3

The OUSL takes pride in creating another historical milestone in the history of the nation's ODL sector by launching the country's first ODL-facilitated Bachelor of Arts Honours in Library and Information Studies (LIS). In a world where information and access to information are rapidly altering states due to developments in the IT sector, the space of a Library and the symbolic significance associated with the notions of accessibility, openness, inclusiveness, user paradigm and library research have radically altered forcing the academics to reexamine the discipline of Library and Information Sciences. It is amidst that context that a team from the OUSL Library, headed by Dr. Wathmanel Seneviratne set out to not only reexamine, re-read their own disciplines, but to respond to the evolving professional needs on the market by offering an updated and cutting-edge BA through the ODL platform. This BA was created upon a proposal by the Sri Lanka Library Association whereby the Diplomates of the Association could obtain a competent degree related to their professional skills with a competitive national university.

“Just as much as a library is still a place to read and borrow books, it is also many other things at the same time—a sort of multiple identities for the same entity. That is why we thought of going back to the drawing board and re-examining our own discipline in the light of the radical shifts in the IT landscape as well as learner's own attitudes towards these changes. The BA in LIS is our response to those changes—and it is a labor of love of many dedicated and committed individuals too numerous to mention at this stage,” says Dr. Wathmanel, the Librarian, OUSL.  

The OPEN Quarterly asked her: How does one manage an entity with multiple identities which inevitably encourage multiple expectations? “That is our challenge, and that is what we, the BA in LIS academics and the students seek to explore. Managing multiple identities is a task that is closely bound to identifying such ideas; and one should not forget that those self-same identities would undergo changes with time. The Quantum Computer is on the way, and such innovations will change education attitudes and landscapes. The presence of BA in LIS is a sort of a buffer against such radical alterations—we pause, we identify and we seek.”

The text books of the LIS program were a magnificent undertaking which drew in reputed scholars from abroad who engaged in comprehensive and in-depth research to create the narratives in a student friendly manner. The program is specifically aimed at the professionals who are already engaged in the LIS discipline and will put them through an exhaustive program of study whose individual components range from training in academic discourse to engagement in technology-related subjects to modern research skills. The program will be offered by the HSS Faculty and a separate unit has been established to administer the program. The library shelves are already packed with additional reading materials for the new BA. As the OUSL gears itself for this historical landmark, the Team OUSL Library eagerly await the arrival of the potential skilled librarians of the future in the OUSL classrooms.

          

The Team LIS