Friday, August 12, 2011

Use of Social Networking Tools in Libraries in Zambia

Conference Participants
A survey by Mr. Charles Banda, Reference and Electronic Services Librarian at the Copperbelt University, in Kitwe, Zambia has shown that social networking tools are hardly used for work related activities by librarians in the country. In a paper presented at the Zambia Library Association (ZLA) Annual Conference, 11 – 13 August 2011, held at Lake Safari Lodge in Siavonga, located on the banks of the Lake Kariba in Zambia, results of the survey on the use of social networking tools by librarians in three public universities – Copperbelt University, University of Zambia and the Mulungushi University showed that various reasons are responsible for this state of affairs and these include:
  • Restrictions from the Information Technology Departments on what web-based facilities/services that can be accessed;
  • Bandwidth challenges;
  • Lack of time by librarians to use social media;
  • Lack of knowledge among librarians on the use of social media;
  • No interest – librarian preferring to do things the way they have always been done.
The paper recommends, among others, that:
  • Librarians should embrace social networking tools;
  • Training of librarians in the use of social networking tools to facilitate and enhance the adoption of the tools/technologies should be conducted;
  • Librarians and IT professionals in the universities should collaborate in the implementation of social networking tools in university;
  • The library and information studies curriculum should be revised to take into account social media;
  • Internet bandwidth in universities should be increased to facilitate and enhance access to social media based services and facilities.
Part of Lake Kariba
The workshop was followed by a seminar on Web 2.0 and Libraries services facilitated by Justin Chisenga. The seminar, among others, looked at the potential application of Web 2.0 in libraries and by librarians in their work; cases of Web 2.0 in libraries; and creating a blog using blogger. Copies, on CDs, of FAO Information and Management Resource Kit (IMARK) modules on Web 2.0 and Social Medial for Development, Knowledge Sharing for Development, and Digitization and Digital Libraries, were distributed to participants.

5 comments:

  1. Interesting post. Speaking of my own experience in Ghana, I suspect quite a number of librarians are on LinkedIn (more professional) and Facebook (for personal reasons), but I haven't come across many who are on Twitter or who blog. I do stand to be corrected though.

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  2. Thanks for the training on Web 2.0.Dr. Chisenga. It revitalized me, had done some training way back but I lost interest somehow.Will be consulting soon

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  3. Hi Nina. I guess you are right. I have also not come accross many librarians in Africa who are on Twitter and use it to deliver information services to their clients. I am of the view that our colleagues in university libraries on the continent should embrace social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter since most university students are found on these platforms.

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