Empowering the library by empowering its users
More than just a space where you can find books systematically stacked in shelves, the library is an information hub of knowledge where infinite information can be found and used by anyone.
From November 25th until 26th, Centre For Academic Information Services (CAIS) Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) organised the annual Librarianship Seminar (Seminar Kepustakawanan) at Riverside Majestic Hotel.
With the theme Empowering the Library through an Outcome-based Initiative, (Memperkasakan Perpustakaan Melalui Inisiatif Berasakan Keberhasilan), the seminar aims to discuss the role of librarians and information manager as well as encouraging sharing of information among various institutions in enforcing the use of library or resource center.
“Librarians have to be aware of the current information, the influence of technology on information circulation, publishing materials, the existence of all sorts of gadgets and social media used by current generations, the learning process as well as the changing searching methods by the users,” said Unimas chief librarian Margaret Simeng.
“The theme of our seminar means that whatever initiative, activities or programmes that the library undertakes must give impact and added value that can be seen in terms of cost effectiveness and also of benefit to the community,” said Margaret.
In line with Malaysia Education Blueprint, Margaret said that some of the shifts relevant to librarians include producing a nation of lifelong learners and giving the chance for librarians to plan and execute programmes that can give impact to its users.
“This is where the library should play their part in ensuring that our community is knowledgeable and knows how to search the information they require so that they can uplift their living standard,” she said.
In her speech, outcome based initiatives by the library are relevant to the community as it can impact the community and country in a powerful and positive way.
“On our campus, CAIS has a programme called ‘Kembara Ilmu’ which is held in various faculties on campus where we show the students how to use our online resources and search for information. It is also to ensure they optimise the resources there,” said Margaret.
“This is how we assist our students and lecturers, especially young lecturers as we have numerous subscriptions to online and electronic databases. This is important so that they can get authentic information online,” she said.
“Students have to use resources, as they cannot depend fully on lectures alone. For their final year projects, they have to know where to search for information and they have to know how to cite references,” she added.
With freshmen as well as more senior students getting exposure through the programme, Margaret added that the resource centre would be made fully optimisable for students especially first year students so that they would have no problem making use of the resources available.
In addition to that, CAIS also has ‘Friends of CAIS’, an engagement programme which enlists the students as library assistants to help arrange the books in the library.
“This way, they can appreciate it when they use the resources in the library, so that they will take care of it as they have hands on experience,” said Margaret.
CAIS has also organised a Community Engagement Programme called the Book Donation Session Programme where they encourage their users to donate books they don’t need anymore so it can be given to rural resource center or library.
“This is one of the things that the library does to inculcate reading habits among communities,” she said.
Also present for the official launch of the seminar was Unimas vice-chancellor Prof Dr Mohamad Kadim Suaidi.