Reading, Information Literacy and Libraries
The importance of reading especially in the formative years of the youth cannot be over emphasized. Libraries are supposed to promote reading. Libraries happen to be the custodians of what it takes to bridge the gap between the predominantly urban rich and the rural poor – books.
In one of the educative series produced by Barney, there is a song I like very much that goes as:
“Books are fun
Books are great
Let us sit down with a book today
Books help my imagination grow
Books can take me everywhere that I want to go”
The last line of this song touches me the most. Books are what can move a child born and brought up in the remotest part of Ghana to become a world public figure like Kofi Annan. So governments through the public library system for instance, should champion the cultivation of reading habits especially in the youth, who like any other in the global village is saddled with the challenges of today’s technology to the neglect of reading.
The danger faced by the reading public today is how to evaluate information resource. There is the need to evaluate the credibility of information and this is where librarians and other information professionals are expected to help information seekers and users to deal with carefully selected collections and reference materials in all libraries. Librarians are supposed to collaborate with educators, researchers, authors and other stakeholders in the book chain to promote high standards and competencies associated with information and also to develop effective new ways to engage learners.
Information literacy involves a deeper understanding of how and where to find information, the ability to judge whether that information is meaningful, and ultimately, how best that information can be incorporated to address the problem or issue at hand. Information literacy requires an awareness of the way information systems work, of the dynamic link between a particular information need and the sources and channels required to satisfy that need.
At a time when hundreds of millions of people visit Facebook, access Wikipedia and use broadband, library services will be more appreciated if librarians employed some of the interactive social networking tools like Instant Messaging, Facebook, Flicker, YouTube, Blog, Twitter and Wikis to enhance library and information service delivery. This way, the services will be more interactive, more participatory and more user-centered.