This post comes from our Egypt Country Coordinator, Dr. Amany z. El Ramady, and is a thought piece from her about the challenges she sees for librarians in her country. Of course, we hope that participating in a program such as ours is one of the solutions to professional development issues!
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Although the first Library science department in Egypt was established in 1950 in Cairo University ,Egyptian librarians are still suffering from many problems concerning professional development !
The main problem are as follows:
- The training courses are not held on a regular basis (they are held according to availability of budget)
- The responsible bodies for training are the general central directorates ,either at universities, shools, or in the public sector_who are not aware of the real training needs of each trainee .
- The contents of the training courses are mostly traditional and repeated(there is no coordination between organizers)
- The teaching methods and techniques used are neither creative , nor technological .
- The individual scientific and professional differences among the trainees ,are not taken in accounts.( they give them all the same course level and content )
- The training courses are optional (they do oblige all workers to participate)
- Librarians’ salaries are not sufficient to allow them to join appropriate training courses held by the private sector.
- Many librarians are reluctant to attend courses for many reasons:
- some of them think they are too old to learn.
- most of them think that these courses are useless because they are traditional and repeated
- they think that these courses are useless because attending these courses does favor them any professional advantages ,such as promotion, or raise in salary, etc.
- some are afraid of the exams held at end of the training course .
- They ,in some libraries, are not able to attend because the timing of the training course is inappropriate.
Yet, the scene is not that dark for there are many volunteering efforts that aimed to help Egyptian librarians solve some of these problems! Some of them are the following:
- An integrated three level training course (in 2009-2010),was held at the main library and departmental libraries of faculty of Engineering ,of Alexandria University was held, by volunteering Library science Faculty members ,and post graduate students .This course was proved to be successful , and led to many developments in these libraries .
- An integrated two level training course (in 2010) ,was held at the main library and departmental libraries of faculty of Arts &Humanities ,of Alexandria University was held, by volunteering Library science Faculty members ,and post graduate students. These courses were less successful due to some managerial obstacles, besides the lack of interest of some librarians. But ,in several ways was successful, and led to a few developments in these libraries .
- A free of charge network :” the Arab Network for Librarians Professional Development (ANLPD)” was developed in 2013 ,by some Ph.D. Library Science students at Alexandria University ,and made available in order to support Egyptian and all Arab librarians .
Last but not least, the library science students (the librarians to be) are very well trained to meet the needs of the modern labor market ,which give a glimmer of hope for future!
1-El-Ramady,A.Z.” The role of information technology in facing the challenges of achieving total quality in university libraries in Egypt: A case study of the libraries of Faculty of Engineering at Alexandria University”. Al Ettejahat Al haditha fi El Maktabat wel Maalomat ,January ,2012.
2-Hassan,S.K.,and El Menabbawy,H.M.”The problems facing arab librarians training”.Accessed March 28,2014.