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Sharda University, Greater Noida, UP Organized an International Webinar on Challenges of Academic Librarians in the Digital Landscape on 12th August 2021 to Commemorate the National Librarians’ Day

Sharda University, Greater Noida organized an international webinar on challenges of academic librarians in digital landscape, on the occasion of ‘National Librarians’ Day’ on 12th August 2021 to commemorate the 129th birth anniversary of Dr. S. R. Ranganathan, the Father of Indian Library Science. The event was conducted online using the Zoom Platform. The event started with the Sharda  Vandana (Salutation to the Goddess of Learning) by Dr. Anita and Dr. Samannvoy, followed by the welcome address  by Prof. Anubha Vashisht, Director, IQAC. In her welcome note, she cordially welcomed all online delegates and underlined the need of such webinars that can provide better understanding on the contributions of Dr. S.R. Ranganathan to the field of Library Science.

“Ms.Sharda Tarachandra, Director, Library of Parliament, Ottawa, Canada, delivered an illuminative speech on “Key Challenges to Librarians in Today’s Volatile and Disrupted Environment”.  She described the pandemic and climate change as accelerants moving librarians more deeply into a digital landscape that has become increasingly difficult to navigate.  Ms. Tarachandra noted that as segments of the population question the “trustworthiness” of information provided by experts, librarians need to look beyond information evaluation and investigate their role in promoting critical thinking skills within the context of information literacy.  She also urged the library profession to refocus on information preservation given the unique challenges posed by the Internet and web environments.  Lastly, Ms. Tarachandra suggested that the profession can continue to be “relevant” and “impactful” by meeting the existential challenges of our time.  She gave the example of working with her team in a previous position to proactively produce a news bulletin for Canada’s Covid Vaccine Taskforce. This daily newsletter successfully advanced decision-making around the purchase of vaccines for Canada.”

 Dr. R.C. Singh, Advisor, Learning Resource Centre, Sharda University, delivered his thought -provoking speech on the “relevance of Libraries in the modern academic landscape” and informed the audience that Ranganathan’s Five laws hold good in today’s academic landscape as well. He also underlined the necessity of importance of academic libraries and congratulated the librarians for their great services to the academic community. He highlighted two important contributions of Prof. Ranganathan namely a. the concept of library as a Combination of  Trinity and b. Five Laws of Library Science. He  explained as to how Ranganathan proposed the concept of trinity in Library landscape by integrating Books, Users/Library Patrons, and Library Staff. He also explained as to how the five laws of Ranganathan are still important and relevant and advised  the librarians to update the technological infrastructure of the library system .He concluded his speech by reporting that the Sharda University is facilitating both physical and E-Resources to online and on campus library patrons.

Prof. Nirupma Gupta, Dean, Student Welfare, congratulated the library team for organizing such an international webinar and shared her experience as the Library Coordinator of the Medical Library for the last 15 years. She highlighted the contribution of the library to the University faculty and users. She has recollected the challenges of Covid Pandemic and how e-resources helped in facilitating learning. She narrated the increasing importance of personal computers and digital technologies that has transgressed the working hours of the library and the geographical location of the library.

Prof. D.V. Singh, of Indian Library Association , focused on the new trends and developments in the Indian library scenario and  highlighted the contributions of SR Ranganathan to the library development in India. He talked about the transformation of the libraries during  the last seven decades. He explained as to how Ranganathan influenced the policy makers instead of going to the politicians. He explained how genesis of the first Library Act in India happened in the City of Madras under the able leadership of his own student and the then education Minister of erstwhile Madras state, Late Avinashalingam Chettiyar. He explained how Ranganathan realized the necessity of mass education at the time when most of Indians were illiterate.

In his inaugural speech,  Prof.V.P.S. Arora, Professor Emeritus and Advisor to the Vice Chancellor, Sharda University, highlighted the importance of the libraries to academic institutions and recollected his experience as a library User. He remembered the review of literature that took six months’ time and library is no more confined to the physical walls of the Library; on the other hand, the digital landscape has brought in a sea-change. The importance of the digital landscape has been more realized during the covid-pandemic era. He reminded the importance of the physical landscape and suggested the academic that would automatically increase the library footfall. He advised the library Library Patrons to make use of both physical as well as e- resources. Librarians were advised to make the library ambiance as inviting and to bring out a volume based on the deliberations. He also made some suggestions to the library team and academic community at Sharda University to increase the physical and digital library footfall. He made other suggestions to motivate the He suggested the library users to collaborate with their peers to develop and implement their innovative ideas using the library as the space. He highlighted the importance of incorporating technologies in to the library functions and instructed the young professionals to embrace the societal changes as changes are inevitable.

.Prof.(Dr). David Lankes, Professor and Director, School of Information Science, University of South Carolina, USA,in his keynote address described Ranganathan as his personal hero and explained how Ranganathan’s laws are connected with humanity. In his illuminative and thought- provoking speech, he addressed the main topic of the day and underlined the importance of values in the library landscape by creating, and retaining  connection with the community of patrons. He recounted the past thought that digital technologies may sound death knell to the libraries in the digital era and he declared that that was a wrong notion. Even though Prof. David was focusing on North American Library landscape, his views and arguments were universal in character and content. He urged the library professionals to sift through   the information available and provide the correct and authentic information to the patrons as they trust the librarians for the authentic information and in that way we can safeguard our patrons from “the onslaught of Misinformation”. He reminded librarians that  the value of academic libraries and librarians lie in the expertise of Librarians in identifying the needs of the community and matching them with the resources available in the libraries by analyzing the usage of our collection, what is the impact of the resources, how the students succeed in their academic journey, etc. He  underlined that we have to expand the five laws in to the new facets of library landscape in order to make these laws  relevant .

Dr. K. Madhavan, Senior Librarian at the Sharda University, and the main organizer of this international academic event, has underlined the relevance of Dr. S. R. Ranganathan in his PowerPoint-supported speech. He has taken the Zoom audience through the professional biography of S.R. Ranganathan and his contribution to the Library landscape. He mentioned that the Colon Classification is still a guiding philosophy for practicing Librarians and demonstrated that we can classify even complex medical subjects using CC Scheme. However, the main  limitation of Ranganthan’s scheme is that no subsequent editions have been brought out after 1987 .This has made classification of books, as per Colon Classification Scheme, in the new subject areas such as  Biochemistry and Computer Science , a challenging task. Dr. Madhavan also highlighted the acceptance of Ranhganathan' s concepts in the Western World and informed the learned audience that OCLC had published a book titled Reordering Ranganathan in which the authors of this innovative book, have redefined the visionary statements of  Dr. Ranganathan.

 Prof. Urmila Devi Bhardwaj, Dean, School of Nursing and Research, Sharda University, made very concise summary in her “concluding remarks” highlighting the salient points of each speaker. She underlined the importance of such international academic endeavors in bringing out international academic luminaries.

The international webinar concluded with the vote of thanks from Mr. Satish Shrivastava, who reflected on the relevance of Ranaganathan and expressed gratitude to all the dignitaries present in the webinar. Mr. Subhit  Awasti, incoming MBA student and one of the alumni of the Sharda University, conducted the program in a professional way.



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