Capacity building of public librarians in Zambia

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

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Three Zambian librarians at training, learning about ICT.
Zambian public librarians participate in EIFL training. The training is part of a national initiative to build capacity of public library staff to enable them to initiate new library services that use technology to meet community needs.

In 2018, EIFL entered into a partnership with the Library and Information Association of Zambia (LIAZ) for a national initiative to build digital technology and professional skills of public library staff to enable them to initiate new public library services that use technology to meet community needs. It also builds librarians’ training capacity so that they can teach community members to use computers and the internet.

The initiative targets 12 public and community libraries in Zambia that are already equipped with computers and the internet. A total of 30 librarians from the 12 libraries are taking part in the training. 

In 2019 EIFL and LIAZ developed a programme to identify and train public librarians to become trainers within Zambia’s network of 45 public libraries.  


Training of trainers

  • Generic training skills - how to plan, organize and conduct training on different subjects.

Digital technology skills

  • Designing ICT training for different user groups, and providing ICT training skills so that public librarians are able to develop digital skills training courses and provide training in their communities.
  • eResources and internet searching, which builds capacity to find and access e-resources, and to use search engines to find reliable and relevant resources.

New services

  • Introducing new library service ideas, including conducting community needs assessment, building action plans, and budgeting.
  • Facilitating learning circles, which builds skills for facilitating small groups of online learners to improve course retention rates.

Impact and advocacy

  • Performance, outcomes and evaluation of library services - collecting and analyzing statistics and other data about the impact of new services.
  • Library communications and advocacy - preparing communications strategies for proposed new services, and advocating for government funding.


2018 - 2020


From February to October 2018, 30 librarians from 12 libraries that had computers and the internet at that time completed the training. An assessment of the impact of the training found that:

  • The training significantly strengthened the librarians’ skills and confidence in the following areas: introducing new services; conducting community needs assessment; communications and advocacy, and training of community members in basic and advanced ICT skills.
  • 67% of trainees said that since the training they had trained their fellow librarians and library users in ICT skills. By just six months after the training, the librarians had trained 500 people (librarians and library users) to use ICT.
  • By just two months after the training, over half of the librarians were seeking new partnerships and support for their libraries.

"I can now assist those who need information online even through their mobile phones, not only computers." – Buster Malambo, Mumuni Lubuto Library.

In May 2019, 11 public librarians completed our train-the-trainers programme and are now being deployed in ongoing staff development in Zambian public and community libraries. An assessment of the impact of the training found that - 

  • By the end of the year, they had already trained 154 librarians.
  • By early 2020 all of the 11 trainers had started new ICT skills training and other ICT-based services in their communities.

"Now I am able to come up with training programmes that cater for community members and conduct these programmes confidently. In 2019 I trained 54 people in my community to use computers." – Constance Chilipa, Solwezi Provincial Library. 


LIAZ is extremely happy to partner with EIFL in this project. Times have changed, computers and the internet have become essential information tools, and Zambian librarians need new skills to use this technology to provide better services.
Velenasi Mwale Munsanje, former President of LIAZ , who is coordinating EIFL's capacity building initiative in Zambia.