Globalization and ICT in Academic Libraries in Nigeria: The Way Forward

Article excerpt

Introduction

In the last couple of years, students and lecturers in Nigerian tertiary institutions have increasingly demanded and preferred access to electronic sources delivery and networked information from their respective libraries (Covi and Cragin, 2004). Internet access is one of the greatest technological advancements being experienced in this 21st century. It revolves around advancements in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) which has gone a long way to influence the mode of information gathering, storage, retrieval and dissemination in these times. Internet access is used for electronic mailing services, electronic on-line chats, group activities among others (Akintunde, 2006). It has resulted in increased access to timely, accurate, relevant and current information in most ICT compliant libraries all over the world.

Academic institutions play major roles in the manpower development of any nation since they provide the high as well as middle level manpower needed for the social, economic and political advancement of a nation. This is done through their programmes of teaching, learning, research and community services. The central place of academic libraries is called into play because it is the duty of these libraries to provide the necessary information to the lecturers and students to achieve their teaching learning and research needs in the easiest, fastest and most comprehensive way. This central place of the library in academics has resulted over the years in the necessity for academic libraries to continue to evolve and move with the times so that they can deliver on the requirements of academic libraries in meeting the academic needs of their clientele in the tertiary institutions. This need has resulted over the years in the libraries in higher institutions in Nigeria displaying different stages of development in the application of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), to library services. The current trend in may library worldwide is the deployment of ICT facilities in rendering services of various kinds to their patrons thereby providing speedy and up-date information for their use. Furthermore, the globalization of the entire world in recent times has placed additional demands on academic libraries to conform in order to avoid the risk of obsolescence and irrelevance in the scheme of things. Teaching and research in tertiary institutions now demand the use of high caliber ICT infrastructure and facilities to keep abreast of current information in all fields. According to Omekwu, (2006), information growth has been exponential and the concept of information explosion is no longer new to information professionals. However, there are current developments in the professional horizon that impact on professional practice and the emerging roles of librarians in a global environment.

Be that as it may, Akintunde, (2006) opines that "many libraries in Nigeria still operate in the traditional service pattern where librarians are in charge in main service points of circulation, reference, serials, acquisition, cataloguing and documents without any emphasis on academic disciplines" This is a sad affirmation of a similar complaint several years ago by Afullo (2000), that Nigeria was rated among the lowest in Africa in telecommunication infrastructure and so not much is expected of academic libraries in Nigeria. In the light of the foregoing, this papers will examine what globalization is, the benefits of globalization to library services, the problems inhibiting the deployment of ICT infrastructure and facilities in Academic libraries in Nigeria and the way forward.

What Is Globalization?

In the opinion of Guillen, (2000), globalization is a process leading to greater interdependence and mutual awareness among economic, political and social units of the world. It is the "accelerated compression of the contemporary world and the intensification of consciousness of the world as a singular entity" Wikipedia defines globalization in "literal sense as simply a means of international integration, that is a process by which the people of the world are unified into a single society and functioning together" This process is a combination of economic technological, socio-cultural and political forces, hence Akanni (008) asserts that globalization is a broad term with several dimensions such as economic globalization, globalization of education globalization sporting event, globalization of Library services, among others. …