Tendai Gukutikwa Post Correspondent—
THE MINISTER of Primary and Secondary Education, Paul Mavima has challenged librarians to embrace and welcome the current technological transition in libraries.
In a speech read by Manicaland Provincial Education Director, Mr Edward Shumba on behalf of the minister at the Zimbabwe Library Association 2018 Conference which was held at a local hotel last week, Cde Mavima said libraries were heavily affected by the advent of information technologies.
He also said the Zimbabwean learning population continued to expand while the library system continued to lag behind in terms of both the library network and the availability of library skills, especially digital skills.
He said that librarians were facing challenges, chief among them the failure to keep pace with a rapidly changing digital environment which was always presenting new ways and channels of information delivery.
“Librarians must not remain static but must be aware of information transition and technological developments in the global village,” said the Minister.
The three-day conference was running under the theme “Libraries in transition: Emerging Trends and Technologies”
“As modern librarians we need to embrace and welcome the current transition in libraries as this approach takes everyone on board. This is an opportunity for the country to bring vibrancy and life to citizens by improving access to information, via Information Communication Technologies whose trends we all need to learn,” he said.
The minister said his ministry was aware that not only the education system had been affected by information technologies, but many libraries as well since the libraries need to offer services using the latest search methods.
“Institutions play an important role in equipping individuals and learners with the knowledge and skills demanded by society in different professions.
“This task however, remains elusive without a vibrant library system. It is therefore critical to support library development through the Zimbabwe Library Association,” he noted.
In a speech read on her behalf by director for Provincial Affairs, Mr Kennedy Mugarisanwa, the Minister of State for Provincial Affairs, Manicaland, Senator Monica Mutsvangwa said the learning environment continued to evolve daily and the need to adapt to emerging technologies and trends in teaching.
“Everyone is aware that the learning environment continues to evolve to keep up with emerging technologies and trends in teaching and learning therefore the need for librarians to move towards designing spaces for that flexibility and adaptability,” she said.
“Technology will never replace great teachers but technology in the hands of great teachers is transformational.
“We are aware of the challenges that libraries may be facing but that should not be a deterrent for us to face those challenges and find solutions for information seekers,” she said.
ZIMLA President, Mr Lantern Fusire said the conference’s aim was to equip people in the field of information with skills to organize information, skills to access the information and to manage that information.
This year’s event was the 52th annual edition of the ZIMLA conference.