Association of College & Research Libraries

The team approach to library consulting in a developing country

By Carolyn A. Snyder, Larry W. Griffin, Andrea Singer, and Roger Beekman Indiana University Libraries

This article summarizes the experience to date of four Indiana University (I.U.) library faculty members who are involved in a team consultation for library development at the University of Indonesia, Jakarta, Indonesia (U.I.). Their project is part of the Midwest Universities Consortium for International Activities (MUCIA)/World Bank IX Education Project.

The availability of positions in the MUCIA/Indonesia World Bank IX Education Project was first publicized at Indiana University in February 1984. The project includes three Indonesian Universities: 1) University of Indonesia, Jakarta; 2) University of Andalas, Padang, and 3) Gadjah Mada University, Yogyarkarta. This World Bank supported contract is primarily for the upgrading of faculty and departments in science, math, engineering, agricultural science, and economics, and includes two major aspects: 1) faculty in a number of disciplines are sent to Indonesia to work with the Indonesian faculty in curriculum development, departmental organization, and research development, and 2) students are sent to the United States and to other countries for further education. Among the re quests for faculty in many fields was a request for two librarians for a total of two years to work with the development of the library system and its computerization at the University of Indonesia.

The University of Indonesia was established in 1946 and was built upon the Schools of Medicine and Law that predated its founding by five to ten years. In 1982-83 there were 15,000 students with 90 percent baccalaureate. There are 11 Faculties (or colleges) including Graduate Faculty. It is planned that the entire University will move to a new campus in Depok, 20 kilometers from Jakarta.

Four I.U. Librarians decided to prepare a team proposal for the library development, since no one person could meet the exact time periods re quested, and there appeared to be many advantages to the team approach. On March 22, the group indicated in writing to the MUCIA Board of Directors our intention to prepare the proposal, outlining the basic approach to be taken. On April 27 a more detailed proposal was submitted which was approved by the MUCIA Board on May 24 and forwarded to the University of Indonesia. In late July, the proposal was authorized by University of Indonesia officials. This initiative was welcomed by project administrators, because on a practical level there would be more expertise for the funds invested.

The team approach is especially advantageous in developing countries in which libraries are at a point at which most areas of the library are under development at the same time. For example, at U.I. not only was a library system being organized but major developments in technical services, automation, and staff development were occurring. Thus, the situation at U.I. was one in which expertise in all areas of librarianship was required. Moreover, development had to occur over a long period of time and the team approach provided a greater degree of continuity and coordination than having a number of experts consulted for short term specific areas over a period of two years. The team approach, therefore, appeared to be the most practical from both the point of view of the University of Indonesia and the consultants. Specific planning for work in that University environment began immediately, three months before the first consultant left for Indonesia.

The proposal was that Carolyn Snyder, associate dean for public services at I.U., would go to U.I. for one month to gather information and to pro pose the specific assignments for the other consultants. The four consultants began immediately to gather and share information about Indonesian culture, politics, the economic situation and the libraries. Language tapes were secured through the MUCIA representative at I.U. and the consultants began learning Bahasa Indonesian. Contacts with the East Asian Studies Program and the International Affairs Office at I.U. led to other information and personal contacts with Indonesians on campus. All of this information was valuable in preparing the team for their assignment in Indonesia. Little written information about the U.I. libraries was available in English prior to Snyder’s visit. However, during her visit in November and December 1984, several library planning and statistical documents were translated.

When Snyder arrived, the following terms of reference prepared by university administrators and librarians was presented for her consultancy:

1) To gain insight in the University of Indonesia’s libraries by a. investigating the existing conditions of these libraries;

b. studying the outline of the desired system to be developed at University of Indonesia.

2) To aid in the design of a University Library’s Masterplan at University of Indonesia, including all aspects of organization, administration, man power, funds, building, equipment, facilities, materials, automation covering the period 1985-1990.

3) To design an automated library system that fits into the Masterplan and into its scheduled stages. To identify those areas that can be already automated even before the campus moves to Depok.

4) To meet and hold discussions regularly with the University of Indonesia’s Library Development Team, and other relevant parties if necessary, in order

a. to identify problems brought about by moving the campus to Depok, especially those related to the library field;

b. to decide what steps or measures need to be taken in implementing the planned University Library system.

5) To draw a final report containing

a. a plan of action;

b. recommendations pertaining to points 2 and 3;

c. specific project proposals to be conducted during the period 1985-1990.

In addition, she learned that there is no central library at U.I. There are 18 faculty and institute libraries each reporting to a dean or director. There was neither a position of director of the libraries nor a library system. The coordination of library planning was occurring at the level of the Assistant to the Vice Rector for Academic Affairs.

Snyder’s assessment is that the libraries of the University of Indonesia are at a critical point in their development. The decisions made about the shape of the library system and the new Central Library at the Depok Campus and the funding provided during the next five years are key to the quality of the library system for decades to come. In the design of the University of Indonesia’s masterplan for library development, Snyder recommended that five major areas require priority attention. They are 1) organizational configuration, 2) collection development, 3) personnel development, 4) automation, and 5) planning for physics facilities. Assignments for the other consultants were made, giving highest priority to these areas but also including other categories outlined in the report such as user education. A major recommendation of the Snyder report was the need for the appointment of a head of the libraries. This was implemented prior to the arrival in April of Larry Griffin. Another immediate recommendation was the need to add a building consultant to the team and for that person to go to U.I. as soon as possible, because planning of the new Central Library was scheduled for completion in the next two months. Donald Kelsey, University of Minnesota, a library building specialist, was added to the team. Kelsey spent three weeks in January and February 1985 at U.I. working with a team of librarians and architects who were writing a building program.

The head of the U.L Computer Center re quested a report from a library computerization specialist to include information relevant to software packages which could run on hardware available at U.I. and information about other major factors relevant to library computerization. Lawrence A. Woods, assistant director for automation and coordinator of technical services at the University of Notre Dame, was employed in the United States to gather information and prepare the report.

Larry Griffin, head of interlibrary services at Indiana University Libraries, arrived on April 1 for a six-month period. His assignments included work with the appropriate administrators and librarians in the development of the library system, follow-up to the Kelsey building program with detailed planning in the equipment area, exploration of technology and other computerization applications, location of other funding sources for the libraries, personnel development, and development of a plan for the organization of cataloging and acquisitions on the Depok Campus.

U.I. meets I. U.: Librarians Yanty Goenawan (Indonesia) and Larry Griffin (Indiana) in the University of Indonesia Central Library Office.

Andrea Singer, Government Publications, and Roger Beckman, head of the Optometry Library, Indiana University Libraries, arrived on May 1 to share one full-time position for a one-year period. Their assignments include work in the development of the library system, collection development, personnel development, user education, and reference services.

Snyder, the team leader, returned to Indonesia for a one-month period in July and August 1985 to review the progress made and to recommend future assignments for the consultants. This article was prepared during this visit and is the assessment of the four team members present in Indonesia in August 1985.

The return visit in July-August 1985 of team leader Carolyn Snyder was important. The three consultants who arrived in April and May had gathered considerable information about the developing library system that indicated it was time to focus more sharply on problems and issues at hand. It was clear that changes in administration, shifts in thinking, progress in development of the library system, and reports done by the consultants had all contributed to a re-sorting of priorities. For example, during this period a new Minister of Edu cation was appointed, the position of university rector became vacant, a new director of planning for the Depok Campus was appointed, and a new head of libraries was appointed. Each of these changes had an impact on the development of the library system and what should and could be accomplished during the remainder of the consultancy period. As in any library system constant re assessment of priorities is necessary.

The team approach to an international consulting project of this magnitude has many positive aspects. To provide substantive information and ad vice in all of the areas of librarianship in the terms of reference for this library development project, persons with a variety of library experience and educational backgrounds are needed. The original team brought to the project experience in virtually all areas of librarianship. Collectively the team has a wide range of skills.

The flexibility to add building and computerization specialists brought to the project highly specialized library expertise at points when it was needed. The involvement of several individuals over a greater period than any one individual could remain in Indonesia has also provided a much longer consultancy period. Further continuity has been possible because of the continuing interest of the team while they are in the United States. For example, after Snyder returned from her visit the team began meeting weekly, so that Snyder could share in detail the information she gained during her visit and so that planning could be done for the other librarians’ consultancies. This allowed them to gather information and compile documents which would not be available in Indonesia. It also allowed time for the consultants to discuss specific issues with other Indiana University Libraries colleagues and ask for their assistance when needed.

Since this project focuses on science and engineering, colleagues at other universities such as Purdue were also contacted about collection development issues. This link to colleagues at the Indiana University Libraries and other institutions is very important, because through it the consultants in Indonesia had access to information and assistance when needed. Without the support by the I.U. dean of university libraries for this project, it would not have been possible for four librarians, including a member of the top administrative team and a key department head, to be gone from the I.U. Libraries and for the team to have the strong support of the Indiana Library system. Flexibility in staffing of the I.U. Libraries also allowed this project to be more innovative. During the consultancy period the MUCIA Resident Coordinator for World Bank IX/MUCIA was most helpful and participated as an advisor to the team in reviewing drafts of reports, arranging meetings and consulting when needed. There has been considerable camaraderie among all of the MUCIA consultants. The library consultants, for example, learned much about the academic structure of the university, its curriculum, and teaching methods from MUCIA teaching faculty consultants. The sharing of information has gone beyond the consulting team, enabling the library consultants to gain a broader perspective than had one consultant been responsible for all areas, outside contacts, and reporting.

The team approach has also provided opportunities for six individuals to be involved with the project rather than the two originally requested. It has allowed the senior members of the team to gain this additional experience and to be away from their regular positions for shorter periods of time. The junior team members are having an international consulting opportunity which they probably would not have had if they had applied individually. The opportunity for them to utilize their experience and to gain experience in a team environ mentis also valuable.

The home institution is strengthened by developing contact with a group from the same institution. I.U. has over the years maintained a continuing interest in cooperative programs in Southeast Asia. Upon their return the consulting team will take with them experience and contacts that enable them to contribute to campus programs and activities on Southeast Asia. Moreover, contacts, both formal and informal, can bring students, faculty and librarians to Indiana to study and conduct research.

In conclusion, the team approach to consulting in Indonesia has thus far proven successful. Both the host institution and consultant institution are developing international cooperation in a way that will have long-term benefits for both organizations, both countries, and for individuals on both sides of the world.

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