By Tata Mbunwe
The Chief Librarian and Director of Information Service, of the University of Buea, Prof Rosemary Shafack, has launched the varsity’s first-ever book published on information literacy. It was launched Thursday March 31.
During a launching ceremony attended by several colleagues of the academia, trainees, friends and family members, Prof Shafack said the book comes to enlighten people on how to access information in the right way. Information, she said, is the “fifth factor of production”.
“I thought it was time to do an introductory book, a foundation book that could capture all the aspects of information literacy in a way that, when you read it just like a novel, you’ll be able to know how to go about looking for information to resolve all your information needs,” she said.
“And when you look at the overwhelming information that is churned out every day in the world, you will agree with me that it is challenging to look for what you need. And also the fact that you cannot find a book on information literacy that captures all the components that one person needs to have and they are all interwoven,” Prof Shafack added.
The nine-chapter book, constituting 176 pages, covers among other issues the importance of information literacy, role of libraries and ICTs in fostering information and education, techniques and tools for retrieving information and the ethical considerations guiding the use of information.
In a foreword, erstwhile University of Buea Vice Chancellor and acclaimed scholar, Prof Cornelius Mbifung Lambi, said the book hopes to bridge an “efficiency gap” that exists in the scholarly world, whereby postgraduate students are “insufficiently” aware of the techniques and ethics of information use.
“It is my conviction that this book will meaningfully assist researchers, teachers and students in Cameroon to learn, teach and practice how to search, write and present scientific information from virtual and digital library sources,” said Prof Lambi, who doubled as the book’s reviewer during Thursday’s launching.
As Chairperson at the launching ceremony, Prof Emeritus Therese Shalo-Tchombe said the book comes at a time when everyone needs constructive information that can move society forward and is therefore “significant”.
“We are searching for information but we need to have the skills and techniques to identify what we can pick out, use and transform our communities and societies. We have a lot of valuable information but we don’t cheer them and I think Rosemary has given us the opportunity to have a book that will tell us and inform us about strategies that we should use,” Prof Tchombe said.
Over a million francs CFA was raised at the book launching ceremony. The event was was also attended by two of UB’s Deputy Vice Chancellors, Prof Noel Alembong and Prof Lucy Ndip; UB Registrar, Prof Eneke Agbor Bechem; and several personalities.