More recognition needed for Brunei’s librarians

National 2 minutes, 3 seconds


LACK of recognition and stagnated growth are some of the issues that are being faced by librarians in the country, said the president of the Brunei Darussalam Library Association (BLA).

“We (as librarians) work in the public sector (similar to) teachers and nurses. We provide services to the public but we feel that we have not been given due recognition,” said Nellie Dato Paduka Hj Sunny after the closing ceremony of BLA’s conference at Universiti Teknologi Brunei.

Nellie said that the lack of recognition not only causes job dissatisfaction but also stagnation due to lack of progression and interest in the profession.

“Currently, the positions (in libraries) are saturated and no new posts are being created in this area. We need due recognition as it would create better career paths, better training opportunities and a better salary,” said Nellie, adding that students who graduated with a library and information background are unable to find employment due to the saturation.

She added that if proper recognition was given to libraries and the professionals working in them, it would not only improve the services provided but also ensure its sustainability in the future.

“(If we are given recognition), we will be able to interest the younger generation to take over after we retire. (This will also allow us) to create a succession plan where we can (improve our services) and get promoted for our (efforts in our) career paths,” said Nellie.

To overcome these challenges, participants of the conference, as well as BLA, held a discussion on the issues that are faced by libraries and drafted a resolution.

Though the resolution has yet to be finalised, Nellie mentioned several action plans which include calling for stronger support from the public and private sector, to have BLA regulate the training and certification of librarians as well as motivating them, and to continue improving the qualities of librarians in the country.

The BLA president added that the two main areas BLA will seek to improve are innovation and leadership among librarians in the sultanate.

“Product knowledge is very important because the industry has changed so much. The publishing industry, the information industry, the technology industry has changed and all these things affect how a librarian handles information in the library,” said Nellie.

She also called for more librarians to join BLA as this will allow them to unify their concerns, work towards a proper solution and develop a stronger voice.

The Brunei Times