The African College Librarian In The Info Age


Since their inception, libraries have maintained their sovereignty as the primary storage of data in society. In the present day, novel data applied sciences geared up with the pc, telecommunications and optical media are significantly affecting libraries. ICTS, for brief, is used right here to incorporate pc {hardware}, software program and telecommunication tools. It has been an indispensable device and has nice affect globally. Of all of the diversified applied sciences of our time, progress in data and communication expertise has little question had, and continues to have appreciable affect on the worldwide economic system. It makes it doable to gather, course of and transmit data at breathtaking pace and declining value. It will increase productiveness, improves high quality and effectivity in all kinds of companies.

The affect is seen in numerous areas equivalent to health-care, finance and banking, transportation, publishing and administration. Info expertise is already altering our lives in varied methods. It facilitates communication regardless of distance, relieves one in every of an excessive amount of arduous, soiled and repetitive work and offers management over the pure setting. As Knopp (1984) realistically noticed, the library is presently standing on a crossroad and should attempt to discover a helpful stability between the standard 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 have to be paid if the African librarian needs to interpose or stay the mediator between the person and knowledge. It’s the librarian’s function to make sure that the ensuing use of computer systems and telecommunication and another acceptable expertise 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).


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 quick access to print data. One thing related may be finished to supply 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 advance and the problems of entry to the brand new data applied sciences had been confused. It was emphasised that college administration constructions should acknowledge the centrality of the library as a pedagogic device (AAU, 199). Persevering with training programmes for African libraries to facilitate reskilling, which meets the dynamic data setting, have to be supported as a result of there have to be a focus in coaching for expertise whatever the space of librarianship one makes a speciality of. It’s a truism that “librarians have to know how you can entry and filter what is on the internet” (Rosenberg, 2000, p.15).


A faculty of thought forcefully argues that some great benefits of data expertise are double-edged. Know-how too seems to have elevated quite 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 on the market. Know-how can solely be put in and utilized if ample and sound funding helps it. It’s incontrovertible that crucial issue price investigating significantly is the financial aspect of the difficulty. In Sierra Leone, the college administration initially centrally budgeted about six % for its school and institute libraries. Central funding nevertheless has been changed by collegiate funding which is insufficient (Rosenberg, 1997). Administration should acknowledge and assist the centrality of its educational nerve centre and make sure the sustainability of the library programmes and companies.

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. However, information of the core ideas, the usage of inverted information to help in retrieval and the context by which 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 overall goal is to optimize the effectivity and effectiveness of the system, together with storage and its retrieval pace; and

2. The human pc interface (human issue) the place the target is to enhance the standard of interplay between the person and the pc in order that the previous may 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 sum of money spent on tertiary training (Duah, 1999). The New Instructional Coverage for Sierra Leone (1995) is dedicated, in precept, “to determine, equip, handle, preserve and develop an environment friendly library service within the capital, provisional cities and districts” (p.41). Till such a coverage is carried out, the library system would go Rip Van Wrinkle. Info is an element of manufacturing. Consequently, the establishments that purchase, arrange, retailer, protect in a way that facilitates retrieval and supply it to potential customers deserve authorities assist and a focus. The Ministry of Training in Ghana for example launched a number of initiatives to reinforce each computerization and entry to the web for instructional establishments. The Instructional Administration Info System (EMIS) mission was launched in October 1997 to supply web companies/entry to instructional directors throughout the nation.


Regardless of the novel expertise, the mission of the library will stay unchanged although the methods by which librarians fulfill this mission adjustments. African librarians should discover a very helpful stability between the traditional/conventional library capabilities and the strategies of the brand new challenges with the intention to preserve their management function within the data age. The college library ought to think about working an automatic system that shall be accessible to college students, lecturers and most people with the intention to assist educating, studying, analysis and extension companies of the college. This technique may be labored by way of collaborative efforts of all involved.


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

Duah, V. (1999). The AAU and better training within the subsequent millennium. AAU Publication, 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 Publication, 15, p.15.

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