WE have seen a rapid growth in the number of libraries in Lesotho over the past few years. This development has created demand for more library and information professionals in Lesotho.
However, I notice that there are still problems being faced in the development and running of libraries in Lesotho.
Chief among these is the resistance to change.
This is particularly so regarding the implementation of information and communication technology (ICT).
This resistance is creating unnecessary barriers and is hindering the development of the library fraternity in the country.
These barriers divide the profession from within and isolate it from the very partners it needs to work with like policymakers, international agencies and the donor community.
There are many factors contributing to the deteriorating library services in the country.
While some librarians are conversant with ICT there is a clique of librarians who are resistant to change.
These librarians must keep abreast with new methods and techniques and must be informed about the new trends and approaches in the sector.
The profession must be proactive in pursuing activities that are based on new ICT so that it will not become superfluous.
Among the reasons advanced by some librarians for their lack of success in implementing changes include conflicts about areas of responsibility, a lack of administrative knowledge and inadequate leadership.
Some librarians are reluctant to be exposed to in-service training relevant to the proposed changes. As a result they become stumbling blocks to development.
Librarians must come out of the comfort zone and talk to people outside their profession.
It should be understood however that not all librarians have identical professional backgrounds. Some librarians underwent training when libraries were book-driven and not ICT-driven.
The librarian’s flexibility and positive response to change will directly influence the success of information provision in libraries.
The heart of a nation is deeply entrusted in the education of its people and the framework of education is the provision of facilities for the acquisition of knowledge.
Librarians, who commit themselves to continuous learning, must be willing to work outside traditional aspects of librarianship and demonstrate leadership in involving themselves with new areas of knowledge.
The information and communication technology calls for new competencies so that librarians can address the new expectations.