Marjorie E. Bloss
World Libraries permits you to be an arm-chair traveler. What this means is that we can take you to different countries and provide you with a broad spectrum of what libraries are like in different parts of the world without your having to leave your comfortable chair. As we have seen in so many of our articles, it is nearly impossible to separate libraries from social, political, economic, and most recently, technological concerns. Thus, in addition to our learning about their libraries from World Libraries' authors themselves, we are also able to glimpse what life is like in the authors' countries. Experiencing their situations through their articles cannot help but make us more sensitive to the similarities and differences we ourselves experience in our own situations.
One of our regular features in World Libraries is to focus on a pioneer in our library profession. In this issue, Syed Jalaluddin Haider provides us with a panoply of riches in his article "Pioneers of the Library Movement in Pakistan" by describing the work of seven pioneers from that country. In doing so, he provides us not only with the development of Pakistani librarianship but also an insight into the effect Pakistan's history has had on its libraries. We are made even more aware of the relationship of Pakistan's library history with its political history, first as part of India under British rule and then as a newly formed, independent country in 1947.
Neena Singh's article "Bridging the Digital Divide in India: Some Challenges and Opportunities" discusses a number of initiatives taking place in India, many of them to bring the digital age to the rural areas of that country. The article underscores the information technology "haves" and the "have nots" and the importance of narrowing the information gap, be it through the government, universities, private businesses, and dot.com companies.
"Problems of Romanian Librarianship: Romanian Librarianship on the Verge of European Integration" by Ionel Enache points out the difficulties faced by Romanian librarianship: the lack of documents, financial resources, and professional library and document education in Romania. He calls for "a national vision and understanding of the national importance of libraries". His solution is to integrate Romanian libraries into European and world structures, focusing on methods for improving library education and management.
The importance of the training and education for librarians is further emphasized in the article by C.O. Ajidahun, "The Training, Development and Education of Library Manpower in Information Technology in University Libraries in Nigeria". As with the two previous articles, the importance of computer literacy and the need for adequate support and professional staff training in Nigeria are critical to developing libraries and librarians.
Our last article, "The Digital and Traditional Storytimes Research Project" by Lauren Collen (a former student in Dominican University's GSLIS program) approaches the digital world from a different perspective. The questions asked and researched have to do with whether computer-based technology can become an accepted educational tool for children, especially in the area of story-telling.
Our arm-chair travels are now complete for this issue of World Libraries. We hope it adds not only to your knowledge of the libraries in those countries represented in the articles but to the larger world in which they exist.
About the Author
Marjorie E. Bloss is a Lecturer in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at Dominican University, River Forest, Illinois, USA. E-mail: mbloss [at] dom [dot] edu
© 2007 Marjorie E. Bloss
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