4 January 2013

Project Report: Leadership Development for Executive Board Members and Aspiring Leaders of Vietnamese Library Association, Vietnam

Association Profile

The Vietnamese Library Association (VLA) is Vietnam’s first and official national professional organization established since 2006 to promote the mutual professional interests of library and information professionals and other library workers in Vietnam. The VLA currently has about 6,000 members who are working in 1,500 libraries of different types all over the country. The VLA is governed by an Executive Board of 39 members who are library managers representing Vietnamese libraries of all types throughout the country. These leaders had limited formal leadership training in the past as commonly seen in the Asian context. Through this ALP project, the VLA is seeking every effort to enhance its leadership capacity.

Project Background

The project utilised materials from IFLA's Building Strong Library Associations programme (BSLA), demonstrating the flexibility of the programme in supporting a range of project sizes and needs. The project was supported by IFLA's Action for Development through Libraries programme (IFLA ALP).

Participants from VLA at the train the trainers workshop in October 2012

Participants from VLA at the train the trainers workshop in October 2012


Project objectives:

  • To strengthen the VLA’s strategic capacity by providing its executive members and promising mid-career librarians with leadership skills;
  • To prepare 20 trainers in leadership through Train of the Trainers (ToT) workshop; and
  • To improve understanding of IFLA, its roles, programs and activities.

VLA believes that this series of workshops has achieved its objectives and established a contingent of 25 trainers able to deliver workshops throughout the country. The workshops also created more awareness of IFLA, CONSAL, VLA as well as how to build a good action plan to develop VLA and its branches.

In particular, at the completion of the series workshops participants have:

  • Gained basic skills of Leadership and management in theories and practice;
  • Uderstood the requirements of an effective leader in the Library Association;
  • Been equipped with basic skills to take the role of a teacher in follow-up workshops;
  • Understood the role of IFLA and IFLA’s strategic programmes.

Project Activities

From October 16, 2012 to November 22, 2012 the VLA organized three workshops to develop the leadership skills of 81 participants, including Executive Board Members and Aspiring Leaders of Vietnamese Library Association.

The first workshop was a train the trainers workshop on leadership skills was held on October 16-17, 2012 at the National Library of Vietnam in Hanoi with the participation of 20 VLA leaders. Michael Robinson, currently Chief executive of CAVAL (Australia), delivered the workshop. He is a former President of Hong Kong Library Association, a BSLA trainer in Nepal, and has experience in Vietnamese library management and leadership.

The workshop covered several topics, including materials from the BSLA programme:

  • Context and factors affecting the Library Associations in general, and Vietnamese Library Association in particular;
  • Criteria of an effective Library Association and requirements to successfully lead the Association;
  • The success story of Hong Kong Library Association;
  • Overview of IFLA and IFLA’s strategic programs;
  • Leadership in the Library Association. Criteria to effectively lead the Association;
  • Build and maintain strategic relationships of the Library Association;
  • Advocacy programmes for the Library Association;
  • Action plans to develop Vietnamese Library Association after the training workshops.

The second workshop was held on November 6-7, 2012 at Hanoi Public Library with the participation of 27 library and VLA branch’s leaders. The third workshop was held on November 21-22, 2012 at Ho Chi Minh General Sciences Library with the participation of 34 library and VLA branch’s leaders. The workshops were delivered by those trained during the first train-the-trainers workshop in Hanoi.

workshop in November 2012

workshop in November 2012

Project Highlight

Following the workshops, many participants have made commitments for further workshops and presentations to community leaders in regions across Vietnam. For example:

  • “I plan to hold a talk to share the study results for all library officials in my province; establish Hau Giang Library Association Branch; hold a workshop on 'Public Libraries of Mekong Delta give a hand in constructing a new countryside' ” Vo Thu Huong, Director of Hau Giang Library
  • "I plan to hold a Workshop with the theme: 'Improving leadership and management skills in Information-Library sector' ”. Phan Thu Nga, Director of Da Nang Learning Resource Center
  • "We will organize a workshop, “Library in the future – the endless potential”. We will invite leaders of our governed Ministry and all staff in 13 libraries of Economic block to participate." Hoang Kim Dung, Head of Library Association Branch of Economic agencies

Project report submitted by:
Pham The Khang
President, Vietnamese Library Association

LDP (Library Development Programme), Associations, Viet Nam, Building Strong Library Associations

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