Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Highlights from the SCECSAL 2010 Official Opening Session

Source of image: "Libraries must change strategy", Daily News (Botswana), 10 December 2010

By Poloko Ntokwane

Mrs Kgomotso Radijeng: Welcome Remarks

During her welcome remarks the President of Botswana Library Association Mrs Kgomotso Radijeng said that the main focus of the theme “Enhancing Democracy and Good Governance through Effective Information and Knowledge Services” is to interrogate the role that free flow of information can play in contributing to Democracy, Good Governance, social equality and economic growth within our nations. She further highlighted that information and knowledge services are at the epicentre of a world wind of change. According to Radijeng the digital age is revolutionizing the way we live our lives and that access to ICTs is no longer a luxury but a necessity. Technological changes have the potential to revolutionize the delivery of effective Library, Information and Knowledge services. Our challenge as information professionals is to ensure that Governments and businesses are encouraged to invest efficiently, so that the average citizen will have access to the emergent technologies and that these technological and developmental changes enhance democracy and Good Governance. Another important aspect raised by Radijeng is that “Library, Information and Knowledge Services must remain relevant in order to realize their missions. In this regard, SCECSAL member associations must continue to present themselves as willing and capable partners in enhancing Democracy and Good Governance through the provision of effective and efficient Library, Information and Knowledge Services.

Mr Thapelo Ndlovu MISA Botswana –Key Note Address

Giving a key note address at the conference Mr Thapelo Ndlovu of MISA Botswana who is Expression/Media Activist said that it is important that any government must strive to put measures in place that would make it easy for people to access information. He commended Government of Botswana for coming up with such facilities as Kitsong Centres and Nteletsa projects which make communication easier. He said if a person does not have access to information it is impossible to discuss the range of political options that are freely open to them and it will be impossible to vote according to your own beliefs and values. Mr Mpofu stressed the importance of information as central to human development. He said the community at any level, local or broader, use information for their economic, social and political uplifting. In this age a community without a library faces virtual extinction. The absence of information by some in the society could lead to confrontations and even civil disaffections. The speaker said that the internet has effectively become a virtual library and it is important that the library society view it as a positive development that would complement the traditional library.

Mr Shaw Kgati- Minister of Sport Youth and Culture- Opening Speech

Mr Shaw Kgati said there is a need for libraries to shift from being book oriented to information communication technology to cater for all sectors of the society. He said libraries were becoming irrelevant due to social networks making it imperative to re-align their strategies by becoming more innovative and creative. He emphasised the importance of information to the life of any society so it should be shared and made available. The minister said so far in Botswana 17 out of 29 villages enjoy free access to information through connectivity at public libraries and this has been realise through the partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation through the Sesigo project.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting report, surely it is imperative that all governments promote democracy within their respective countries by providing free access to information. However it will be long before all libraries especially in africa shift from being book oriented to information communication technology oriented libraries because of the shortage and lack of resources that enable the information and communication technologies libraries to effectively function.