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‘Think of users to improve libraries’

Minister of Education YB Pehin Orang Kaya Indera Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Hj Suyoi Hj Osman observes some newly launched books assisted by Nellie DPH Sunny (R), the President of the Brunei Darussalam Library Association, during the opening ceremony of a conference held in conjunction with the association’s 30th anniversary at Universiti Teknologi Brunei’s library yesterday. Picture: BT/Yusri Adanan




BY RAFIDAH HAMIT

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN - THE minister of education has called on libraries to take into account what users need to improve their services. Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Indera Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Hj Suyoi Hj Osman said libraries and librarians need to re-evaluate their collections with the community in mind.

“Make it service-oriented, redesign spaces and build community partners and provide seamless learning,” he said during the opening of Brunei Darussalam Library Association’s conference at Universiti Teknologi Brunei yesterday.

The minister said the transformation of libraries is not just about technology, but engagement with users and communities.

He said library users are developing higher expectations of library services and often end up using these services differently than the way they used to in the past.

“Some new trends include open access and open educational resources publishing, scholarly communication, institutional repositories, discovery systems, e-books and research analytics.”

He said libraries should be the first place where most advanced technologies are implemented.

“Walls of libraries will expand beyond physical space to encompass online resources, social and mobile services that open up collections previously hidden from view. Libraries lead the way to digital citizenship,” he added.

YB Pehin Dato Hj Suyoi said libraries must have various skills to improve their competencies, including the ability to communicate with users.

“Being knowledgeable and indispensable are two other factors that are essential to librarians,” he said.

The minister said librarians should have expert knowledge and familiarity with information resources.

He said the Brunei Library Association can support with the upgrading of librarians’ skills by giving training.

The minister added that the current professional library programmes provided by Institute of Brunei Technical Education (IBTE) Sultan Saiful Rijal College in HNTec in Information and Library Studies as well as the Diploma programme in Library Computing and Informatics at Politeknik Brunei should be continued and expanded.

“This is important for creating new professional librarians with cutting edge skills and knowledge to prepare for the transformed world of libraries.”

He went on to say that technology is putting more and more power into the hands of users.

“Too often people are confronted by entirely too much information and lack the skills to critically evaluate what they are looking at, separate the good from the bad, and organise it in a way that makes sense to them.”

From this perspective, librarians will have jobs for at least the next 20 years just in terms of information literacy education. This is an educational role that librarians must undertake, added the minister.

YB Pehin Dato Hj Suyoi said many libraries have undergone significant transformation over the years, including Brunei.

The Virtual Library and Information Services or VILIS Brunei, which is a digital library project, has been serving most libraries in schools, colleges and universities, he said.

“I also believe that libraries should be able to attract our students, to encourage them to utilise the libraries for learning and explore knowledge as vast information resources can be found in libraries.

“Library standards and guidelines should be available to help libraries align and structure accordingly by developing, maintaining and adhering to the highest standards that support high quality library practices,” the minister added.

- Courtesy of The Brunei Times

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