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The African University Librarian In The Information Age


Since their inception, libraries have maintained their sovereignty as the principle storage of knowledge in society. Today, novel facts technologies equipped with the pc, telecommunications and optical media are critically affecting libraries. ICTS, for brief, is used here to consist of laptop hardware, software and telecommunication system. It has been an fundamental device and has awesome impact globally. Of all the various technology of our time, development in statistics and communique era has absolute confidence had, and continues to have giant impact on the global economic system. It makes it viable to collect, process and transmit information at breathtaking pace and declining value. It will increase productiveness, improves best and efficiency in all types of services.

The effect is visible in various regions consisting of health-care, finance and banking, transportation, publishing and control. Information generation is already converting our lives in numerous methods. It facilitates conversation regardless of distance, relieves certainly one of a extremely good deal of tough, grimy and repetitive paintings and offers control over the natural environment. As Knopp (1984) realistically discovered, the library is currently standing on a crossroad and have to try and find a useful stability among the conventional library functions and techniques, and the brand new challenges. The African university librarian pays a particularly high rate in retaining conventional offerings and embracing the technological advances. This however, it must be paid if the African librarian wants to interpose or stay the mediator between the user and facts. It is the librarian's role to ensure that the resulting use of computers and telecommunication and every other suitable technology contributes in price powerful methods to the needs of scholarship and research on the grounds that "he librarians have the knowledge in obtaining substances in a selection of formats and make them reachable for a diffusion of functions" (Simpson, 1984, p.38).


Two programmes of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), the Universal Bibliographic Control (UBC) and the Universal Availability of Publications (UAP), have contributed immensely to a wide and easy get entry to to print facts. Something similar may be accomplished to offer the identical get right of entry to to digital facts. African college librarians ought to take the legacy of the aforementioned programmes and tranpose them into a brand new vision for an electronic destiny.

At the second one meeting of the Ad Hoc Committee on University Libraries held in Accra in 1999, the want to provide priority to the development and the troubles of get entry to to the new data technologies have been pressured. It become emphasised that college control structures must acknowledge the centrality of the library as a pedagogic tool (AAU, 199). Continuing training programmes for African libraries to facilitate reskilling, which meets the dynamic information environment, must be supported due to the fact there must be a attention in education for era no matter the vicinity of librarianship one specializes in. It is a truism that "librarians want to recognize a way to access and filter what's at the net" (Rosenberg, 2000, p.15).


A school of idea forcefully argues that the advantages of facts generation are double-edged. Technology too seems to have expanded in place of reduced the woes of African college libraries in the provision of statistics. Special system is needed to get right of entry to and to retrieve information that comes in digital layout. There are problems of garage and conservation even when the equipment is to be had. Technology can handiest be set up and applied if adequate and sound funding helps it. It is incontrovertible that the maximum crucial aspect really worth investigating seriously is the monetary side of the problem. In Sierra Leone, the college management to start with centrally budgeted about six percent for its college and institute libraries. Central funding however has been replaced via collegiate funding that is inadequate (Rosenberg, 1997). Management must well known and guide the centrality of its educational nerve centre and make sure the sustainability of the library programmes and offerings.

The development of structures for the enterprise of understanding and information retrieval has reached a plateau, with names of fundamental system traits now effectively tried and examined. Nevertheless, information of the middle concepts, the usage of inverted documents to useful resource in retrieval and the context in which many structures function want constant revision. Researchers are pursuing an expansion of procedures in their search for better structures, labeled into the subsequent:

1. System design, wherein the overall goal is to optimize the performance and effectiveness of the device, such as storage and its retrieval velocity; and

2. The human computer interface (human issue) wherein the objective is to improve the best of interplay between the person and the computer so that the previous may be more a hit in extracting what they require.


National governments have to deliver more prominence to African university libraries within the region of provision of infrastructure and investment. It is a truism that the government of Sierra Leone like different African governments is searching for approaches and manner to curtail the amount of cash spent on tertiary schooling (Duah, 1999). The New Educational Policy for Sierra Leone (1995) is devoted, in precept, "to set up, equip, manage, preserve and develop an efficient library provider in the capital, provisional cities and districts" (p.Forty one). Until the sort of policy is carried out, the library gadget would cross Rip Van Wrinkle. Information is a element of production. Consequently, the institutions that accumulate, prepare, shop, hold in a way that enables retrieval and offer it to potential users deserve authorities aid and attention. The Ministry of Education in Ghana for example released several tasks to decorate both computerization and get admission to to the net for academic institutions. The Educational Management Information System (EMIS) challenge became launched in October 1997 to offer internet offerings/get entry to to educational directors throughout the united states of america.


In spite of the unconventional technology, the assignment of the library will remain unchanged even though the methods in which librarians satisfy this venture modifications. African librarians ought to discover a very beneficial stability among the traditional/conventional library features and the methods of the brand new challenges to be able to maintain their leadership role inside the statistics age. The university library must do not forget running an automatic gadget with a view to be on hand to college students, teachers and most of the people on the way to aid teaching, studying, studies and extension offerings of the university. This machine can be labored thru collaborative efforts of all involved.


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

Duah, V. (1999). The AAU and better schooling in the subsequent millennium. AAU Newsletter, five(2), pp.1-2.

Knopp, W. (1984). The library in a technological world: problems and queries put forward by the patron. IFLA Journal, 10(1), pp.57-sixty two.

New Education Policy for Sierra Leone. Freetown: Department of Education.

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

___________ (2000). Internet schooling for libraries. INASP Newsletter, 15, p.15.

Simpson, D. (1984). Advancing era: the secondary effect on libraries and customers. IFLA Journal, 10 (1), pp.43-forty eight.

Oliver L.T. Harding, who obtained his GCE O & A Levels from the Sierra Leone Grammar School and the Albert Academy respectively, is currently Senior & Acting Librarian of Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone. He is a component time lecturer on the Institute of Library, Information & Communication Studies (INSLICS), Fourah Bay College and the Extension Programme at the Evangelical College of Theology (T.E.C.T) at Hall Street, Brookfields; Vice President of the Sierra Leone Association of Archivists, Librarians & Information Scientists (SLAALIS); a member of the American Theological Library Association (ATLA) and an companion of the Chartered Institute of Library & Information Professionals (CILIP). His certificate, secular and sacred, consist of: a certificates and diploma from the Freetown Bible Training Centre; an top second class B.A. Hons. Degree in Modern History (F.B.C.); a submit-graduate degree from the Institute of Library Studies (INSLIBS, F.B.C) a masters diploma from the Institute of Library, Information & Communication Studies (INSLICS, F.B.C.) and a masters diploma in Biblical Studies from West Africa Theological Seminary, associate of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, wherein he received the prize for educational excellence because the Best Graduating Student in 2005. Oliver, a writer, musician and theologian, is married (to Francess) with  kids (Olivia & Francis).


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