Library of Congress West Africa Acquisitions Project

2015 Regional Meeting of Country Coordinators

A regional workshop of the West African Acquisitions Project (WAAP) of the Library of Congress took place February 9th and 10th, 2015, at WARC in Dakar, Senegal. The workshop was attended by 10 of the 11 country coordinators (Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Benin, Guinea-Conakry, Niger, Senegal, Mali, Gambia, Togo and Chad). The Coordinator for Sierra Leone was unable to attend due to travel restrictions related to the Ebola crisis. Dr. Jennifer Yanco, Director of WARA also participated in the workshop, as did Amadou Dieng, Project Assistant, and Abdoulaye Niang, who is charged with the financial management of the project.

The purpose of the workshop was to conducFeb 2015 LOC wkshpt an evaluation of the project after four years of operation, our first (and only, to date) meeting having taken place at the outset of the project in February 2011. The specific objectives of the workshop were to

  • identify strengths and weaknesses of the project
  • articulate specific areas for improvement, and
  • make the necessary adjustments

This meeting between the coordinators permitted direct  in-depth discussions of a number of issues.

The Director of WARA conveyed the greetings and encouragement of Mrs. Angela Kinney and her team at the Library of Congress, as well as those of Christopher Tuttle, CAORC Director and Dr. Mary Ellen Lane, former director of CAORC.

Mr. Mbaye opened the meetings by thanking all concerned and by urging coordinators to consider the many laudatory remark as motivation for greater performance. After recalling the importance of the project, which gives better visibility to the region and provides researchers access to materials reflecting the life of societies inhabiting the West African sub-region, Mr. Mbaye noted his desire to see the project expand to Lusophone countries such as Guinea-Bissau and Cabo Verde.

After a comprehensive annotated presentation of statistics relating on the first four years of collection for the project, including information on general trends in the collection, country coordinators engaged in in-depth discussions of the kinds of collection challenges they face in their various countries. These discussions paved the way for a number of decisions regarding collection procedures, protocols for descriptive materials, shipping procedures, special issues posed by official documents, methods of financing collection and shipping, and the importance to the project of having more regular in-person meetings.

Training Seminar for Country Coordinators

From February 1st through 3rd, 2011, the West African Research Center hosted a training workshop for the coordinators from ten West African nations in charge of implementing the US Library of ConLoC WARAgress West Africa Acquisitions Project. The project, overseen by the Council of American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC), is being implemented by the West African Research Association (WARA) and the West African Research Center (WARC).

The event, which was officially opened on February 1 by the Senegalese minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, was attended by various officials including the Rector of University Cheikh Anta Diop; the Director of CAORC, Dr. Mary Ellen Lane; Robin Diallo, Public Affairs Officer of the US Embassy in Senegal; Mary Jane Deeb, Chief of the Africa and Middle East Division of the Library of Congress; and the Directors of WARA and WARC. Also in attendance was Mr. Babacar Ndiaye, Director of the Senegalese National Archives.

The workshop brought together archivists from Chad, Niger, Mali, Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea Conakry, the Gambia, Togo, Mauritania, and Burkina Faso. Led by Mary Jane Deeb of the Library of Congress, the training focused on guidelines for collection.