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ࡱ> [ gbjbj .ΐΐ;+::}}}}}8e<4LW4Y4Y4Y4Y4Y4Y4\68Y4}Y4}}n4:::}}W4:W4::01kfBM0C44040:l:,11F:}1T:Y4Y4. 4:: C: Harnessing ICTs to transform roles of library professionals and provision of library services in Harare. By Collence. Takaingenhamo. Chisita and Munyaradzi.Shoko This treatise looks at how information and Communication Technologies have transformed the roles of Information professionals and library operations and procedures. Information and Communication Technologies permeate each and every aspect of our lives and libraries are no exception. This paper explores the extent to which libraries have been affected by modern Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs).It also explores the extent to which libraries have adapted to the ICT revolution. It highlights the challenges and opportunities for libraries in the technology driven world of the new millennium. The paper also highlights the advantages and disadvantages of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) as applied to libraries and provision of library services .It also explores the notion of information and digital divide on libraries and library development. The paper highlights how developing countries especially Zimbabwe can contribute to the knowledge economy through development of library services. The paper also looks at how ICTs can be used to promote access to information inoder to enhance social cohesion. Key word: Information and Communication Technology; libraries; Digital libraries; virtual libraries; information and digital divide. 1.1 Introduction Kawatra (1999) notes that the adaptation of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in libraries has resulted in the radical transformation of the role of library professionals and services and products provided by such institutions. Modern technology has helped to transform libraries from being mere storehouses to access points for retrieval of information. This adoption calls for a new thinking, new technology and new strategies, which will help to ensure these institutions remain vibrant and relevant in providing for the dynamic information needs of the society. ICTs are the arsenal for developing countries to shape and influence the direction of the International Information order which is skewed in favour of the resource endowed countries resulting in the information and digital divide. Kevin (1996:51 52) using Ranganathan five principles describes libraries as growing biological organisms that adopt themselves over a period of time to changing environments. Information and Communication Technology has become more pervasive as it now permeates all aspects of lives, socially, culturally, economically and politically. In Africa Libraries are adjusting to Information and Communication Technology (ICTs) amidst socio-economic and technical challenges. 1.2 Information and Communication Technology(ICTs) Generally Information and Communication Technology (ICT) refers to a combination of computer and telecommunication techniques which makes possible new systems and products to help people at work, in education and at home. In the library domain Information and Communication Technology refers to the use or application of various technologies such as computer, reprographics, video recording and other electronic devices and other electronic devices for the storage, retrieval, reproduction and dissemination of information in a library environment. ICTs stress the role of unified communications and the integration of telecommunications intelligent building management systems and audio-visual systems in modern information technology. Lalitha (2004) notes that ICTs consists of all technical means used to handle information and aid communication, including computer and network hardware, communication middleware as well as necessary software. A good way to think about ICT is to consider all the uses of digital technology that already exist to help individuals; businesses and organizations use information for development. The use of information communication driven technology is fast spreading in almost all spheres of human, social and economic endeavors (United Nations ICT Task Force, 2005).Previously libraries were viewed as mere storehouses of knowledge but they have now been given a new look in the modern information and communication era. Vinitha (et.al) (2006) notes that activities which were carried out in libraries with soreness and nervous tension can now be accomplished with ease through the use of ICTs, for example, the organization of knowledge, circulation, acquisitions and other technical processing have become easier and more quantum of work can be accomplished in a stress-free mood. 1.3 Evolution of libraries Libraries have gone through different phases from the oral traditions, ancient libraries of Ashurbanipal, Egypt and Mesopotamia and then print culture manifested through manuscripts, and books. These phases are reflected by the ancient human narratives Rosetta and Assyrian Stones, rock paintings Book culture became popular in the fifteenth century with the invention of the printing press by John Gutenberg leading to the high production of books. The medium for storage of information has developed from human memory, clay tablets, animal bones, skin parchments, manuscripts and books.Highman (1987) notes that Book culture provided the basis for the development of modern civilisation Democratic society is the daughter of books, the triumph of the book written by man Generally library evolution has passed through various stages, for example, the traditional, automation, electronic, digital and virtual library. The traditional library consists of holdings in hard copy, while the automated one refers to the automation of library functions, for example, computerized catalogue, circulation, acquisitions and reference services. These libraries were synonymous with the traditional armchair approach to library management, emphasis on storage and preservation of physical items, particularly books and periodicals. In traditional libraries browsing based on physical proximity of related materials, for example, hard copies of books are manually, classified catalogued, indexed, and abstracted. Information is physically assembled in one place; users must travel to the library to learn what is there and make use of it . The automated Library is by product of the Information and Communication (ICTs) revolution in the second half of the nineteenth century whereby library functions like acquisitions, cataloguing, classification, indexing and circulation automated while the holdings remain print based with a small number of electronic resources. The electronic library refers to fully automated functions and CD ROM networking with a balance between print and electronic resources. The shift from traditional libraries to the digital is not merely a technological evolution, but requires a change in the paradigm by which people access and interact with information. The Digital library refers to a fully automated library services with a migration from analogue to digital resources during the last decades of the twentieth century. It also involves browsing based on hyperlinks, keyword, or any defined measure of relatedness; materials on the same subject do not need to be near one another in any physical sense The virtual library is the current twenty-first millennium library or library without walls providing access to resources irrespective of time and space, emphasis on access to digitized materials wherever they may be located, with digitization eliminating the need to own or store a physical item. Digital and electronic libraries can be virtual libraries if they exist only virtually -- that is, the library does not exist "in real life." A Virtual library can consist of material from a variety of separate libraries that are organized in a virtual space using computers and computer networks. It does not lay claim to physical possession of documents and it relies on the globe as a hunting ground for users. 1.4 Information: The adaptable term of ICT age Information is a versatile term of the twenty first century that has spawned a accumulative vocabulary of terms, for example, information management, information technology, information and communication, information science, information retrieval, information storage, information society, information economics, information brokerage, information consultancy, inforpreneurship, information as a commodity. The concept of information is as prehistoric as the human planet as well as both primordial and modern. Hoffman in Kawatra (2000:3) defined information as an aggregate of statements or facts or figures which are conceptually connected. It is also referred to as a symbol or string or symbols which have potential for meaning. The Random House Dictionary (1973) define information as ...that which reduces uncertainty....Generally from all the definitions it can be deduced that information conveys meaning, reduces uncertainty, and depends upon users needs. Information is an important factor of determining the social, economic and political quality of life in an information society. The systematic and purposeful acquistion of information rather than science or technology is emerging as the new foundation for work, productively and effort throughout the world 1.5 ICTs, changing titles and New skills for librarians The skills that librarians require for a modern library are continuing to change due to the dynamic nature of technology. The impact of technology is also felt in the changes in the nomenclature of librarians, for example, the use of such terms like, e-librarian, e-resource librarian, digital technology development librarian, learning resources developer, digital strategies librarian, information navigators, cybrarians and information intermediaries, digital librarian, information resource librarianship, e-learning resource facilitator and so on. The world over University Libraries are now providing a wide range of services and this has resulted in new names to reflect the creation of new services, for example, library and learning resource centers, computing and library services, Information and Documentation Centers, learning resource centers, information portals, learning and ICTs hubs and information services.IctS are being utilized to bring new services, for example , virtual library services facilitating access to resources to distance learners. 1.6 Impact of ICTs on libraries Warren (2002) states that the concept of ICT entails technologies, the facilitation of communication, processing and transmission of information by electronic means embraces complex communication technologies such as internet, the computer, geographical information systems and simple ones such as the television and radio. In the context of libraries such technologies have the potential of helping users to gain access, disseminate and respond to information in a faster and more far reaching way that ever before. ICTs covers any product that will store, retrieve, manipulate, transmit or receive information electronically in a digital form, for example, personal computers, internet, digital television, social media networks and email have become indispensable tools with regards to provision of library services. Information technology has extended the availability of information and libraries are slowly embracing this opportunity to improve on information dissemination, acquisition, storage and organization and also start networking for resource sharing. Because with ICT the storage, retrieval, manipulation, transmission or receipt of data is made possible and this becomes an advantage to the libraries especially the public libraries that caters for a diverse of clientele and also academic libraries in information dissemination. Importantly, it is also concerned with the way these different uses can work with each other, for example, a virtual reference desk can be open to everyone with a computer and an internet connection independent of opening hours and location, and this enables patrons to use the library when ever they need. On the other hand the librarians can co-operate and help each other world wide or in a country or in a region through networks, in discussion groups, on mailing lists and they can create mail boxes for questions which they answer according to a schedule. Inter-institutional co-operation and specialization has resulted in high quality and efficiency thus enhancing the quality of library services. ICTs also affects the provision of access to the catalogue and availability of resources online. Online catalogues have revolutionalised the way in which materials are made available and are able to be viewed.Roush (2005) states that the use of online catalogues facilitates an ease of use which has become critical in the age of information technology. The Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC) and Machine Readable Catalogue (MARC) facilitate easier access to online information 1.7 Value for Libraries in using ICTs Adekunle (1978) also states that resource sharing among libraries is imperative, as no single library can acquire all its needs. The concept of resource sharing is manifested through interlibrary cooperation, inter-library loans, Interlending and document supply services and other initiatives at a consortia level. Resource sharing programme is imperative because there is nothing like library autarchy and hence the need for networking. Computer use in libraries has been encouraged as a positive educational practice that allows students to learn through access to ICTs and to a wider communication networks such as the internet. ICT provides an extended role to libraries in terms of increasing the range of their services, linkages with institutions and for sharing their resources and expertise. The information society is also synonymous with problems of information overload resulting from the exponential growth of information in both pure and soft sciences. The infoglut or information explosion renders individual library unable to acquire all it requires due to prohibitive cost and limited storage space available. Adeogun (2003) in Mphidi (2004) calls for libraries to utilize ICTs to promote resource sharing at all levels, libraries need to establish effective resource sharing schemes. As a result of present proliferation of information, high costs of information resources and dwindling library budget; it is difficult for any library to provide all the information needs of its clients The utilisation of ICTs networks facilitates resource sharing, inter-institutional collaboration, raising an awareness of existence of current and retrospective materials and the provision of access to materials. Networking through inter-institutional cooperation helps to overcome the problems of institutional insularity.ICT provides an extended role to libraries in terms of increasing the range of their services, linkages with institutions and for sharing their resources and expertise. Watson (2003) notes networking is the key to survival in the information/knowledge driven economies .No elephant can exist alone for long. It is part of the larger whole, a network so diffuse that an extended herd can cover hundreds of square miles. A web of sound connects each part, turning their apparent thin scatter into one great thick skinned organism. 1.8 The Libraries and Internet Kawatra (20000 defines the internet as a worldwide interconnected group of networks. The networking of people through innovative communication and computer technologies has created limitless opportunities for accessing all existing forms of social learning and intelligence. The internet is a classic example of convergence because it represents the coming together of computers and communication. The relationship between content and the technology to deliver it are now closer. The emerging convergence of technologies will result in a set of new services, solutions, infrastructures and other opportunities for example, digital technology and audio video and textual technology has resulted in multimedia technology. The internet embraces the concept of worldwide network of computers communicating through an agreed protocol. African Universities are utilizing network technologies and library consortia to provide access to growing quantities of information produced electronically. Most of these libraries depend on networked infrastructures to access e-resources from funded programmes or free of use or open access either through INSAPs PERI programme, UNESCO and McAuthur among others. It provides access to the most diversified sources of information hosted by individuals and institutions worldwide on a vast number of servers. Gates(1997) notes that Information Technology is adapting to the social expectations of society through integrating the old and the new, ...the network movement enabled by the internet will become fully integrated into our lives..It will not be cyberspace out there that we will relate to, it will be everything we do .And speech will be the dominant interface. We were born with ears and mouths, after all, not keyword and mouses.The technology is adapting to it Gates and Dertouzas (1997) states ICTs have ushered in the age of electronic bulldozers whereby the human brain is expected to perform dull, boring and repetitive tasks while the computer takes over. The brain is free to perform intelligent tasks The human mind is Libraries do not exist in a vacuum but they are intertwined with other institutions and its critical to internet because: Internet provides current information to users. A number of information sources like electronic journals, electronic discussion forums, technical reports, catalogues, database, abstracts, and online educational material are available online. Access to bibliographic and full text databases. Facilitates resource sharing Helps to overcome information overload Helps to enhance visibility of the libraries, librarians and other stakeholders. Facilitates ability to locate / search huge amounts of data using search engines 1.8.1 The Key features of the Internet Interactive environment for information handling Enables information to be delivered to the desk top of the user Ease of publishing, e-publishing. Multimedia integration(text, images, audio and video Hypertext linking and navigation through clicking on a highlighted word the user is directly switched to another data source. The provision of free internet connections enables libraries to develop Library Web Sites as well as institutional repositories and this helps to create and sustain organizational memories, facilitate access to information and increase visibility. Web site can offer suitable help for the net surfer and be the natural starting point for the patrons since the catalogue will be accessible irrespective of space and time as long as one is connected to internet. Circulation, reservations, recalls and Inter library loans can be facilitated through internet connection. Public documents will be published electronically and it is a democratic right for everyone to be able to read this material free. Through the use of ICTs the library can promote local content development through the publication of local history, promoting or marketing library services and reaching out to dispersed users among other issues. As a variety of user groups find their way to the public library the library will meet new user needs which involve distance students or distance workers far away from the university or the city center asking for qualified reference service in a small public library. It can be researchers located on an industry producing medicine in a region not used to that kind of industry. This can also be groups not used to studying or reading at all, unemployed or life long learners who are unfamiliar with what a public library can provide and what is impossible to get. Mbeki (2008) observed that ICTs and e -skills should be used as tools for empowerment and keys to e-inclusion because without them the long cherished goal of creating an all inclusive democratic society will be difficult to realize. your continued success as ICT operatives depends on ensuring that ICTs ceases to be the preserve of the privileged few but becomes a tool which the poor liberates themselves from wretchedness an escalator that enables people to progress out of second to first economies On the other hand the expectations from the public are changing, they want "everything" and the speed of access to it is "immediate", they want prompt delivery of the answer, rather than guidance or instruction. This can be traced back to why they ask for information. There has been an increase in questions people carry and transact on behalf of others, such as school assignments and company projects. This however can only be solved through the use of providing e-recourses, digital libraries and the internet making it imperative for both the school and public libraries to use ICTs to develop their services. On the other hand conducting research on the internet often leads to non-productive searches. There are no standards to check for accuracy on the internet. Some web addresses change and sites disappear. It should be noted that not everything on the net is for free, certain specialized materials require subscription. However the internet still remains an affluent pool of information with regards to highly specialized and free open access resources, for example, African Journal Online (AJOL) 1.9 ICTs and Politics of Information Even though the internet is turning the world into a global village, it is also threatening to increase inequalities and disproportions between the developed and developing world, through the monolopolisation of intellectual capital by multinational and transnational corporations. Kumar (1999) argues that information technology is a weapon in the hands of the possessed to further dispossesses the dispossessed. This has resulted in the digital and information divide, information rich librarians and information poor librarians, librarianship of affluence and librarianship of poverty .The digital and information apartheid or electronic delinking may result in a new form of civil and economic rights movement of the new millennium.Durran (20020 calls for governments to subsidise the poor through provision of affordable ICTs. Librarians in developing countries should blend culture and technology inoder to create relevant local content. Polanski (2007) argues that African filmmakers like Ousmane Sembene were able to blended traditional forms of storytelling with modern technologies, creating a new social/political medium through which African identities are formed and given voice. The filmmakers ability to use technology to capture and record an event or moment, which can be shown and re-shown, becomes the new guardian of tradition. Libraries can also use modern technology to repackage oral traditions, for example, the use of podcasts, radio, and video recorders to capture human narratives that are relevant to the local culture. With regards to the politics of information there is need to change the mindsets of librarians so they can play an active part in liberating African people. This responsibility falls on institutions training librarians. Civallero (2007) in a foreword to Sameks book on Librarianship and human rights; a twenty-first century guide highlights the real power that information has when he says: Information means power; economic power as well as social, political and human. This power has been seized by a few and is not often shared. 1.10 Advantages of utilizing ICTs in libraries Library computerization saves time in storing information, information handling, information processing and information retrieval. Technical library operations and procedures are done with higher speed and the time lag between the acquistion of documents and their availability to users will be reduced significantly. The opportunities for inter-library cooperation will increase, for example , networking of libraries through ICTs , for example the use of Free Open Source software packages to facilitate Interlending and interlibrary cooperation. Jakupec (2000) states that amplified advancements in the kingdom of ICTs and mounting connections to computer mediated communication and information networks , such as internet has ensured that access to information overcomes physical and time barriers allowing for easier access to information. Digital libraries are not limited to physical boundaries and the users need not to go to the library physically and people from all over the world can gain access to the same information, as long as an Internet connection is available. The same resources can be used simultaneously by a number of institutions and patrons. This may not be the case for copyrighted material: a library may have a license for "lending out" only one copy at a time. The user is able to use any search term (word, phrase, title, name, subject) to search the entire collection. Digital libraries can provide very user-friendly interfaces, giving clickable access to its resources and making information retrieval less painful. While traditional libraries are limited by storage space, digital libraries have the potential to store much more information, simply because digital information requires very little physical space to contain it. Makori(2009) notes that, the cost of maintaining a digital library is much lower than that of a traditional library especially with regards to space. A traditional library incurs high costs in paying staff, book maintenance, overheads, and additional books. Digital libraries may reduce or, in some instances, do away with these fees. Both types of library require cataloguing input to allow users to locate and retrieve material. Digital libraries may be more willing to adopt innovations in technology through providing users with improvements in electronic and audio book technology as well as presenting new forms of communication such as wikis and blogs, conventional libraries may consider that providing online access to their OPAC catalogue is sufficient. Omekwu (2006) single out some important advantage to digital conversion as increased accessibility to users. They also increase availability to individuals who may not be traditional patrons of a library, due to geographic location or organizational affiliation. In Africa the ICT revolution in libraries and educational institutions has faces the following challenges: Poor communication networks High costs of maintaining ICT infrastructure Limited access to ICT hardware and software Lack of funding to provide ICT infrastructure Digital and information divide Neglect of ICT resources Computer /Information illiteracy Technological obsolescence Poor Policy guidelines Technological dependency as technology begets more technology Utilizing technology to promote indigenous knowledge 1.11 Importance of Digitisation of library materials Digitization of library materials at a national level is critical inoder to save cultural heritage so that its not lost, preventing private sector from taking over publicly available information, for example, googlebooks and ability to preserve the future heritage of the country. Digitization is not a long-term preservation solution for physical collections, but does succeed in providing access copies for materials that would otherwise fall to degradation from repeated use. Whereas traditional libraries are limited by storage space, digital libraries have the potential to store much more information; simply because digital information requires very little physical space to contain them and media storage technologies are more affordable than ever before. Above all there is value addition as quality of images, are be improved and they become clearer. Bawdens (2005) notes that digitization can enhance legibility and remove visible flaws such as stains and discoloration. In addition, technological innovation has presented the possibility of automating all aspects of traditional or conventional library and information centers. The use of ICTs is very unique because of its potentials for storing large amounts of information which can quickly be accessed, retrieved and transmitted to end users for decision making, and this makes it more relevant for use in libraries. With the help of technology libraries should increase and expand and offer new information products and service such as computer mediated information services that include chat reference and instant messaging, blogs, online databases and online delivery. These libraries will be in a position to reinvent themselves by going where the customers are for instances with search engines and websites. Their fore it is imperative for both the public and school libraries to fully embrace the use of technology in managing and delivering information. In summary the paradigm shifts from the traditional libraries to embrace ICTs in both libraries has brought the following advantages: Transformation of traditional libraries to digital libraries, Print on paper to digital information, Card catalogs to Web OPACs, Print journals to online or electronic journals, ownership to access, Provision of access to library resources to remote and desktop access. Continuos availability of Information from different libraries. Photocopies to digital copies, DDS being provided through E-mail instead of post or fax. Standalone libraries to Information networks Real to Virtual libraries. 1.12 Conclusion With new libraries awash in electronic sources of information, as well as a world dominated by common Internet access, a librarian is critical, despite the fact that the process of gathering information is now done electronically. The amount of information in the world and the speed of information growth on the Internet, with the number of web pages currently estimated at 19 billion, consequently this leads to the situation in which searching for information requires a great amount of time, effort, knowledge, skill and efficacy inoder to ensure high precision. It appears that in order to efficiently find, select, check or validate and make information available, and understand the users needs, it is not only a matter of a computer programme or database being able to provide some sort of condensed data, but the input of the human being in the form of a qualified connoisseur such as a librarian. Walsh (2011) note that in the academia the supportive presence of the librarian is critical since the information environment is continuously becoming more complex due to rapid changes of technologies. This implies that librarians will have to be integrated meaningfully into learning and teaching and they will have to reclaim there Socratic midwifery roles as educators either in public, school and academic library. Throughout the centuries, the librarians role has remained unchanged; although the tools and resources used to supply required information and transform it into knowledge constantly change. Especially now, the librarian is indispensable. Therefore, it seems necessary to reflect upon the characteristics of a modern librarian that would best serve all users in the knowledge driven economies of the new millennium. Libraries and libraries must adjust to the burden of the information /knowledge society by acquiring the skills to handle digital information and to be efficient creators, collectors, consolidators and communicators of information References Adekunle, W. A. O. 1978. Library co-operation in Nigeria: The role of National library IN: Nigerbiblios, 3 (4). Bawden, D. 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The role of Librarians in bridging the digital divide Paper presented at LISA 7th Annual conference Pholokwane[Internet]Available  HYPERLINK "http://www.liasa.org.za/conference/conferences2004/papers/LIASA-conference" http://www.liasa.org.za/conference/conferences2004/papers/LIASA-conference. Accessed 24 April, 2011. Omekwu, C.O.( 2006.) Managing Information and Technology: Critical roles for librarians in developing countries. Electronic Library, 24 (6) Roush, W.(2005)The Infinite library[Internet] Available  HYPERLINK "http://www.arch.ttu.edu/people/faculty/Neiman../pedagogical/readingstructore/media/0" http://www.arch.ttu.edu/people/faculty/Neiman../pedagogical/readingstructore/media/0.. Accessed 15 November, 2007. Civallero, E. (2007) IN: Samek, T. (2007) Librarianship and human rights:A twenty-first century guide .Oxford:Chandos Publishing United Nations ICT Task Force, 2005. Innovation and investment: ICTs and the MDGs. Vinitha, K. (et.al)(2006) Impact of Information Communication Technology on Library and its Services. Paper presented at the DRTC-ICT Conference on Digital Learning environment, January 2006 in Bangalore. Walsh, C. (2011) Mapping our skills in learning and teaching.IN:CILIP Update, March, 2011. Warren, M.F.( 2002.) Adoption of ICT in agriculture: intrinsic and instrumental roles in technology transfer .[Internet] Available http://  HYPERLINK "http://www.cazv.cz/2003/2002/ekon1_02/warren.pdf" www.cazv.cz/2003/2002/ekon1_02/warren.pdf. Accessed 4 March, 2011.      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ࡱ> [ gbjbj .ΐΐ;+::}}}}}8e<4LW4Y4Y4Y4Y4Y4Y4\68Y4}Y4}}n4:::}}W4:W4::01kfBM0C44040:l:,11F:}1T:Y4Y4. 4:: C: Harnessing ICTs to transform roles of library professionals and provision of library services in Harare. By Collence. Takaingenhamo. Chisita and Munyaradzi.Shoko This treatise looks at how information and Communication Technologies have transformed the roles of Information professionals and library operations and procedures. Information and Communication Technologies permeate each and every aspect of our lives and libraries are no exception. This paper explores the extent to which libraries have been affected by modern Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs).It also explores the extent to which libraries have adapted to the ICT revolution. It highlights the challenges and opportunities for libraries in the technology driven world of the new millennium. The paper also highlights the advantages and disadvantages of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) as applied to libraries and provision of library services .It also explores the notion of information and digital divide on libraries and library development. The paper highlights how developing countries especially Zimbabwe can contribute to the knowledge economy through development of library services. The paper also looks at how ICTs can be used to promote access to information inoder to enhance social cohesion. Key word: Information and Communication Technology; libraries; Digital libraries; virtual libraries; information and digital divide. 1.1 Introduction Kawatra (1999) notes that the adaptation of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in libraries has resulted in the radical transformation of the role of library professionals and services and products provided by such institutions. Modern technology has helped to transform libraries from being mere storehouses to access points for retrieval of information. This adoption calls for a new thinking, new technology and new strategies, which will help to ensure these institutions remain vibrant and relevant in providing for the dynamic information needs of the society. ICTs are the arsenal for developing countries to shape and influence the direction of the International Information order which is skewed in favour of the resource endowed countries resulting in the information and digital divide. Kevin (1996:51 52) using Ranganathan five principles describes libraries as growing biological organisms that adopt themselves over a period of time to changing environments. Information and Communication Technology has become more pervasive as it now permeates all aspects of lives, socially, culturally, economically and politically. In Africa Libraries are adjusting to Information and Communication Technology (ICTs) amidst socio-economic and technical challenges. 1.2 Information and Communication Technology(ICTs) Generally Information and Communication Technology (ICT) refers to a combination of computer and telecommunication techniques which makes possible new systems and products to help people at work, in education and at home. In the library domain Information and Communication Technology refers to the use or application of various technologies such as computer, reprographics, video recording and other electronic devices and other electronic devices for the storage, retrieval, reproduction and dissemination of information in a library environment. ICTs stress the role of unified communications and the integration of telecommunications intelligent building management systems and audio-visual systems in modern information technology. Lalitha (2004) notes that ICTs consists of all technical means used to handle information and aid communication, including computer and network hardware, communication middleware as well as necessary software. A good way to think about ICT is to consider all the uses of digital technology that already exist to help individuals; businesses and organizations use information for development. The use of information communication driven technology is fast spreading in almost all spheres of human, social and economic endeavors (United Nations ICT Task Force, 2005).Previously libraries were viewed as mere storehouses of knowledge but they have now been given a new look in the modern information and communication era. Vinitha (et.al) (2006) notes that activities which were carried out in libraries with soreness and nervous tension can now be accomplished with ease through the use of ICTs, for example, the organization of knowledge, circulation, acquisitions and other technical processing have become easier and more quantum of work can be accomplished in a stress-free mood. 1.3 Evolution of libraries Libraries have gone through different phases from the oral traditions, ancient libraries of Ashurbanipal, Egypt and Mesopotamia and then print culture manifested through manuscripts, and books. These phases are reflected by the ancient human narratives Rosetta and Assyrian Stones, rock paintings Book culture became popular in the fifteenth century with the invention of the printing press by John Gutenberg leading to the high production of books. The medium for storage of information has developed from human memory, clay tablets, animal bones, skin parchments, manuscripts and books.Highman (1987) notes that Book culture provided the basis for the development of modern civilisation Democratic society is the daughter of books, the triumph of the book written by man Generally library evolution has passed through various stages, for example, the traditional, automation, electronic, digital and virtual library. The traditional library consists of holdings in hard copy, while the automated one refers to the automation of library functions, for example, computerized catalogue, circulation, acquisitions and reference services. These libraries were synonymous with the traditional armchair approach to library management, emphasis on storage and preservation of physical items, particularly books and periodicals. In traditional libraries browsing based on physical proximity of related materials, for example, hard copies of books are manually, classified catalogued, indexed, and abstracted. Information is physically assembled in one place; users must travel to the library to learn what is there and make use of it . The automated Library is by product of the Information and Communication (ICTs) revolution in the second half of the nineteenth century whereby library functions like acquisitions, cataloguing, classification, indexing and circulation automated while the holdings remain print based with a small number of electronic resources. The electronic library refers to fully automated functions and CD ROM networking with a balance between print and electronic resources. The shift from traditional libraries to the digital is not merely a technological evolution, but requires a change in the paradigm by which people access and interact with information. The Digital library refers to a fully automated library services with a migration from analogue to digital resources during the last decades of the twentieth century. It also involves browsing based on hyperlinks, keyword, or any defined measure of relatedness; materials on the same subject do not need to be near one another in any physical sense The virtual library is the current twenty-first millennium library or library without walls providing access to resources irrespective of time and space, emphasis on access to digitized materials wherever they may be located, with digitization eliminating the need to own or store a physical item. Digital and electronic libraries can be virtual libraries if they exist only virtually -- that is, the library does not exist "in real life." A Virtual library can consist of material from a variety of separate libraries that are organized in a virtual space using computers and computer networks. It does not lay claim to physical possession of documents and it relies on the globe as a hunting ground for users. 1.4 Information: The adaptable term of ICT age Information is a versatile term of the twenty first century that has spawned a accumulative vocabulary of terms, for example, information management, information technology, information and communication, information science, information retrieval, information storage, information society, information economics, information brokerage, information consultancy, inforpreneurship, information as a commodity. The concept of information is as prehistoric as the human planet as well as both primordial and modern. Hoffman in Kawatra (2000:3) defined information as an aggregate of statements or facts or figures which are conceptually connected. It is also referred to as a symbol or string or symbols which have potential for meaning. The Random House Dictionary (1973) define information as ...that which reduces uncertainty....Generally from all the definitions it can be deduced that information conveys meaning, reduces uncertainty, and depends upon users needs. Information is an important factor of determining the social, economic and political quality of life in an information society. The systematic and purposeful acquistion of information rather than science or technology is emerging as the new foundation for work, productively and effort throughout the world 1.5 ICTs, changing titles and New skills for librarians The skills that librarians require for a modern library are continuing to change due to the dynamic nature of technology. The impact of technology is also felt in the changes in the nomenclature of librarians, for example, the use of such terms like, e-librarian, e-resource librarian, digital technology development librarian, learning resources developer, digital strategies librarian, information navigators, cybrarians and information intermediaries, digital librarian, information resource librarianship, e-learning resource facilitator and so on. The world over University Libraries are now providing a wide range of services and this has resulted in new names to reflect the creation of new services, for example, library and learning resource centers, computing and library services, Information and Documentation Centers, learning resource centers, information portals, learning and ICTs hubs and information services.IctS are being utilized to bring new services, for example , virtual library services facilitating access to resources to distance learners. 1.6 Impact of ICTs on libraries Warren (2002) states that the concept of ICT entails technologies, the facilitation of communication, processing and transmission of information by electronic means embraces complex communication technologies such as internet, the computer, geographical information systems and simple ones such as the television and radio. In the context of libraries such technologies have the potential of helping users to gain access, disseminate and respond to information in a faster and more far reaching way that ever before. ICTs covers any product that will store, retrieve, manipulate, transmit or receive information electronically in a digital form, for example, personal computers, internet, digital television, social media networks and email have become indispensable tools with regards to provision of library services. Information technology has extended the availability of information and libraries are slowly embracing this opportunity to improve on information dissemination, acquisition, storage and organization and also start networking for resource sharing. Because with ICT the storage, retrieval, manipulation, transmission or receipt of data is made possible and this becomes an advantage to the libraries especially the public libraries that caters for a diverse of clientele and also academic libraries in information dissemination. Importantly, it is also concerned with the way these different uses can work with each other, for example, a virtual reference desk can be open to everyone with a computer and an internet connection independent of opening hours and location, and this enables patrons to use the library when ever they need. On the other hand the librarians can co-operate and help each other world wide or in a country or in a region through networks, in discussion groups, on mailing lists and they can create mail boxes for questions which they answer according to a schedule. Inter-institutional co-operation and specialization has resulted in high quality and efficiency thus enhancing the quality of library services. ICTs also affects the provision of access to the catalogue and availability of resources online. Online catalogues have revolutionalised the way in which materials are made available and are able to be viewed.Roush (2005) states that the use of online catalogues facilitates an ease of use which has become critical in the age of information technology. The Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC) and Machine Readable Catalogue (MARC) facilitate easier access to online information 1.7 Value for Libraries in using ICTs Adekunle (1978) also states that resource sharing among libraries is imperative, as no single library can acquire all its needs. The concept of resource sharing is manifested through interlibrary cooperation, inter-library loans, Interlending and document supply services and other initiatives at a consortia level. Resource sharing programme is imperative because there is nothing like library autarchy and hence the need for networking. Computer use in libraries has been encouraged as a positive educational practice that allows students to learn through access to ICTs and to a wider communication networks such as the internet. ICT provides an extended role to libraries in terms of increasing the range of their services, linkages with institutions and for sharing their resources and expertise. The information society is also synonymous with problems of information overload resulting from the exponential growth of information in both pure and soft sciences. The infoglut or information explosion renders individual library unable to acquire all it requires due to prohibitive cost and limited storage space available. Adeogun (2003) in Mphidi (2004) calls for libraries to utilize ICTs to promote resource sharing at all levels, libraries need to establish effective resource sharing schemes. As a result of present proliferation of information, high costs of information resources and dwindling library budget; it is difficult for any library to provide all the information needs of its clients The utilisation of ICTs networks facilitates resource sharing, inter-institutional collaboration, raising an awareness of existence of current and retrospective materials and the provision of access to materials. Networking through inter-institutional cooperation helps to overcome the problems of institutional insularity.ICT provides an extended role to libraries in terms of increasing the range of their services, linkages with institutions and for sharing their resources and expertise. Watson (2003) notes networking is the key to survival in the information/knowledge driven economies .No elephant can exist alone for long. It is part of the larger whole, a network so diffuse that an extended herd can cover hundreds of square miles. A web of sound connects each part, turning their apparent thin scatter into one great thick skinned organism. 1.8 The Libraries and Internet Kawatra (20000 defines the internet as a worldwide interconnected group of networks. The networking of people through innovative communication and computer technologies has created limitless opportunities for accessing all existing forms of social learning and intelligence. The internet is a classic example of convergence because it represents the coming together of computers and communication. The relationship between content and the technology to deliver it are now closer. The emerging convergence of technologies will result in a set of new services, solutions, infrastructures and other opportunities for example, digital technology and audio video and textual technology has resulted in multimedia technology. The internet embraces the concept of worldwide network of computers communicating through an agreed protocol. African Universities are utilizing network technologies and library consortia to provide access to growing quantities of information produced electronically. Most of these libraries depend on networked infrastructures to access e-resources from funded programmes or free of use or open access either through INSAPs PERI programme, UNESCO and McAuthur among others. It provides access to the most diversified sources of information hosted by individuals and institutions worldwide on a vast number of servers. Gates(1997) notes that Information Technology is adapting to the social expectations of society through integrating the old and the new, ...the network movement enabled by the internet will become fully integrated into our lives..It will not be cyberspace out there that we will relate to, it will be everything we do .And speech will be the dominant interface. We were born with ears and mouths, after all, not keyword and mouses.The technology is adapting to it Gates and Dertouzas (1997) states ICTs have ushered in the age of electronic bulldozers whereby the human brain is expected to perform dull, boring and repetitive tasks while the computer takes over. The brain is free to perform intelligent tasks The human mind is Libraries do not exist in a vacuum but they are intertwined with other institutions and its critical to internet because: Internet provides current information to users. A number of information sources like electronic journals, electronic discussion forums, technical reports, catalogues, database, abstracts, and online educational material are available online. Access to bibliographic and full text databases. Facilitates resource sharing Helps to overcome information overload Helps to enhance visibility of the libraries, librarians and other stakeholders. Facilitates ability to locate / search huge amounts of data using search engines 1.8.1 The Key features of the Internet Interactive environment for information handling Enables information to be delivered to the desk top of the user Ease of publishing, e-publishing. Multimedia integration(text, images, audio and video Hypertext linking and navigation through clicking on a highlighted word the user is directly switched to another data source. The provision of free internet connections enables libraries to develop Library Web Sites as well as institutional repositories and this helps to create and sustain organizational memories, facilitate access to information and increase visibility. Web site can offer suitable help for the net surfer and be the natural starting point for the patrons since the catalogue will be accessible irrespective of space and time as long as one is connected to internet. Circulation, reservations, recalls and Inter library loans can be facilitated through internet connection. Public documents will be published electronically and it is a democratic right for everyone to be able to read this material free. Through the use of ICTs the library can promote local content development through the publication of local history, promoting or marketing library services and reaching out to dispersed users among other issues. As a variety of user groups find their way to the public library the library will meet new user needs which involve distance students or distance workers far away from the university or the city center asking for qualified reference service in a small public library. It can be researchers located on an industry producing medicine in a region not used to that kind of industry. This can also be groups not used to studying or reading at all, unemployed or life long learners who are unfamiliar with what a public library can provide and what is impossible to get. Mbeki (2008) observed that ICTs and e -skills should be used as tools for empowerment and keys to e-inclusion because without them the long cherished goal of creating an all inclusive democratic society will be difficult to realize. your continued success as ICT operatives depends on ensuring that ICTs ceases to be the preserve of the privileged few but becomes a tool which the poor liberates themselves from wretchedness an escalator that enables people to progress out of second to first economies On the other hand the expectations from the public are changing, they want "everything" and the speed of access to it is "immediate", they want prompt delivery of the answer, rather than guidance or instruction. This can be traced back to why they ask for information. There has been an increase in questions people carry and transact on behalf of others, such as school assignments and company projects. This however can only be solved through the use of providing e-recourses, digital libraries and the internet making it imperative for both the school and public libraries to use ICTs to develop their services. On the other hand conducting research on the internet often leads to non-productive searches. There are no standards to check for accuracy on the internet. Some web addresses change and sites disappear. It should be noted that not everything on the net is for free, certain specialized materials require subscription. However the internet still remains an affluent pool of information with regards to highly specialized and free open access resources, for example, African Journal Online (AJOL) 1.9 ICTs and Politics of Information Even though the internet is turning the world into a global village, it is also threatening to increase inequalities and disproportions between the developed and developing world, through the monolopolisation of intellectual capital by multinational and transnational corporations. Kumar (1999) argues that information technology is a weapon in the hands of the possessed to further dispossesses the dispossessed. This has resulted in the digital and information divide, information rich librarians and information poor librarians, librarianship of affluence and librarianship of poverty .The digital and information apartheid or electronic delinking may result in a new form of civil and economic rights movement of the new millennium.Durran (20020 calls for governments to subsidise the poor through provision of affordable ICTs. Librarians in developing countries should blend culture and technology inoder to create relevant local content. Polanski (2007) argues that African filmmakers like Ousmane Sembene were able to blended traditional forms of storytelling with modern technologies, creating a new social/political medium through which African identities are formed and given voice. The filmmakers ability to use technology to capture and record an event or moment, which can be shown and re-shown, becomes the new guardian of tradition. Libraries can also use modern technology to repackage oral traditions, for example, the use of podcasts, radio, and video recorders to capture human narratives that are relevant to the local culture. With regards to the politics of information there is need to change the mindsets of librarians so they can play an active part in liberating African people. This responsibility falls on institutions training librarians. Civallero (2007) in a foreword to Sameks book on Librarianship and human rights; a twenty-first century guide highlights the real power that information has when he says: Information means power; economic power as well as social, political and human. This power has been seized by a few and is not often shared. 1.10 Advantages of utilizing ICTs in libraries Library computerization saves time in storing information, information handling, information processing and information retrieval. Technical library operations and procedures are done with higher speed and the time lag between the acquistion of documents and their availability to users will be reduced significantly. The opportunities for inter-library cooperation will increase, for example , networking of libraries through ICTs , for example the use of Free Open Source software packages to facilitate Interlending and interlibrary cooperation. Jakupec (2000) states that amplified advancements in the kingdom of ICTs and mounting connections to computer mediated communication and information networks , such as internet has ensured that access to information overcomes physical and time barriers allowing for easier access to information. Digital libraries are not limited to physical boundaries and the users need not to go to the library physically and people from all over the world can gain access to the same information, as long as an Internet connection is available. The same resources can be used simultaneously by a number of institutions and patrons. This may not be the case for copyrighted material: a library may have a license for "lending out" only one copy at a time. The user is able to use any search term (word, phrase, title, name, subject) to search the entire collection. Digital libraries can provide very user-friendly interfaces, giving clickable access to its resources and making information retrieval less painful. While traditional libraries are limited by storage space, digital libraries have the potential to store much more information, simply because digital information requires very little physical space to contain it. Makori(2009) notes that, the cost of maintaining a digital library is much lower than that of a traditional library especially with regards to space. A traditional library incurs high costs in paying staff, book maintenance, overheads, and additional books. Digital libraries may reduce or, in some instances, do away with these fees. Both types of library require cataloguing input to allow users to locate and retrieve material. Digital libraries may be more willing to adopt innovations in technology through providing users with improvements in electronic and audio book technology as well as presenting new forms of communication such as wikis and blogs, conventional libraries may consider that providing online access to their OPAC catalogue is sufficient. Omekwu (2006) single out some important advantage to digital conversion as increased accessibility to users. They also increase availability to individuals who may not be traditional patrons of a library, due to geographic location or organizational affiliation. In Africa the ICT revolution in libraries and educational institutions has faces the following challenges: Poor communication networks High costs of maintaining ICT infrastructure Limited access to ICT hardware and software Lack of funding to provide ICT infrastructure Digital and information divide Neglect of ICT resources Computer /Information illiteracy Technological obsolescence Poor Policy guidelines Technological dependency as technology begets more technology Utilizing technology to promote indigenous knowledge 1.11 Importance of Digitisation of library materials Digitization of library materials at a national level is critical inoder to save cultural heritage so that its not lost, preventing private sector from taking over publicly available information, for example, googlebooks and ability to preserve the future heritage of the country. Digitization is not a long-term preservation solution for physical collections, but does succeed in providing access copies for materials that would otherwise fall to degradation from repeated use. Whereas traditional libraries are limited by storage space, digital libraries have the potential to store much more information; simply because digital information requires very little physical space to contain them and media storage technologies are more affordable than ever before. Above all there is value addition as quality of images, are be improved and they become clearer. Bawdens (2005) notes that digitization can enhance legibility and remove visible flaws such as stains and discoloration. In addition, technological innovation has presented the possibility of automating all aspects of traditional or conventional library and information centers. The use of ICTs is very unique because of its potentials for storing large amounts of information which can quickly be accessed, retrieved and transmitted to end users for decision making, and this makes it more relevant for use in libraries. With the help of technology libraries should increase and expand and offer new information products and service such as computer mediated information services that include chat reference and instant messaging, blogs, online databases and online delivery. These libraries will be in a position to reinvent themselves by going where the customers are for instances with search engines and websites. Their fore it is imperative for both the public and school libraries to fully embrace the use of technology in managing and delivering information. In summary the paradigm shifts from the traditional libraries to embrace ICTs in both libraries has brought the following advantages: Transformation of traditional libraries to digital libraries, Print on paper to digital information, Card catalogs to Web OPACs, Print journals to online or electronic journals, ownership to access, Provision of access to library resources to remote and desktop access. Continuos availability of Information from different libraries. Photocopies to digital copies, DDS being provided through E-mail instead of post or fax. Standalone libraries to Information networks Real to Virtual libraries. 1.12 Conclusion With new libraries awash in electronic sources of information, as well as a world dominated by common Internet access, a librarian is critical, despite the fact that the process of gathering information is now done electronically. The amount of information in the world and the speed of information growth on the Internet, with the number of web pages currently estimated at 19 billion, consequently this leads to the situation in which searching for information requires a great amount of time, effort, knowledge, skill and efficacy inoder to ensure high precision. It appears that in order to efficiently find, select, check or validate and make information available, and understand the users needs, it is not only a matter of a computer programme or database being able to provide some sort of condensed data, but the input of the human being in the form of a qualified connoisseur such as a librarian. Walsh (2011) note that in the academia the supportive presence of the librarian is critical since the information environment is continuously becoming more complex due to rapid changes of technologies. This implies that librarians will have to be integrated meaningfully into learning and teaching and they will have to reclaim there Socratic midwifery roles as educators either in public, school and academic library. Throughout the centuries, the librarians role has remained unchanged; although the tools and resources used to supply required information and transform it into knowledge constantly change. Especially now, the librarian is indispensable. Therefore, it seems necessary to reflect upon the characteristics of a modern librarian that would best serve all users in the knowledge driven economies of the new millennium. Libraries and libraries must adjust to the burden of the information /knowledge society by acquiring the skills to handle digital information and to be efficient creators, collectors, consolidators and communicators of information References Adekunle, W. A. O. 1978. Library co-operation in Nigeria: The role of National library IN: Nigerbiblios, 3 (4). Bawden, D. (2005.) Education and training for digital librarians: a Slovenia/UK comparison. ASLIB. Proceedings: M. IN: Info. Prospect, 57 (1) Gates, B. and Dertouuzas, M. (1997).Friction free capitalism and electronic bulldozers.IN: New perspectives Quarterly, Spring, 15. Jakupec, V. (2000). Knowledge, e-learning and higher education in APEC countries: Narrowing the gap between developed and developing countries.IN:Economies Journal of APEC Studies, 3(1) Lalitha, P., 2004. Impact of information communication technology on library and information centres.[Internet] Available http://  HYPERLINK "http://www.alibnet.org/events/lectures/MLSeries7_PLalita.pp" www.alibnet.org/events/lectures/MLSeries7_PLalita.pp. Accessed 21 June, 2011. Makori, E.O. (2009.) Contemporary Issues in Information Management: A fresh look for information professionals.IN: International Journal of Library and Information Science, 1 (6) Mphidi, H. (2004) Digital divide or digital exclusion? The role of Librarians in bridging the digital divide Paper presented at LISA 7th Annual conference Pholokwane[Internet]Available  HYPERLINK "http://www.liasa.org.za/conference/conferences2004/papers/LIASA-conference" http://www.liasa.org.za/conference/conferences2004/papers/LIASA-conference. Accessed 24 April, 2011. Omekwu, C.O.( 2006.) Managing Information and Technology: Critical roles for librarians in developing countries. Electronic Library, 24 (6) Roush, W.(2005)The Infinite library[Internet] Available  HYPERLINK "http://www.arch.ttu.edu/people/faculty/Neiman../pedagogical/readingstructore/media/0" http://www.arch.ttu.edu/people/faculty/Neiman../pedagogical/readingstructore/media/0.. Accessed 15 November, 2007. Civallero, E. (2007) IN: Samek, T. (2007) Librarianship and human rights:A twenty-first century guide .Oxford:Chandos Publishing United Nations ICT Task Force, 2005. Innovation and investment: ICTs and the MDGs. Vinitha, K. (et.al)(2006) Impact of Information Communication Technology on Library and its Services. Paper presented at the DRTC-ICT Conference on Digital Learning environment, January 2006 in Bangalore. Walsh, C. (2011) Mapping our skills in learning and teaching.IN:CILIP Update, March, 2011. Warren, M.F.( 2002.) Adoption of ICT in agriculture: intrinsic and instrumental roles in technology transfer .[Internet] Available http://  HYPERLINK "http://www.cazv.cz/2003/2002/ekon1_02/warren.pdf" www.cazv.cz/2003/2002/ekon1_02/warren.pdf. Accessed 4 March, 2011.      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