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The African University Librarian In The Info Age

The African University Librarian In The Info Age


Due to the fact their inception, libraries have taken care of their sovereignty as the main storage of know-how in culture. These days, novel details technologies equipped with the laptop, telecommunications and optical media are very seriously influencing libraries. ICTS, for limited, is utilized here to contain pc components, software package and telecommunication equipment. It has been an indispensable software and has great impression globally. Of all the diversified systems of our time, progress in data and interaction know-how has no question had, and proceeds to have significant impact on the global economic system. It makes it doable to collect, process and transmit details at amazing velocity and declining value. It will increase productivity, improves good quality and efficiency in all varieties of solutions.

The impact is noticed in diverse regions these types of as overall health-treatment, finance and banking, transportation, publishing and management. Information and facts technology is already changing our life in a variety of techniques. It facilitates conversation irrespective of length, relieves just one of a good deal of difficult, dirty and repetitive function and offers control above the pure ecosystem. As Knopp (1984) realistically noticed, the library is presently standing on a crossroad and must attempt to discover a useful equilibrium involving the regular library features and methods, and the new challenges. The African college librarian will pay back a greatly significant value in preserving traditional providers and embracing the technological advancements. This notwithstanding, it should be paid if the African librarian would like to interpose or remain the mediator amongst the consumer and data. It is the librarian’s position to ensure that the ensuing use of personal computers and telecommunication and any other suitable engineering contributes in price tag productive approaches to the requires of scholarship and research due to the fact “he librarians have the experience in getting resources in a selection of formats and make them obtainable for a wide variety of applications” (Simpson, 1984, p.38).


Two programmes of the Global Federation of Library Associations and Establishments (IFLA), the Common Bibliographic Regulate (UBC) and the Universal Availability of Publications (UAP), have contributed immensely to a vast and simple access to print info. Some thing very similar can be carried out to present the exact same accessibility to digital data. African college librarians could consider the legacy of the aforementioned programmes and tranpose them into a new eyesight for an digital upcoming.

At the 2nd conference of the Advertisement Hoc Committee on University Libraries held in Accra in 1999, the will need to give priority to the improvement and the challenges of accessibility to the new info technologies have been stressed. It was emphasised that college management structures must accept the centrality of the library as a pedagogic device (AAU, 199). Continuing education programmes for African libraries to facilitate reskilling, which satisfies the dynamic data surroundings, ought to be supported for the reason that there ought to be a focus in instruction for technology no matter of the area of librarianship 1 specializes in. It is a truism that “librarians need to know how to obtain and filter what is on the web” (Rosenberg, 2000, p.15).

IMPLICATIONS OF Data Technologies

A school of imagined forcefully argues that the rewards of facts technological know-how are double-edged. Technology way too seems to have increased instead than diminished the woes of African college libraries in the provision of facts. Distinctive tools is essential to entry and to retrieve info that arrives in digital structure. There are troubles of storage and conservation even when the products is out there. Know-how can only be installed and utilized if satisfactory and seem funding supports it. It is incontrovertible that the most crucial aspect value investigating severely is the economic aspect of the issue. In Sierra Leone, the college administration initially centrally budgeted about six {277c78aa290d8f501c629877238a9c1a70883a339b5673022297c3dde0ab24fe} for its higher education and institute libraries. Central funding nevertheless has been changed by collegiate funding which is inadequate (Rosenberg, 1997). Management ought to accept and assist the centrality of its academic nerve centre and assure the sustainability of the library programmes and companies.

The enhancement of devices for the corporation of expertise and data retrieval has reached a plateau, with names of elementary system qualities now sufficiently attempted and tested. Nonetheless, information of the core ideas, the use of inverted information to assist in retrieval and the context in which a lot of programs work need to have constant revision. Scientists are pursuing a wide variety of approaches in their lookup for improved devices, categorized into the subsequent:

1. Program structure, wherever the common objective is to optimize the performance and effectiveness of the method, including storage and its retrieval pace and

2. The human laptop interface (human element) in which the goal is to increase the quality of interaction involving the person and the personal computer so that the previous can be extra profitable in extracting what they require.

THE Countrywide Authorities

National governments need to give additional prominence to African university libraries in the place of provision of infrastructure and funding. It is a truism that the federal government of Sierra Leone like other African governments is trying to get means and signifies to curtail the amount of money of cash put in on tertiary education and learning (Duah, 1999). The New Educational Policy for Sierra Leone (1995) is committed, in principle, “to establish, equip, take care of, retain and develop an productive library services in the money, provisional towns and districts” (p.41). Until finally this kind of a coverage is executed, the library method would go Rip Van Wrinkle. Information and facts is a element of manufacturing. As a result, the institutions that purchase, organize, retail outlet, preserve in a method that facilitates retrieval and present it to prospective buyers deserve authorities assistance and awareness. The Ministry of Schooling in Ghana for instance launched various initiatives to enhance each computerization and access to the net for educational establishments. The Educational Management Facts System (EMIS) job was introduced in Oct 1997 to give world wide web services/access to academic directors throughout the state.


In spite of the novel technology, the mission of the library will continue to be unchanged though the ways in which librarians fulfill this mission changes. African librarians have to find a really handy balance amongst the regular/traditional library capabilities and the methods of the new problems in purchase to preserve their leadership position in the info age. The college library ought to take into consideration working an automated technique that will be available to college students, lecturers and the typical public in order to guidance instructing, studying, investigate and extension solutions of the college. This procedure can be labored via collaborative initiatives of all worried.


AAU E-newsletter (1999). The job of the college libraries in Africa, 5(2), pp.1-12.

Duah, V. (1999). The AAU and bigger instruction in the future millennium. AAU Newsletter, 5(2), pp.1-2.

Knopp, W. (1984). The library in a technological entire world: challenges and queries put forward by the customer. IFLA Journal, 10(1), pp.57-62.

New Education Coverage for Sierra Leone. Freetown: Section of Instruction.

Rosenberg, D. (1997). University libraries in Africa. London : International African Institute.

___________ (2000). Online schooling for libraries. INASP Publication, 15, p.15.

Simpson, D. (1984). Advancing technological innovation: the secondary effect on libraries and consumers. IFLA Journal, 10 (1), pp.43-48.