Librarians love information. At least at it's core that's how I see librarianship: connecting people and information. Obviously, this takes a lot of different forms, from researching to helping patrons at a reference desk (i.e. answering questions) to cataloging information (making it easier to find). As for me, I enjoy all of it. I sometimes have trouble focusing because I'm thinking of all the ways to make the RTC library better. :)
But lately I am enjoying researching the variety of resources available to African libraries, especially those with small or non-existent budgets. Books and electronic resources are expensive. Especially the resources that are scholarly. Remember, we're not buying more copies of Chicken Soup for the Soul. And, trust me, I used to work in Acquisitions, I know how much things cost. How do small colleges and small libraries in Africa afford to get materials for their students?
Here are a few things I've found so far:
Theological Book Network
Someone working at a library in Rwanda told me about this organization. I love that they only want books from scholarly presses!
Langham Library Grants
A lecturer at RTC told me about this. I plan to get the application printed and filled out. I would love to be able to get even a few new books for the library. The same lecturer told me (while looking at some of the books) that what he sees now are the same books he saw as a student at RTC 10 years ago.
Free Online Religion Resources
This website comes from Yale University. A great collection of websites and resources that are FREE. The principal at RTC keeps asking me about resources for students. I hope we can make use of some of these to help begin teaching students about research. Granted, we'll need to get internet in the library first but at least we have somewhere to start.
One of my professors from graduate school told me about this site. Lots of Bible commentaries, translations, and dictionaries. Not all are free but some are. And once downloaded they don't have to use the internet. I downloaded some to a flash drive so once we have computers I can just install the resources. Again, just a great way to introduce students to using computers for research.
So, we'll see. Obviously, I need to first focus on cataloging the materials we already have. But once a few more things (computers, catalog, internet) are in place, I want to be ready. I love finding ways to help the library that won't cost them a lot of money. What can I say? I love a good bargain, even here in Uganda.