Capacity building for library professionals

Capacity Building

1.1 Introduction:

Capacity building includes man-machine interfaces in organizations. It enhances operating efficiency and skills of personnel, which leads to the excellence of the organization. At the same library, capacity is emphasized in community building. According to LIS, to meet the high-level needs of users, community capacity building woes huge reformation, restructuring, renovation of systems, services, information infrastructures of Library and Information centers. In accordance with the basic principles of capacity building, LIS professionals must emerge with new ideas of restructuring and refurbishing their information infrastructure, systems, services and all kinds of library operations to accomplish needs of each and every clientele quickly. Therefore, it is very significant to understand library capacity building for information LIS professionals.

Libraries provide fundamental support to economic growth through direct job creation, contribution to cultural progress of the local area, education, training and skill development, and the enhancement of social capital and social inclusiveness. Structure of the libraries plays an important role they are well structured by which information professionals are fascinated. It designates people and resources to the tasks and provides a mechanism for coordination. Hence, for the successful implementation of plans structure is significant.

In order to make them effective and efficient, organizations should take up certain characteristics. Academic libraries should have a viable plan to increase user services to organize a library into the subject division, allocating professional librarians for different subjects. It is targeted to develop eventually the subject expertise of librarians through their work experience with users. To achieve this new modified organization, the conventional library setting needs to be changed from placing books according to their forms (e.g. monograph publications, periodicals, and reference books), to organizing them according to their subjects (e.g. philosophy, economics, law, physics, computer science). Along with this, the subject librarian will take are of reference services, SDI, Database instruction and selection of books on the same subject. Previously existed a conflict between the book collection, user service librarians and users will be removed through a new setting, which includes interconnection of work within the same subject. This service is user entered and it is a stepping stone to capacity building. Restructuring and organizing present scattering of information and this integrated into a particular subject for its effectiveness.Capacity Building

The curriculum of the library and information science focused on the book collection, maintenance, and retrieval of materials and information, which is based on the desires of the user’s queries. The new technology and the emerging applications in the field of Information Communication and Technology (ICT) have brought a remarkable change in the present generation, distribution of information, processing of data and storage. The digital library is one of the latest technological development of all. The skills and competences required for the digital library have been discussed by a number of authors, including Sreenivasulu (2000), Chandler (2001), Prytherch (2001), and Chowdhury and Chowdhury (2003). They are wide-ranging, including creating search strategies; evaluating web sites; guiding and training users; integrating networked sources; analyzing and interpreting information; creating metadata; imaging and digitizing; designing interfaces and portals; project management; and many more. The fact is that there are parts of the “traditional” library school’s curriculum that is still very much relevant in today’s fast-changing computerized information world. The role of digital librarians may still be, as Marcum (2003, p. 276) puts it, “stewards of the world’s intellectual and cultural heritages”.

The conception of library and librarians was started for the purpose to serve the user community. Hence, library professionals were chosen to meet the needs of the users accordingly. This enforced the libraries/librarians to have staff with additional skills so as to deal with the digital library and electronic information environment, along with which the library professionals should be well aware of the latest technologies and its implication. For which, capacity building programmes such as refresher courses, workshops, IT skills acquisition programme, training programs etc. are to be attended by the library professionals. The performance-based evaluation had to be conducted at a regular interval of time so as to help the professionals to acquire the required knowledge and expertise. Hence, the Continuing Educational Programmes (CEPs) has to be made compulsory by the parent institution or deputation of professionals to other institution where the CEPs are conducted. Hence, capacity building of library professional looks towards sustaining reform and development, adapting new skills and technology.

1.2 Definitions:

According to United Nations office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR)

Capacity: The combination of all the strengths, attributes and resources available within an organization, community or society to manage and reduce disaster risks and strengthen resilience.

Coping capacity: is the ability of people, organizations, and systems, using available skills and resources, to manage. The capacity to cope requires continuing awareness, resources and good management, both in normal times as well as during disasters or adverse conditions.

Capacity development is the process by which people, organizations, and society systematically stimulate and develop their capacities over time to achieve social and economic goals. It is a concept that extends the term of capacity-building to encompass all aspects of creating and sustaining capacity growth over time. It involves learning and various types of training, but also continuous efforts to develop institutions, political awareness, financial resources, technology systems, and the wider enabling environment.

Capacity building is the process of equipping individuals with the understanding, skills, access to information, knowledge, and training that enables them to perform effectively. According to Chan & Auster (2003), Professional development is the process by which professionals keep current the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to function effectively in their profession. It is assumed that to maintain competence, the professional must participate in updating activities.

Capacity development/Planned development of knowledge, output rate, management skills, and other capabilities of an organization is done through acquisition, incentives, technology and/or training.

Capacity building /Capacity development is the process by which individual and organizations obtain, improve, and retain the skills and knowledge needed to do their jobs competently. Capacity building and capacity development are often used interchangeably (Wikipedia)

As per the Global Development Research Center (GDRC), Capacity building in the context of human resource development is more than training; it is the process of equipping individuals with understanding, skills, and access to information, knowledge, and training that enables them to perform effectively. In the context of organizational development, it is elaboration of management structures, process, and procedures, not only within the organizations and sectors (public, private and community) and in legal context, it is made legal and regulatory changes to enable organizations, institutions and agencies at all levels and in all sectors to enhance their capacities.

As per GRANTCRAFT “Capacity building is fundamental process about improving effectiveness, often at the organizational level. The term is used interchangeably with other terms like organizational development, institution building, and funding plus. It is both a verb (the action of building effectiveness, often by improving specific organizational capacities such as infrastructure, operations, financial health, and programs) and a noun (the results of increased attention to effectiveness).”

Capacity building covers a wide range of issues, including actions to strengthen and further develop human resources, infrastructures or organizational arrangements within a community or organization. It can also cover the development of institutional, financial, political and other resources at different levels and in different sectors of society. Successful capacity building lays a solid basis for more effective and efficient services and activities. It strongly supports the development of knowledge and understanding.

The UNDP outlines that capacity building that takes place on an individual level or an institutional level or at the societal level, for e.g.

a. Individual level – Community capacity-building on an individual level requires the development of conditions that allow individual participants to build and enhance knowledge and skills. It also calls for the establishment of conditions that will allow individuals to engage in the “process of learning and adapting to change”.

b. Institutional level – Community capacity building on an institutional level should involve aiding institutions in developing countries. It should not involve creating new institutions, rather modernizing existing institutions and supporting them in forming sound policies, organizational structures, and effective methods of management and revenue control.

c. Societal level – Community capacity building at the societal level should support the establishment of a more “interactive public administration that learns equally from its actions and from feedback it receives from the population at large.” Community capacity building must be used to develop public administrators that are responsive and accountable.

d. Non Training Level – providing an enabling environment to the trained staff to perform at his optimum level.

Allan Kaplan, a leading NGO scholar argues that to be effective facilitators of capacity building in developing areas, NGOs must participate in organizational capacity building first. Steps to building organizational capacity include

i. Developing a conceptual framework

ii. Establishing an organizational attitude

iii. Developing a vision and strategy

iv. Developing an organizational structure

v. Acquiring skills and resources

vi. Preparing required tools, hand books, manuals, advisories, primers and guidelines etc. (Kaplan, 2000)

1.2 Concept of Capacity Building:

The concept ‘capacity building’ also referred to as ‘manpower development’, ‘human resource development’, ‘professional development’ `staff development’, and ‘personal development’ can be conceived as any conscious and deliberate effort, endeavour, facility and opportunity provided to the employees of an organization, establishment and outfit irrespective of their status to improve their skills, attitude, behaviour, experience, ideas, knowledge, education and information acquisition with the view to enhance their performance and productivity for ensuring optimal success in achieving the overall objectives, goals, mission and aspirations of both the employer and the employee. Naturally, besides the availability of funds, information, technology and other relevant material infrastructure and resources in an organization, human resources is needed to activate, coordinate, manage all the factors of production and the functions, operations systems and activities of the organization to survive and succeed in achieving its specific and overall objectives, goals and mission. (Zakari, 2003)Capacity Building

Capacity building is gaining importance in this paradigm shift (i.e., print to the electronic environment) of the library. The electronic environment has changed the roles and skills requirement for the library professionals at different level viz. individual, organization, and society level. The capacity building of university library professional has a direct impact on education and research. Also, there are many challenges in LIS education in developing additional skills required for librarians in the electronic environment. Basically, there is a need for librarians to find a roadmap to guide capacity building.

1.3 Historical Growth of Capacity Building Program:

The United Nations (UN) system in the mid-1970s started for action and thinking which was then called Institution Building and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) was given the authority to offer guidance to its member governments and staff. This involved building-up the ability of basic national organizations, in areas such as civil aviation, meteorology, agriculture, health, nutrition to allow them to perform their tasks in the best way possible. The specialized agencies of the UN also started supporting the areas of capacity building for which they were technically qualified e.g. FAO in the rural sector and agriculture, WHO in health etc., but they achieved mixed results. By 1991 the term had evolved and had transformed into Capacity Building.

UNDP defined Capacity Building as “the creation of an enabling environment with appropriate policy and legal frameworks, institutional development, including community participation (of women in particular), human resources development and strengthening of managerial systems, adding that, UNDP recognizes that capacity building is a long-term, continuing process, in which all stakeholders participate (ministries, local authorities, non-governmental organizations and water user groups, professional associations, academics and others”. (UNDP, 1991)

In the year 1992, Capacity Building concept was the main theme in the Agenda 21 and in other United Nation Conference on Environmental and Development (UNCED) agreements. The UN General Assembly in 1998 commissioned and received evaluations of the impact of the UN system’s support for capacity building. These evaluations were carried out by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, USA as part of the UNGA’s triennial policy review during which it looks at all UN system development activities. Since then, the issue of capacity building has become a major priority within the global conventions, the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) and the international communities.

In the year 2000, UNDP through its Strategic Partnership with the GEF Secretariat, USA launched the Capacity Development Initiative (CDI), a consultative process involving extensive outreach and dialogue to identify countries’ priorities issues in capacity development needs, and based on these findings, to develop a strategy and action plan that addresses identified needs to meet the challenges of global environmental action.

In 2002, the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) and the Second GEF Assembly reaffirmed the priority of building the capacity of developing countries. The WSSD recommended that GEF resources be used to provide financial resources to developing countries to meet their capacity needs for training, technical know-how and strengthening national institutions.

Capacity Building is, however, not limited to international aid work. More recently, the term is being used by governments to transform the community and industry approaches to social and environmental problems. Source:

1.4 Types of Capacity Building Programmes in Libraries:

Capacity building is to provide access to repositories of information and resources (for example, databases, libraries, and web sites), Publications, Trainings (public, customized or on-line), Consultation (for example, coaching, facilitating, expert advice and conducting research) and coordinating alliances.

Continuing professional education refers to education that takes place once professional qualification is achieved, with the intent of maintaining competence and/or learning new skills.

> Assessments                                   > Convening

> Board development                         > Earned-income development

> Business planning                           > Evaluation

> Business development                    > Collaboration planning

> Conflict resolution                           > Facilities planning

> Financial management                   > Funding

> Fundraising                                     > Information technology

> Leadership development Legal       > Management development

> Marketing (research, promotions)   > Meeting management

> Mergers                                           > Networking opportunities

> Organizational development           > Peer learning

> Program design                              > Project management

> Quality management                      > Referrals

> Research                                        > Risk management

> Staffing (selection, development)    > Strategic planning

> Team building


According to Chandra, Harish (2004) various factors responsible to bring changes in library management with specific reference to Indian technical libraries; some of them are listed below:

> e-learning                       > Quality Based Library and                 > Open Archives Information Services

> Library Consortia            > Need Users Education                      > Metadata Standards

> Digital Library Initiatives  > Changing Users                                > Resource Sharing

> Recent Trends and Expectations Developments                        > Resource Crunch

> Industrial Interaction

Deildok (2016) states that “Librarians are not libraries, and libraries are not librarians”. This is an important premise. It means that the skill set offered by librarians does not always match the library’s skills requirements, and it means that the librarian’s competencies may be, and are, useful in areas beyond the library sector. Nevertheless, most librarians do work in libraries; which makes it meaningful to discuss “the skills and competencies of librarians in the light of the development of libraries”. Deildok also mentions that

“Different types of libraries demand different types of competence, just as different library jobs require different types of library competence” and “Course provides the professional grounding” and core set of library competencies but “fails to meet the specific needs of a specific library or library role”.

Basic grounding and core competencies are usually acquired from entry qualification of the library and information sciences. On job learning and continuing education during the service from time to time actually helps to articulate the professionals feeling, development of necessary skills and competencies at work. The user domain language becomes important to establish meaningful communication with users and other related skills like the application of technology and technique or methods useful in the learning environment.

In this study, capacity building is focused on both the action and results in a university library setting. In fact, as a descriptive study, it is to find out how various stakeholders are working together to build the capacity for university library staff. The main focus, as per the definition, is to build efficiencies for libraries as a planned development of individuals as well as an organization (both libraries and host institutions) using components like acquisition, incentives, technology and/or training. Capacity building helps to develop knowledge of the individual, improve output rate and management skills. Among many types of capacity building, providing access to information resources is one of the ways to build intellectual capacity in an academic environment.

1.5 Methods of Capacity Building Programmes:

The capacity building of human resources is a planned development to enhance knowledge, skills, instincts, abilities, processes, and resources that organization and communities need to survive, adapt and thrive in the fast-changing world for which the capacity building which requires training goals, duration, etc. provided with tool kit or resources to the professionals. Such type of methods/techniques has to be implemented in order to achieve the desired goals. Here are some of the methods with applications, effectiveness, and resources needed to conduct capacity building programmes.

a. One-off intensive training course: A structured event held in the workplace or in another venue. Often following a Training Needs Assessment, it will be designed around a number of learning objectives. Each session will have predefined objeCapacity Building ctives and content materials, with a detailed session plan to guide the trainer. Training methods vary -from traditional ‘classroom’ style to the highly participative action-learning approach. Participants may be from one organization or team (in-house training) or from a variety (the ‘open training’ event).

b. Modular training course: Based on the action-reflection cycle, this is a series of structured events held over a pre-defined period of time. Participants often are asked to do an exercise on the topic of each module between each time they meet or put the content of the module into practice in their workplace.

c. Technical expertise/advice: The focus is on the technical or professional content, or the technical systems required for the work to be effectively implemented and managed. Delivery may be as part of on-the-job accompaniment or it may be delivered during a special visit to the organization.

d. Mentoring: Mentoring involves passing on tips from experience, attitudes, knowledge, contacts, etc. from more experienced individuals to less experienced staff. The ‘mentor’ will be someone with an established reputation in the specific field. It may take place within an on-going relationship. The participant would normally set the agenda and have control over the timing etc.

e. Coaching: Coaching does not usually require that the coach has direct experience of their client’s formal occupational role unless the coaching particularly skills focused. The expertise of the coach is more in the coaching method itself.

f. Management or OD consultancy: Intervention of an external consultant working to a specific Terms of Reference related to the internal functioning of the organization, or helping the organization through a change process.

g. Facilitated workshop or exercise: An event which is designed around specific objectives. These objectives can focus on the development of ideas and knowledge, or on the production of a specific output.

h. Leadership development: Usually applied in a medium-term programme targeting existing or potential future leaders. This programme may draw on a mix of methods.

i. Shadowing or Observing: Observing someone as they go about their day-to-day job, or undertake a specific task.

j. Internship: The placement of an individual within a team or organization for a pre-determined period of time. Usually, it is someone who is recently graduated or embarking upon a career.

k. Exposure or exchange visit: A pre-arranged visit aiming to learn about a specific experience, or gain exposure to the ways of working of another organization, institution, team, etc.

l. The community of Practice: Often ‘virtual’ in nature (i.e. exchanges are held over the internet), this is a group of individuals who share their experiences and build their knowledge together. They are focused on specific themes, technical or professional areas, processes, etc.

m. Action Learning Set: A group meets on a regular basis and uses a specific method to support each member, in turn, to reflect and act upon a work issue.

n. Peer Support groups and Peer Assists: In general terms, Peer Support groups can be time-bound and ‘virtual’ gatherings of people working in similar areas who are open to supporting each other. Peer Assists is when one individual has something they want to move forward with and brings together others with experience in that area to help him/her think about alternatives. Source: http://www. framework. or g.u1c/wp-content/uploads/Capacity-building-programme-methods-template-s ignedl.pdf

1.6 Models of Capacity Building Programmes for LIS Professionals:

The following paragraphs provide a very brief description of the seven models and an indication of the main contribution from these papers.

1. Hawe model:

The Hawe model was first described in 1990 and drew from community development and practice based research, literature on learning organisations, and the experiences of earlier cardiovascular disease prevention initiatives. Hawe et al have highlighted the importance of context in the assessment and development of community capacity and viewed capacity building as representing a multiplier effect rendering a community more competent to not only address the problem of interest but able to tackle other issues. The two Australian studies that drew on the Hawe model were by O’Meara et al evaluating a project aiming to “revitalise” a small rural community, and Yeatman et al, reporting on the results of an assessment of the capacity of an organisation to support core skills in health promotion.

2. Rifkin model:

The Rifkin model was developed in 1988 to depict the level and quality of community participation schematically as a spider gram. Drawing on 100 case studies, Rifkin ascertained that the community participation process was influenced by five domains: identifying the need of the communities, representation of interest groups in the organisation of the program, form of leadership, mobilization of resources, and structure of program management. The model was designed to enable analysis of change enabling capacity development to be quantified and thereby linked with outcomes. Three papers using the Rifkin framework were identified. The factors facilitating community participation in health center management. Chilaka described an innovative method to quantify capacity development and relate to health outcomes while Anderson et al aimed to understand the development of inter-sectorial participation in three municipalities implementing diabetes prevention programme interventions.

3. Goodman/Labonte/Laverack/Fawcett model:

The framework of Goodman/Labonte/Laverack/Fawcett was first described in 2000. These authors have explicitly drawn from each other’s’ work and/or collaborated in developing capacity building domains. The studies captured by this review drawing on this pooled model are mostly commentaries that describe the characteristics of capacity domains and/or provide interesting insight into the application of domain measures. The only study meeting the inclusion criteria aimed to identify the dimensions of community capacity that were enhanced as part of a community-based participatory research program.

4. Foster & Fishman model:

First described in 2001, this model was used in only one study identified in this review. This evaluation study described the steps taken to develop and evaluate the activities of an international network promoting collaborative capacity among regional partners involved in activities related to the prevention of labour discrimination towards immigrants. The survey, interview, and discussion forum methods were used.

5. Moore model:

The Moore et al model was first described in 2006 and aimed to deliver biodiversity conservation outcomes. Model development was based on a literature review and synthesis, with subsequent refinement using interviews. The cognitive and structural dimensions of social capital and knowledge, skills and experience dimensions of human capital were identified as important elements of community capacity. This model was used in two studies identified in this review, both by Robins. The latter study was chosen to represent this model as the measures used were extended from the former study. Robins aimed to give practical meaning to capacity building through identifying measures, placing these measures within a broader systems framework, and exploring stakeholder feedback on specific measures to inform framework implementation. The focus was on natural resource management and drew from both the health sector and the risk and emergency management sector primarily in Australia in developing the domains. Twenty-two measures were originally presented in a discussion paper to stakeholders and an additional seven measures identified by workshop participants and survey respondents.

6. Johnson/Sofaer model:

This model aimed to support people working in community health coalitions by providing insight into the nature and development of these coalitions. The model was based on a synthesis of the characteristics of effective groups developed by Johnson and Johnson adapted from Sofaer. The model included organizational structure, resources, leadership and decision-making procedures as factors which could help make coalitions more productive and lead to constructive conflict resolution. Trust, adaptation and dedicated staff were found to contribute to sustainability. Through a multi-site case study, Schulz et al evaluated group dynamics in three community-based participatory research interventions that aimed to increase the responsiveness of local health departments to communities and to improve family and community health addressing social determinants of health. The application of the evaluation tool on an ongoing basis provided a structured opportunity for members of the coalitions to reflect on group interactions, and to engage in collective problem-solving regarding group effectiveness.

7. Active Partners Benchmarkers model:

The Active Partners Benchmarkers model, first described in 2003, includes twelve benchmarks for communities and public policy makers to assess the extent to which community participation is taking place. The twelve benchmarks are listed in relation to the four key dimensions ofparticipation including influence, inclusivity, communication, and capacity. This model was used to assess capacity building in one study which aimed to develop a self-assessment tool for organizations to evaluate the quality of community involvement.

The framework of CPD in which the main characteristics range of models are identified and categorized. It considers the circumstances in which each particular model might be adopted and explores the form(s) of knowledge that can be developed through a particular model. In broad terms, nine are identified, which have been categorized into the following models:

i. Training model;

ii. Award-bearing model;

iii. Deficit model;

iv. Cascade model;

v. Standards-based model;

vi. Coaching/mentoring model;

vii. Community of practice model;

viii. Action research model;

ix. Transformative model. Source:

1.7 Measures of Capacity Building Programmes:

The following section discusses several aspects of measuring capacity based on the conceptual framework presented above. Specifically, this section reviews:

1. Existing and potential capacity indicators (mapped to the conceptual framework)

2. Efforts to develop capacity indices

3. Existing tools to measure capacity indicators, and

4. Methodological challenges in measuring capacity.

1. Indicators:

The review of existing indicators for measuring the effects of capacity building in health and population programs identified a wide range of indicators at each level of capacity (health system, organizational, health personnel, and individual/community). Table 3 presents some illustrative indicators by the level of capacity (as presented in the conceptual framework) and measurement stage (input, process, output, and outcome). The table suggests the enormous variation in indicators currently used to measure capacity and how these indicators might be used to measure different elements of capacity. All the indicators were gathered from references cited in the text or, in the case of the individual Cooperating Agencies and country missions, were taken from the MEASURE Evaluation database. The table is not constructed to represent the relationship between different indicators since most of these relationships are complex and multidimensional.

The indicators illustrate some of the current approaches to measuring capacity. As expected, many of the indicators identified through this review focus on organizational and health personnel capacity, since the majority of capacity building activities have occurred at these two levels. Many of the indicators were developed by USAID CAs involved in capacity building in health organizations and training health personnel, such as JHPIEGO, INTRAH, JSI, and MSH. Health system level indicators were drawn from a Handbook prepared by the Partnerships for Health Reform Project (Partnerships for Health Reform, 1997). Individual and community level indicators were drawn from existing indicators of individual health behavior. No indicators to measure the linkages between the different levels were identified. In addition, many of these indicators were developed for specific projects or programs and thus may not be applicable across different settings. Clearly, additional consideration is needed with respect to indicator standardization, given the variety of settings and entities in which capacity building occurs.

All these indicators could be used to assess capacity at a specific point in time or to measure the effects of capacity building interventions at any level and any stage of program development For example; improving the human resource management of an organization could be the focus of a capacity building intervention. The process indicator “job descriptions regularly updated to reflect real work requirements and responsibilities” could then be used to look at the effect of this intervention over a specific time period.

2. Indices:

Indices are complex indicators that combine multiple pieces of information or indicators into a single figure for a simpler presentation. To date, complex concepts such as “sustainability” and “capacity building” have not been measured well using indices, with a few exceptions at the health system level and the organizational level.

In the population sector, the Lapham/Mauldin/Ross Family Planning Effort Score or FPE (Rossand Mauldin, 1996) is comprised of 30 items, some of which could be included in a health system capacity index since they include the aggregate assets of organizational level outputs and outcomes. For example, the FPE items include assessment of public-private agency involvement, multiple ministerial involvements, local budget resources, administrative structure, training, personnel, supervision, and monitoring and evaluation. Similar indices are currently being developed for HIV/AIDS and maternal health programs.

Knight and Tsui (1997) have developed and tested a Program Sustainability Index (PSI) and an Outcome Sustainability Index (OSI) for population programs. Both indices use some of the capacity-related FPE items to assess the sustainability of contraceptive access and fertility decline. Given that sustainability could be defined as effective capacity building over time, the FPE, PSI, and OSI are among the available quantitative means for assessing capacity building cross-nationally in population programs.

3. Organizational Level:

At least one recent attempt to measure organizational capacity building uses a single index (Fort, 1999). Fort and colleagues at INTRAH have created an index for capacity building in organizations that conduct training in reproductive health service delivery. They compute the index after careful estimation of indicators for 13 components, some of which use more than one indicator for measurement. They are still testing this index using data from 20 countries where INTRAH has implemented programs. If measured over time, the INTRAH Capacity Building Index could be used to assess whether capacity is being built and sustained within a particular training organization.

A second example of an organizational level index is the Management and Organizational Sustainability Tool (MOST) developed by FPMD/MSH (MSH, 1996). This index includes 12 essential management components divided into 4 elements: Mission (knowledge and application), Strategic plan (marketing and links to mission), Structure of organization (allocation of responsibility, delegation of authority) and Systems (collection and use of information, source of funds, financial management)

It is important to note that indices can be difficult to interpret if presented out of context or to an audience that does not understand how the index is constructed. The users of any index should be familiar with the components of the index as well as how they are combined.

3.1 Measurement Methods:

This section reviews data collection instruments and tools that have been used to measure capacity at the four levels: health system, organization, health program personnel, and individual/community. Measurement methods (quantitative and qualitative) and type of assessment (self-assessment vs. external assessment) are also considered. A review of existing tools found that most are designed to assess organizational capacities, just as many of the indicators reviewed in the previous section measure this level. However, many of these organizational assessment tools also include some measures to assess the capacities of health program personnel because of their central role in organizational functions and performance. We were only able to identify one tool for measuring the capacity of health systems, although several agencies are in the process of developing measures to assess changes at the system level resulting from health sector reform (Partnership for Health Reform, 1997, Murray and Frenk, 1999).

Most of the tools reviewed include several data collection instruments for developing a comprehensive picture of capacity or to assess capacity from different perspectives (e.g., assessing the views of managers and health workers; or assessing internal perspectives and those of external examiners). The remaining tools only use a single instrument. Half of the tools identified used a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods. Of their main 8 tools, 7 used only quantitative methods, while only one tool employed qualitative methods exclusively.

More than half the tools are applied through self-assessment techniques; four employ external assessment, while three of the tools use a combination of self and external assessment. There are advantages and disadvantages to both self-assessment and external assessment. Self-assessment tools have greater involvement of those whose capacities are being assessed (e.g., the staff of an organization), which can lead to greater ownership of the results and an ultimately greater likelihood that capacity improvements (based on results of the assessment) will take place. Self-assessment is also a non-threatening way to raise awareness of the importance of capacity improvement among those involved in the assessment process. Nevertheless, many self-assessment techniques do require an external facilitator. For example, the DOSA tool, developed by PACT/EDC, involves the self-assessment of an organization’s capacity through an intensive process of focus group facilitation and administration of an individual questionnaire.

Some self-assessment tools (e.g., COPE) are designed to be taken over by the local staff of the organization after initial assessments are conducted with a facilitator. Self-assessment tools generally rely on perceptions and thus may be less effective tools used alone or repeatedly. Stronger approaches use a mixture of methods that combines subjective and objective measurement.

In contrast, external-assessments are often considered more objective. Although, this varies based on whether the assessment focuses on perceived or subjective assessment or a more objective measures of capacity. It is unclear whether one approach is more costly than the other. While external assessments are often considered more expensive due to the cost of external consultants, self-assessments, particularly those that require intensive facilitation, can also be demanding in terms of time and financial resources.

The organizational capacity tools reviewed, generally, assess the capacity of an organization in various areas (e.g., management, financial management, and technical). For example, MSH’s Organizational Profile is a tool that gathers general information about an organization’s history, structure, and services provided, among other issues. Normally, a knowledgeable person from the organization being assessed is asked to fill out a form providing information about the organization. Sometimes the information from an organizational profile is verified through a document review.

3.2 Monitoring and Evaluation:

Very few of these capacity assessment tools were developed or have been used strictly for monitoring and evaluation purposes. Most commonly, the tools are used to assess the capacity of a system, organization, or personnel at a particular point in time. The tools developed by the SFPS (Family Health and AIDS in West and Central Africa) Project and the PASCA (Central America AIDS) Project are two examples of organizational capacity assessment tools that were designed to monitor progress of specific capacity building activities. The SFPS Project used seven different instruments to measure different elements of organizational capacity in eleven organizations in West and Central Africa.

One explanation for the lack of application in M & E is a general reluctance among agencies working in capacity building to quantify the results of capacity measures. This lack of quantification occurs because the numbers produced often require considerable interpretation and are not wholly suited to making comparisons between subjects, or to constructing a “before and after” picture (Ellis, 1999). Consequently, few of the capacity assessment tools noted above have been validated for evaluation purposes. An exception is found in the PASCA project, which used an externally administered tool to validate the findings from a self-administered tool. Moreover, the PASCA project has continued to use the externally administered tool at three points in time to monitor the effect of the project’s capacity building interventions.

In some cases, where self-assessment tool has become a capacity building intervention, it may preclude the use of the tool for M & E purposes.

4. Methodological challenges to measuring Capacity building Programmes:

There are numerous methodological challenges to measuring the four levels of capacity. Some of these challenges relate to the inherent nature and role of capacity and capacity building interventions, while others are a function of the early stage of development of capacity measurement. Capacity and capacity building, as we have defined them, are dynamic and multidimensional.

Capacity can improve, but it can also decline. Regardless, it is never static and is, therefore, difficult to capture. In addition, capacity occurs at several levels. In this paper, we have identified four levels that are interdependent. Most existing tools only capture capacity building at a single level. None look at the relationship between levels.

It is also important that capacity measurement tools be able to capture different stages of development of health personnel, organizations, or health systems. The MSH organizational profile, for example, has identified different benchmarks for each indicator, according to an organization’s stage of development (nascent, emerging and mature). Therefore, many of the practitioners consulted for this review argue that capacity measurement must be able to capture individual elements of capacity and combinations of elements, and relate them to the stage of development of the entity being assessed. Flexibility rather than standardization was often mentioned as a goal of sound and useful capacity measurement. Finally, capacity and performance are influenced by numerous contextual factors that need to be taken into account. However, the relative importance of single factors is still not known.

Another set of methodological challenges is related to measurement tools and indicators. To date, there is little empirical evidence that indicates which elements of capacity are critical to performance. Therefore, the choice of indicators remains experimental.

Most of the existing tools, including those reviewed in the previous section, are self-assessment tools that rely on the perceptions of those being assessed. While such approaches have many advantages, they are not used to assess standardized indicators for the purpose of monitoring or evaluating the success of a capacity building intervention. Moreover, many of the self-assessment tools are considered interventions in and of themselves. While practitioners value the role of these self-assessment tools in stimulating interest in capacity building and launching a process of change, they are less useful for conducting monitoring and evaluation in the strictest sense.

Another key methodological shortcoming of capacity measurement is the lack of experience in monitoring changes in capacity over time. For example, an agency may claim to support capacity building, but only measure one or more aspects of capacity at a single point in time. This approach fails to provide an assessment of whether capacity has grown or in fact diminished over time. In addition, little documentation exists regarding the range of steps and activities that comprise capacity development at the field level, or indeed the posited empirical links between capacity building inputs and performance outcomes (or even health and population impact). Unlike clinical care, there are few “gold standards” against which to measure aspects of the system, organizational, health personnel or individual/community capacity required for effective and sustainable health service delivery or health system performance. Repeated measures could be used to capture the interim steps in capacity building processes as well as trends in outcomes. While a number of Cooperating Agencies or projects, such as INTRAH, SFPS, and PASCA, have recognized the importance of measurement over time, to date only PASCA has reported findings from longitudinal evaluations. Better techniques are required to capture the effects of capacity building, and elaborating the link between the process of capacity building and changes in performance and health status.

In addition to conducting repeated measures to monitor progress over time, the use of multiple sources of data for triangulation may help capture some of the complex and dynamic changes occurring within systems, organizations and individuals/communities. An illustration is found in monitoring the implementation of the family planning logistics system. The operation of a logistics system depends on the coordination of several departments within an organization (management, finance, inventory, transportation, and service providers). It would be useful to track changes in capacity and performance in all these entities, as well as to take an overall measure of capacity pre- and post-intervention. Tracking these changes would, thus, enhance the validity of findings and illustrate the extent to which interventions have increased the capacity of individual departments as well as the overall logistics system. Source: docs/Pnacm119.pdf

3.8 Changing Roles of LIS Professionals in Modern ERA:

The current rapidly changing digital environment has enforced the libraries to adopt the new technology. Considering the trends in the digital environment the librarians must start thinking about the development of new skills and assume the new roles to support technology-based services. Hence, the academic staff involved in the collection development job has to worry about providing the digitized resources either by subscribing the databases or by funding in the electronic resources. Similarly, the reference librarian must have the knowledge and skill of accessing and should be able to assist the users in digital information. Technology has created an impact on every aspect of library work. These new trends and development in the ICT have enabled the academic librarians to rethink on their goals of providing excellent information services to the users. This mission of fulfilling the enhanced information service has become a difficult task on the librarian’s part, as most of the academic libraries are not prepared for rapid change.

The librarian has to be well aware of the organizational and technological changes that are occurring in the library. This helps the librarian to understand the effects of such changes on the organizational structure and on the nature of responsibilities and roles of the library staff. The efforts of the librarian, to manage the change in the library will be supported by a better understanding of the concept of learning organization culture. A learning organization is an organization that continually provides for improvements and can recreate itself as the needs of its users change.

However, the librarians have to continue the investigating on the possible work-based learning activities such as mentoring, benchmarking, coaching, etc. for the library staff to certify that the efforts are being utilized in enhancing skills and personal development of the staff. The inclusion of training to obtain skills in webpage creation, use of electronic resources, Internet, library integrated systems, MS-Office and basic computer skills and personal developments like diversity in the workplace — understanding employees, performance appraisal, building teamwork, total quality improvement leader styles — applications, planning and organizing, time management etc. are also to be considered in the learning activities. The introduction of such learning activities into the libraries helps the librarian to identify the specific training needs of both the professional and support staff and the developing of training modules and work-based learning.

The horizontal and flatter structure provides more efficiency and effectiveness in the academic libraries as the nature of library organizational structures is rigid and bureaucratic. Hence, these structures help the libraries to be more flexible, gives equal opportunities for the staff to be more creative in their performance and in their duties which consequently results in more productive members in the organization.

For citing this article use:

  • Anand, R. (2018). Capacity Building of Library Professionals in the Digital Environment A Study of Universities of Karnataka State. Karnatak University. Retrieved from:
Declaration: Articles shared in this blog are collected from different sources available on the internet to help students of Library and Information Science. Sources are mentioned in the reference section of the article. If you have any objections about the content of this blog, feel free to contact the site admin at

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