Capacity building of public librarians in Africa

EIFL training to inspire creation of new public library services that meet community needs

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Newly skilled Zambian public library trainers work on training curricula during a training-of-trainers workshop in Zambia in 2019.

The EIFL Public Library Innovation Programme (EIFL-PLIP) builds the capacity of public librarians to integrate information and communication technology (ICT) into their services. We also partner with the national library authorities in reviewing systems for continued professional development of public librarians, and building skills of local trainers.

The EIFL-PLIP capacity building initiative targets public libraries that already have, or are about to receive, computers and internet connections. The training is designed to enable librarians to engage communities and introduce new services, for example, that meet farmers’ information needs, provide information about local health issues, or to support children’s education

Since 2014, EIFL-PLIP has launched major national capacity building programmes in Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Namibia, Uganda and Zambia.


  • A training programme adapted to local context and needs. The curriculum draws on EIFL’s experience of supporting development of innovative public library services that are being offered by over 300 libraries in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America.
  • A participatory and practical training methodology. Gaps of at least a month between training sessions enable librarians to return to their libraries and practise newly-learnt skills in their daily work.
  • Experienced local and international trainers. EIFL’s trainers include public librarians from Africa who already have experience of integrating digital technology into community development services.
  • A train-the-trainers approach. Working with national library authorities, we identify public librarians who can become trainers in their countries, deepen their knowledge in certain subjects and build their training skills.
  • Support for emerging leadership. We empower young librarians by providing international learning and networking opportunities through the Initiative for Young African Library Innovators (IYALI).  


  • Training skills 
  • ICT skills (basic and advanced, including designing ICT courses for various community groups)
  • Internet Searching and Online Resources 
  • Design Thinking 
  • Planning New Services 
  • Rethinking Library Spaces 
  • Performance & Impact Evaluation 
  • Communication & Advocacy 
  • Facilitating Learning Circles


2014 - ongoing


  • The training has reached all public libraries in Ghana, Kenya, Namibia, Uganda and Zambia that have computers and internet connections, and which offer public access to this technology.
  • From 2014 - 2020, over 2,200 librarians from public libraries that have computers and the internet in Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Namibia Uganda and Zambia and have undergone training.
  • 62 trainers completed our train-the-trainers programme in Kenya, Namibia, Uganda and Zambia and are being deployed in ongoing staff development strategies for public libraries in their countries. See impact evaluation reports for the training of trainers programmes in Kenya and Namibia.
  • 45 young African public librarians from 13 countries have travelled to Europe, Southeast Asia and the USA as part of the EIFL Initiative for Young African Library Innovators (IYALI), bringing home new ideas, which they have implemented in their libraries. 
  • African public librarians who have completed EIFL's capacity building and training-of-trainers programmes regularly join EIFL's virtual 'T-breaks' (knowledge sharing events to connect public library trainers from across the continent).  
  • EIFL-PLIP has produced and tested five microlearning videos for public librarians and public library trainers, each focused on a specific topic.


  • Continue to assess expressions of interest in training partnerships from public library systems in other African countries.
  • Continue to produce micro-learning videos to expand access to EIFL's capacity building programmes for public librarians.


Watch our videos - 

To find out more about EIFL’s capacity building initiative in Africa, contact Ramune Petuchovaite, EIFL-PLIP Manager,

The training has opened my mind and transformed me into a librarian of the 21st century! Now I can retrieve information for people in our community by using search engines, and I can research university libraries online. My work has become more enjoyable because community members can trust me to satisfy their needs.
Elizabeth Wambui, librarian at Meru District Library in Kenya.