Digital Librarianship at SNAL


iAGRI supports Sokoine National Agricultural Library (SNAL) in its efforts to enhance digital library services, including enhancing the availability of electronic resources, implementing a resource management system, and promoting the use of new tools like the LibHub.

As a result of this support, SNAL has adopted a digital resource management system that allows them greater control over their digital subscriptions and improves the accessibility of digital resources. All SUA students and staff are able to access library materials from anywhere in the world through remote access. They have increased the number of resources available to the SUA community and institutionalized weekly training sessions for students and staff to learn about searching for and accessing electronic resources. Currently, iAGRI efforts are focused on improving server reliability, enhancing staff capacity to make further improvements to digital library services, and engaging the Consortium of Tanzania Universities and Research Libraries (COTUL) to ensure that digital resource management is sustainable.

Key Actors at SUA

iAGRI works directly with SNAL leadership and staff on the digital librarianship project. Mr. Jabir Jabir is the project coordinator, and he pulls together a diverse team from other sections of the library to plan and implement activities.

iAGRI Coordinator

Program Support Manager
Lilian Mpinga

Project Timing

Start date of the first
‘Conversation that Matters’:
April, 2013

Completion Status

Stage 1 – Conversations That Matter

The initial conversation for Library Access to Electronic Documents was initiated by iAGRI when they learned of an un-utilized product called LibHub, which was being provided to SUA free of charge under another USAID project. SNAL and iAGRI agreed to conduct an organizational experiment to determine whether LibHub could be implemented at SUA and whether it would prove a useful tool for students and researchers. Through a participatory proposal writing process, SNAL identified objectives of the experiment, several challenges to implementation and adoption (lack of funds, staff, accessibility, and awareness), and proposed solutions to those challenges.

Stage 2 – Ways That Work

The final proposal agreed by SNAL and iAGRI, which became known as LibHub Phase I, documented the activities to be conducted in the experiment and the expected outcomes. Based on results from this Phase, SUA determined that LibHub and remote access are very valuable services that should be continued. A wrap-up report from Phase I identifed successes and challenges from the experiement in detail. SNAL then began a second participatory proposal writing process, which identified remaining barriers to sustainable adoption of LibHub and remote access, proposed solutions, and presented a budget for implementing those solutions. iAGRI and SNAL agreed to implement these solutions as Phase II, which included formal system adoption of LibHub and remote access.

Stage 3 -Changes That Sustain

SUA has adopted LibHub and EZproxy as services it will provide permanently to library users, and SNAL has decided to provide weekly training on use of digital library resources. LibHub and EZ proxy have been written into SNAL’s budget. A SNAL staff member, originally paid by iAGRI under Phase I to coordinate these activities, was designated as coordinator on a permanent basis. An additional SNAL staff member was designated to backstop the coordinator. SNAL established performance standards relating to use of LibHub, remote access, and uptime for services in its Phase II proposal.


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