Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

Work-Related Stress among Librarians and Information Professionals in a Nigerian University

Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

Work-Related Stress among Librarians and Information Professionals in a Nigerian University

Article excerpt

Introduction

The whole population of workers in Nigeria are being faced with many stress factors to cope with or managed. These factors include work-related, domestic, after-job age or retirement problem, etc. These factors are currently reducing their lifespan to the extent that the average life expectancy in this country is dropping everyday. AirNinja (2007) reported a drop from 51.56 to 47.44 between the years 2000 to 2007. This is 30% below the 67.2 world average of life expectancy. Librarians and information managers are not left out in this situation.

In fact there are emerging issues in the profession that pose a threat or stress factor to librarians, especially the academic librarians. These include new expectations, and the constantly changing role of librarians due to the dynamic nature of information and its delivery in the University system, triggered by the emergence of information technology IT in the library and information practice. The funding problems that have continued to plague Nigerian libraries, lack of enough human and other resources and role conflict or ambiguity are increasing the librarian's stress.

Skill Soft (2006) described IT related job as the first on the world top-ten most stressful jobs while Swanson (1992) explained that librarians serving the youth, face many of the same demands as do educators, a group already identified as high-risk. Ferkol (1998) also declared that the level of stress in libraries and information centers will continue to rise in the future, if not properly understood and managed. Thus a study on stress assessment and its management among librarians and information managers in the University system can be justified.

Lehnert (2002) described stress as a complex, dynamic process of interaction between a person and his or her life. He explained further that it is the way we react physically, mentally and emotionally to the various conditions, changes and demands of life. It is a concept regarded as a specific irritating events, life cycle transitions and conflicts with either your belief system or your surroundings throughout a time period.

Covey (1989) explained that in some school of thought stress is regarded to be a relative term in the sense that what is irritating and stressful to one person may make no difference to another. In his suggestions he came out with a concept that "in an independent situation every P problem is a PC opportunity".

Since issues of changes and demands of life, life cycle transition, beliefs, culture and environment are all associated with stress, problem of stress and its management can therefore be conveniently viewed in an anthropological discuss. Thus in this work an anthropological approach of study will be adopted in looking at the problem of stress among librarians in the University of Ibadan Library System Nigeria.

University of Ibadan Library System

The University of Ibadan Library System was established with the establishment of the Ibadan University College in 1946. This is the first University library in Nigeria and one of the first University libraries in the African South of Sahara (Oyemakinde and Ajala, 2001). The library is also the largest University library in the country. Presently her various types of collections is over a million, housed in two big libraries, Kenneth Dike Library at the main campus and Latunde Odeku Medical Library at the University College Hospital Campus. Because of the decentralized library system, some of these collections are also housed in the twelve other faculty libraries scattered around the two campuses of the University.

There are over 100 staff working in the library out of which about 17 are academic staff while the others are non-academic staff.

Currently the library serve over 50,000 students of the University, about 4,500 staff of the University and many other students and staff of the about 92 other universities in the country trouping in on many occasion to use the rich manual and electronic resources of the library. …

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