The African College Librarian In The Info Age


Since their inception, libraries have maintained their sovereignty as the primary storage of data in society. Right this moment, novel data applied sciences outfitted with the pc, telecommunications and optical media are critically affecting libraries. ICTS, for brief, is used right here to incorporate laptop {hardware}, software program and telecommunication tools. It has been an indispensable device and has nice impression globally. Of all of the diversified applied sciences of our time, progress in data and communication know-how has little doubt had, and continues to have appreciable affect on the worldwide financial system. It makes it potential to gather, course of and transmit data at breathtaking velocity and declining value. It will increase productiveness, improves high quality and effectivity in all varieties of companies.

The impression is seen in numerous areas corresponding to health-care, finance and banking, transportation, publishing and administration. Info know-how is already altering our lives in numerous methods. It facilitates communication regardless of distance, relieves considered one of an excessive amount of exhausting, soiled and repetitive work and offers management over the pure surroundings. As Knopp (1984) realistically noticed, the library is presently standing on a crossroad and should attempt to discover a helpful stability between the normal library capabilities and strategies, and the brand new challenges. The African college librarian pays a tremendously excessive worth in preserving conventional companies and embracing the technological advances. This however, it should be paid if the African librarian desires to interpose or stay the mediator between the consumer and knowledge. It’s the librarian’s position to make sure that the ensuing use of computer systems and telecommunication and every other acceptable know-how contributes in value efficient methods to the wants of scholarship and analysis since “he librarians have the experience in buying supplies in a wide range of codecs and make them accessible for a wide range of functions” (Simpson, 1984, p.38).

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Two programmes of the Worldwide Federation of Library Associations and Establishments (IFLA), the Common Bibliographic Management (UBC) and the Common Availability of Publications (UAP), have contributed immensely to a large and easy accessibility to print data. One thing related will be executed to offer the identical entry to digital data. African college librarians might take the legacy of the aforementioned programmes and tranpose them into a brand new imaginative and prescient for an digital future.

On the second assembly of the Advert Hoc Committee on College Libraries held in Accra in 1999, the necessity to give precedence to the development and the problems of entry to the brand new data applied sciences have been careworn. It was emphasised that college administration buildings should acknowledge the centrality of the library as a pedagogic device (AAU, 199). Persevering with schooling programmes for African libraries to facilitate reskilling, which meets the dynamic data surroundings, should be supported as a result of there should be a focus in coaching for know-how whatever the space of librarianship one makes a speciality of. It’s a truism that “librarians have to know methods to entry and filter what is on the internet” (Rosenberg, 2000, p.15).


A faculty of thought forcefully argues that some great benefits of data know-how are double-edged. Expertise too seems to have elevated somewhat than decreased the woes of African college libraries within the provision of knowledge. Particular tools is required to entry and to retrieve data that is available in digital format. There are issues of storage and conservation even when the tools is offered. Expertise can solely be put in and utilized if enough and sound funding helps it. It’s incontrovertible that an important issue value investigating critically is the financial aspect of the problem. In Sierra Leone, the college administration initially centrally budgeted about six % for its school and institute libraries. Central funding nonetheless has been changed by collegiate funding which is insufficient (Rosenberg, 1997). Administration should acknowledge and help the centrality of its educational nerve centre and make sure the sustainability of the library programmes and companies.

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The event of techniques for the group of data and knowledge retrieval has reached a plateau, with names of elementary system traits now adequately tried and examined. Nonetheless, information of the core ideas, using inverted information to assist in retrieval and the context wherein many techniques function want fixed revision. Researchers are pursuing a wide range of approaches of their seek for higher techniques, categorized into the next:

1. System design, the place the final goal is to optimize the effectivity and effectiveness of the system, together with storage and its retrieval velocity; and

2. The human laptop interface (human issue) the place the target is to enhance the standard of interplay between the consumer and the pc in order that the previous will be extra profitable in extracting what they require.


Nationwide governments ought to give extra prominence to African college libraries within the space of provision of infrastructure and funding. It’s a truism that the federal government of Sierra Leone like different African governments is in search of methods and means to curtail the amount of cash spent on tertiary schooling (Duah, 1999). The New Academic Coverage for Sierra Leone (1995) is dedicated, in precept, “to ascertain, equip, handle, keep and develop an environment friendly library service within the capital, provisional cities and districts” (p.41). Till such a coverage is applied, the library system would go Rip Van Wrinkle. Info is an element of manufacturing. Consequently, the establishments that purchase, set up, retailer, protect in a fashion that facilitates retrieval and supply it to potential customers deserve authorities help and a spotlight. The Ministry of Training in Ghana for example launched a number of initiatives to reinforce each computerization and entry to the web for academic establishments. The Academic Administration Info System (EMIS) undertaking was launched in October 1997 to offer web companies/entry to academic directors throughout the nation.

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Regardless of the novel know-how, the mission of the library will stay unchanged although the methods wherein librarians fulfill this mission adjustments. African librarians should discover a very helpful stability between the standard/conventional library capabilities and the strategies of the brand new challenges with a view to keep their management position within the data age. The college library ought to take into account working an automatic system that will probably be accessible to college students, lecturers and most people with a view to help instructing, studying, analysis and extension companies of the college. This method will be labored by way of collaborative efforts of all involved.


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

Duah, V. (1999). The AAU and better schooling within the subsequent millennium. AAU E-newsletter, 5(2), pp.1-2.

Knopp, W. (1984). The library in a technological world: issues and queries put ahead by the shopper. IFLA Journal, 10(1), pp.57-62.

New Training Coverage for Sierra Leone. Freetown: Division of Training.

Rosenberg, D. (1997). College libraries in Africa. London : Worldwide African Institute.

___________ (2000). Web coaching for libraries. INASP E-newsletter, 15, p.15.

Simpson, D. (1984). Advancing know-how: the secondary impression on libraries and customers. IFLA Journal, 10 (1), pp.43-48.

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