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Library Council, NITDA train Librarians to use Free and Open Source Software

Librarians from different parts of the country recently received training on the application of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) to enhance their competence in information management.

The training was held at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Library, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, under the auspices of the Library Registration Council of Nigeria (LRCN), in collaboration with the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA).

Speaking at the occasion, the Registrar and Chief Executive Officer of LRCN, Dr. Victoria Okojie, said the objective of the training was to teach librarians how to gain more access to information to enable them contribute to national development.

Dr Okojie explained that it was necessary for librarians in the country to learn how to access and use the Free and Open Source Software in order to make up for the inability of many libraries to purchase proprietary software because of paucity of funds.

Sub-themes treated at the 4th edition of the National Workshop on Application of FOSS included: application of KOHA in libraries, demonstration of greenstone digital library software, applications of CDS/ISIS in libraries, and application of New Gen in libraries.

Dr Okogie said the themes were carefully selected to enhance service delivery in libraries and facilitate national economic development.

The trainees, according to her, were expected to cascade the training to their colleagues in their various institutions across the country.

Earlier in his opening address, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Nigeria Nsuka, Prof. Benjamin Ozumba expressed delight that the Library Registration Council found it convenient to host the workshop in the University for three consecutive years – 2013, 2014, 2015.

Prof. Ozumba, who spoke through the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Administratio), Prof. Edwin Igbokwe, said the theme of the conference, “Application of Free and Open Source Software in Library Operations”, was apt, considering that many libraries in Africa were making efforts to upgrade to digital libraries.

In his address, the Director General of National Information Technology Development Agency, (NITDA), Mr Peter Jack, said his organization was at the verge of signing Memorandum of Understanding with LRCN to establish Digital Community Opportunity Centres across the 316 public libraries in the country. “NITDA is putting extra emphasis on the use of ICT for education. In this regard, we are deploying equipment and tools in the teaching and learning process”, he said.

The Director said it was expedient for librarians in Nigeria to use Open Source Software because of dwindling budgets to libraries and information cetres in the country.

He said that “In a country of over 170 million people, the potentials for Open Source solution in achieving success in Libraries is huge, the manpower is available, and the infrastructure is being put in place”.

Mr Jack expressed optimism that in the next few years, Nigeria would be trail blazer in the development, use and promotion of Open Source Software.

Inya,Agha E.

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