Wikimedia R@/Bibliothécaires Project: Strengthening skills in the world of documentation

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Since January 15, 2024, the Wikimedia R@/Bibliothécaires project has been launched with a series of innovative strategies aimed at strengthening the skills of documentation professionals. Among the strategies adopted from the outset of the project, the use of posters placed in documentation centers reached target audiences directly, while press articles were published to inform the public of the activity, which ran from January 15 to March 15.

While the program initially aimed to train 20 people, it was quickly expanded to include some 50 participants in three groups from several countries, including Cameroon, Senegal, Togo and Benin. Considerable effort was put into organizing face-to-face and online training courses for these groups of documentation, book chain and archive professionals, to provide them with the knowledge and skills they need to excel in their field.

Overview of R@/Librarians activity in Group 3

In addition, thanks to the invaluable assistance of Wikipedia librarian and administrator Fabricio Cárdenas, the learners received guidance on how their profession can contribute to Wikimedia projects. This guidance not only strengthened their commitment to these projects, but also boosted their motivation to continue actively contributing. Fabricio Cárdenas provided valuable advice and resources to help participants better understand how their expertise can be used effectively in Wikimedia initiatives. His involvement was essential in enabling documentation professionals to take full advantage of the opportunities offered by Wikimedia projects.

Librarians from various African countries meet Fabricio Cárdenas via videoconference on March 6, 2024.

Particular importance was attached to motivating participants throughout the R@/Bibliothécaires project, offering them proactive guidance and ongoing support. At the end of the project, it became clear that the trained professionals had shared their experience with their colleagues, which had led to increased interest in training. This dynamic testifies to the project’s positive impact on the library community, and underlines the importance of maintaining this momentum to encourage active and ongoing participation in the documentation field.

One of the most remarkable results of the R@/Bibliothécaires project was the request from the Association des Bibliothécaires et Écrivains du Mali for similar training. This request testifies to the positive impact and recognition of the project beyond its initial borders. It also demonstrates the value and relevance of the program, and its ability to meet the needs of documentation professionals in different contexts.

In summary, the Wikimedia R@/Bibliothécaires project has been a success, enhancing the skills of documentation professionals in French-speaking Africa while stimulating a growing interest in contributing to Wikimedia projects. Thanks to its proactive approach, effective collaboration and ongoing commitment, this project has opened up new prospects for professional development and cooperation in the field of documentation in French-speaking Africa.

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