Required Skills and Competences of Librarians for Effective Software Application and Use in Contemporary Libraries in Nigeria

By Mngutyô, James; Okon, Elizabeth Inyang | Library Philosophy and Practice, October 2018 | Go to article overview

Required Skills and Competences of Librarians for Effective Software Application and Use in Contemporary Libraries in Nigeria


Mngutyô, James, Okon, Elizabeth Inyang, Library Philosophy and Practice


Introduction

Librarians are managers of library and information systems. Library and Information science is a dynamic field and today is in the era of information age managed by ICT. The deployment and use of ICT in libraries is a function of the knowledge, skills and competences of ICT possessed by librarians. However for most libraries in Nigeria, emphasis has been on ICT facilities rather than on skills and competences acquisition. Situations abound where the state of the art ICT facilities are provided with no adequately trained and knowledgeable ICT literate personnel with requisite software skills and competences for application and use to manage. This explains how great plans of ICT application and use in libraries have failed before they take off on account of lack of librarians with the necessary skills and competences. In this light, Oketunji (2000) had earlier asserted that application of computers to library and information activities in Nigeria has been more of a dream than reality in spite of the good intentions that heralded it. As far as this situation prevails no head way is in sight for effective software application and use in contemporary libraries in Nigeria in spite of the much noise that attend it. The result has remain inefficient and ineffective management of information and information service delivery because of lack of skilled and competent professionals to configure and program computers to handle library activities in a manner congruous to users' needs and acceptable best practices and standard. The dream of a global village will always therefore remain a mirage in contemporary Nigeria.

Conceptual Clarification

Who are Librarians?

The role of librarians/information officers in society is undoubtedly important and critical. According to Mngutyô (2010) librarians are persons who are rigorously trained to work in the library after their first degree or masters' degree of education in librarianship or library and information science in an authorized institution. Edoka (2000) in addition stated that their training demands specialized knowledge and skills in part as well as being theoretical in nature. He further admitted that their training is reasonably conducted over a prolong time and tested by examinations and a period of practical training necessary for modern library service. Today they can work in any information environment such as the net among others. Librarians are library professionals that manage the library (Mngutyô, Okpologidi & Tseeneke 2016).

In Nigeria, librarians are graduates of Library and Information Science (LIS) with a combined subject area. Etim & Udofia (2011) posited that they are not anyone who works in a library but an information professional trained in library and Information Science whose main focus is the organization and management of information services or materials for those with information needs; a field that is rapidly changing in terms of information contents and information technologies. In United States of America and Europe librarians are graduates of postgraduate programs (Ekere, 2017). Etim & Udofia (2011) also collaborating stated that in western nations like United States, Canada, Australia, etc they are seen as professionals with Masters Degree in Library and Information Science. They further asserted that they are capable of analyzing information, information needs and of providing information services and materials to patrons in a variety of settings with available and appropriate resources. The implication is that the responsibility of information management in society is placed squarely in the capable hands of Library and Information Science professionals. Quite so, they are expected to adequately equip and prepare themselves with necessary skills and competences of software application and use which is the core of information technology for effective information management.

Librarians therefore by training are the pillars and managers of libraries and information systems. …

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