Zimbabwe: Covid-19 Pandemic Affects Zim Library Activities

27 August 2021

The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic has negatively impacted Zimbabwean libraries' service delivery and halted a lot of their activities.

This was said by Zimbabwe Libraries Association ZIMLA president-elect Mr Macdonald Nhakura at the 54th ZIMLA annual conference held virtually under the theme "Innovative Libraries and Informative Services in the wake of Covid-19 Pandemic."

The conference comes after most libraries in the country were closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic and as a way of reducing the spread of the deadly virus.

Mr Nhakura said they had disaster management plans for other systems such as fire and earthquakes and Covid-19 came as a shocker to their activities.

"All we are saying is that it is evident that the new normal characterised by Covid-19 is now regulating the way we are interacting and doing business," he said.

"We also automatically must adjust our modus operandi and adopt new ways of doing things, adapt to new technologies and many virtual interactive platforms."

Mr Nhakura said after having realised that Covid-19 may exist for a longer period and affect their operations they were looking at ways to adopt innovative services.

"Through interactions with the first world countries and managed to have a cross-pollination of ideas to adapt the way they are engaging their users," he said.

Dr Judith Mavodza from the Zayed University Dubai implored the librarians to have disaster management and risk management systems in place which shows pro-activeness when incidents like Covid-19 occur.

She said the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in highly innovative library services which can be offered even from home.

"Gone are the days we used to heavily rely on the physical buildings as the library. We now have libraries occupying the digital space and most materials housed on the cloud and users benefit accordingly," she said.

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