(Library and Information Association of Zambia (LIAZ) preident, Mrs. Velenasi Mwale Munsanje presenting the keynote address at the 51th ZimLA conference in Gweru, flanked by session chair, Mr. Sauel Chabikwa and ZimLA vice president, Mr. Shadreck Ndinde.)
The president of the Library and Information Association of Zambia (LIAZ), Mrs. Velenasi Mwale Munsanje has challenged Zimbabwean library community to devise strategies that would enable librarians to contribute towards achieving the United Nations developed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Delivering her keynote address at the 51th Zimbabwe Library Association (ZimLA) Conference in Gweru, she said that Libraries are considered as third place, coming after homes and the workplace. “Libraries are seen as third places as people see homes as first place with the workplace coming second and if we do not devise activities that change lives libraries will lose customer base, therefore we should provide services that change lives”, she said.
“IFLA has developed advocacy toolkits to assist library associations to spearhead and engage with stakeholders on the role of libraries towards achieving SDGs”, said Mrs. Munsanje.
She said that libraries make an important contribution towards achieving SDGs, emphasizing that the local library community should devise strategies to sensitize communities on SDGs. The involvement of libraries in SDGs is an opportunity for the information institutions to remain relevant.
The keynote presentation encouraged librarians to leverage on the discourse surrounding SDGs to influence stakeholders on the value of libraries. Mrs. Munsanje noted that coordinated efforts to inform stakeholders with proper statistics that reveal the impact of libraries in citizens with regard to SDGs are necessary for the world to note the significance of library institution.
LIAZ president emphasized that the library community should move beyond building collections to formulate services that significantly impact communities they serve, for instance through advancing digital inclusion through access to ICTs and dedicate staff to help people develop new digital skills.
The 51th ZimLA conference has provided an opportunity for the information professionals to reflect on the role of libraries in advancing SDGs. The role of IFLA as an international body in providing strategic direction towards engaging stakeholders in realizing the impact of libraries is fundamental to realize the role of libraries in achieving SDGs.