I remember a time when I was on the Executive of the local library association where it was argued that the library association had no power to tell employers to allow for library exchanges among librarians and library staff. Today, I propose 5 things that a library association can do towards promoting a library exchange programme.
- Present the programme to the members. Make a formal presentation and facilitate members awareness of the benefits of such a programme. Also indicate to members tips for selling the idea to their institutions and employers.
- Insist that members who are seeking or taking new jobs, negotiate this with potential employers at the onset. Librarians can at a job interview with their potential manager/employer ask if they would be allowed to visit other libraries to get ideas and to forge networks for purposes such as inter-library loan and other cooperative initiatives.
- Hold talks with employers, meeting with groups such as Human Resource Managers, associations or federations of employers, trade unionists about the need for fellowship leave for librarians in order to facilitate library visits and exchange programmes.
- Seek out existing fellowships opportunities such as those offered by OCLC or embassies, and promote them to members and employers as opportunities to faciltate international library exchange/visits.
- Set up a Library Exchange and Fellowship Section that seeks to promote this programme and in charge of doing the work mentioned in the previous bulleted items.