Capacity building of public librarians in Ethiopia

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

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Five librarians at a table working together.
Public librarians from Addis Ababa work in small groups during the EIFL training.

In 2015, EIFL entered into a partnership with the Addis Ababa Culture and Tourism Bureau to modernize the operations of 11 public libraries in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital city, by equipping them with computers and internet connections.

The collaboration will also build the capacity of 22 public librarians from the 11 libraries to use the equipment, and integrate it into new services that support young people’s technology skills and information needs.

The training is organized by the EIFL Public Library Innovation Programme (EIFL-PLIP).

EIFL’s partners

The Addis Ababa Culture and Tourism Bureau is funding and organizing purchase, installation and maintenance of computer and internet connections at the 11 public libraries.

The EIFL-PLIP team is working with the Consortium of Ethiopian Academic and Research Libraries (CEARL) to adapt a training curriculum for public librarians piloted in Ghana.


The curriculum includes four modules:

Module 1: Advanced information and communication technology (ICT) skills for public librarians.

Module 2: Internet searching and e-resources.

Module 3: Developing and managing new public library services, including community needs assessment, writing funding proposals, service design, new service implementation and impact assessment.

Module 4: Communications and advocacy for new services.

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.


July 2015 - June 2016.


  • In July 2015, 11 public librarians completed Module 3: Developing and managing new public library services.
  • In November 2015, 11 public librarians completed Module 4: Communications and advocacy for new services.
  • In December 2016, 25 public librarians from 11 public libraries completed Module 1: ICT skills for public librarians. 

What's next for EIFL'S Ethiopia capacity building initiative?

  • EIFL and partners are preparing to conduct internet searching and e-resources training (Module 2).
  • EIFL will invite public libraries that took part in the training to apply for small grants to develop and implement new services using ICT. The grants will provide trainees with the opportunity to use their new skills.


The Addis Ababa training is EIFL’s fourth major national public library capacity building initiative for public librarians in Africa. It follows successful piloting of similar initiatives in Ghana, Kenya and Uganda.

Read EIFL-PLIP Impact Manager Ugne Lipeikaite’s blog about EIFL’s Africa capacity building initiative.

Before I did not know that librarians could go to the community and solve particular problems, and create projects based on their problems and needs. Now I have more experience.
Addis Ababa librarian