Zim libraries must embrace new tech

While technology has transformed many aspects of our lives, including how we access and consume information, it is unlikely to make libraries extinct.

WITH technology evolving, many products are becoming obsolete.

From address books, video cameras, pagers, wristwatches, maps, books, travel games, flashlights, home telephones and many others, technology has changed the way we live.

The disruption is not limited to products only.It has also been felt in areas like libraries.

While technology has transformed many aspects of our lives, including how we access and consume information, it is unlikely to make libraries extinct.

While the traditional concept of libraries, as physical buildings with rows of books may evolve, they continue to play a significant role in society.

Today's libraries offer more than just books. They provide access to a wide range of resources, including digital archives, research databases, multimedia materials and specialised collections that may not be readily available online.

Libraries often curate and organise these resources, making them easily accessible to the public.

Community libraries serve as community spaces and hubs, offering services for people to gather, learn and engage with others.

They host various events, workshops, lectures and activities that foster community interaction, promote literacy and support lifelong learning.

While digital technology has become prevalent, there are still individuals and communities that lack access to the internet or digital devices.

Libraries bridge this digital divide by providing free internet access, computers and other technological resources to underserved populations.

Librarians are trained professionals who can assist users in navigating the vast sea of information available online.

They provide guidance on research techniques, information literacy and help users find credible and reliable sources.

 The expertise of librarians remains invaluable in an era of information overload and misinformation.

Nationally libraries play a crucial role in preserving and archiving cultural heritage, historical documents, rare books and manuscripts.

These physical artefacts hold immense value and often require specialised care and preservation techniques that libraries are equipped to provide.

Access to libraries promotes a reading culture by making books accessible to the public.

They encourage reading for pleasure, literacy development and lifelong learning.

Libraries often host book clubs, reading challenges and many events that foster a love for literature and storytelling.

While technology has undoubtedly impacted how we access information, Zimbabwe's libraries should continue to adapt and embrace technological advancements.

Many libraries now offer digital lending services, e-books, audiobooks and online databases.

They have become hybrid spaces that combine the benefits of physical and digital resources.By embracing technology while retaining their core values, libraries can continue to serve as vital community resources in the digital age.

How long will the library continue to exist will depend on how the technology will continue to evolve.

  • Mutisi is the CEO of Hansole Investments(Pvt) Ltd. He is the current chairperson of Zimbabwe Information & Communication Technology, a division of Zimbabwe Institution of Engineers.


Related Topics