Library managers share their knowledge on AI in Chile

The world of libraries will never be the same after the advent of artificial intelligence (AI). Libraries across the world have embraced AI as a tool that not only enhances their services, but also promotes a better library experience for its users.

Two representatives from Library Services at the North-West University (NWU) recently attended the fourth AI and Libraries Symposium in Chile.

Neli Tshabalala, director of Shared Services, and Ntobeko Sikhakhane, manager of Information Resources, represented the NWU at the symposium. They joined more than 300 attendees and 500 online participants from 16 countries who comprised mostly librarians, library professionals, archivists, academics and postgraduate students.

The NWU representatives benefitted from the expertise of their international counterparts and shared their knowledge of the impact of AI on library service delivery, specifically in the university setting.

Neli says the symposium’s theme: Transforming Information Access and Discovery, aimed to explore the latest advancement in AI, libraries and information, while also presenting a platform for professional networking.

Sharing expertise on AI’s impact on library service delivery

Neli and Ntobeko presented two papers at the conference. Neli’s presentation explored the new frontiers in service delivery brought on by AI in libraries. “I outlined how emerging technologies and skills can improve service delivery. The integration of AI in libraries necessitates a transformation of a wide repertoire of competencies, tools and knowledge to navigate and adapt effectively in the digital environment.”

According to Neli, this shift to digital platforms, driven by emerging technologies, requires libraries to adapt their operational models to include cultural and personnel changes.

“Effective service delivery now demands librarians to engage with users through various digital platforms and to ensure rapid content retrieval. AI's large-scale impact will shape the future, necessitating the acquisition of new skills and competencies for library professionals.”

The title of Ntobeko’s paper was: Epistemological Investigation of Academic Librarians in the Context of Artificial Intelligence.

“Industry-seasoned individuals and scholars have extensively deliberated on the significance of AI in the library and information fraternity. My presentation explored challenges and opportunities posed by AI in academic libraries.”

Ntobeko aimed to contribute insights for informed decision-making and ethical implementation. “I scrutinised various dimensions influencing the acceptance and ethical use of AI.”

More about the symposium

The symposium was held earlier this year, coinciding with the tenth Congress of University and Specialised Libraries that took place in Santiago. It was jointly organised by the University of Chile, the Library of the National Congress of Chile, and the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA).

The NWU hosted the third Artificial Intelligence Symposium last year in Potchefstroom. The next symposium will be hosted by the University of KwaZulu-Natal in June 2025.


Neli Tshabalala, director of Shared Services, and Ntobeko Sikhakhane, manager of Information Resources, experienced the culture and history of Chile. They also visited other specialised libraries in the vicinity of the symposium.

Submitted on Fri, 07/05/2024 - 09:44