Malawi is a state in South-East-Africa and it is one of the poorest countries in the world. The majority of the populace has to get by with less than 1 US Dollar per day. Since 1995 Malawi offers free primary school classes, so today nearly 80% of children in a school ready age attend classes. There are four universities in Malawi.
We are pleased to present you the first African article in our LibWorld series, it is written by Kondwani Wella. He is a Mathematics with Computer Science student at Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen and graduate in Mathematics Education (BEd) and Computer Science (Postgraduate Diploma) from University of Malawi.
His blog “This is Wella, K Speaking” is a forum for librarians and information professionals.
Blogging in Malawi
Blogging in Malawi is in its infancy. In fact, it is just beginning. In 2006, the Malawi Library and Information Consortium formed a Technology Research Group. At the first meeting of the group blogging was introduced to librarians who attended the event. Whether the enthusiasm that ensued would translate into blogs was yet to be seen.
The birth of two library blogs!
I organised the blogging session because I had been trained by eIFL. I am always excited with technology and blogging was equally exciting to me. I started my blog (http://kwella.blogspot.com) in. After the workshop another library blogger came on the scene. Steve Phalula, an enthusiastic Librarian working with the Malawi National Library Service had heard about blogs and was struggling to create one.
Aside: In Malawi, the Public Library is called Malawi National Library Service. I have discovered that this is the opposite in the UK. The National Archives is what UK calls National Library.
Back to my story. Steve created http://phalulamoyo.blogspot.com. Steve’s blog is exciting as it has a wide coverage of issues. Within it are posts that promote the mission of the National Library.
Library Blogs in Malawi have a promising future. You can tell this when you look at non-library blogs. Soyapi Mumba’s Blog discussing IT developments, William Kamkwamba (http://williamkamkwamba.typepad.com/) discussing general technology issues and Mike Mckay (http://www.vdomck.org/) on a wide range of issues. There are many examples of successful blogs in Malawi that could be cited here. With these examples it would appear that it is only Librarians that are lagging behind. I would say, No. There are others sectors lagging behind as well. However, Librarians can benefit more if they use blogs.
The next step for Librarians in Malawi is to organise another workshop. The workshop will showcase the blogs that are born since the last workshop and then discuss about adding value to the blogs. To add value the blogs will use RSS and IM.
RSS feeds will be an important feature if the blogs will be used for current awareness. Members of the libraries will only have to subscribe to the RSS feeds and get information on new developments in their library on their desktop.
In conclusion blogs in Malawi Libraries have come to stay and will revolutionalise service delivery.