Reference Companies in Educational Libraries in Sierra Leone


Society is changing into extra stratified and polarized, with the wealthy and the poor, the educated and uneducated, having restricted cognitive abilities wider aside than in any time in our historical past. On this interval of accelerating stratification by revenue and skill, the library in educational establishments could acts as a bridge between the entrenched social poles.

Reference libraries have the longest historical past of any sort of library. They existed within the days of clay pill and from such tablets, data was consulted and an inventory of considerations is being thought to be the primitive forerunners of present library catalogues. From their beginnings in historical instances, the capabilities of libraries haven’t altered considerably. Nevertheless the format, amount and content material of the supplies making up their inventory and the resultant companies have progressively been reworked to the purpose the place the researchers in the present day have entry to a community of subtle data assets. The first function of the library is academic and this has been the angle if not the realisation of reference librarians (Higgens, 1988).

Educational libraries are these designed to fulfill basic research on the undergraduate and graduate ranges and which additionally assist their father or mother establishments in delivering their programmes for an efficient educating and implementation of sensible abilities. Higgens (1988) outlined a tutorial library as that hooked up to assist educational establishments above secondary degree serving the educating and analysis wants of scholars, employees and researchers. In keeping with Harrods (2000) educational libraries are these present in universities, polytechnics, schools and all different establishments forming a part of or related to the tutorial establishments.

Reference Companies on the Fourah Bay School Library

Fourah Bay School library was established in 1827. It’s positioned at Fourah Bay School, College of Sierra Leone within the Michael Jollife Constructing which was named after the late Mr. Michael Jollife, an expatriate who served as School librarian from 1961-1970.

The primary flooring of the library homes the reception desk; photocopying room; situation desk; Sierra Leone Assortment (incorporating the United Nations Assortment); the American Shelf; Common Reference Assortment; Cataloguing Division; Acquisition Division; Circulation Division and the School Librarian’s workplace. The second flooring holds the Textbook Assortment. The third flooring accommodates the Common Lending Assortment.

The decrease floor flooring homes the Bindery; employees rooms and shops. The library has Skilled, Para-professional and different assist employees. It makes use of the Dewey Decimal Classification Scheme and the Triplicate Issuing System with Card catalogue.

Fourah Bay School library is among the excellent educational libraries in Sierra Leone established with the mission assertion “to construct a complete assortment of recorded data to assist efficient educating, analysis and coaching within the Liberal Arts, Pure and Utilized Sciences, Engineering and Know-how, Social Sciences and Regulation and associated fields to facilitate speedy entry to data, and to optimize the usage of assortment by potential library customers of Fourah Bay School and different establishments.”

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Reference Service is the height of library exercise job. It entails the upkeep of a useful resource financial institution from which solutions to queries are supplied and supplies wanted by customers are made out there.Davidson (1979) outlined reference service as the availability of data and supplies to folks getting into a reference library and requesting assist from the library employees. Katz (1997) seen reference service because the behind-the-scene actions of the reference library within the choice, acquisition and upkeep of the library inventory and its cautious recordings and administration.

Once we discuss of reference service in educational libraries, we imply these actions undertaken by librarians and related kinds of employees from the reference division in educational libraries. That is achieved by means of the usage of assortment of books, and different supplies stocked within the reference division for reference functions distinct from assortment made for residence studying or different use exterior the library. The reference course of in educational libraries entails the next:

• The person recognises his want for data;

• The person places his query to the librarian;

• The librarian engages the questioner in a reference dialogue;

• The librarian refines and restates the query;

• The librarian formulates the search technique;

• The librarian identifies and exploits his personal and/or exterior data assets;

• The librarian presents his tentative findings;

• The person assesses the relevance of those in relation to his necessities; and

• The person accepts an authorized reply.

Reference supplies on the Fourah Bay School Library embody:dictionaries, encyclopedias, summary journals, directories, yearbooks, biographies periodicals/serials, indexes to periodicals, newspapers, maps and charts, technical studies, patents, customary specs, dissertations, theses, convention proceedings and the tutorial and administrative calendar of occasions or the operation of the faculty.

Along with these supplies the library provides the next companies:

Reference Service: This refers back to the private help given to customers find particular data whether or not direct or oblique. At Fourah Bay School Library, a useful resource financial institution is maintained from which solutions to questions are supplied and supplies wanted by customers are made out there.

Bibliographic Service: The library prepares e-book lists and bibliographies for its shoppers, particularly post-graduate college students which function an incredible assist of their analysis actions particularly within the writing of their theses and dissertation.

Photocopying Service: This service is supplied for college students who want to photocopy their notes in addition to lecturers who need to reproduce a number of copies of helpful supplies to make their lecture notes. Customers pay a charge for this service.

Web Service: That is the newest among the many companies supplied on the Fourah Bay School Library. The Library gives a possibility for employees and college students to entry data on-line through the usage of the Web. Nevertheless, to make use of the system, the clientele will need to have some abilities within the use computer systems and a charge can be charged for the service.

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Binding Service: Mutilated references supplies are despatched to bindery to be certain. Nevertheless it isn’t a free for all service as some price is charged for the companies rendered particularly to college students and for private work of employees members.

The reference division on the Fourah Bay School library is a particular one from which supplies can’t be borrowed for residence studying. It’s served by particular librarians known as Reference Librarians or Info Officers, who help and advise patrons of their analysis and different literature wants. They supply bibliographic or mental entry and provide focused companies and programmes with the mission of teaching, informing and entertaining a wide range of audiences and the objective of stimulating particular person studying and advancing society as a complete.

Reference Queries:are additionally answered within the library. These questions posed by the library patrons to the reference librarians with the goal of getting the appropriate data to fulfill their wants. These queries are divided into:

Directional Queries: These are queries by which the reference librarian is requested merely for instructions.

Prepared Reference Queries: These are known as fast reference questions. They’re queries by which the reference librarians must seek the advice of just one supply, and that adjoining to the enquiry level, with a purpose to cope with the person’s wants. That is distinguished from the purely directional degree of labor by the truth that the librarians must seek the advice of some knowledge fairly than merely reply from private information.

Particular Search Queries: These are described as these by which reference librarians could must seek the advice of a number of sources to make sure full the satisfaction of person wants. They’re the sort that are clearly understood with out an excessive amount of dialogue and the sources required are apparent and pretty elementary.

Analysis Queries: These are queries that require prolonged searches, maybe over a number of days and probably involving a variety of library employees concurrently. The marshalling of details and figures from a variety of sources, along with the necessity to write intensive background notes and explanations, and doubtless to borrow supplies from different libraries and make a phone name to recommendation or getting help from different libraries shall be a characteristic of the sort of question

Challenges of Reference Companies on the Fourah Bay School Library

Educational Libraries in Sierra Leone, particularly Fourah Bay School Library will not be with out challenges. These vary from scarcity of funds by means of lack of ample professionally expert employees to erratic energy provide.

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The library is wholly and solely dependent upon the faculty administration for funding. An evaluation of funding at Fourah Bay School Library reveals {that a} very low precedence is given to the establishment’s educational nerve centre. The library is gravely underfunded. Video games and Sports activities Division is given the next citation than the library. This monetary problem has due to this fact restricted the library within the provision of a wonderful reference service to its shoppers. The library additionally lacks the required present reference supplies to deal with reference queries. This monetary constraints has restricted the library in buying the newest reference supplies.

Additional the variety of skilled employees is small in comparison with the variety of para-professional and different assist employees. The reference part doesn’t have ample employees to deal with the amount of reference queries from the majority of the customers of the library particularly throughout peak intervals.

Energy outages additionally pose a critical problem. The issue, although a nationwide one, has affected the operations of the library. The 21st century library is meant to be a digital library which should thrive on energy provide. Sadly energy provide in Sierra Leone is erratic and this has handicapped the Fourah Bay School library drastically. As such employees and customers couldn’t make use of such amenities as pc, looking the Web for current reference supplies and data or photocopying supplies which can’t be used exterior the library and even have entry to automated reference supplies.

The reference division on the library doesn’t have Web amenities to help in answering reference queries that require present response. Additionally the seating lodging within the reference division on the library is insufficient and can’t accommodate the big variety of college students within the faculty who are available for reference companies. The reference division additionally lacks Present Consciousness Companies (CAS), Selective Dissemination of Info (SDI) all of which type the premise for reference companies. Furthermore the reference sources and assets out there on the reference division will not be properly publicised or marketed which may function a robust hyperlink between the division and the shoppers.

Certainly, reference service is among the most essential companies {that a} library makes use of to fulfill its goals and aims. There’s appreciable potential within the use the faculty library of reference companies however there are additionally many challenges. There ought to be due to this fact dedication on the a part of the librarians, library administration, customers and the faculty administration with a purpose to obtain high quality and sustainability within the growth and enchancment of reference companies. Solely by means of their energetic participation will reference companies remodel the educating and studying course of, alter the character of data in search of, organising and utilizing behaviour at Fourah Bay School.

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