In our continuing series of guest bloggers, this post is from our Ghana Country Coordinator, Gladys Quabla. Gladys reflects on the role of information literacy in public libraries and the education system within Ghana. How is information literacy embedded or incorporated into programs in your library? In your country? As always, comments are welcome at the end of the post, or join the conversation on twitter using #InterLibNet.
The time was 17:00 hrs. GMT, Thursday, the 2nd of May, 2013 and I was at the British Council Conference hall to attend the inaugural lecture of the new President of the Ghana Library Association (G.L.A). Even though initially, I was unsure about whether I should attend because of the distance involved, I am glad I did. It gave me something to write about. It was my first time of attending such a ceremony. The new President was my lecturer and supervisor at the graduate school of the University of Ghana, Legon and I really wanted to be there at all cost. Thankfully I did, though when I got there, every available seat was taken except for two vacant ones on the front row one of which I gratefully occupied.
I was excited to hear the new president speak about information literacy for public libraries in her speech. Information literacy has been on my mind lately. It all started a couple of months ago, when I participated in a dissemination workshop, organized by the Science and Technology Policy Research Institute (S.T.E.P.R.I) which represented Ghana, to discuss its findings of a survey on the Global Impact Study of Information, Communication and Technology (I.C.T’s) . I was the only librarian present and got to know during the discussions, of the efforts of the Government of Ghana and other private partners in bridging the digital gap between the rural and urban areas by the provision of I.C.T centers and training the users of these centers in basic I. T. skills. It suddenly dawned on me right there, on how we can move beyond this to teaching people to become lifelong learners through information literacy.
As I returned to work the following day, I could not stop thinking aboutInformation literacy and the fact that it holds the key to making our “citizenry” and also making us relevant and visible as a profession .The U.N. decade for literacy (2003-2012) is past and gone but I guess the saying ‘better late than never’ holds true in this situation. While I applaud the new president on the information literacy initiative, it also got me thinking on why the delay in its introduction into our educational system.
This brings me to the role of the library professional in raising awareness. I believe that now is the time to get out of the library and into the community by partnering with others to sell this idea.