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Librarians learn about the Digital Space Print E-mail
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Friday, 14 September 2018 00:00

Our Belizean librarians are now adjusting to the wave of changes reverberating in the technological front. The Consortium for Belize Educational Cooperation (COBEC), in collaboration with Valdosta State University and the Belize National Library Service and Information System (BNLSIS), held a Public Libraries Training Course last week at the Central Information Technology Office in Belmopan.

In an interview with the media, Luciola Castillo, Acting Chief Librarian said that members of the public are now looking at technology to access their information and libraries need to be up to date. “Technology has a big impact and we need to stay current with it,”  she said.

The purpose of the course, which had the participation of 23 personnel from various libraries and institutions in Belize, was to deliver a face-to-face overview of public libraries. It is geared to help participants establish a foundational perspective to use going forward in the implementation of the effective use of information technology on the practice of public librarianship. The 25-hour course covered basic principles, philosophies, administrative, technical and technological issues impacting the use of information technology in the public library.

COBEC was established in the 1980s to link Belize with the United States of America and other countries for the purposes of strengthening their capabilities in higher education. It includes all the significant tertiary-level education institutions engaged in projects or activities in Belize.

The course, which was facilitated by Dr. Edward Lomax and Dr. Patricia Ball, is expected to facilitate cooperation, share information, and maximize resources available to aid the development of higher education in Belize.

In his presentation, Dr. Lomax introduced freely available cloud-based Internet software such as Google Cloud and Open Office. The nation’s librarians learned how to store documents in the Google Cloud. “Knowledge is power; information rules the World,” said Dr. Lomax.

Combining what was learned from Dr. Lomax, Dr. Patricia Ball also took it further looking in-depth at portable document format (.pdf) books and using links to retrieve these documents from Google Drive.

As a coincidence and at the end of the one week course, the librarians then dispersed to celebrate International Literacy Day on Saturday. Head Librarian of the San Ignacio Library was observed working the crowds at the St. Francis Xavier and Sacred Heart Primary Schools, where she was received with an enthusiastic welcome by the children.

International Literacy Day is celebrated annually on the 8th of September and is an opportunity for Governments, civil society and stakeholders to highlight improvements in world literacy rates, and reflect on the world’s remaining literacy challenges. The issue of literacy is a key component of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

That day focused on skills and competencies required for employment, careers, and livelihoods, particularly technical and vocational skills, along with transferable skills and digital skills. These newly acquired digital skills by our librarians will hopefully now attract many into the safe spaces of libraries across Belize, the actual nurseries of our Nation’s intellectual might.

Last Updated on Friday, 14 September 2018 14:47