Thursday, April 12, 2012

National Library Week Commemorations held in Harare

Mr. C. Chisita expressing a point during a presentation at the NLW.
The American Information Center (ARC) in Harare joined the rest of the world to observe this year’s National Library Week running from April 8 – April 14, 2012 under the theme, “You Belong @ your library.”

The main concept was to celebrate the contributions of librarian in the 21st century. The ARC provided the public an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the facilities and services including podcasting and kindle project. The focus of the discussion was to highlight the contributions of the librarians in the 21st century to society. One of the presenters, Harare Polytechnic faculty staff member Collence Chisita, noted that libraries continue to transform lives which mean librarians should adopt and adapt new and emerging technologies as well as experimenting with innovative and transformational ideas to provide services that empower patrons.

The event provided a great opportunity for presenters to outline the significant contributions of librarians in society amid serious competition emerging from alternative sources of information and social media.  The event was tailored to encourage librarians to adopt technological innovation to increase their impact in their respective communities. In this Information Age, librarians play a critical role in moving forward towards a knowledge-based economy model which requires extensive use of Information Technology in promoting democracy, equality, and development.
The larger group of participants following proceedings at the NLW.

Keeton (2012) noted that “Traits that will help in the profession include people skills, listening skills, being innovative, and non-judgmental.” The State of America’s Libraries report (2012) published by ALA noted that the uptake of social media in libraries has increased tremendously and the American Library Association (ALA), the world’s largest and most influential library association continues to provide leadership in the transformation of libraries and library services in a dynamic and increasing global digital information environment. The report further highlighted that the library community is working towards addressing the issue of e-books and libraries, and of digital content more generally.
Part of the librarians that attended the NLW commemorations.
Chisita noted that the demand for libraries is to increase despite the enormous competition posed by emerging technologies and social media apps. In his presentation he coined the term “original search engine” to refer to the librarians and noted that future trends require librarians to adapt p technological innovation to better disseminate information. The 21st century has seen a number of challenges affecting the role of the librarians together with unprecedented budget cuts that has contributed to below capacity operations. Zimbabwe is not immune to these challenges but has enjoyed a high ICT uptake by locals and librarians are likely to take advantage of this development to provide services using ICT apps.