On December 6 & 7, 2016, IFLA’s Law Library Section in cooperation with the International Association of Law Libraries (IALL) and William S. Hein & Co., organized a workshop on Open Access to Legal Knowledge, in Kampala, Uganda. The Workshop was directed to law librarians in Anglophone Africa. The workshop aimed to increase awareness of the value of legal information in societies, the importance of law libraries in African countries, and promote communication, collaboration, fundraising and library advocacy practice in this region, thus increasing regional capacity and leadership.

Thirty librarians from Uganda, Ghana, Kenya, Côte d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, and South Africa participated in the Workshop. During two days six speakers from the United States, Canada, Uganda and Norway, covered diverse topics on access to legal sources and information in Africa, including open access to legal sources, collection development, cataloging and acquisition of legal materials, African legal materials, legal research skills, public legal education and information, and professional development and networking.

The speakers and facilitators of the different sessions included Heather Casey (Georgetown University, USA), Mark Engsberg (Emory University, USA) and Joseph Hinger (St. Johns’s University, USA), Caroline Ilako (Makarere University, Uganda), Sonia Poulin (Alberta Law Libraries, Canada) and Bård Tuseth (University of Oslo, Norway).  At the same time, law librarians from the different Anglophone African countries provided information on access to legal information in their specific countries.

The workshop offered a method to build a network of law librarians across Africa to share knowledge and assist each other in solving practical legal research questions. In addition, it provided an overview of open access legal sources worldwide, the practical skills required to benefit from them, and an opportunity to establish contact with colleagues from different countries. 

As a result of the workshop (1) a virtual collaboration network was created hosted through Google Groups ([email protected]) to engage law librarians in the region in virtual collaboration; (2) a website hosted through Google Sites (https://sites.google.com/view/africanlawlibrarians/home) where slides and presentations from the workshop were uploaded; (3) a WhatsApp group for commentary and discussion amongst participants on topics related to librarianship.

Link to the full report of the Workshop Open Access to Legal Knowledge Workshop (January 2017) – (Resumen en Español)

Link to Workshop presentations on African Law Librarians site.