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University Librarian’s Meeting: AU leads the discussion on the relevance of physical library spaces in the Digital Age

 

Lyn Mahati

IPAO Correspondent

On the 6TH OF JULY 2018, the University Librarian’s Meeting, hosted by Africa University, was attended by an assembly of various Higher Tertiary Institutions such as Bindura University, Chinhoyi University, National University of Science and Technology (NUST), Lupani University, Harare Institute of Technology, Great Zimbabwe University and Marondera University. The objective of the meeting was to discuss the role of librarians in universities and colleges and how they can help push the agenda for Digital Technology Transformation.


Digital transformation involves using digital technologies to remake a process to become more efficient or effective. The idea is to use technology not just to replicate an existing service in a digital form, but to use technology to transform that service into something significantly better (www.zdnet.com).


Africa University Registrar Mr. Herbert Njonga commenced the meeting with opening remarks that shed light on the current obstacles and challenges that librarians face in providing up-to-date and relevant literature to students. He emphasized the need for strategies that would help library practitioners and administrative staff within universities to collaborate for the greater good, stressing that there was a great need for universities to understand the disruption of technology and how it affects students and their access to materials.


A disruptive technology is one that displaces an established technology and shakes up the industry or a ground-breaking product that creates a completely new industry. Examples include emails which transformed the way we communicate, largely displacing letter-writing and disrupting the postal and greeting card industries and smartphones that largely replaced cell phones and PDAs and, because of the available apps, also disrupted: pocket cameras, MP3 players, calculators and GPS devices, among many other possibilities.


Mr. Njonga went on to expand his assertion saying,

“The student of today is a well-read student and information is easily accessible, the challenge is to make sure that the library has the latest and most up-to-date literature.”


Embracing E-Libraries and Resources was one of the many steps indicated towards creating a streamlined and integrated system of effective communication and learning. E-Learning Resources must be compatible amongst institutions in order to facilitate the ease of transition between institutions of learning. Current trends in library information systems include a host of innovative and user driven solutions adapted to the needs of learners such as mobile learning, micro-learning and interactive video based learning amongst others.


Africa University, through its active involvement in driving the narrative of development on the continent by supporting innovation and enterprise development remains dedicated to fulfilling its mission and vision of transformation through education and open dialogue.