Under the framework of the Inter-University Cooperation Project, the development of capacity building for FLP librarians is given priority along with the establishment of an E-library.
In this context, the Inter-University Cooperation Project Laos-Luxembourg cooperated with the Electronic Information for Libraries in Thailand (EIFL-Thailand) to support strengthening capacity building for FLP librarians at the Faculty of Law and Political Science of the National University of Laos (FLP NUOL). The training was held at the library of the Faculty of Law and Political Science from 24 April – 19 May 2023. The aim of the collaboration with EIFL-Thailand is to transform the FLP library into a well-run facility with knowledgeable librarians.
This 4-week training was led by the EILF experts Mrs. Suratsawadi Ditsakul and Ms. Sompong Oudomdet, Thai experts who have long-standing experiences working in academic libraries. The training was devoted to FLP librarians including Mr. Kherngkham Syhalard (Head of the Library), Ms. Symueng Syvongdaow (Deputy head of the library), Mr. Sungkhone Niyomkham (Head of Library IT), Ms. Khamphpunthone Phenfprachan, Ms. Sirixay Souliyavongsa, and Ms. Somphien Vunpaserd. The main purpose of the training is to improve the management of the FLP library, in particular, to ensure the proper registering, and cataloging to accompany the extensive acquisition of new textbooks supported by our project as well as the accessibility of the acquired materials and to enhance the library environment.
During the first week of training, Thai experts and FLP librarians collaborated to discuss and brainstorm ideas to improve the FLP library. Their focus was on addressing urgent issues that needed attention. The EILF experts showed a video showcasing four libraries: Thammasat Library, Chulalongkorn Library, Bangkok Library, and Orchard Library in Singapore to show best practices and inspire ideas for the development of the FLP library. FLP librarians had the chance to visit two libraries in person during the same week. These included the central library of the National University of Laos and the National Library of Laos. The visit was led by Ms. Paulina Baschton (Liaison Officer of Uni.lu), along with the two EILF experts, Mr. Patthanaphone Nammalath (Uni.lu’s Project Assistant), and 5 FLP librarians. The librarians from both places warmly welcomed the visits. On the final day of the first week, FLP librarians were given the opportunity to share the ideas they gained during the library visits and discuss with the experts how to apply them to the development of the FLP Library.
In the second week, the FLP librarians underwent a skills training session using “Canva”, which was conducted by Mr. Sungkhone Niyomkham, the Head of Library IT. This activity aimed to equip the library staff with the skills to independently create posters, logos, and public relations signs for the library as and when required. Furthermore, the EILF experts studied the library user survey made in 2022 to analyze feedback from students who use the library regularly. They recommended making improvements based on the suggestions provided by these students. This week, the library staff began implementing the recommended library improvement plan. They replaced the old meeting room booking whiteboard with a new computer screen and renovated the rattan table set to provide better reception for library visitors.
The third week of the training focused on the library improvement tasks with support from the EILF experts. Many tasks have been done within this week. Particularly, the shoe cabinet at the entrance of the library has been improved, old books were removed from the library to use the space for organizing journals and foreign books that are useful to students in their thesis writing, and most importantly, based on the recommended rotation schedule for the EILF experts library staff now regularly provides support to students in the dedicated thesis room.
During the last week of training, the FLP librarians were provided with two capacity building presentations on human resource management and customer service skills. The EILF experts believed that these topics would most effectively improve the librarians’ hard and soft skills. In this context the EILF experts suggested a duty sheet model for work management at the FLP library. The details were shared with Ms. Symueng Syvongdaow, the Deputy Head of the library, and included a journal registration form, duty schedule for organizing books, journals, and theses, as well as a work rotation schedule.
During the final day of the training, the EIFL experts presented the results of the 4-week training and made recommendations for further library development. Some of the recommendations included improving service to receive more positive feedback from students, urgently resolving all library feedback, and encouraging students to use the E-library more. The head of the library also gave a brief presentation, stating that the overall result was satisfactory for all FLP Librarians. They expressed a strong commitment to applying the lessons learned in future library development.
The training provided to librarians has made a significant contribution to the FLP library. It has helped to strengthen the knowledge of all library staff in the field of librarianship. The project has achieved great success in library training, and it will continue to support the training of library staff and provide essential materials for the library. This will help enhance the potential of the FLP library and make it a place of advanced technology and progress.