Prof. Ferdinand Apietu Katsriku (4th from right), a Professor of Computer Science at the University of Ghana, with other dignitaries inspecting an exhibition mounted at the conference
Prof. Ferdinand Apietu Katsriku (4th from right), a Professor of Computer Science at the University of Ghana, with other dignitaries inspecting an exhibition mounted at the conference

Future libraries should remain relevant in digital world — Lecturer

A professor of Computer Science has stressed the need for future libraries to adapt and innovate in order to remain relevant in the increasingly digital world.


Professor Ferdinand Apietu Katsriku of the Computer Science Department of the University of Ghana, called for a new future for libraries that embraced innovation, fostered lifelong learning and harnessed the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to propel all into a new era of knowledge creation and dissemination.

He further called on educators and librarians to be willing to adapt and embrace the changes that were coming if libraries were to remain relevant. “Over the past decade or so, we are beginning to witness major changes in how we access information.”

“This has been spurred on by advances in technology, particularly advances in information and communications technologies. In this rapidly evolving landscape, it is imperative that we, as stewards of knowledge and champions of education, rise to the challenge of embracing innovation and reimagining the role of libraries in the digital age,” he said.

Professor Katsriku said this at the opening of a five-day conference on the theme: “Enhancing information access in an era of chat GPT and other AI”. 

Organised by the Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Ghana (CARLIGH), the conference, the fourth of its kind to be organised, brought together librarians, publishers, researchers, book vendors, editors and people in the academia and it was aimed at exploring the fascinating world of AI and its transformative impact in the field of libraries and related professions.

Artificial Intelligence

Professor Katsriku, who was speaking on the topic, “Envisioning a bold new future for university libraries in an artificially intelligent world,” said the period through which the world was going where AI seemed to be everywhere was unnerving and of great concern to many, since it had to do with job security and urged them to keep their minds on the future.

His presentation, which traced the foundations of the country’s educational systems and the pivotal role that libraries had played within them, said, in the present era, students and researchers no longer need to visit libraries in person for the information they require, pointing out that many libraries now offer a good number of their services online.

The Chairman of the Local Organising Committee of the conference, Adolph Agbeh, in a welcome address, expressed the hope that the conference would serve as an impetus for innovation, leading the country to a future of AI powered libraries.

Global AI market

The Chancellor of the University of Cape Coast, Dr Sir Sam Essoun Jonah, touching on AI transformative potential and how it could reshape fields such as business, academia, journalism and marketing over the next few decades, said in the business realm, companies such as NETFLIX and AMAZON were already using AI to revolutionise the customer experience.  

In academia, he added, AI tools were revolutionising research methodologies and aiding in peer review processes, pushing the boundaries of human capabilities and knowledge discovery.

"Within our libraries and information centres, AI is transforming more than just search and retrieval; it is revolutionalising how we acquire resources, personalise learning and even how we provide research support through virtual assistance," he said.

He said together, all could help develop AI system that anticipates the information received and make knowledge more accessible and equitable to all.

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