10/01/2010

LIASA12 DAY 2: Its only IT if you can get the LIT, and IL right.

The trend it seems in other libraries in the various provinces on South Africa, is that ICT is an ideal that we should strive for.
On this pedestal of Information Technology is the Jesus  that will save us from the rampant illiteracy and all round bad stuff that plagues our libraries.
Ok then.
I’m waiting for the lightning bolt that is suppose to strike me down for using ICT’s name in vein. It is our saviour after all.
How it is suppose to save, is something I’m not quite sure of. I suspect that vast amounts of money have been spent on pc’s and network infrastructure (for CERTAIN types of libraries) in the hopes that a dodo, a unicorn and the flying pig of Maritzburg will come down and give us the secret as to how PC’s will save the nation.
Certainly that is the sense I’m getting at this Conference and it was more or less confirmed when a library High Poobah said that she had to push her staff to take up “regular” duties like shelving, reader guidance, reference queries and the like, because they were so focussed on ICT.
Well. Here’s the thing. If I’m wrong, you can take away my comic collection. Promise.
I reckon that ICT merely enhances the basic skills like literacy and comprehension.  The principles of seeking knowledge works without a computer and learning how to know what you want, and then how to get what you want, is something that doesn’t require a PC, network point, router , WAN, LAN and a blood sacrifice to Microsoft.

And if librarians are not taking care of the fundamentals of information literacy before ICT ‘literacy’ then we’re in deep doo-doo (doo-doo being a technical term we use in public libraries all the time).

Technology enhances the basic skills we have to cultivate.
Yes, We.
Because its a messed up world when a child doesn’t know how to use google, simply because he doesn’t know how to put in the information he wants.
Now that’s scary.

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