It’s regularly stated that we reside in an ‘Info Age’. The leaders of the USA speak of an Info Superhighway; the EU of an Info Society; teachers speak of a community society, and information financial system’. Main enterprise strategists argue that Information is changing monetary capital as a key useful resource for corporations. The present realization is that any society that strives to develop requires more and more extra info and information actions as these facilitate the measurement of change in each material of society. What can we perceive by the phrases INFORMATION and KNOWLEDGE?
Info and information
Two faculties of thought exist. We are likely to assume that Info and Information are synonymous and are thus used inter-changeably. Nevertheless there’s a distinction. Info is often a number of paperwork/concepts in a specific topic or vary of topics which can or might not have been digested essentially. It subsequently has the potential of turning into Information. Information, however, may be of two sorts: tacit and specific, the latter having larger similarity with Info however not solely so. A set of books, for instance, could also be described as a physique of data and every doc representing knowledgeable concepts which might be more likely to affect others when digested. Such information, when acquired serves, amongst others, as experiences, concepts and expertise within the type of Tacit Information.
Info is among the precept sources of data. It’s shared information, having been communicated and often obtained by research and investigation. Abate (1988) referred to info as intelligence and information that contributes to the social, financial, cultural and political well-being of society, regardless of the shape it’s inscribed (eg textual content; figures); medium saved (eg paper, magnetic tapes); mode of dissemination (eg oral, written); societal exercise that provides rise to it(eg analysis, census); and the establishments that arrange and disseminate it( eg library and knowledge centre).
Information, then again, is what one is aware of. Ft Lauderdale and Prusak (1998) outlined it as a fluid mixture of framed experiences, values, contextual info and professional insights that present a framework for evaluating and incorporating new experiences and knowledge. That’s to say Information includes human response to info. For example if one is ready to perceive easy written description to a specific sickness, that’s info. Nevertheless, if we thought that somebody was affected by that sickness, most of us would recommend that the individual went to see a medical physician. It’s because the physician has a physique of data which is a mixture of details about that sickness, details about the human physique, about different sicknesses and experiences of comparable instances and coaching.
Info and Information are among the many world’s most necessary assets wanted day by day to unravel issues and make selections affecting the longer term. Based on Mchombu (1995),for any group to perform effectively and productively, a primary minimal inventory of usable info is important. Aboyade (1987) posited that sufficient info is important for strengthening the hyperlink between the indications and the beneficiaries of improvement effort, and for making rural individuals perceive and respect the advantages of the event programmes to their lives. What individuals accomplish in organizations, he added, relies upon largely upon the knowledge and information they possess. More and more the diploma of success loved by organizations and the individuals who work for them depends upon how nicely they handle their info and information. These are the strategic belongings of the enterprise.
The Civil Conflict
The last decade lengthy civil struggle (1991-2001) which brought on untold struggling to the individuals of Sierra Leone was rooted in a few years of injustice, dangerous governance, corruption and mis-management. Presently the nation is within the throes of post-war reconstruction with authorities’s most developmental challenges being democracy and good governance, improved financial system, well being, schooling, mining, human rights and meals safety, rural improvement, anti-corruption and improved street infrastructure. These challenges require:
o efficient public administration and financial administration
o improvement of viable manufacturing, service and overseas commerce
o harnessing of Science and Know-how together with Indigenous Information.
These type the idea of the nation’s Imaginative and prescient 2025.
To facilitate the afore-mentioned entry to info and information assumes a central position. A cursory historic reference is sufficient to substantiate this view. When the civil struggle broke out in 1991 the official rationalization shared by Sierra Leoneans was that it was a skirmish between Charles Taylor’s NPFL fighters and Sierra Leone troopers over a enterprise transaction. Hardly was there any info on the true id of the RUF, their ideology, final goals and operational technique and the worldwide dimension of their actions. Consequently the struggle was not given the eye it deserved. The lack of information or enough info was mirrored on a number of the phrases used to check with the RUF even when the struggle swallowed up the nation. The truth is, regrettably, even the basis causes of the battle weren’t correctly understood or analyzed to type the inspiration for peace initiative. Thus the nation was destroyed to reckless abandon.
Entry to info and information is indispensable to particular person development in addition to to nationwide progress. The appropriate info offered when it’s wanted, the place it’s wanted and the shape by which it’s wanted, improves the power of a person and enterprise, a authorities company or some type of group to make knowledgeable selections and obtain specific objectives. The added worth that’s derived from entry to info and information is that the nation will profit and it’ll take much less time to be mirrored in our output as people, as establishments inside a rustic, and as a nation as an entire. What we produce, eat and change as a nation determines our standing in relation to others the world over. It’s the extent that we’re capable of be artistic in our respective spheres of exercise that determines how nicely or badly, we carry out towards others. The UNDP says all of it.
The idea of entry to info and information in Sierra Leone has restricted software and interpretation. It’s involved with the equipment of selling journalists and different media businesses with entry to these constituent parts in information making and supply. Hardly any point out is made about entry to info and information outdoors these parameters. Sadly this a lot talked about entry is severely constrained by many elements to incorporate weak communication techniques, low literacy degree, poverty, passive and stereotyped services provided in libraries centered on donated e-book assortment, language limitations and above all the shortage of political will to deliver sure sorts of data to public information.
The library scene in Sierra Leone
Libraries command respect in society as storehouses of data. Their worth is acknowledged with out reservation as large sums of cash are spent on them particularly in superior nations for the supply of well timed and correct info. Sierra Leone’s library scene is made up of public/nationwide, faculty, educational, instructor coaching school, polytechnic and particular libraries, documentation, info and useful resource centres. These establishments range in measurement and complexity and collectively they’re the inspiration on which a nation-wide info community is to be constructed if they’re to offer efficient entry to info and information within the nation’s post-war reconstruction period. It’s, nevertheless, unlucky to state right here that these establishments aren’t creating in accordance with nationwide plan and consequently their progress continues to be uneven and lacks cohesio
n. Additionally monetary help is just not maintaining tempo with growing value; the libraries are beneath elevated strain to provide a service in additional breath and depth to a variety of clientele that adjust in age, schooling and pursuits.
ROLE OF LIBRARIANS IN PROMOTING ACCESS TO INFORMATION AND KNOWLEDGE
Not withstanding these issues librarians have an element to play so as to put the nation on a sound developmental footing, particularly with the supply of entry to info and information. Librarians see themselves as outfitted for consideration as integral companions in nationwide improvement. They regard themselves as knowledge-oriented professionals educated not solely to course of what we frequently confer with as Specific Information i.e. printed and audio visible supplies, but in addition to take lively curiosity of their shoppers to the extent of offering services that might be of curiosity to them. Over and above all they’re adept at offering order in an in any other case disorderly assortment of fabric to facilitate straightforward attain.
Sierra Leone is confronted with a variety of points like environmental sanitation, democracy and good governance, poverty alleviation, meals safety, well being, drug abuse, unemployment peace and reconciliation, trauma therapeutic and crime price. Coupled with these is an array of discrete teams of customers to incorporate ex-combatants, conflict amputees, ladies and youngsters, farmers, carpenters, market ladies, the aged, herbalists and Conventional Delivery Attendants (TBAs), all of whom want info and information of various type on how one can purchase and enhance their expertise, info on the economics of their trades, advertising methods, entry to social and political info. Political info is of paramount significance as come July 28, 2007 the nation may have a Basic Election to vote for a brand new Head of State and his Vice, Parliamentarians and a Referendum to amend the 1991 Structure. The grownup inhabitants are all voters and most of those are non- literate and rely for info on what they hear. Until quick access to info is accessible such individuals stay weak to misinformation and manipulation by persuaders with egocentric agenda. This brings librarians to stick to the idea of outreach.
As info brokers librarians ought to be capable of present correct and well timed info and really liberally too, in order to succeed in all sectors of the inhabitants. Info ought to be offered in any respect degree, within the rural areas and at nationwide degree, if not past. Improvement can solely be achieved when individuals have the suitable notion of what, or easy methods to develop; and the supply of the correct info and information will enhance individuals’s high quality of life. Of their dissemination of data and information to their respective clientele librarians ought to take a proactive stance. They need to arrange a variety of services and actions of their libraries to sensitize the general public on topical points like voter schooling, poverty alleviation, democracy and good governance, the IMF and World Financial institution and their circumstances, Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) and meals safety. Additionally they need to arrange exhibitions and provides public lectures and Talks on improvement points, mining, financial integration, grownup literacy and environmental sanitation within the native language extensively spoken locally. Documentaries on topical points like financial reform programmes, overseas commerce, well being, the Structure and the Public Order Act also needs to be completed and availed to clientele to be used of their communities as consciousness elevating measures. In such programmes librarians have to work collaboratively with opinion leaders like chiefs, spiritual leaders, academics, social and extension staff and NGO officers working with the grass roots. Since there are group radio stations situated in all of the districts librarians ought to partake in radio programmes (Info on Air Programmes)the place by developmental points affecting their communities could possibly be mentioned.
As professionals, librarians ought to be sure that they help and promote nation constructing actions and this could possibly be facilitated with the supply of assets at their disposal to coverage makers, researches, these working with the grass roots and even members of the group. Provision ought to be made within the type of print and non print supplies like books, magazines, directories, studies, guides recorded cassettes, films, video recordings, instructional packs to rural communities and database. They might even use ICT amenities at their disposal and the place attainable they need to place this inventory both on separate cabinets or near inventory that’s often used of their libraries. Equally so librarians ought to use their libraries as publicity centres the place posters, notices, job adverts (to quote however a number of examples), and conferences might be displayed and held to debate key group developmental points. On this regard librarians must be masters of the contents of their holdings. Every ought to make him/herself one thing of a specialist over a minimum of some a part of the library holdings and must be in place not solely to help customers but in addition to promote the potential of their libraries.
In a largely non-literate society like Sierra Leone the librarians’ position in stimulating individuals’s want for entry to info and information is essential. Within the rural areas for instance, the place librarians cope with non-literates, they should redesign their programmes to satisfy the various wants of their clientele. These programmes ought to goal not solely at enhancing the standard of lifetime of rural individuals however efforts have to be made to mobilize them. The programmes ought to, inter alia, information the agricultural individuals to alternatives in occupations, well being, housing, schooling and employment. Libraries ought to turn out to be centres of data to lure patrons to be utilizing their holdings concentrating on such teams because the economically and socially deprived teams e.g. youngsters, ladies, the aged, prisoners; folks that need to enhance their talents by means of self-education like industrial staff, farmers, group leaders and non secular teams. Particular methods must be utilized to facilitate entry to info and information. This could possibly be attained via the institution of Studying Facilities for grownup literacy learners and Village Newspaper/ Studying Facilities, efficiency services and theatre teams, groit, reward singers (‘Yeliba’) and different conventional types of leisure. The information thus gained might assist increase their lifestyle similar to agricultural methods, land fertilizing, improved well being care, improved livelihood in addition to higher understanding of their civic rights and democracy.
Networking actions ought to be developed amongst librarians for the supply of sufficient, related and well timed info and information. Librarians ought to, for instance, work collaboratively in organizing coaching periods for workers, guide festivals, exhibitions, production of studying supplies for brand spanking new literates, conducting guide donation campaigns and inspiring skilled writers and publishers to put in writing and publish for the agricultural poor, youngsters, ladies and new literates, and persuading the federal government to decrease tariffs on printed paper to scale back the price of production. They will even provide you with collectively revealed library manuals and an abridged version of DDC Scheme. Librarians also needs to help consciousness elevating actions, analysis and advocacy of their communities as a way of attracting help from the federal government and the worldwide group. These programmes ought to be continually reviewed for effectiveness of function.
Librarians ought to present nicely designed programmes for particular info in order to convey such teams as ladies collectively to debate subjects of widespread curiosity akin to gar
dening, health-related points and their civic rights. They need to additionally make provisions for the youth and people who work with this weak group in society to debate their issues. Since all these strikes are centered on funds librarians ought to have the ability to market their provisions and services by introducing public relations services with a purpose to promote their services and garner monetary help. Employees engaged within the afore-mentioned actions must be hard-working, devoted and continually educated to satisfy the challenges which will come up. Therefore employees must be allowed to be attending conferences, workshops, seminars and even formal programs to maintain them delicate to new roles. By so doing librarians will have the ability to flip their establishments to focal factors by means of which authorities and different businesses could be knowledgeable about considerations, issues and reactions of the communities they serve. It will improve improvement.
Certainly to be able to present entry to info and information in submit warfare reconstruction librarians ought to play a number one position. Their position shouldn’t solely be restricted to the supply of e-book and non ebook supplies however ought to go additional to assist their quite a few clientele to make significant use of those supplies for self enhancement. The very fact in the primary is that info and information are important components within the Information financial system and for society to develop it’s the obligation of librarians to deliver to bear their expertise for particular person self enhancement. This subsequently requires collaborative effort to bridge the knowledge /information hole in society.
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