Innovations and Adaptability in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic: The Role of Library and Information Science (LIS) Professionals in Bangladesh

As the incidence of coronavirus is increasingly rising globally, affected countries are taking various preventive steps, including travel bans, remote office operations, country lockdown, and social distancing. We all know that necessity is the mother of invention and we have been realizing it during the pandemic situation. Access to information is the paramount tool for ensuring the quality of education. However, the information should be authentic when we will use it during this pandemic condition. Library and Information Science (LIS) professionals in Bangladesh have  been providing authentic information and innovative services to their patrons as fast as possible. Innovation and adaptability are very significant in this sudden change and LIS professionals, library associations, public libraries, academic libraries and school libraries have taken different activities to address this situation. The following diversified actions taken by LIS professional are worthy of highlighting:

LIS academics Activities

Webinar on Next-Generation Knowledge Management for Information Professionals

The department of Information Studies and Library Management, East West University had organized a webinar on “Next-Generation Knowledge management for Information Professionals” through a live streaming on 18 June, 2020. Dr. Md. Nazim Uddin, Head and Senior Manager of Library and Information Services Section, International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b) and Dr. Md. Roknuzzaman, Professor, Department of Information Science and Library Management, University of Dhaka were the honorable speakers. The webinar was chaired by venerated Dr. Dilara Begum, Chairperson and Associate Professor, Department of Information Studies and Library Management, East West University. The webinar was hosted for students, faculty members, researchers and information professionals. About 200 viewers joined the live webinar from Facebook.

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Image-1: Webinar on Next-Generation Knowledge Management for Information Professionals

Webinar on Combat with Misinformation, Disinformation and Fake Information: Media and Information Literacy Perspective

The Department of Information Studies and Library Management, East West University organized another webinar on the topic of “Combat with Misinformation, Disinformation and Fake Information: Media and Information Literacy Perspective” through a live streaming on 20 June 2020.  Xiaojuan (Julia) Zhang, Professor, School of Information Management (SIM, an iSchool) and Vice President, Overseas Chinese Federation, Wuhan University, China and Dr. Pradip Kumar Panday, Professor, Department of Mass Communication and Journalism, University of Rajshahi, Bangladesh were the honorable speakers. The webinar was chaired by venerated Dr. Dilara Begum, Chairperson and Associate Professor, Department of Information Studies and Library Management, East West University. The webinar was hosted for students, faculty members, researchers and information professionals. Around 4000 national and international viewers viewed and joined the live webinar from Facebook.

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Image: 2 Webinar on Combat with Misinformation, Disinformation and Fake Information: Media and Information Literacy Perspective

Webinar on Library Services in Pandemic: Plan for Today and Tomorrow

A webinar on “Library Services in Pandemic: Plan for Today and Tomorrow” was organized by the Department of Information Studies and Library Management, East West University on 9 July 2020. The event was broadcasted on Facebook Live Streaming for the participants. The overwhelming response from the participants made the event a great success. The webinar was viewed by about four thousand viewers. The webinar was designed with the eminent faculty member and information professionals named Labibah Zain, Associate Professor, Department of Library and Information Science, Universitas Islam Negeri (UNI), Indonesia; M. Hossam Haider Chowdhury, Librarian and Library Head, Independent University, Bangladesh and Ayse Yuksel-Durukan, Teacher Librarian & Library Consultant, Turkey. The honorable chairperson of the department Dr. Dilara Begum was present at the webinar as the moderator. In the inaugural session, the honorable moderator welcomed the speakers and discussed about the new services and plans for the East West University Library in this pandemic. In the speakers’ lecture session, Labibah Zain, Ayse Yuksel-Durukan, M. Hossam Haider Chowdhury discussed different challenges they are facing during this pandemic in providing the library services and also mentioned some innovative technologies and services to meet the needs for their respective users. They also shared the best practices by the different libraries of their respective countries.

The webinar became lively when the audience expressed their opinion on the theme and posed their queries to the speakers. In the closing remarks, the honorable moderate expressed his heartfelt thanks to the speakers for sharing their thoughts and insights on the mentioned issues and welcomed everyone to attend the next webinar.

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Image: 3 Webinar on Library Services in Pandemic: Plan for Today and Tomorrow

Webinar on How to Publish a Research Paper in Reputed Journals:

The department of Information Studies and Library Management, East West University organized another webinar on “How to Publish a Research Paper in Reputed Journals” on 20th July 2020. The event was live streamed from the Facebook page of “Department of Information Studies and Library Management”. The eminent Speakers of the Webinar were Dr. Diljit Singh, Professor (Retired) and Former Deputy Dean (Postgraduate), Department of Library and Information Science, University of Malaya, Malaysia. Dr. Kazi Mostak Gausul Hoq, Professor and Chairman, Department of Information Science and Library Management, University of Dhaka and Dr. Md. Roknuzzaman, Professor, Department of Information Science and Library Management, University of Dhaka. The speakers discussed the techniques of writing research papers, how to get papers published in reputed journals, and how to choose the right journals for publication between reputed and predatory journals. The webinar received tremendous response from participants both nationally and internationally as this was the highlight of the discussion. The webinar was immensely interactive and fruitful since many of the participants interacted via the comment section and posed questions to the Speakers. At the end of the Webinar, participants were asked to provide their feedback via the Webinar Evaluation Form and most the participants expressed their willingness to join other webinars. The organizer of the Webinar has also issued e-certificates to the participants in recognition of their valuable presence at the webinar.

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Image: 4 Webinar on How to Publish a Research Paper in Reputed Journals

Innovative actions were taken by East West University Library:

Instant Reference Service [During COVID-19 Lockdown Period]:

The East West University Library is using WhatsApp and Facebook for providing Instant Reference Service during COVID-19 lockdown to its users. It is a direct and user-friendly service for Library users to contact library personnel. Users can ask their questions about services and resources provided by EWU Library using these platforms. The service hours are from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.

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Image 5: Instant Reference Service at EWU Library

Online Information Literacy Program:

During the lockdown, the East West University Library conducts online Information Literacy program every Tuesdays and Thursdays at 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm through Google Meet. To participate in this program, faculty members, administration officials and students need to submit the online form available at http://lib.ewubd.edu/node/86. If they are unable to attend on the appointed date, they can contact the instant reference platform through WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger.

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Image 6: Online Information Literacy Program

Novel Coronavirus Content: Free to Access:

Many well-known publishers make research widely available from online resources and leading journals to support researchers, healthcare professionals, policymakers, and those seeking to tackle this health crisis. The Novel Coronavirus portal developed by the East West University Library and the Novel Coronavirus material of world-renowned publishers has merged into one window. The portal will be periodically updated.

Evaluating News Sources at a Time of COVID-19:

The East West University Library has incorporated diversified tips from different platforms to help citizens for identifying disinformation, misinformation in the contemporary era of fake news, especially during the time of COVID-19. Anyone can access it through library’s website.

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Image 7: Evaluating News Sources at a Time of COVID-19

EWU Library organized online in-house training program on “Dimensions: The next generation of research discovery”

The East West University (EWU) Library organized an online in-house training program on “Dimensions: The next generation of research discovery” through Google Meet platform on 20 August 2020. for the library personnel as well as the faculty members of the Department of Information Studies and Library Management (ISLM), EWU. This online in-house training program was chaired by the venerated Dr. Dilara Begum, Chairperson and Associate Professor, Department of ISLM & Librarian (In-charge), EWU. Ms. Shaharima Parvin, Assistant Librarian, EWU, was the resource person.

Ms. Parvin highlighted what is Dimensions and what it is used for, literature search on Dimensions, research analytics by author, research analytics by organization and other features of this database. Dimensions, is a Digital Science database which goes beyond citations and defines itself as a dynamic linked-research data platform. It allows users to explore the connections between publications, grants, clinical trials, patents and policy documents to deliver a broader picture of impact. It also presents bibliometric indicators for evaluating the impact of researchers and research organizations.

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Image 8: Dimensions: The next generation of research discovery

Celebration of International Day of Peace 2020 by the Department of Information Studies and Library Management, East West University in association with East West University Library

The United Nations’ “International Day of Peace” has been observed as a day of non-violence and cease-fire on 21 September, around the world. Responding to the call of United Nations with the keep pace of the whole world, Department of Information Studies and Library Management (ISLM), East West University in association with East West University Library celebrated “International Day of Peace 2020”. The 2020 theme for the International Day of Peace is “Shaping Peace Together”. To observe the day, the Department of Information Studies and Library Management, East West University in association with East West University Library organized a competition through Social Media where students of the East West University shared their Peace Messages. From the vast number of messages received from students, the organizing committee selected and posted a few messages on “East West University Information Club Facebook page as the viewer’s likes using hashtags of the United Nations (#peaceday #UN75). The post remained on Facebook up to 21 September 2020 when three were declared as winners, based on viewer’s like of the competitor’s messages. From 2018, the East West University has celebrated the day. The East West University’s “International Day of Peace 2020” event was placed in the Libraries for Peace (L4P) map of the  Mortenson Center for International Library Programs, USA that aimed to strengthen international ties among libraries and librarians worldwide for the promotion of international education, understanding, and peace.

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LIS professionals in Bangladesh are acting as the change agents, and libraries are embracing contemporary technologies for the radical changes taking place in the world today. However, there are some barriers facing by LIS professionals in Bangladesh, but they know how to overcome this situation.