Libraries still relevant despite the advent of digital information and social media

Nor Ain Mohamed Radhi

KUALA LUMPUR: Role of libraries is still relevant despite challenges of digital information and social media, said Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Mohamaddin Ketapi.

He said libraries will still be relevant if it can transform to meet the information needs of society.

“In fact, from the ministry’s point of view, libraries are important cultural and tourism institutions which are two complex and layered fields of modern civilisation and both sectors are known to bring positive effects on social development.

“Through digitalisation, libraries further contributed to the progress of social development based on knowledge and run by digital technology,” he said in his speech during the official opening of 84th International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) World Library and Information Congress today.

Present at the event were; Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa; Tourism, Arts and Culture Deputy Minister Muhammad Bakhtiar Wan Chik; International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions president Gloria Perez-Salmeron, IFLA secretary-general Gerald Leitner; National Library of Malaysia director-general Datuk Nafisah Ahmad and Kuala Lumpur mayor Tan Sri Mhd Amin Nordin Abd Aziz.

Meanwhile, on the seven-day congress, Mohamaddin said it offers a good opportunity for all delegates to interact with one another and to gain new insights and views, especially coming from those with various background and diverse experiences.

“I believe this prestigious congress will give Malaysia the opportunity to showcase the services and facilities of our libraries and share best practices in librarianship, information management and communications technology.”

He said the congress, with the participation of more than 3,370 delegates from more than 111 countries, is expected to generate more than RM40 million.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in a special short video message, to welcome the delegates of IFLA said nowadays libraries no longer serve as repositories of books but also central entity to the acquisition of information and knowledge.

“We saw libraries have evolved considerably. With the rapid development in research and information technologies, libraries worldwide have changed not only its role and functions but in terms of contents and appearances.

“Let us work together to ensure that we conserve and preserve information that is freely available to everyone in line with the theme.”

The congress is held from Aug 24 until 30 with almost 250 sessions and more than 600 paper presentations which will allow participants to discuss, debate and exchange ideas on issues related to the library profession and leading edge initiatives will be presented and experts will be present.

There will be 121 poster presentations on topics, such as “The Role of NGOs in library development” (Bangladesh) and “Makerspace at the library” (Sweden) and a trade exhibition will also be held. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd