NGO preparing librarians for digital age

National 2 minutes, 33 seconds


THE Brunei Darussalam Library Association (BLA) is strengthening its training programmes to prepare members to become leaders who will later run the association, said BLA President Nellie Dato Paduka Hj Sunny.

“The training will be more or less at par with training programmes run by the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) conducted worldwide.”

The BLA President said BLA members had the opportunity to participate in one of the programmes in Jakarta, Indonesia, in 2014.

“That gave us an idea to organise our own programme which we have adapted to meet the needs of Bruneians.”

One of their recent programmes was the Emerging Leaders Programme workshop which aimed to provide knowledge and experience in a leadership role.

“This is especially when dealing with the latest technological advances, librarians in particular need to keep abreast with the current news and information to provide satisfactory service to consumers,” said Nor Rahidah Hj Ghani, chairman of the programme.

The first out of four modules, the workshop also aims to develop administrative and management skills in the library which is important in achieving the country’s Vision 2035, she said.

The workshop is also to guide and inspire and practice good governance and leadership skills by learning and sharing from one another’s experiences and strengths and show the kind of effective leadership that can be embraced and put into practice.

“However, they must have the skills and thinking of a leader to master these challenges and meet the high expectations of the industry today.”

Nor Rahidah said the workshop was an introduction of the reality, context and the multifaceted roles of the librarian.

She said the participants reflected on these aspects in the context of their own roles, strategically or their own respective teams, as well as cooperation and alliances inside and outside the workplace.

Nellie said the programme is beneficial to train BLA members as effective emerging leaders.

“This is because training and continuous training is necessary in view of the extended functions of libraries because of the digital age. “Libraries have increasingly being pressed to stretch beyond their traditional roles, she said adding that a library is now a place to share intellectual resources and is a learning hub.

“The librarian’s role continues to evolve. We have to think as teachers, curators, tour guides, learners, researchers, teaching people search terms, structural pathways to get the best result from their searches.”

“Hence librarians find themselves as information mediators and in addition today most librarians are digital media and techno specialists managing the entire digital info literacy ecosystem. The paradigm changes on a daily basis. Libraries transform because of this.”

Nellie said library experts have already identified top skills for librarians in the next 20 years.

These include advocacy, negotiation, decision-making, emotional intelligence, collaboration, people’s skill, innovation, critical thinking, data analysis, leadership, marketing, technological expertise and rapid resource response.

“Therefore willingness to continuously learn new skills should be every librarian’s aim,” she added.

Nellie said three other modules will take place in the upcoming months.

The Brunei Times