Building strong partnerships in Library Community through the Jay Jordan IFLA/OCLC Early Career Fellowship Program for Continuing Professional Development
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Continuing Professional Development (CPD) largely refers to the process of continuing growth of a professional within the profession. In Library and Information Science fields, there are two views on CPD- the narrow and the broad views. The narrow view posts CPD as the imparting/ acquiring of specific skills and knowledge to deal with specific new developments. It trains Information Professionals (IPs) to handle new trends. The broad view considers CPD as a much extensive process, by which IPs continuously enhance their knowledge and skills to maturity as professionals, persons, development in their work, new roles and responsibilities in a given community (Padwad and Krishna, 2011). The Jay Jordan IFLA/OCLC Early Career Fellowship Program provides early career development and continuing education for library and information science professionals from countries with developing economies. Additionally, the Fellowship Program provides advanced continuing education and exposure to a broad range of issues in information technologies, library operations and global cooperative librarianship. Further, it is jointly sponsored by the IFLA and OCLC. According to OCLC and IFLA websites (2016), up to five individuals are selected every year for participation in this intensive four week Fellowship Program based at OCLC’s headquarters in Dublin, Ohio, USA. With the 2016 class, the program has welcomed eighty (80) librarians and information science professionals from 38 countries (OCLC website, 2016). Although eighty librarians have so far benefited from this program, it is not yet clear how much contribution this program has made on the library community. Therefore the aim of this paper is to establish the impact of the Jay Jordan IFLA/OCLC Early Career Fellowship Program on building strong partnerships among the library and Information professionals and the Library Community. The specific objectives that guided this study were to: establish the knowledge and skills acquired from the IFLA/OCLC Program; examine the contribution of the Jay Jordan IFLA/OCLC Early Career Fellowship Program to strong library communities/partnerships; establish the challenges (if any) faced in sharing the knowledge and skills gained from the program with community where the fellows come from; and propose strategies to overcome the encountered challenges so that acquired knowledge and skills could be effectively shared to benefit the community where fellows come from. Methodology applied included: an online survey to all IFLA/OCLC Fellows (beneficiaries) since inception (2001). Findings were supplemented by reviewing OCLC website where the fellows testify about the program. Qualitative research approach was applied in the study. 2 Beneficiaries include: IFLA/OCLC Fellows, IFLA and OCLC Administrators and the information fraternity at large.