Strengthening public library training in Namibia

EIFL and Namibia Library and Archives Service partner to strengthen public library services

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Librarians learning internet and e-resources skills during a workshop in Namibia.
Namibian public librarians learn e-resources and internet searching skills during a workshop organized by EIFL and the Namibia Library and Archives Service in November 2018.

From 2018 to 2020 EIFL and Namibia Library and Archives Service (NLAS) worked together to strengthen continuous professional development of public librarians in Namibia.

NLAS manages a network of 66 public libraries, with over 260 staff members. Currently, 60 public libraries are offering free access to computers, and 57 are also providing free access to the internet in their communities. The goal of the partnership was to ensure technology available in public libraries is used to full potential in new services that respond to community needs.


Training of trainers

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

Digital technology skills

  • Designing ICT training for different user groups, and 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.
  • Design thinking for libraries, in which librarians learn about human-centred design, an approach that organizes library spaces and develops library services that can be adapted to suit different community needs and contexts.
  • Re-thinking Library spaces, in which librarians learn how to modernize and make more attractive library spaces.

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.

During the programme, the trainers practised and tested their training skills through cascade training workshops for other librarians in the NLAS network. The cascade training was mentored by EIFL trainers.

“Most of the time when we want to train our librarians we have to get somebody from outside - external trainers to capacitate our librarians. But with this programme we will have experts locally.” - Namutenya Hamwaalwa, Deputy Director, NLAS


  • Assess training needs of the librarians in the NLAS network.
  • Select, train,and coach public librarians to become trainers within the NLAS network.
  • Cascade training, during which NLAS trainers pass on their knowledge and skills to other NLAS librarians.
  • Assess the impact of the training of trainers and cascade training.
  • Develop a plan for continuous capacity building of Namibia’s public library network, deploying local trainers to conduct training.


2018 to 2020


Sixteen NLAS public librarians completed the train-the-trainers programme, and are now available for deployment in ongoing staff development within the NLAS network of public libraries. Impact evaluation showed that the public librarians - 

  • Significantly improved their training abilities, especially competence to run training events. 
  • Improved their ICT skills, especially in the area of training communities to use ICT.
  • Increased their knowledge and competence in the subjects, library spaces, design thinking, leadership, community needs assessment, communications and advocacy. About half of the trainers felt fully confident and half felt that they had some knowledge in areas related to project management. 
  • Were more proficient and confident in performing their daily tasks, and were integrating learnings and leadership, management and computer skills into their work.
  • Were more trusted by senior management, and given more responsibility in their work.

Read the final evaluation report of the training

“There is new energy and spirit in our libraries as a result of the EIFL-NLAS partnership.” -  Aletta Dunn, Chief Librarian for Public Libraries under the NLAS,