‘Librarians are more than just bookworms’

National 2 minutes, 12 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

A librarian’s job is more complex than people think, even with the growing use of information technology, said members of the Brunei Darussalam Library Association (BLA) during a roadshow yesterday.

Amal Syukriyyah Hj Abdul Kahar, a librarian at Universiti Islam Sultan Sharif Ali (UNISSA) and a member of the BLA, said the general perception of a librarian is someone who is shy and only sits at the counter, which isn’t the case.

“The tasks of a librarian today are very different from before, as information technology has become more prevalent (in the library), requiring librarians to be more tech-savvy,” she said, adding that sources of information aren’t only found in books but also online.

“Librarians are ‘information professionals’ who help students with academic material or any other type of information they’re seeking. This is our profession,” she said.

She said database computers provided in the library for students to locate books may not be sufficient as librarians give more evaluated answers because they would know the type of book a student may be looking for.

Another BLA member, Muhammad Hafizuddin Abu Hasrah, said most people are unaware of the workload a librarian has.

“Nowadays, we have computerised cataloguing as opposed to the old way of inputting data (by hand),” he said.

He said cataloguing books, which includes inputting codes, tags and metadata as well as book titles, is very strenuous because you need to input each one by computer and there are also different types of computer cataloguing systems that librarians are required to learn.

When university students come to the library to do assignments, he said they need books that are relevant to their research topics.

He said using the database computers wouldn’t provide the relevant material they are searching for as they are unable to provide opinions or further references like a librarian would.

Norahidah Abd Ghani, a senior member of BLA, said the roadshow aims to unite librarians to build a strong library association.

She said the association provided librarians with a platform to be more outspoken through activities such as public speaking and meeting members from other library associations of ASEAN countries. The BLA will also send a delegation to Thailand on February 16-20 as an effort to improve ties between library associations in the ASEAN region.

Yesterday’s roadshow held at the Language and Literature Bureau (DBP) in Berakas was amongst the events planned to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the BLA.

A third roadshow will be held on January 16 at the DBP library in Bangar, Temburong. The first roadshow was held in Belait on January 11.

The Brunei Times