STUDENTS and researchers can have access to an array of online services through a new e-learning portal developed by the National Library – the E-library User Education Module.
The US$7,000 (RM26,500) project funded by Unesco is aimed at promoting the use of online resources among library users.
“We hope this will encourage more people to upgrade their knowledge and foster self-learning skills through the use of this new facility,” said National Library director Datuk Zawiyah Baba at the launch earlier this week.
The module consists of seven components – the Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC) system, online database, virtual library, Internet searching, web page design, knowledge worker, and games.
“Knowledge is an important commodity, especially as we are gearing the public to become digital literate citizens,” said Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Samsudin Osman who chaired a heads of government departments meeting at the library.
“Everything uses ICT (information and communication technology) nowadays, so it is essential for everyone to know how to use computers and their software,” he said, adding that the level of ICT knowledge among government officials is rising significantly.
Catered for users in Asean countries, the e-library module is currently in English.
Said Zawiyah: “We are submitting the completed work to Unesco and they will decide when to launch it at the Asean level. “
A Bahasa Malaysia version will be made available to the public from July, in conjunction with library's annual “Reading Month” (Bulan Membaca).
“It would not be identical to the English version as more content may be inserted given the fact that we have an additional two months to work on it,” Zawiyah said.
Staff members will be taught effective ways of using of the module, through a series of training sessions, called Training the Trainers, which will commence next month.
Zawiyah said 2,000 people have used the online facility to register themselves as library members, significantly speeding up the application process.
A wide collection of Malay manuscripts and Nadir books were also exhibited at the launch. “We have over 3,000 original manuscripts; the largest collection in any one institution worldwide,” said Zawiyah.
The Register lists 68 collections of documentary heritage from all over the world aimed at preserving valuable archive holdings and library collections, ensuring their wide dissemination.
In an effort to reorganise the library's organisation structure, a total of 182 new employment vacancies with the library department has been approved.
“The large intake of new employees into the department will bring about fresh ideas, which is essential to stimulate further growth in our library,” said Zawiyah.
To accommodate the additional workforce, an additional block is being constructed behind the existing building, scheduled for completion in July.
The library has also rented four storeys of the nearby Tabung Haji Selangor Born (TH Selborn) building where new departments will be situated.
Said Zawiyah: “Our building at Jalan Tun Razak was designed with the capacity to house one million reading materials, 1,000 seating places and 350 employees.
“Currently, our collections have increased to over 1.6 million with an average of 1,500 visitors a day (2,000 on weekends), and over 500 employees.”
For more information on the e-library module or other facilities, visit www.pnm.my, call 03-2687 1700, or fax 03-2692 7899.