, education, development and
communication with the rest of world.
• This is premised on being a Knowledge Society,
which espouses that all people (citizens and other
residents) of Botswana will have easy access to
information to improve their lives at home and
National ICT Policy (Maitlamo) of
• Information about all aspects of the economy, such
as education, health, environment and business, will
be available through the different information
telecommunication, electronic and print media.
• The National ICT Policy (Maitlamo) of 1997 lays out a
clear and compelling national ICT strategy that
addresses key issues with the potential to make the
country more proactive in approaching and
embracing the information age in readiness for
effective participation in the global ICT industry.
Maitlamo Policy cont…
• The policy aims at developing a communications network that
meets high international standards and ensure that the
country has the skills to be a technology leader through the
– The creation of an enabling environment for the growth
of an information and communication technology industry
in the country;
– Provision of universal service and access to information
and communication facilities in the country; and
– Making Botswana a regional information and
communications technology hub so as to make the
country’s technology sector globally competitive.
History of Libraries
• Libraries have always been recognised as an
important platform for advancing the Vision
2016 ideals.
• Information availability would contribute to
the Vision pillar of an “an educated and
informed nation”
• Contributed significantly to the knowledge
production process.
History cont..
• Libraries are currently not autonomous as
they operate under an Act of Parliament of
• Library services responsible for the Public
libraries and educational and special libraries
until 2010 when the specialised libraries were
• Libraries in all major villages and towns.
History cont..
• Decentralisation of specialised libraries have
meant that National Library now focus on
national bibliographic control and legal
• Currently 100 stations, 32 public and
community libraries and 68 village reading
• Mobile
Educated and Informed Nation
• Libraries have contributed significantly to
intellectual nurturance of students, distance
learners and incarcerated distance learners.
Special provision to people with disabilities.
• Programmes such as revision clubs, homework
clubs, creative writing and skills transfer clubs
have supported the formal learning.
• Free access to computers and internet have
resulted in more benefits to communities.
Educated and Informed Nation
• Those on e-learning courses have access to
electronic full text databases and e-resources.
• 1985 National Literacy conference organised
by GoB and Botswana library Association
conceived the Village Reading Rooms concept.
20 VRRs were piloted in 1986.
• SIDA (Swedish) provided initial collections and
storage facilities.
• Schools provided initial shelter and these
were later relocated to facilities provided by
Village Development Committees.
• 68 VRRs have since been built.
• Robert and Sara Family Foundation have
added to the stock of libraries with 8
Community and cultural centres constructed.
• These have transformed service incredibly and
increased access.
Accessible Information
• As at 2009, there were 164 venues which
provided access to information. This includes 27
branch and community libraries, 69 village
reading rooms, 24 Kitsong centres, 48
commercial internet cafes and 6 other kinds of
public access venues.
• This represents 58% access through libraries and
reading rooms with 77% of public access venues
located in urban and peri-urban areas.
Noteworthy is the fact that 52% of libraries are in
rural areas.
Technology Uptake
• While cell phones and radio together
represent 50% of reported daily use, users
placed a disproportionately higher value on
computers and internet as compared to their
actual daily use of these tools.
Sesigo e-Public Libraries Project
• The Sesigo project is a countrywide project aimed
at installing computers and internet in public
libraries to be used for free by the public in
Botswana and is intended to improve their
quality of life.
• Its is a collaboration of the Government of
Botswana through the Ministry of Youth, Sport
and Culture (MYSC), and the Bill and Melinda
Gates Foundation through the African
Comprehensive HIV/AIDS Partnerships (ACHAP).
Project Implementer
• The project is implemented by the Botswana
National Library Service (BNLS), a department
within the Ministry of Youth, Sport and
Culture which is responsible for the
management of the public library system.
Alignment to National Policy
• The project’s objectives are aligned to the
Vision 2016 pillar of “an educated and
informed nation” and the ICT policy of
achieving universal access to ICT.
Client –based Public Service
• Performance Management System compelled
libraries to offer timely delivery of product
and service.
• Youth unemployment has also become a
major issue.
• Investment on this group has become a
principal priority.
Client Based Public Service cont..
• Need to empower future leaders to become
responsible citizens who will transform
Botswana into a more economically stable and
self sustaining country.
• Information needs of the youth have been
captured especially through e-resources
Sesigo Objectives
• The project focuses on key six (6) objectives:
• To enable public access computers and
internet services in public libraries and ensure
they are used by Batswana.
• To empower library staff to be effective library
champions and information workers in the
communities they serve.
Sesigo Objectives cont…
• To build partnerships that strengthen the
library system and information society
programming in libraries.
• To position libraries as strong cultural partners
for preservation of Botswana’s cultural
Needs Assessment Study -2008:
Perceptions and Realities
• Revealed public Libraries are seen as store houses
for books
• Play ground for kids
• A place where one needs to go to loan out a
• A place where newspapers are read for free.
• A place where students use for study purposes,
especially when preparing for exams.
• Provide no access to ICTs
• Libraries not maintained (physically unattractive)
Achievements through Sesigo project
• Public access to computers and internet as a
“quick win” within the e-government strategy.
• All connected sites extend 24/7 free internet
access within radii of 300meters
• Provision of innovative and ICT enabled
services based on free public access has
contributed to positive change in local
Achievements cont…
• Communities have accessed services that are
relevant to their rural economies.
• Development goals in health, agriculture,
employment have significantly been
supported through public libraries.
• Currently low bandwidth at times stifles easy
access to electronic resources.
• Due to vastness of the country, the single
personnel operations in the Village Reading
Rooms experience challenges when it comes to
providing public training on ICTs adequately
aggravated by low levels of literacy.
• There is little participation in professional
professional development and collaboration to be
• Ministry of Transport and Communications, responsible
for the Government Data Network (GDN) has taken a
deliberate move to improve the GDN first in order to
pave way for the e-Governance strategy
implementation and to ease free public access offered
in public libraries.
• MYSC’s partnership with Limkokwing University of
Creative Technology (LUCT) has identified ICT and
graphic designing interns to assist countrywide with
back-up skill to sustain the programme.
Interventions cont…
• In-house collaboration with the Department of Youth
has availed Youth Empowerment Scheme (YES) IT
graduates for attachment to public libraries in order to
offer skills to assist in Basic Computer Literacy
Programme public training in public libraries.
• There is significant dialogue and collaboration among
the BNLS, Botswana Library Association and Botswana
Library Consortium to raise participation profile.
Stakeholders’ engagement through Literary Pitso ya
Ngwao on a development of a reading culture will be
held in October for further consultations.
• Libraries have potential to transform the local
economies in provision of the necessary
information and knowledge transfer.
• Linking libraries to the broader national policy
of e-government and the national Vision of
transforming the country into an educated
and informed nation has ensured that
resources are committed in transforming
• Practitioners in my team will demonstrate
extension services in the form of skills transfer
and other programmes that occur in public
• Through such efforts citizenry and Botswana
should realise the aspiration of being “An
educated and Informed Nation by 2016”.
• Botswana Government.(2004). Maitlamo ICT Policy.
Ministry of Infrastructure, Science and Technology.
• Botswana Government. (2006). Botswana e-Government
Strategy 2011-2016.:Gaborone: MIST
• Botswana Government. (Forthcoming ). Draft National
Library Policy. Gaborone: Ministry of Youth Sport and
• Botswana Government. (2009). National Development Plan
10: (April 2009 – March 2016), Vol. 2. Gaborone: Ministry of
Finance and Development Planning, p. 102
• Sesigo Project (2011). Report on the First Impact Study
2010: Tracking progress and impact after one year of
References cont…
• Botswana Government. (2010). Revised National
Youth Policy. Gaborone: Ministry of Youth Sport
and Culture.
• Saur, K.G. (2001). The public library service:
IFLA/UNESCO guidelines for development.
International Federation of Library Associations
and Institutions. (IFLA Publications 97). ISBN 3598-21827-3
• Botswana Vision Council. (2004). Long-term
vision 2016 for Botswana: Towards prosperity for
all. Gaborone: Botswana Government, p.28-34

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