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Libraries See The Need For A Information Strategy

Libraries See The Need For A National Information Strategy To Ride The Knowledge Wave

The Library Association (LIANZA) launched "Library Week" this week August 20th-24th. LIANZA will be using the week as an opportunity to promote the needed for a "National Information Strategy" in the wake of this month's "Knowledge Wave Conference"

"Where this conference falls down was that it failed to make the distinction between measures needed to create a knowledge society and those need for a knowledge economy" said LIANZA President Spencer Lilley. "For 18 months now we have been lobbying government to look at our strategy. We had hoped that our efforts will at least see some of our ideas and concepts flow into the government's Digital Opportunities Strategy due out by the end of this month" Mr Lilley said.

The strategy is based on the British concept of a National Information Policy that focuses government efforts to close the digital divide on three issues, content - in putting relevant information online, access - in providing community access points to technology, and skills - in training people with the skills to search, use and turn information into knowledge.

"The role of libraries in all this is to facilitate all three, particularly in providing free access to the internet via public libraries and quality research information via academic libraries." Mr Lilley said. In the UK the National Information Policy has seen the British government invest $170M
in projects to give librarians ICT training, create local content for networks and develop the necessary technical infrastructure where it is lacking.

LIANZA was not represented at the Knowledge Conference, which Mr Lilley puts down to an oversight by organisers. However he believes that the government will adopt LIANZA's strategy as it realises the need for cross sector policy solutions for addressing the digital divide.

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