Today’s post comes to us from our Country Coordinator for Bhutan, Sonam Wangdi.
I work in a Government based research and training institute library at Bumthang district, Bhutan. The library has only two staff, the librarian and librarian assistant. Both of us perform every bit of library task to meet the needs of patrons’ demand. Generally, I oversee the management of the library and perform some specific task on resource acquisition and cater electronic resources to users. Developing countries like Bhutan cannot afford to procure all the available commercial e-resource databases, which cost a huge amount. However, through the use of the Institute’s Memorandum of Understanding with other universities in developed countries, the library can access e-resources available at the partnered university.
In a day, I download minimum of 4-6 peer reviewed articles from various databases as per the requests received from patrons at anytime within the working hours and deliver through an email attachment. E-resource users include not only the Institute’s researchers and students, but also members of Bhutan Library Consortium (BLC) who do not have access to scholarly information. I begin the day’s work by forwarding e-kuensel (e-version of national newspaper) to entire staff of the Institute through group email. I also conduct crosscutting research related to the Institute’s mandate. For this, I spend a significant amount of day’s time in reading peer reviewed research articles related to my research subject which was recently published. At some point, I also spent over an hour teaching information literacy skills to certificate course students at the Institute as a part of Basic competency module. Currently, I also use a few hours of a day in writing BLC concept paper to formulate key strategies for building the BLC in the country.
My library is confronted with various challenges including lack of proper infrastructure facilities apart from limited budgets for resources acquisition. Furthermore, both the librarians are weak in advance knowledge on Dewey decimal classification system particularly in classifying Bhutanese (Dzongkha Text) manuscripts and literatures. Aforementioned are some of the core challenges, although, unable to access scholarly information resources and keeping up-to-date knowledge of emerging library technologies is another.