Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Establish library services in all schools, Syakalima urges PEOs in Zambia

Hon. Douglas M. Syakalima
Minister of Education, Zambia
Speaking when he officially launched the commemorations of the National Library Week under the theme, “connect with your library”, Minister of Education, Hon. Douglas M. Syakalima has urged Provincial Education Officers (PEO) to ensure that library services exist in all schools and ensure that professionally trained librarians are employed to manage the school libraries. 

The Minister said that the ministry is also desirous to see to it that a National Library which will have a Bibliographic Control Service is established and that a National Library and the Bill and Policy are actualised.

He noted that libraries play a fundamental role in the development of society as the utility of libraries goes far beyond its basic function as the custodian of information but has a significant role to play in educating citizens.

“Libraries are at the heart of our cities, towns, schools and campuses, providing critical resources, programs and expertise that add value to the communities,” Mr Syakalima said.

The minister added that a library is an equalizer among citizens of different statuses in a community, school or nation at large. He said that the haves and have-nots all find solace in a library to share the resources available as such he notes that a library is a promoter of equity in the communities, we live in. He observed that when a community is well informed, it results in development that in turn will aggregate into national development.

To enhance literacy levels, Mr Syakalima said that the ministry has promoted the establishment of classroom libraries amongst early graders, given out a number of books as well as trained various teacher librarians, provincial and district educationists, in the establishment and management of the classroom and school libraries.

The ministry is also working with the Ministry of Home Affairs in establishing libraries in all correctional facilities countrywide. This will provide an opportunity for inmates to study and sit for examinations and read for leisure as they serve their sentences.

The Minister lauded all the partners that have been supporting the agenda of libraries in the country such as the Library and Information Association of Zambia (LIAZ), UNICEF, Book Aid International, Beit Trust, Lubuto Library Partners and among others.

“As we celebrate library week, let us reflect on how best we can support the library service as communities connecting with our libraries. for the library to function to the desired capacity, it calls for concerted efforts from all stakeholders” he emphasised. 

Zambia celebrated the National Library Week Commemorations 2022 from 13 – 17 June 2022 in selected designated locations around the country while the official launch took place at Civic Centre, Kabwe, Central Province.

Zambia Commemorates 2022 National Library Week

Ministry of Education Permanent Secretary calls for digitalization of libraries in Zambia

By Bedson Nyoni

Library Week celebrartion in Zambia
Ministry of Education Permanent Secretary Zambia Commemorates 2022 National
Library Week  has called for the digitalization of libraries across the country.

In a speech read on his behalf by National Director for Primary Schools, Mr. Keziah Mwale at the official launch of the 2022 National Library Week held at Civic Centre in Kabwe, from 13 - 17 June 2022, Mr. Kamoko said there was a need for libraries to be connected to advanced technologies to make them accessible to everyone.

“Libraries are places to get connected to technology by using broadband, computers, and other resources. This year’s theme is an explicit call to action, an invitation for communities to join, visit or advocate for local libraries,” he said.

Mr. Kamoko noted that the 2022 National Library Week theme demonstrates how modern libraries were at the heart of institutions providing critical resources and expertise that add value to our communities.

This year’s National Library Week commemorations across the country are being held on the theme: “Connect with your library”.

Mr. Kamoko also called on stakeholders to continue supporting the ministry in the provision of libraries and library services at all levels.

He revealed that the Government in partnership with Book Aid International has taken a deliberate stance to establish 72 study hubs in the Copperbelt, Northern, Southern, Lusaka, North-western, Western and Muchinga provinces to provide additional support to learners preparing for examinations.

And Kabwe District Administrator, Mr. Lennox Shimwamba, commended all institutions that participated in the National Library Week Commemoration. 

Speaking at the same event, Mr. Simwamba observed that the commemoration was critical as its activities feed-in and work hand in hand with what the government is trying to achieve which is free education for all.

Meanwhile, Kabwe Mayor Patrick Chishala said that this year’s national library week espouses the view that libraries are living organisms that interacts with their external environment. 

He noted that the theme was a clear alignment with the Seventh National Development Plan (NDP) towards achieving ‘education for all by 2030’. 

And Provincial Education Officer for Central Province, Mrs. Maambe Hamududu said the importance of a library cannot be overemphasized. 

She cited the five most important reasons why libraries are needed: “libraries maintain the history and more important truth, libraries offer free educational resources, libraries help to build communities, libraries are transparent with the services they provide, and libraries contribute to increasing the economy”. 

LIAZ President
 Mrs Mutinta Mweemba Nabuyanda

Meanwhile, Library and Information Association President (LIAZ) President, Mrs Mutinta Mweemba Nabuyanda said connecting with our libraries is the only way through which we can benefit from the services and information resources contained therein. 

“The important role that libraries and librarians play in ensuring that our learners and citizens receive the right services and information to enhance their learning opportunities cannot be overemphasised. The best all of us can do, government inclusive therefore is to support libraries and the librarians with all relevant resources pertaining to their welfare" she stressed.

She said it was LIAZ's considered view that if qualified people are given the mandate to manage information in various Government departments, there would be a reduction in the leaking of sensitive information to unintended recipients. 

“The new technological environment in libraries and resource centres demands digital skills from key staff to play an effective role in providing digital information to the users, by possessing knowledge and skills to utilize e-resources, offer web-based services and market them digitally” she emphasised. 

The LIAZ president said that the Association has been carrying out periodic skills audits to establish gaps among LIS professionals and undertake training to mitigate identified gaps.