Automation Of Academic Libraries, Challenges And Gains
This project discusses about the Automation of academic libraries in Imo state, the challenges and gains. A case study of Federal Polytechnic Nekede Owerri, Library. It discusses mainly on the challenges and gains of automation on various functions of academic libraries as well as its impacts on the library staff.
Twenty five (25) questionnaires were administered and all of them were returned which represent the 100% return.
The study shows that automation has great impacts on academic library and the library staff has received automation positively. There are also recommendations for problems identified during this study at the end of this project.
1.1 Background of the Study
Information technology (the convergence computer technology and telecommunication ahs pervaded over all human activities in the last decade). One cannot do anything without technology teaching aspect of our lives like making calls (telephone) banking Susanne and even library operations. It has changed and continues to change the world our parents knew. This has led to library Automation.
Library Automation is seen as the computerization of library records and functions. It uses computer software and hardware for task that otherwise require a lot of paper work and staff time. It also make possible of a wide, free automation is traced to the continuous interaction between technology purpose and applications. One of the reasons for library automation is the apparent or visible improvement in the access to information by users in the library.
Automation has many impacts on academic libraries. One of the impacts of automation in the library is the high and increasing efficiency of operation in the library. This helps to save staff time and it reduces work load. This increase efficiency has also helped to decrease delay, backlogs, errors, staff dissatisfaction etc.
The efficiency has affected all the operation of the library. The functions of the library which acquisition, organization, dissemination and maintenance are performed. Automation has led to the timely delivery of the above functions. It also makes them accurate, precise are relevant.
In the area of compilation of accession list, maintaining library statistics, charging and discharging of books, compiling over-due notices, keeping book on the reserved and maintaining library roster, automation has helped to avoid repetition. The benefit of networking and interconnectivity is also associated with library Automation.
There are many other areas in which automation helped or has advantage over manual system.
Automation has many positive impacts on academic libraries so also it has negative impacts (challenges) on the libraries. There are clear signs that automation of libraries also have with its some inherent problems. For example a novice searching of a book in the library that is automation many individual cannot afford to learn the skill to use them at the movement and without being a computer literate you cannot use the automated library effectively.
1.2 Brief History of Case Study (FEDPONEK)
The Federal Polytechnic Nekded Owerri Library was established by Edict No16 1978. It was know as the College of Technology OWerri. The college started in a temporary site at the Government Technical College Owerri. The Chief Librarian of the college of technology was appointed in March 1978 and the school opened for its classes on 15th December 1978. the school was moved to its permanent site on November 1980.
In June 1988, the name of the school was changed from college of technology of polytechnic in line with the Federal Government order on renaming of the college of technology.
On 7th of April (1993, the school was finally taken over by the Federal Government and assumed its present named as Federal Polytechnic, Nekeke Owerri.
The collection of the library in 1980 was housed in one of the departments of the school of Engineering blocks and later was moved to the classroom complex in January has not been built until 1998 when the foundation store was laid by the NBTE Chairman, Dr. BDULLAH, the library building was completed in the year 2000 and commercial its services in 2001.
Presently, this library has a total number of twenty five (25) staff i.e. professionals, 14 Para-professionals, 2 Non-Professionals, 5 support staff and 2 security guards.
It’s stock at present stands was about 28,35 books and 1,026 journals. Services undertaken by the library in the present time include readers, advisory answers to reference questions, reading books, teaching services in respect to research methodology (project documents including informal current awareness services).
The federal polytechnic Nekede Owerri library is facing a great accommodation problem; which necessitated the current project of electing a purpose built floor library.
This library has the following sections
- The administration section which exercise general control over all library staff, funds, equipment etc. this also accompanies office of the chief librarian and his deputy.
- Technical services division comprising of (i) Acquisition section which is responsible for the selection, ordering, recording and accessing of all library book and non-book materials. (ii) Cataloguing and classification section which is responsible for cataloguing and classifying materials acquired in the library.
- Readers services consisting of circulations section which is responsible for the display, use and the actual circulation of library materials. (ii) Serials and documents section is responsible for the acquisition, recording custody and display of all periodicals. Monographic, newspapers etc in the library. (iii) Reference and research section houses all reference materials such as encyclopedia, dictionaries, handbooks, year books and all reference materials for research purposes.
- Binding and reprographic unit. Each of these section has its own entrance. All those entrances are supervised by only one security stand who has the added responsibilities of the safe custody of students bags and library materials.
The major aims of the library are
- To assist in meeting the set objectives of the polytechnic Nekede as were provided in the institution established it.
- To provide all the information needs of staff students and lecturers.
- To act as the college custodian of information to serve as further training ground for studies in the dept of library and information science.
- To act as a centre for research for staff, students and lecturers inclusively.
Currently, the library has a total book stock of 16,000 and staff strength of 27, i.e. 3 professionals 2, Para-professionals and 22 junior staff but today they are more than all these.
1.3 Statement of Problems
There are many problems faced with the use of manual in library operations. Manual work in the library operation especially the clerical aspect involves the use of hand, paper, biro and human brain in the performance of the library duties.
This has been found inadequate and cumbersome.
Manual system in most cases operates at a low level and decreasing efficiency in the face of ever increasing library work. This decreasing efficiency is a function of delays, backlogs, errors, staff dissatisfaction and perhaps a high rate of staff turnover.
1.4 Objectives of the Study
The objectives of the study are as follows:
- To determine whether the objective of introducing automation in academic libraries is being achieved.
- To find out if there is an increase in skill level of library workers.
- To find out if the users are able to access materials from automated libraries.
- To know how satisfactory automation of the library is on the library users.
- To know the inherent problems associated with automated library.
- To find our solution to the problems of automation
1.5 Research Questions
The research questions of the study are as follows:
- What are the objectives of introducing automation in academic libraries?
- Is there any increase in the skill level of library workers?
- Can the library users be able to access materials from automated libraries?
- How satisfactory is an automation of academic libraries on the library users?
- What are the problems associated with automated libraries?
- What are the possible solutions to these problems of automation?
1.6 Scope of the Study
The scope of this research covers the automation of academic libraries in Imo state, the challenges and gains with reference to federal polytechnic Nekede Owerri Library.
1.7 Significance of the Study
The significance of automation of academic libraries includes the following:
- Improved Library Services: In an automated library system, the level of efficiency and reliability in Terms of Service will be improved.
- Attraction Of More Patronage: When the library is automated, it will attract more patronage or clientele.
- Saving Of Cost: An automated library saves cost in terms of times and money for the parent institution.
- It facilitates resources sharing and library co-operation
- Reinforcing and strengthen of the administrative and routing work processes.
5.0 Findings, Conclusion and Recommendation
From all indication, the study shows that automation has great impacts on the various functions of the library. And it has great benefits on the library 23 or 92% of respondents reported that automation is beneficial to the library. The constraints of automation are many but the budget indicated by the respondent is power outrages.
It was also found out that automation has great impact on library services. The highest indicated is that of fast delivery of services 22 or 88% indicated that automation has great impact on library services.
The respondents also reported that automation affected many aspects of library services like bibliographic, administration, information services etc. whether this high impacts will be sustained in future depend on work environment. An evaluation studies after five years of running this system may be necessary to confirm this findings.
The result of the survey shows that the staff of the federal polytechnic Nekede Owerri library have received automation positively though there are some constraints that surround the sue of computer in developing countries like Nigeria majority of the staff who work in cataloguing and circulation section of the library the results shows that they appear enthusiastic and optimistic about the new technology.
Despite the constraints of automation, the staff feels more satisfied in using the technology. The problems of automation are power new outrages, unskilled manpower, software and hardware, attitude of staff etc. automation will have more impact of if the above mentioned problems will be solved.
The library should be involved in planning for automation in libraries in Nigeria so that the issue of skilled manpower will be entrenched in the planning documents. Management of the library should ensure that they convince the approving authorities on the need to purchase more computers and quality equipments and software that will be relevant to the need of the library. The library management should be able to convince the funding authority to fund the library because automation is capital intensive. Maintenance of systems must occupy top priority, while ensuring that adequate back up schedule is maintained. For systems sustainability, constraints power back up should be maintained.
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