The Nigerian Librarian in the Information Age, demands, competences, dilemmas
THE NIGERIANLIBRARIAN IN THEINFORMATION AGE:THE DEMANDS,COMPETENCIES ANDDILEMMASR. U. ONONOGBO (PhD)Maiden conference of the Nigerian Library Association, Abia State Chapter@ National Root Crops Research Institute, Umudike. Dec.11-13, 2012
INTRODUCTIONInformation explosion is more real nowthan ever.Information is still relevant in S & T,R & D, Teaching and LearningTechnology for informationcommunication grew more sophisticatedThe real age of ICT dawnsThe information worker, the user, thelibraries, documentation centres, etc –all affected
THE LIBRARIAN -WHO IS HE?He is anyone who is involvedin the identification, capture,organisation, storage,retrieval, analysis,interpretation, packaging anddissemination of information(St. Clair, 2001).
CATEGORIES OFLIBRARIANS- IN GENERAL TERMSThe professional librarianThe paraprofessional librarian(Related to the professionallibrarian in a secondary orsupplementary capacity)The support staff (an amorphousgroup with over 37 job titles)
THE USER GROUP- who are they?They make demands on theinformation services provider – theyare the user communityThey are categorised according to:1.Professional or vocationalcharacteristics 2.Institutionalaffiliation 3. Geographical location 4.Restrictions in terms of access (Gwang,2011).
DEMANDS ON THELIBRARIANDemands determined by changing role oflibraries and economy of information include:(a). Rapid response to capture of information,knowledge, rapid response to the new age(libraries transiting from a library centre to aninformation-centred entity)(b). Demand to be linked up with informationresources as appropriate( c). Demands on the Nigerian libraries tojettison the old traditional block filled withprint materials and move on to the digital scene
(d). Demands on librarians to change hisoperational equipment and services(microform equipment, library cards,kardex, etc to give way to hardware,software and systems).(e). Demands on the librarian to beproactive, break away from insularityand reach out to the user, externalsources, etc.(f). Demand on the librarian to extendservices to the farmer, trader, thehandicapped, etc.
COMPETENCIES OF THELIBRARIAN- discussed under IT, Professionaland Personal competencies1. IT Competencies (the 13 key ITcompetencies given by Aman & Norliyana,2002 and Choi & Rasmussen, 2006) – Seetext.
2. Professional competencies –(a).Knowledge in the area ofinformation resources(b).Information access.( c). Technology management.(d). Research(e). Ability to have an interplay ofall these to benefit theorganisation, the user and satisfyself.
3. Personal competencies -(a). Ability to access information needs ofclients(b). Ability to design and market value-added information services( c). Ability to apply appropriate informationtechnology to information services(d). Plan, prioritise and focus on what iscritical(e). Provide leadership(See appendix in the text, St Clair, 2001).
THE DILEMMASEducational preparation at the LISschools with curriculum brimming with gaps(See Choi & Rasmussen, 2006).Dilemma created by LIS school curricula –lacking in information psychology, sociologyof information, information organisationmanagement and information engineering(Gwang, 2011).Dilemma created by the librarian (passive,reactive and assertive, (Ochogwu, 2007).
Dilemmas created by an inactiveinformation seeker community.Dilemma created by informationinfrastructure (in modern sense).Dilemma associated with the fallacythat digital libraries are costly.Dilemma created by electricitysupply.Dilemma of manpower shortage(requisite staff to do the realinformation service)
CONCLUSIONThe arrow of information pointsforward. Its momentum is enormous asit carries speed and mass. Informationis at the cutting edge of civilisation.The librarian is on the throne of itscapture, organisation anddissemination. The Nigerian librarianshould grasp the nettle now.