The Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Library Authority, Hayford Siaw, has emphasized the inclusion of libraries in the development strategies towards the advancement of socio-economic development.
To this end, he is pushing for the necessary resources for the revamping of not only national but also continental libraries to address contemporary issues through access to emerging technologies.
Delivering the keynote address at the 5th African Library and Information Associations and Institutions (AfLIA), in Accra on Tuesday, May 23, Mr. Siaw said:
“In this day and age, the importance of libraries in society is greater than ever. They have been the foundations of education and information, and the development of digital technology has given the library and information service professions a new dimension. Future libraries must evolve and adapt to the evolving demands of patrons”, he said.
The theme for the Conference was “Future of Learning, Libraries and Sustainable Development in Africa.”
For him, the evolution of libraries is possible but will require partnership among relevant stakeholders to enable patrons of libraries to make the best use of such facilities.
He adds libraries on the African Continent are key in contributing to the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals.
“I am optimistic about the future of libraries in Africa. However, it will necessitate collaboration, creative thinking, and the development of innovative approaches to suit the changing requirements of our communities. We must be beacons of hope and agents of change. We must strengthen our alliances and collaborations, fight for additional government funding and support, and interact with our communities in new and dynamic ways.”
“We must be willing to take risks and try out fresh ideas. We must also be willing to learn from our mistakes and adjust our approach as needed. We can work together to create a netter further for our communities and the world”, he further charged.
On his part, Deputy Education Minister, Ntim Fordjour who represented the sector Minister acknowledged the challenges facing education in Africa maintaining that it is for libraries to play their key role in promoting sustainable development.
“African Librarians need to thoroughly understand the future of learning, and how it may affect library and information services to their user communities, their repertoire of skills and relevance for formal and informal learning. It is crucial that libraries are reinvented as offline and online learning hubs that support online classes, participatory peer-to-peer learning, and the co-creation of knowledge through digital technologies and indigenous ways of knowing.”
“It is necessary to ensure that African libraries of all types are able to successfully navigate the changing scenarios brought on by the new ways and methods of learning in their service delivery”, the Minister said.