It’s ceaselessly mentioned that we stay in an ‘Info Age’. The leaders of the USA speak of an Info Superhighway; the EU of an Info Society; lecturers speak of a community society, and information economic system’. Main enterprise strategists argue that Information is changing monetary capital as a key useful resource for firms. 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 inclined to suppose that Info and Information are synonymous and are thus used inter-changeably. Nonetheless there’s a distinction. Info is normally a collection of paperwork/concepts in a selected topic or vary of topics which can or could not have been digested essentially. It subsequently has the potential of turning into Information. Information, alternatively, might be of two varieties: tacit and specific, the latter having better similarity with Info however not completely so. A set of books, for instance, could also be described as a physique of information and every doc representing knowledgeable concepts which are prone to affect others when digested. Such information, when acquired serves, amongst others, as experiences, concepts and abilities within the type of Tacit Information.
Info is likely one of the precept sources of information. It’s shared information, having been communicated and normally obtained by examine and investigation. Abate (1988) referred to info as intelligence and information that contributes to the social, financial, cultural and political well-being of society, no matter 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, alternatively, is what one is aware of. Davenport and Prusak (1998) outlined it as a fluid mixture of framed experiences, values, contextual info and skilled insights that present a framework for evaluating and incorporating new experiences and knowledge. That’s to say Information includes human response to info. As an example if one is ready to perceive easy written description to a selected sickness, that’s info. Nonetheless, if we thought that somebody was affected by that sickness, most of us would counsel that the particular person went to see a medical physician. It’s because the physician has a physique of information which is a mixture of details about that sickness, details about the human physique, about different diseases and experiences of comparable circumstances and coaching.
Info and Information are among the many world’s most vital sources wanted each day to unravel issues and make choices affecting the longer term. Based on Mchombu (1995),for any neighborhood 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 will depend on how effectively they handle their info and information. These are the strategic belongings of the enterprise.
The Civil Battle
The last decade lengthy civil struggle (1991-2001) which prompted untold struggling to the individuals of Sierra Leone was rooted in a few years of injustice, unhealthy governance, corruption and mis-management. At present the nation is within the throes of post-war reconstruction with authorities’s most developmental challenges being democracy and good governance, improved economic system, well being, training, mining, human rights and meals safety, rural improvement, anti-corruption and improved highway 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 Expertise together with Indigenous Information.
These kind the premise of the nation’s Imaginative and prescient 2025.
To facilitate the afore-mentioned entry to info and information assumes a central function. 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 identification of the RUF, their ideology, final targets and operational technique and the worldwide dimension of their actions. Consequently the struggle was not given the eye it deserved. The lack of awareness or enough info was mirrored on a number of the phrases used to discuss with the RUF even when the struggle swallowed up the nation. In actual fact, regrettably, even the basis causes of the battle weren’t correctly understood or analyzed to kind 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 development. The correct info offered when it’s wanted, the place it’s wanted and the shape by which it’s wanted, improves the flexibility of a person and enterprise, a authorities company or some type of group to make knowledgeable choices 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, devour and change as a nation determines our standing in relation to others internationally. It’s the extent that we’re in a position to be artistic in our respective spheres of exercise that determines how effectively or badly, we carry out in opposition to 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 companies with entry to these constituent parts in information making and supply. Hardly any point out is made about entry to info and information exterior these parameters. Sadly this a lot talked about entry is severely constrained by many elements to incorporate weak communication programs, low literacy stage, poverty, passive and stereotyped companies provided in libraries centered on donated guide assortment, language boundaries and above all the dearth of political will to convey sure varieties of knowledge to public information.
The library scene in Sierra Leone
Libraries command respect in society as storehouses of information. Their worth is acknowledged with out reservation as enormous sums of cash are spent on them particularly in superior international locations for the supply of well timed and correct info. Sierra Leone’s library scene is made up of public/nationwide, college, tutorial, instructor coaching school, polytechnic and particular libraries, documentation, info and useful resource centres. These establishments range in dimension and complexity and collectively they’re the inspiration on which a nation-wide info community is to be constructed if they’re to supply 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 line with nationwide plan and consequently their development continues to be uneven and lacks cohesion. Additionally monetary assist just isn’t preserving tempo with rising price; the libraries are beneath elevated stress to offer a service in additional breath and depth to a variety of clientele that change in age, training and pursuits.
ROLE OF LIBRARIANS IN PROMOTING ACCESS TO INFORMATION AND KNOWLEDGE
Not withstanding these issues librarians have an element to play to be able to put the nation on a sound developmental footing, particularly with the supply of entry to info and information. Librarians see themselves as geared up for consideration as integral companions in nationwide improvement. They regard themselves as knowledge-oriented professionals educated not solely to course of what we regularly discuss with as Express Information i.e. printed and audio visible supplies, but in addition to take energetic curiosity of their shoppers to the extent of offering companies that could possibly 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 spread 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 charge. Coupled with these is an array of discrete teams of customers to incorporate ex-combatants, struggle amputees, ladies and youngsters, farmers, carpenters, market ladies, the aged, herbalists and Conventional Beginning Attendants (TBAs), all of whom want info and information of various sort on find out how to purchase and enhance their abilities, 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 can 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. Except quick access to info is out there such individuals stay susceptible 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 achieve all sectors of the inhabitants. Info must be offered in any respect stage, within the rural areas and at nationwide stage, if not past. Growth can solely be achieved when individuals have the fitting notion of what, or find out how to develop; and the supply of the fitting info and information will enhance individuals’s high quality of life. Of their dissemination of knowledge and information to their respective clientele librarians ought to take a proactive stance. They need to arrange a spread of companies and actions of their libraries to sensitize the general public on topical points like voter training, poverty alleviation, democracy and good governance, the IMF and World Financial institution and their situations, 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 in the neighborhood. Documentaries on topical points like financial reform programmes, overseas commerce, well being, the Structure and the Public Order Act must also be accomplished and availed to clientele to be used of their communities as consciousness elevating measures. In such programmes librarians must work collaboratively with opinion leaders like chiefs, spiritual leaders, lecturers, social and extension staff and NGO officers working with the grass roots. Since there are neighborhood radio stations positioned 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 make sure that they assist and promote nation constructing actions and this could possibly be facilitated with the supply of sources at their disposal to coverage makers, researches, these working with the grass roots and even members of the neighborhood. Provision must be made within the type of print and non print supplies like books, magazines, directories, studies, guides recorded cassettes, movies, video recordings, instructional packs to rural communities and database. They might even use ICT services at their disposal and the place attainable they need to place this inventory both on separate cabinets or near inventory that’s ceaselessly used of their libraries. Equally so librarians ought to use their libraries as publicity centres the place posters, notices, job adverts (to quote however just a few examples), and conferences could possibly be displayed and held to debate key neighborhood 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 no less than 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’ function in stimulating individuals’s need 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 fulfill the various wants of their clientele. These programmes ought to goal not solely at bettering 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, training and employment. Libraries ought to grow to be centres of knowledge to lure patrons to be utilizing their holdings focusing on such teams because the economically and socially deprived teams e.g. kids, ladies, the aged, prisoners; those that need to enhance their talents via self-education like industrial staff, farmers, neighborhood leaders and non secular teams. Particular strategies 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 companies and theatre teams, groit, reward singers (‘Yeliba’) and different conventional types of leisure. The information thus gained might assist elevate their lifestyle reminiscent of agricultural strategies, land fertilizing, improved well being care, improved livelihood in addition to higher understanding of their civic rights and democracy.
Networking actions must 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, manufacturing of studying supplies for brand new literates, conducting guide donation campaigns and inspiring skilled writers and publishers to write down and publish for the agricultural poor, kids, ladies and new literates, and persuading the federal government to decrease tariffs on printed paper to cut back the price of manufacturing. They will even provide you with collectively revealed library manuals and an abridged version of DDC Scheme. Librarians must also assist consciousness elevating actions, analysis and advocacy of their communities as a method of attracting assist from the federal government and the worldwide neighborhood. These programmes must be continually reviewed for effectiveness of goal.
Librarians ought to present effectively designed programmes for particular info in order to convey such teams as ladies collectively to debate matters of widespread curiosity reminiscent of gardening, health-related points and their civic rights. They need to additionally make provisions for the youth and people who work with this susceptible group in society to debate their issues. Since all these strikes are centered on funds librarians ought to be capable of market their provisions and companies by introducing public relations companies to be able to promote their companies and garner monetary assist. Workers engaged within the afore-mentioned actions must be hard-working, devoted and continually educated to fulfill the challenges which will come up. Therefore workers 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 be capable of flip their establishments to focal factors via which authorities and different companies might 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 struggle reconstruction librarians ought to play a number one function. Their function shouldn’t solely be restricted to the supply of guide and non guide 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 principle is that info and information are important substances within the Information economic system and for society to develop it’s the responsibility of librarians to convey to bear their abilities for particular person self enhancement. This subsequently requires collaborative effort to bridge the knowledge /information hole in society.