Thursday, January 26, 2012

Zimbabwe Library Association 46th Conference slated for Kwekwe

Zimbabwe Library Association (ZimLA) remains the official librarian’s representative in Zimbabwe taking over from the Rhodesia Library Association. It has been in existence for more than four decades. The recent readmission in to the IFLA community does send a positive signal to local librarians who had despaired on the role of ZimLA in professional activities. The recent announcement of the 46th ZimLA conference staged for Kwekwe in May is again a boaster to the activities of ZimLA which due to a number of reasons – known to you – have failed to take place. I am positive that this is a new start after social-economic challenges that have handicapped the professional association’s mandate.
Now what’s the way forward? The way forward is for every LIBRARIAN/INFORMATION PROFESSIONAL to put weight behind the organisers of the workshop through submitting abstracts and attend the workshop in big numbers. But perhaps you have to be a registered librarian with ZimLA. Way to go indeed! Our Professional association has suffered much due to lack of support not financially but support in regard to membership. Please not that the vitality of any association is the support from membership. What role does membership play? You may ask. Membership is the support, it is the programmes, and it is the success of the association. So for the association to play a pivotal role in professional representation you should first be a member then take part in the activities. Then we have librarian’s association.
Basically the 46th ZimLA Conference is the opportunity to fine tune LIS/Ram issues in the Zimbabwean LIS/RAM landscape providing a platform for sharing ideas and best practices in the information age. You have realised that  keeping abreast with technology is a challenging phase not only in Zimbabwe but in numerous countries world wide. The underlying factors are sharing experiences and harness those ideas to better serve clients with limited resources whilst meeting expectations. This lead to the notion that technology is a leading threat to the library sector which the conference seek to address. If you cannot beat them join them, people say. If you view technology as a threat, utilise it to gain advantage. Utilise its strength to manage and increase job satisfaction.
You have a lot to learn by attending the 46th ZimLA conference. The main theme of the even its “Information Professionals at the Crossroads: Opportunity for Change.” Indeed this time and age provide numerous opportunities for librarians to prosper and innovate in their respective spaces.
What you have to do? Play your part. Prepare to share experiences with others at the 46th Conference, prepare your abstract and submit it to before May 4th 2012 and book yourself a place to present. Further to that pay your subscription to be a bona fide member of ZimLA your professional association. Don’t be left out! Be part of the growing family.

Podcasting in Libraries

Podcasting, podcasting, podcasting – technology libraries have adopted to disseminate information and provide a wide range of services to different audience. Podcasting nearing a decade of existence nice 2004 have gained popularity in libraries, education, entertainment and social sectors recently as means for disseminating audio, video and sound files. Eash (2006) noted that in September 2004, when podcasting was in its infancy a Google search of “podcast” brought up only 24 results” but now it is well established medium providing more options for information access at the point of need.
The New Oxford American Dictionary defines podcast as “a digital recording of a radio broadcast or similar program made available on the internet for downloading to a personal audio player.” Educational institutions are now creating audio lectures for distribution as podcasting. The Library of Congress defines a podcast as “an audio or video file that is available for listening or viewing on your computer or downloadable to a portable media device or mp3 player.” Basically, podcasts are audio, video and sound files created, shared through downloading and heard over equipment designed for that.  
Libraries are increasingly making use of podcasts for information dissemination, information literacy skills training, book clubs and discussions.  The following texts is an extract from the article by Esther Kreider Eash that appeared in Computers in Libraries” titled “Podcasting 101 for K–12 Librarians” that detail the reasons to use podcasts.
Reasons to Use Podcasts in School Libraries
“When new forms of technology arrive, consider the reasons for their use. The fact that the podcast is a new format isn’t reason enough to use it in a school library. Instead, ask questions. Is a portable audio format the best format for this task? How does the podcast support my goals? How does a podcast enhance student learning?
There are two basic types of podcast use, each valid in the K–12 library (or classroom) setting: to retrieve information (accessing podcasts created by others) and to disseminate information (creating and sharing podcasts).
I’m convinced that the real power of podcasting is twofold: It gives learners point-of-need access to information, and it disseminates information in exciting new ways. Students eagerly and actively participate in the creation of content-rich podcasts, and those who publish their podcasts publicly are quickly connected to the world community in ways never before possible. 6
In fall 2005, I spoke with librarians and searched the literature and Internet to get examples of podcast usage in school libraries. While most of the librarians I work with are in the very beginning stages of podcast understand­ing and implementation, they eagerly embrace the concept. And after hearing examples from my research, they’re quick to think of their own creative applications.
Many librarians help students and teachers retrieve podcasts to supplement curricular needs, particularly to get news and information for research. (See the sidebar Podcast Content for Library Research on page 19.) But because the body of publicly accessible K–12-appropriate podcasts has been limited (though quickly growing), most librarians were more focused on helping students (and teachers) author their own podcasts. I have used the following examples as catalysts to help Edison librarians brainstorm simple ways of incorporating podcasts into their own library programming. Below are my examples along with some suggested projects for each application:
• Promoting the library—I found some examples of schools that are helping their communities learn about available library programming, especially reading and book promotion. Grandview Elementary School in Monsey, N.Y., provides storytelling, a library newsletter, and creative writing podcasts. 7 Isinglass High School and Middle School in Contoocook, N.H., offers library book talks on the Teen Read Award nominees. 8 You can also use podcasts for book reviews, reading incentive program overviews, and connecting librarians to student achievements.
• Using student products to share learning—An end product of student research can be a paper, poster, or even a podcast. Two of the most compelling examples I found of student-produced podcasts are from Willowdale Elementary School in Omaha, Neb., where Radio WillowWeb 9 offers informative and entertaining culminations of studies, and Longfellow School in La Crosse, Wis., where Coulee Kids Podcasts 10 provide subscribers with chronicles of ongoing research. The students’ observations and excitement for learning are infectious. Now the entire world can listen in on their learning. 11, 12 Student podcasts can include interviews, dramatizations of students’ creative writing, readings of book passages to demonstrate skills, and observations about the learning process.
• Sharing school news—The librarian can be a leader in the use of technology to disseminate information and to increase community involvement beyond the library walls. Examples of what’s possible include Minneapolis Public Schools’ audio publication of school board meetings 13 and an interview with a principal in the Dubuque (Iowa) Community School District. 14 This technique can also be used to advertise upcoming concerts or to replay highlights of a basketball game.
• Providing professional development—The first podcast I created was a short 10-minute session for site librarians that helped them write book reviews and become involved in a book review program. The second was a 20-minute podcast about the Top 10 presentation tips for librarians. The podcast format for professional development is compelling: Create content once and it’s always accessible for review. Profession­al development podcasts can also include on-demand tutorials, copyright discussions, book group discussion guides, overviews of new services or policies, presentations by outside professionals, or introductory discussions of educational issues.”

Eash, K. E. (2006) “Podcasting 101 for K-12 librarians.” Computers in Libraries. 2006. Internet Available at