It is not every day that one has the honor of witnessing the inaugural event of a brand-new continental law library association. On July 1, 2020, we had the privilege of attending the celebratory first meeting of the Association of African Law Library and Information Professionals (AfLLIP) via Zoom.
Oludayo John Bamgbose of Nigeria facilitated the joyful celebration. In his Welcome Address, Bright Avuglah of Ghana emphasized the networking theme of “I Am Because We Are” and mentioned that they had come a long way from a 3-member Whats App group started in February 2018 to a continent-spanning network of legal research professionals. He also thanked the IFLA Law Libraries Section and IALL for their work and support in facilitating and sponsoring network-building workshops for law librarians in Africa. The group will continue to build this network of law librarians and information professionals working in the legal field.
The event featured two keynote speakers:
- Caroline Ilako, Head of the IDA Section, Makerere University, and former member of the IFLA Law Libraries Standing Committee: “Remaining Relevant as a Law Librarian in the Information Age.”
- Joseph Hinger, Assistant Director, Digital Initiatives, LLMC: “Emerging Issues in Law Librarianship in the 21st Century.”
Representatives from the following law library associations brought goodwill messages to AfLLIP:
- Kurt Carroll & Heather Casey, International Association of Law Libraries
- Anne Burnett, Heather Casey & Sonia Poulin, IFLA Law Libraries Section
- Femi Cadmus, American Association of Law Libraries
- Renate Ní Uigín, British and Irish Association of Law Libraries
- Adama Koné, President, Association pour la promotion des sciences de l’information documentaire en Côte d’Ivoire (APSID-CI), Vice President, Association international francophone des bibliothécaires et documentalistes (AIFBD).
In addition, representatives from the following sponsors brought goodwill messages:
- Shannon Hein from Hein
- Joseph Hinger from LLMC
Following the keynote speeches and goodwill messages, Mr. Bambgbose set forth the association’s goals:
- Ensuring diversity and inclusion in their membership, with a special mention of their French-speaking colleagues
- Embarking on a membership drive, with no plans for dues at this time
- Continuing collaboration with sister organizations
- Organizing an in-person meeting on July 1, 2021 at a site to be determined
- Launching an official website within the coming weeks
Throughout the event, AfLLIP’s leaders emphasized their intent to strengthen their ties with national and international law library organizations, including AALL. As we send AfLLIP our congratulations, we know that the FCIL-SIS and other AALL units will not only contribute to but will also be on the receiving end of support from this growing association of networked law library colleagues in Africa.