Lilongwe: Libraries services have been termed as crucial in the provision of quality and relevant information to different sectors that strive to develop the Malawi Nation.
Presiding over the graduation ceremony of 41 students with a Certificate in Library and Information Science in Lilongwe Friday, Director of Technical Services in the Ministry of Education, Godfrey Kafere, said sectors such as agriculture, health, water and education among others, heavily rely on information which is largely provided by library services through librarians.
A library is nothing without librarians, but just a collection of books, said Kafere.
He said Malawi Growth and Development Strategy (MDGS) 3, which has a number of priority areas like agriculture, water development, climate change, and education and skills development, heavily rely on quality and relevant information whose provision requires the services of sound information managers like librarians.
I am glad, therefore, to learn that the current crop of graduating students was thoroughly drilled for one year in both modern and traditional aspects of information studies, Kafere said.
He further highlighted that every professional requires information and it was the duty of library experts to organise relevant and quality information for the knowledge of various professionals and students.
Kafere also commended Malawi Library Association for its plan to develop a new curriculum which, he said, would take into consideration current and emerging issues.
Mzuzu University offers Library and Information Science courses at diploma, degree and Master’s level which Kafere described as an opportunity for those with MALA certificates to further their education.
This is providing seamless articulation and progression from MALA Certificate to Master’s Degree. I encourage you to go beyond this certificate. Go and do a diploma or degree in Library and Information Science and become professional librarians. Lifelong learning is what librarians can facilitate, he urged.
MALA President earlier said most of the Form four school leavers use MALA training as a bridging course to the diploma course in Library and Information Science offered by Mzuzu University.
She said this was why the association was committed to run the course effectively and efficiently.
Conveying congratulations to the graduating students, Kadzamira also echoed Kafere’s remarks, urging graduating students to pursue further studies, saying that would them to flexibly respond to change and proactively develop competences that help them thrive in collaborative learning and working environments.
MALA has partnerships with both international and local organisations through which it sponsors some students for further studies.
Through its partnership with the Norwegian Library Association (NLA), MALA has sponsored 10 students at Masters Level in Library and Information Science at Mzuzu University, said Kadzamira.
The association is also a member of International Federation of Library Association (IFLA and the Standing Conference for Eastern, Central and Southern African Libraries (SCECSAL).
Locally, it is a mother body for Malawi Library and Information Consortium (MALICO) and the Civil Service Library Association among others.
Friday’s was the first graduation to take place in Lilongwe for MALA students. Previously, graduation ceremonies were hosted either at Chancellor College or Domasi College of Education while the former (Chancellor College) has been hosting the training all along.
The association now hosts the training in Lilongwe secondary to the city’s central location, according to MALA president, Kadzamira.
Out of the 41 students that graduated, 20 are ladies while 21 are men. Six (three ladies and three men) graduated with distinctions.
Malawi Library Association was established in 1977 and since then, it has trained and produced over 1000 graduates with certificates in library and information science. These now work in various libraries, archives and information documentation centres in the country.
Source: Malawi News Agency MANA