Libraries urged to embrace new technology

The Herald

Ivan Zhakata

Herald Correspondent

Libraries have been urged to embrace new technology in their operations in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Speaking at the 54th Zimbabwe Libraries Association (ZIMLA) annual conference held virtually, it president elect Mr Macdonald Nhakura said the pandemic has negatively impacted on Zimbabwean libraries’ service delivery and halted a lot of activities.

The conference which ran under the theme, “Innovative Libraries and Informative Services in the wake of Covid-19 Pandemic” to come up with ways on how librarians and libraries can adapt to new technology in their operations.

“All we are saying is that it is evident that the new normal characterised by Covid-19 is now regulating the way we are interacting and doing business. We also automatically must adjust our modus operandi and adopt new ways of doing things, adopt to new technologies and many virtual interactive platforms hence the ZIMLA 2021 conference theme.

“After having realized that Covid-19 may be with us for a long time and affect our operations, we as librarians are looking at ways on how we can innovate our services. Through interactions with first world countries, we managed to have a cross pollination of ideas to adopt to the way they are engaging with their users,” he said.

The conference came after most libraries in Zimbabwe were closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic and as a way of reducing the spread of the deadly virus.

Dr Judith Mavodza from the Zayed University Dubai implored librarians to have disaster management and risk management systems in place which shows pro-activeness when incidents like Covid-19 occur.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in highly innovative library services which can be offered even from home. Gone are the days we used to heavily rely on the physical buildings as the library.

“ We now have libraries occupying the digital space and most materials housed on the cloud and users benefit accordingly,” she said.

In Harare, council has closed since all its libraries in the wake of the third wave of the Covid-19 for the safety of residents who would want to use the library.

The local authority had five libraries in Highlands, Greendale, Hatfield, Mabelreign and Mount Pleasant that were functional when the lockdown was relaxed.

The Herald