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The African University Librarian In The Information Age


Because their inception, libraries have taken care of their sovereignty as the major storage of know-how in modern society. Today, novel information and facts systems outfitted with the laptop, telecommunications and optical media are critically impacting libraries. ICTS, for quick, is made use of listed here to incorporate computer system hardware, application and telecommunication products. It has been an indispensable tool and has terrific impact globally. Of all the diversified technologies of our time, progress in information and facts and interaction technology has no question had, and carries on to have appreciable influence on the global economic climate. It will make it possible to acquire, system and transmit info at spectacular pace and declining price. It increases productiveness, improves high quality and performance in all kinds of expert services.

The affect is seen in diverse areas these types of as overall health-treatment, finance and banking, transportation, publishing and management. Information and facts technological know-how is now modifying our life in many methods. It facilitates interaction irrespective of length, relieves one particular of a excellent offer of tough, dirty and repetitive function and offers command about the purely natural atmosphere. As Knopp (1984) realistically noticed, the library is presently standing on a crossroad and must attempt to find a useful harmony involving the classic library features and approaches, and the new issues. The African college librarian will pay out a immensely higher value in preserving classic products and services and embracing the technological innovations. This notwithstanding, it must be paid if the African librarian needs to interpose or stay the mediator amongst the user and facts. It is the librarian’s position to assure that the resulting use of pcs and telecommunication and any other correct technology contributes in value helpful techniques to the wants of scholarship and investigate due to the fact “he librarians have the abilities in getting elements in a range of formats and make them accessible for a range of needs” (Simpson, 1984, p.38).


Two programmes of the Worldwide Federation of Library Associations and Establishments (IFLA), the Universal Bibliographic Manage (UBC) and the Universal Availability of Publications (UAP), have contributed immensely to a wide and effortless access to print facts. Some thing similar can be done to offer the identical access to digital info. African university librarians could choose the legacy of the aforementioned programmes and tranpose them into a new vision for an digital long run.

At the 2nd meeting of the Ad Hoc Committee on College Libraries held in Accra in 1999, the want to give priority to the advancement and the troubles of accessibility to the new facts systems were stressed. It was emphasised that college management structures ought to accept the centrality of the library as a pedagogic software (AAU, 199). Continuing education and learning programmes for African libraries to aid reskilling, which meets the dynamic details atmosphere, should be supported since there should be a concentration in teaching for technological innovation irrespective of the region of librarianship one specializes in. It is a truism that “librarians need to know how to obtain and filter what is on the net” (Rosenberg, 2000, p.15).

IMPLICATIONS OF Information and facts Systems

A university of thought forcefully argues that the advantages of details know-how are double-edged. Engineering too seems to have elevated fairly than diminished the woes of African college libraries in the provision of information. Particular machines is wanted to entry and to retrieve information and facts that comes in electronic format. There are problems of storage and conservation even when the gear is offered. Engineering can only be set up and used if suitable and sound funding supports it. It is incontrovertible that the most vital aspect worthy of investigating very seriously is the economic facet of the challenge. In Sierra Leone, the university administration at first centrally budgeted about 6 % for its college and institute libraries. Central funding having said that has been changed by collegiate funding which is insufficient (Rosenberg, 1997). Management ought to accept and aid the centrality of its educational nerve centre and assure the sustainability of the library programmes and companies.

The advancement of techniques for the firm of awareness and facts retrieval has attained a plateau, with names of basic procedure characteristics now adequately attempted and tested. Yet, news of the core principles, the use of inverted data files to aid in retrieval and the context in which quite a few methods operate need regular revision. Scientists are pursuing a wide variety of ways in their research for improved methods, categorized into the next:

1. System style, wherever the standard objective is to improve the efficiency and success of the program, including storage and its retrieval speed and

2. The human laptop or computer interface (human factor) in which the objective is to enhance the quality of conversation amongst the person and the personal computer so that the former can be much more profitable in extracting what they call for.

THE Countrywide Govt

Countrywide governments really should give much more prominence to African university libraries in the region of provision of infrastructure and funding. It is a truism that the govt of Sierra Leone like other African governments is trying to get methods and usually means to curtail the sum of cash put in on tertiary schooling (Duah, 1999). The New Educational Policy for Sierra Leone (1995) is committed, in theory, “to establish, equip, take care of, preserve and acquire an economical library assistance in the cash, provisional towns and districts” (p.41). Until finally such a policy is applied, the library process would go Rip Van Wrinkle. Details is a variable of creation. Therefore, the establishments that receive, organize, store, protect in a manner that facilitates retrieval and deliver it to potential people are worthy of governing administration assistance and interest. The Ministry of Instruction in Ghana for instance released several initiatives to improve both of those computerization and entry to the internet for academic institutions. The Educational Administration Information and facts Procedure (EMIS) venture was introduced in Oct 1997 to deliver net companies/entry to educational administrators across the region.


In spite of the novel engineering, the mission of the library will keep on being unchanged however the means in which librarians fulfill this mission adjustments. African librarians have to locate a very useful balance concerning the standard/traditional library functions and the techniques of the new troubles in get to maintain their leadership part in the details age. The university library ought to take into consideration functioning an automated procedure that will be available to learners, lecturers and the standard community in purchase to guidance teaching, studying, analysis and extension companies of the university. This method can be labored by way of collaborative endeavours of all anxious.


AAU Newsletter (1999). The job of the university libraries in Africa, 5(2), pp.1-12.

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

Knopp, W. (1984). The library in a technological planet: difficulties and queries place forward by the client. IFLA Journal, 10(1), pp.57-62.

New Instruction Policy for Sierra Leone. Freetown: Section of Education and learning.

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

___________ (2000). Online training for libraries. INASP E-newsletter, 15, p.15.

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