On Wednesday, May 22, Dr. Elsie Okobi, a CADFP Fellow, paid a courtesy call to the offices of the Vice President for Academic Affairs & Provost. Dr. Okobi was accompanied by Dr. Carlos Wong-Martinez, University Librarian, and Mr. Benson Ali, Digital Services Head and they had very substantive and fruitful engagements with Provost Kah.
Coincidentally, Provost Kah had met Dr. Okobi in her previous visit to AUN in 2008 during his tenure as Founding Dean, School of IT & Computing. They pleasantly acknowledged the significant progress experienced at AUN’s learning community and delighted that they are meeting again 10 years after their first meeting. During their exchanges, they reminisced about their common acquaintances, including the founding AUN University Librarian, Martha Speirs, and experiences when they collaborated in previous years. In addition, Dr. Okobi intimated the Provost, that the CADFP program is open to all disciplines and could place a Fellow for longer-term stays, i.e. few months to a semester or even a year.
According to Provost Kah, AUN Library hosted her first CADFP fellow in 2008 and this year, after 10 years, a CADFP fellow returns to AUN to support our efforts to update and strengthen the capacities and skills of our Library staff. Provost Kah went on to convey on behalf of the University, his appreciation to the leadership of CADFP for their continuing support to AUN. He continued, this support facilitated for us to host again a Fellow to support our Library staff with newest competencies in the general domain of Digital Information Services, such as Digital Reference Service; Information Literacy; Content Management and Open Education Resources (OER).
Provost Kah requested the support of the CADFP Fellow to incorporate in her training and engagements with our staff to develop and strengthen our archiving of AUN’s important historical artifacts and unique resources of significance utilizing both traditional and digital approaches.
During his exchanges with the Fellow and our University Librarian, Dr. Carlos Wong-Martinez, he intimated to the Fellow, AUN has lost a lot of its earlier memories and we want to do a better job to preserve the remaining and important items (documents, photos, videos, etc.) and to institutionalize best practices for archiving institutional artifacts and important memories and house them in the University Library for public access. Provost Kah also underscored that AUN Library should compile, organize, and catalog the history of the institution as it evolves. He solicits the Fellow’s experience and expertise to be shared with our University Library staff attending the Fellows training.
Finally, The Provost lamented that libraries in African Universities, Schools and tertiary institutions and African communities, in general, are underfunded, do not have adequate learning resources and sadly, do not form a part of the fabric and culture of our societies. This must change he asserted. And, will require our collective commitment and African governments, policymakers and philanthropy support to address the decaying library infrastructure and/or lack thereof across Africa. All present agreed that we must work collectively to elevate the status and required infrastructure of the library institutions across Africa.
Once again, Provost Kah expressed on behalf of the American University of Nigeria, the appreciation and gratitude to the leadership of The Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program (CADFP) for their support to AUN and also convey appreciation to the many Fellows from the Diaspora serving across African Universities to strengthen capacity and quality. He looks forward to receiving many more CADFP fellows in a diversity of disciplines.