Pak-LIS News
May 2003, Vol. 3, No.4




University Librarian Of 21st Century
Better Library Facilities (Daily Dawn, Editorial April 23, 2003)

Professional News

World Book and Copyright Day Celebrations in Islamabad
World Book and Copyright Day Program in Lahore
VC Awards 1000 to Librarians
Workshop On Information Handling
Readers Club Established at Preston University, Lahore
Twenty Third Meeting of the Board of Governors, Punjab Library Foundation
Meeting of the Executive Committee, Punjab Library Foundation
World Book and Copyright Day Program
Iqbal Urdu Cyber Library

Personal Announcements



Guest Editorial

University Librarian Of 21st Century

Bashir Ahmad, Librarian, Lahore Museum, Lahore

A clear, distinct, and generally acceptable definition of University Library has not yet been developed, although many writers have presented their suggestions since the beginning of this century.

Libraries attached to academic institutions above the secondary school level, serving the teaching and research needs of students and staff known as University libraries. In broad sense, these are academic libraries. If a University devoted to a specific subject, its library categorized as Special Library, which can be of:

a) Technical, professional, schools, colleges or universities.

b) A branch of a central library to serve an individual section of an educational institution for specialized purposes.

The examples of such Universities and their libraries are as under:

1. University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Lahore (Ex-Veterinary College)

2. University of Education, Lahore. (Ex-Directorate of Curriculum)

3. University of Health Sciences, Lahore. (Established under the control of Sheikh Zayed Hospital, Lahore)

According to A.G.S. Josephson "A special library is, to my mind, a library that covers a single definite subject, or a definite group of related subjects". We can say, "Special library is a special collection serving a special clientele and using special methods for the purpose".

In addition to University libraries, other libraries at tertiary level are classed as academic libraries and have certain features in common. Moreover, we may recognize "special libraries" the libraries of: Government, Business Organization, Societies and Institutions, Professional Associations, Public Libraries and Academic Institutions.

University libraries maintain a regular and systematic information service covering the immediate and foreseeable future interests of the University of which it is a part.

Commonly, it was thinking that "Librarian" is only custodian of library collection. This is an obsolete consideration. Now in modern world, librarian is not a custodian. He preserves the knowledge and disseminates it. He is information broker. Dr. Shera says, "Librarian is teacher of teachers".

According to Harrod's Librarian's glossary " One who has care of a library and its contents; the work includes selection of stock, its arrangement and exploitation in the widest sense, and the provision of a range of services in the best interests of all groups of users. Coordination of activities, setting of priorities, evaluation and other managerial tasks are an essential part of the work. Involvement in the community served, whether public, academic, private or any other context is also of great importance".

What does University Librarian? The University Librarian adds value by providing efficient and effective information services for a defined group of customers. The Librarian may be a full-time member of an information management team in an organization of hired on a part-time or contract basis. The unique contributions of the librarian include expertise in the content and selection of the best available print and electronic information resources as well as a commitment to putting knowledge to work or, in other words, linking the information user with the right information resource at the right time.

The University Librarian understands the critical role that information plays for organizations and for individuals and takes a holistic view of information needs and uses and the contexts in which they occur. The Librarian identifies, retrieves, organizes, repackages and presents information in an actionable form so that the potential for goal attainment is maximized. The Librarian helps control the flood of available information by selecting what is relevant and usable and, when required, analyzing or synthesizing the content.

The University Librarian is a technology application leader who works with other members of the information management team to design and evaluate systems for information access that meet user needs. Where required, the librarian provides instruction and support so that end users can make optimal use of the information resources available to them. The Librarian is capable of working the hybrid of print and electronic media and providing the best mix of information resources in the most appropriate formats for the environment.

The University Librarian plays a key role in developing information policy for the organization ensuring that access to all information resources-from internal records to external databases-is provided in the most strategically- effective and cost-effective manner. The librarian also plays another important role in ensuring that contractual, legal and ethical obligations regarding information use are met. The electronic information age provides new opportunities for organizations to produce as well as use information products.

The librarians are knowledge-based practitioners who use research as a foundation for their own professional practice and who support the conduct of research through their professional associations. Research has shown that the provision of appropriate information can lead to: better-informed decision-making; the ability to proceed to the next step in a project or task; improved relations with a client; and the exploitation of new business opportunities. The right information at the right time can also benefit the organization by saving the time of highly paid employees, avoiding poor business decisions, and even direct loss of funds.

For the 21st century challenges in this information age, University librarians are essential-by responding with a sense of urgency to critical information needs they provide the information edge for the knowledge-based organization. In order to meet the requirements and challenges in 21st century, a University Librarian pays the following professional & personal roles:-

A. Professional Roles relate to the university librarian's knowledge in the areas of information resources, information access, technology, management and research and the ability to use these areas of knowledge as a basis for providing library and information services.

B. Personal Roles represent a set of skills, attitudes and values that enable librarians to work efficiently; be good communicators; focus on continuing learning throughout their careers; demonstrate the value-added nature or their contributions; and survive in the new world of work.

a. Professional Roles

1) He has expert knowledge of the content of information resources, including the ability to critically evaluate and filter them. The librarian evaluates print, CD-ROM and online versions of databases. Knows "the best" textbooks, journals and electronic resources in specific areas such as biology, marketing or accounting. Evaluates and selects key information resources, print and electronic, for a small research center. Sets up a desktop news wire service for a petrochemical company. Controls the over supply of information by selecting what is relevant and usable for the customer. Uses strategic thinking to perform information selection and analysis that meets specific organizational goals.

Has specialized subject knowledge appropriate to the business of the organization or client. In addition to their Master degree in library and information studies, many university librarians have special courses related to their parent organization. Librarians frequently take additional courses in finance, management or other subjects related to their host organization. Maintains a view of the organization's business by reading core journals and other key sources. This enables the development of in-depth, subject specialty information services, including current awareness.

Develops and manages convenient, accessible and cost-effective information services that are aligned with the strategic directions of the organization. He develops a strategic plan linked to the business goals of the organization. Sets up effective management, supervision and budget processes. Builds an effective staff team to manage information services. Conducts intermediary searches for complex, difficult or multifold searches. Obtains documents in print or electronic form. Builds a core in-house library collection. Analyzes and synthesize information as required. Develops specialized thesauri and lists of indexing terms for databases.

4) Provides excellent instruction and support for library and information service users. The Librarian teaches Internet courses for employees. Develops specialized end user searching courses on information resources related to current business goals. Keeps up-to-date with latest training and instructional techniques. Provides trouble-shooting service for employees who are accessing information services from the desktop. Provides online reference and assistance.

5) Assesses information needs and designs and markets value-added information services and products to meet identified needs. He conducts regular needs assessments using research tools such as questionnaires, focus groups and key informant interviews. Reports the results to management and demonstrates the relationship between needs and services provided. Identifies and meets information needs by becoming a member of project teams. Contributes unique or unusual needs assessment findings to the professional literature.

6) Uses appropriate information technology to acquire, organize and disseminate information. He creates an online catalog of the library collection. Links catalog searching to a document delivery service. Works with the information management team to select appropriate software and hardware for desktop access to the library catalog and other databases. Provides a support service for electronic information service users. Keeps up-to-date with new electronic information products and modes of information delivery.

7) Uses appropriate business and management approaches in to communicate the importance of information services to senior management. He develops a business plan for the library. Calculates a return on investment for the library and its services. Develops a marketing plan for the library. Conducts a bench marketing study. Demonstrates how library and information services add value to the organization. Acts as a resource for the organization on quality management.

8) Develops specialized information products for use inside or outside the organization or by individual clients. He creates databases of in-house documents such as reports, technical manuals or resource materials used for special projects. Creates searchable full-text document files. Mounts online technical manuals created in-house. Creates a home page on the World Wide Web for the organization. Links the home page to other sites of interest on the Internet. Participates in knowledge management activities that create, capture, exchange, use and communicate the organization's "intellectual capital".

9) Evaluates the outcomes of information use and conducts research related to the solution of information management problems. He gathers data related to needs assessment, program planning and evaluation. Develops measures of frequency of use of services, customer satisfaction and impact of information on organizational decision-making. Actively seeks opportunities for improvement and strives to be the best in class on key services such as current awareness, reference and resource sharing. Participates in research projects.

10) Continually improves information services in response to the changing needs. Monitors industry trends and disseminates information to key people in the organization or to individual clients. Resources information services on new business or objectives needs. Uses just-in-time document delivery to retain maximum flexibility. Monitors purchases of information products by departments to ensure that they are cost effective and aligned with current business needs.

11) Librarian is an effective member of the senior management team and a consultant to the organization of information issues. Participates in strategic planning in the organization. Participates in bench marking or re-engineering teams. Informs management on copyright issues and monitors compliance with copyright law. Negotiates contracts with database vendors. Obtains patent information. Develops information policies for the organization.

b. Personal Roles

1) The Librarian is committed to serve excellence. He seeks out performance feedback and uses it for continuous improvement. Conducts regular user surveys. Asks library users if they found what they were looking for. Celebrates own success and that of others. Takes pride in a job well done. Shares new knowledge with others at conferences and in the professional literature. Uses the research knowledge base of special librarianship as a resource for improving services.

2) Seeks out challenges and sees new opportunities both inside and outside the library. He takes on new roles in the organization that require an information leader. Uses library-based knowledge and skills to solve a variety of information problems in a wide range of settings, both for individuals and for organizations. Does not limit the library collection or the information search to traditional media such as books and journals.

3) Sees the big picture. University librarian recognizes that information seeking and use is part of the creative process for individuals and for organizations. Sees the library and its information services as part of the bigger process of making informed decisions. Gives the highest priority to urgent demands that are critical to the organization's competitive advantage. Monitors major business trends and world events. Anticipates trends and proactively realigns library and information services to take advantage of them.

4) Looks for partnerships and alliances. The Librarian seeks alliances with management information systems (MIS) professionals to optimize complementary knowledge and skills. Provides leadership on the information management team. Forms partnerships with other libraries or information services inside or outside the organization to optimize resources sharing. Seeking alliances with database vendors and other information providers to improve products and services. Seeks alliances with researchers in faculties of library and information studies to conduct research.

5) Creates an environment of mutual respect and trust. He treats others with respect and expects to be treated with respect in return. Knows own strengths and the complementary strengths of others. Delivers on time and on target and expects others to do the same. Creates a problem-solving environment in which everyone's contribution is valued and acknowledged.

6) He has effective communications skills. The librarian listens first and coaches staff and others to develop their own solutions. Supports and participates in mentorship programs and succession planning. Runs meetings effectively. Presents ideas clearly and enthusiastically. Writes clear and understandable text. Requests feedback on communications skills and uses it to make improvements.

7) He works well with others in a team. He learns about the wisdom of teams and seeks out opportunities for team participation. Takes on responsibility in teams both inside and outside the library. Mentors other team members. Asks for mentoring from others when it is needed. Constantly looks for ways to enhance own performance and that of others through formal and informal learning opportunities.

8) He provides leadership. University librarian learns about and cultivates the qualities of a good leader and knows when to exercise leadership. Can share leadership with others or allow others to take the leadership role. Exercises leadership within the library and as a member of other teams or units within the organization. Acknowledges the contribution of all members of the team.

9) The Librarian plans, prioritizes and focuses on what is critical. He recognizes that in order to use resources most effectively, ongoing, careful planning is required. Develops an approach to planning and time management that incorporates personal and professional goals. Reviews goals on a regular basis, prioritizes them and kames sure that an appropriate proportions of daily activities are related to the most critical personal and professional goals. Mentors others to do the same.

10) He is committed to lifelong learning and personal career planning. Committed to a career that involves ongoing learning and knowledge development. Takes personal responsibility for long-term career planning and seeks opportunities for learning and enrichment. Advocates for an approach that encourages and supports ongoing knowledge development and that values the contribution of people. Maintains a strong sense of self-worth based on the achievement of a balanced set of evolving personal and professional goals.

11) He has personal business skills and creates new opportunities. Recognizes that, in the changing world or work, entrepreneurship and the ability to function as small business professional are essential skills. Seeks out opportunities to develop these skills. Willing to take employment in a variety of forms including full-time, contract and project work. Uses the entrepreneurial spirit in the organizational environment to revitalize products and services.

12) The Librarian recognizes the value of professional networking and solidarity. Takes an active part in University Library Association and other professional associations. Uses these opportunities to share knowledge and skills, to bench mark against other information service providers and to form partnerships and alliances. Recognizes the need for a forum where information professionals can communicate with each other and speak with one voice on important information policy issues, such as copyright and the global information infrastructure.

13) He is flexible and positive in a time of continuing change. Willing to take on different responsibilities at different points in time and to respond to changing needs. Maintains a positive attitude and helps others to do the same. Never says it cannot be done. Looks for solutions. Helps others to develop their new ideas by providing appropriate information. Sees and uses technology as an enabler of new information ideas, products and services.

Conclusion These are the competencies of University librarians for the 21st century - a challenge present and future for Pakistani Librarians. They have their roots in the past, but they reach far into the future. University librarians recognize the expanding nature of the challenges that face them in the information age and the range of competencies that are required to meet them. The challenges represented by these competencies must be seized and acted upon today in order to endure that university librarians have a viable tomorrow.[Contents]


Better Library Facilities

The report that most of the public universities in Rawalpindi, with the exception of one, are poorly equipped to facilitate the students comes as no surprise at all. The complaint about pathetic library facilities in most of the country's public institutions of higher learning is a long-standing one which has always fallen on deaf ears in Islamabad. Libraries of the Arid Agriculture University and the Fatima Jinnah Women University in Rawalpindi, in addition to that of Quaid-i-Azam University in Islamabad, all lack the latest books, journals and research material on new discoveries and inventions which the students require for their studies and the faculty members need for teaching.

Budget constraint is the stock answer to almost every request by a student or faculty member for a book not available in the university library. Even computer facilities, which are now a major component of any modern library, are grossly deficient in these institutions.

One silver lining in the surrounding gloom is the report that funding for higher public education in the country is being doubled. Hopefully, this will materialize soon and ensure better support facilities for our universities, including their libraries, and computer and laboratory facilities.

Already the better funding that was being channelled during the past few years to one university in Rawalpindi - the National University of Science and Technology - has shown results in the form of a relatively well-equipped library with the latest material. The same should also be done for the other public universities. Only then can our institutions of higher learning hope to be able to impart the kind of standards of higher education which are necessary to help push the country ahead in development.[Contents]


Professional News

World Book and Copyright Day Celebrations in Islamabad

Pakistan Library Association (PLA, FB) and UNESCO, organized a series of events to celebrate World Book and Copyright Day on 23-24 April, 2003 to create awareness about importance of books and the role of libraries in improving reading habits of common people. The following activities were undertaken in connection with World Book and Copyright Day Celebrations:

a. Library Walk

To project the objectives of the day and also to highlight the importance of libraries in the development of country and in the promotion of reading habits, a walk was arranged from China Chowk to Parliament House on 23 April 2003. Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed, Mian Muhammad Aslam, Member National Assembly, Mrs. Ingeborg Breines, UNESCO Representative and other prominent personalities, government officials, Children from ASP schools and library friends participated in the walk. The participants were holding banners and placards having different slogans for the promotion of reading habits and library culture in the country.

At the end there was a small ceremony, and the speakers stressed for better library facilities in the country. UNCESCO Representative Mrs. Ingeborg Breines, read out the message of the Director General UNESCO. A large number of books, T-shirts with WBD logo, WBD badges, pocket dictionaries were also distributed among the participants.

b. Seminar on "Libraries and the Promotion of Reading Habits in the Digital Age"

To highlight the role of libraries in the promotion of reading habits a seminar was held at Hotel Holiday Inn, Islamabad on 24 April 2003. Dr. Ata ur Rehman, Chairman Higher Education Commission was the chief guest on the occasion. Mr. Ismail Niazi, Federal Secretary for Culture, Sports, Youth Affairs, Mrs. Ingeborg Brienes, UNESCO Representative, Dr. Allah Wadhayo Baloch, Joint Educational Advisor, Ministry of Education, and other government officials, DG Libraries, eminent scholars, library professionals, UNESCO's Associated Schools, students, teachers and educationists attended the opening session of the seminar.

In the second session, about 12 papers were presented by leading library professional from Lahore, Peshawar, Quetta, Karachi and Islamabad. One of the main features of the seminar was the papers presented by four students from different schools/colleges/universities of Islamabad. The papers covered almost every aspect the declining state of reading habits in the country. In the end there was an open session, in which the audience expressed their views on the theme and registered their concerns. Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed chaired the session.

c. Launching of "World Heritage in Young Hands" the teachers resource guide.

The launching of Urdu version of UNESCO's teachers resource kit "World Heritage in Young Hands" was another important feature of the seminar. Mrs. Ingeborg Breines, facilitated the launching and introduced the salient features of the kit, while Mr. Ismail Niazi, Federal Secretary for Culture, Sports and Youth Affairs officially launched the kit.

d. Book Exhibition

On 24 April 2003, a book exhibition was also organized at Hotel Holiday Inn Islamabad. All leading booksellers of Islamabad/Rawalpindi, displayed their books and offered substantial discounts to the visitors. UNESCO, and some other research organizations also displayed their publications. Senator Muhammad Ali Durrani inaugurated the exhibition.

Media Coverage:

The print and electronic media gave adequate coverage to all the activities of World Book and Copyright Day celebrations. On 23 April 2003, Pakistan Television invited the Secretary Pakistan Library Association (Federal Branch) and Director General, Department of Libraries for a discussion on the day and its celebration. All newspapers prominently covered the walk, seminar, launching ceremony and also the book exhibition.


By organizing these activities, PLA and UNESCO achieved following: 1. Librarians and general public come to know about the World Book and Copyright Day 2. Importance of role of libraries in education and development of a country 3. The problem faced by libraries and publishers highlighted 4. Projection of UNESCO's role in promoting the Educational and cultural activities in the country.

Proceedings of the Seminar:

Proceeding of the seminar and all other activities will be made shortly in print and also in digital form on CD-ROM. All seminar papers, press clippings, video coverage of walk, seminar and the exhibition will be included. [Contents]

World Book and Copyright Day Program in Lahore

Pakistan Library Association, Punjab Branch and Lahore Museum, Lahore arranged a programme in observance of World Book and Copyright Day on Saturday, April 26, 2003 at Lahore Museum Auditorium, The Mall-Lahore. Program started with recitation of Holy Quran by Mr. Aslam Hayat. Dr. Liaqat Ali Khan Niazi, Director Lahore Museum delivered a lecture on Libraries: A Source of Knowledge.Mr. Hasan Irfan Khan delivered a lecture on Copy Right Issues and Books. Mr. Waheed, Chief Librarian Punjab University delivered his lecture on Reading Habits: Problems and Prospects. Mr. Muhammad Jawwd, The American Center, Lahore delivered a lecture on Book Through the Ages. The Chief Guest- Mian Muhammad Aslam Iqbal Minister of Tourism addressed about the importance of books in our Society.[Contents]

VC Awards Rs 1000 to Librarians

The Vice-Chancellor Lt. Gen.Ret. Arshad Mahmood has awarded Rs.1000/= each to Mr. Abdul Waheed, Chief Librarian, Ms. Samreen Lateef, Mr. Shafique-ur-Rehman , Mr. Asif Ali, Mr. Kashif Khurshid and Miss Nosheen Fatima, Librarians for performing excellent service in publishing updated newspaper index in the Punjab University Library. In a special function held at Vice-Chancellor office, the V.C. appreciated the service of P.U. Library staff and assured that University administration will provide all facility to upgrade the library. The above mentioned librarians also awarded Rs.50,000/= for developing P.U. library website and launching virtual library few months ago. [Contents]

Workshop On Information Handling