Library Philosophy and Practice 2012
Workers Training Programmes in Two University Libraries in Nigeria
Sarah Eleojo Adeniji
The most valuable resources in Nigeria higher institutions are the human resource; these personnel serve as a major factor in success or failure of various citadels of learning. Human resources in higher institution according to Alani (1993) are the lecturers, librarians, administrators, technical and unskilled personnel. These human resources co-ordinate and process other material resources to produce educational output. The academic staff is directly responsible for teaching and research and they form the bulk of personnel engaged in institutional services, while the administrative, technical and other staff provide a supporting service to the academic staff.
Libraries play an important role in Nigerian education; the main function of an academic library is to provide materials for teaching and research for members of the academic community. Library buildings and large collections without skill professionals pass only as glorified warehouses.
Insaidoo (2001) opined that human resources are the key to sustainable library services in any organization. When the services of any library are evaluated, the staff of that library is indirectly evaluated. There is therefore the need to have efficient and dynamic personnel that can translate the objectives of the library into reality. Therefore, librarians and other supporting staff will discharged their duty as expected if they acquired the necessary skills essential for the job at hand hence the reason behind this research work.
Statement of the Problem
The following are problems to be examined:
Objectives of the Study
This study sets out to achieve the following objectives
The following research questions were generated to guide the study.
What are the training programmes available to the staff?
There enormous research work conducted on the area of human resources development programme in the world of work globally, Uzorh (2002) is of the opinion that manpower development programme starts after the recruitment and placement of a workers in an organization. Such a programme has the aim at providing the necessary skill, proficiency and improves the current and future competence of such a worker. Insaidoo (2001) defined human resources development as a “process of education through which a trainee acquires the needed skills, knowledge and attitudes from training organizations. “ To buttress the Insaidoo, Ajao (2001) said that with the acquisition of needed skills by trainee, it determines the present and future relevance of such a staff in an organization pointing out that trained workers are assets to any organization that employed them. Tiamiyu (2003) citing Mokhtari(1994) stated that as far back as mid70s there was a harmonization of the education of Librarians, document-lists, archivists and information scientists in Nigeria. Emphasizing further that notable organization like UNESCO and I F L A discussed the importance of training of information professionals in their various workshop and seminars. Seeing training as an activities Thapisa (1991) as cited by Insaidoo (2001) saw training as necessary activities that provide learners with knowledge and skills needed to perform specific duties.
Jordan (2003) opined that training consist of both a set of generic modules as well as hands on practical experience “Train the trainer” course assists the participants to increase their confidence so that they can pass on skills they have acquire to others. He stressed the important of allowing adequate time for participants to learn and practice new skills and follow up training programme (perhaps by e-mail) which is very imperative that participants should be able to communicate their own needs and goals and also to implement on their returning home after training exercise. Watts (2004) recognized the essence of continuing professional development (C. P .D) for those in the management position of the library and that the management team of the library should ensure that the staff are proactive in maintaining up to date levels of expertise. While Uzorh (2002) is of the view that the purpose of most if not all skills acquisition programme by employee is to increase the organization’s position and future capacity in attaining its goals. Mohammed (1998) saw the emergence of the new specialization and professional practices in professionally based human endeavor and call for revision of library education and training for librarians or information professionals in general within the frame work of local needs, academic and internationally acceptance norms. Thus librarians will no longer be referred to as outdated or irrelevant to the prevailing system, because according to Tiamiyu(2003) that noted that information professionals are expected to continually learn and master new technologies on the job and on a regular basis at the risk of becoming dinosaurs in their useful time. For librarians to offered the best service to the users who use the library on daily basis Chukwu-Nwosu (2008) is of the opinion that a librarian needs a good knowledge of a subject area before he can effectively and efficiently satisfy the information needs of the professionals in the subject area of which he too is equally a professional. However, in Nigerian educational scene where librarianship has played a prominent there is the need to trace the evolution of the profession which Nwalo (2001) traced to 1960 when the institute of librarianship was established at the University of Ibadan which serves as the vanguard for promoting library education and training in librarianship information science and archives in Nigeria. Training has great impacts on the recipients by producing effectiveness in the staff of an organization like that of University. Jatto (2005) emphasized the need for University teachers to be professionally trained in order to impact the needed skills to the students they teach at various levels of their studies in their various institutions .Apart from the librarians in higher institutions in Nigeria, we also have librarians in some board of the various state. These categories of information professionals performed very well as a result of training they received at various training organization within their organization. Insaidoo (2001) was looking into the librarians that are not in the management cadre of the Ghana library board, but were dedicated, disciplined and hard working which was as a result of the intensive job training they received during practical library routine work. Looking at the state of the libraries in five selected location in Africa Carnegie Corporation of New York (2004) came out with the following findings:
Uwem,(2003) opined the central aim of any professional training is not just a head knowledge of management skills, but rather how these theoretical concept can be translated to meet users needs in a practical way. To therefore, provide information services to its numerous users, the library and its work force will need to develop knowledge and competence of the emerging information media. Information professionals these according to Nwakanma, (2003) are expected to be aware of capable of using and demonstrating the emerging ICT facilities which are needed in additional to training received which are essentials to augment the traditional skills and knowledge base with a competence in ICT use. Information professionals must be flexible, and adapt traditional skills to incorporate the requirements technological advances.
Sharp (2001) Looking at the impact of the digital device on skills development, Lim (1999) suggests that too much emphasis has been placed upon the development of ICT infrastructure in developing countries, whereas enough consideration has not been given to human resources development. However, in order to understand how ICTs have impact upon skill development in developing countries, it is imperative to consider the situation that exists with regarding the ICT infrastructure.
Jensen (2002) gave a vivid account of ICT infrastructure in Africa when he said that one in a hundred people have access to Personal Computers (PC); the few Internet Service Providers are comparatively expensive. Power Supplies are very unreliable or even non –existent and telecommunication are scarce with 90% of the population living in rural area having 50% telephone lines.
Steinmueller, (2001) suggests that many ICT users are self taught, and are capable of developing an understanding of ICTs through the experience of utilizing them. If the above is true, then the case of countries who are unable to provide extensive access to ICTs are inevitably marginalized as they are less likely to produce capable self taught persons. However, Steinmueller’s suggestion does indicate a more optimistic scenario for those developing environment, progressively providing access to I.C Ts as it suggests that staff may be able to gain at least some degree of expertise through self learning.
In Nigeria Universities user’s education programmes an aspect of training manpower development programme for students has been found to be uncoordinated, poorly introduced, and non-examinable. This scenario is replicated in most universities and other educational institutions across Africa. Consequently, the meager information resources that one finds in libraries are grossly underutilized. Mutala (2004) in a study at the University of Zambia to determine the usage of the campus intranet among academic staff revealed that those who are not using the facility cited is due to lack of guidance on how to use the intranet and inability to provide technical know – how on how to utilized the resources effectively.
Jordan (2003) looked at the barriers to acquiring ICT skills and training in developing countries discovered that many library schools fail to integrate I.C Ts into their curricular and therefore failed to expose their students into the usage of the skills in their academic pursuit.
Ukorh (1984) as cited by Ogunsola (2004) looking at the utilization of information communication technology facilities in developing countries libraries stated that librarians does not have to be literate in various technologies before employing them. In other words, he does not have to be a technical expert before using any form of technology or a programmer before using a computer. However, he is still required or expected to possess some technical knowledge in order to operate these information media.
The study is a survey research with target audience on the entire professional and Para - professional staff of the two University libraries. The total number of staff chosen for the study was 43 for the River State University of Science and technology library, while that of the University of Port-Harcourt library was 4, making 9population of 92 staff all together.
The researcher administered the instrument with the assistance of some librarians in the selected university libraries during the 2009/2010 academic session. Out of 92 copies of the questionnaire distributed, sixty (60) were returned and found usable. This represents a return rate of 65 percent. The completed questionnaires were analysis using frequency counts and percentages.
Data Analysis and Discussion
Table1: Distribution of Respondents by age
One observes from table 1 that 31 or (52%) of the work force fall within the ages of 26 -35, 13 or (22%) of the total respondents fall within the ages of 36-45, 11 or (18%) of the respondents fall within the ages of 15-25 while 05 or (08%) fall within the ages of 46-55 age bracket. From the above, the bulk of staff that the library employed is still in the economic productive age that is 15-55 such people according to Adeniji and Onasote (2006) can offer efficient service to the library operation, thereby assisting in achieving the overall objective of the library as a service institution.
Research Quesiton 1: What are the training programmes available to the staff?
Table 2 Training programmes available for staff to attend.
In the table 2 above about 75 % of the respondents attended training on application of ICT to library operation systems while 25% of the respondents did not, 67% of the staff attended internally training programme for junior staff while the rest 33% did not. 83%, 75% of the respondents attended training programmes for other staff and Academic institutions training programmes while 17% 25%. Do not. From the discussion above we saw that some respondents did not attend any training programme, such a staff gave the following as financial constraints, busy schedules, as well as uncompromising attitude of library management team on issues that centered on library development. As major constraints to their attend the training programnmes available for them as staff of the organization.
Research Question 2: Can training programmes address the manpower deficiency in the library?
Table 3: Respondents view if training programme can address the manpower deficiency in the library?
Table 3 shown that 75% (45) of the respondents observed that manpower deficiency in the library could be solved through the various training programmes available for the workers in the library, While 25% (15) of the respondents are of the view that manpower programmes cannot be used to solve the manpower deficiency as witnessed in the library. The purpose of most, if not all manpower development programme is to increase organizations present and future capability in order to attain its goals.
Research Question 3: How do workers see the various manpower development programmes?
Table 4: Perception level of manpower development programme by respondents
Table 4 show the perception level of the trainee of the various manpower programmes, about 75%, 25% of the respondents saw PhD to be very adequate and adequate respectively, while Master in library Science (M.L.S),Information Communication Technology(I.C T),Overseas Training have 83%,58%,67% for very adequate and 17%,42%,33% for adequate respectively. 50%, 50%, 33%, 25% and 33%, 33%, 25%, 67% of the respondents saw Workshop, B L S, Conference& Seminar, as very adequate and adequate respectively. Moreover, some of the respondents that perceived the manpower development programme of the library as not been adequate their observation include Conference & Bachelor in Library Science (BLS), 42%, Workshop 17%, and Seminar respectively .For the respondents who have benefitted immensely from various manpower development programmes they will perceived it to be adequate and even very adequate. Whereas, those who do not have the opportunity for a programme like overseas training may conclude that such a programme is not adequate. However training is necessary as learning skills for improving performance and efficiency on the job. You get to know what to do and how to do it well through training. Such training must be adequate and timely for the work at hand for the purpose of productivity within an information industry like the library.
Research Question 4: What impact does the training programme have on the Recipients?
Table 5 Respondents answer to the effect of training
From the table 5 above, 10% of the respondents are of the view that training has assisted to
Provide efficient services to their clientele. 25% of the respondents stated that training has promoted effective communication among the management team of the library, thereby leading to the achievement of the organizational goal, while 16% and 03% of the respondents are of the opinion that training has helped the librarians to translate theoretical concepts to meeting users information needs and has assisted the newly library staff to gained first hand information about their work 13% of the respondents are of the opinion that training has equipped them to understand and appreciate library management and administrative practices and also equipped them to make great strides and impact in the international setting.8% of the respondents stated that training has promote efficiency and resourcefulness in the staff of the library. In all training has great effect on the trainees as new skills and knowledge are acquired for the library, which Pylee and George (2004) saw as essential for library development.
Research Question 5: Which cadre of the staff needs the human resources development most?
Table 6: Cadre of staff that needs the manpower programme most
Table 6 clearly shows that 52% of the junior cadre needed manpower programme most, about 25% of the respondents saw the senior staff as the cadre that needed staff training most while 23%of the respondents saw the academic librarians as requiring human resources development programme most. We can deduce that from all these responses that staffs in all the cadres need one human resources development programme or the other to enhance their efficiency on the job. Moreover, the highest no of respondent that need training most came from the junior categories of staff. Training as a skills acquisition means should be given to all employees at least once in two years so as to update their current knowledge and skills on the job and acquaint them with the trends relevant to the job they perform in the library.
From the data collected, analyses and discussed in this study, the following conclusions were drawn. The success or failure of a library as a service organization depends on the type of staff educational attainment and the skills acquired through professional training. The two institutions have various manpower development programmes to enhance their performance on the job. Some of the programmes are: off –the –job and on-the – job training, internal training programme, initial orientation programme for new staff and so on. Selection of staff for participation in these programmes has been fair to all categories of staff. Most of the beneficiaries of the programme perceive them to be adequate to their need and that it has assisted them to acquire the needed skills, knowledge and proficiency in their day to day work in the library services.
Training programmes available to the staff should be revised to cater for all areas like marketing library services, labour and management relations, and employee and employer rights. Beneficiary of the various programmes are to be retrained and maintained in order to avoid an exodus of staff who have acquired the needed skills to other institutions with better offers in term of condition of services and high salaries.
Management team of the library needs to recognize the imperative of a continued professional development and ensure that staff is proactive in maintaining up-to-date level of expertise. They should organize in-house seminar and workshop on the current event in the information world for all members of staff. Also management should exercise restraints when posting staff to head a section or branch library because certain jobs require specific skills or training. The various library schools in Nigerian Universities should maintain a close liaison with the libraries in order to design an appropriate programme for the training and such a programme should include some aspects on human resources management that can assist the librarians on the management of the personnel in the library.
Training should be relevant to the job offered to the trainee on a regular basis. It should not be left till it is too late. It is important to state that staff should be assigned duties that are commensurate with their qualifications, knowledge and with the understanding of the expected performance.
Suggestions for Further Studies
The same research could be carried out in other University libraries in West African countries, to explore the major problem with the human resources development programmes and utilization of various cadres of staff in their various institutions.
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