Minority Degree College Libraries in Andhra Pradesh: A Study with Special Reference to NAAC Standards
Dr. Syamalamba Rani
The effectiveness of a library lies in the way it puts forth its services to the community of students and teachers. The management of college libraries has become more complex due to the explosion of knowledge, increases in user population, new demands for information sources, variety and volume of information sources, lack of funds and steep prices increases, and the impact of information technologies. These influences call for new types of management techniques, and for evaluation and assessment of programs and services.
Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC)
The National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) is an autonomous body established by the University Grants Commission (UGC) of India to assess and accredit institutions of higher education in the country. It is an outcome of the recommendations of the National Policy in Education (1986) that laid special emphasis on upholding the quality of higher education in India. The system of higher education in India has expanded rapidly during the last fifty years. There have been criticisms that the country has permitted the mushrooming of institutions of higher education with substandard facilities and consequent dilution of standards. To address the issues of deterioration in quality, the National Policy on Education (1986) and the Plan of Action (POA-1992) that spelt out the strategic plans for the policies, advocated the establishment of an independent national accreditation body. Consequently, the NAAC was established in 1994 with its headquarters at Bangalore.
Vision and Mission
NAAC states that:
The mission statement of the NAAC defines the following key tasks:
NAAC follows a three-stage assessment process:
Objectives of the Study
1. To trace the history and review the development of college education and library management at Degree Colleges of the minority-communities in India and Andhra Pradesh.
2. To survey personally the existing physical conditions.
3. To study the administrative procedures.
4. To study the human resources management and workforce availability
5. To study collection management, technical processing, shelving, inventory, weeding, and so on.
6. To study the quality and variety of services being offered in these libraries.
7. To verify whether NAAC library standards are being followed.
8. To study the extent of computer use or phases of computerization; availability of systems, type of software being used.
Need for the Study
A literature search shows that not many studies have been done on this topic in India nor reported to have been undertaken specifically on minority communities.
The survey method was adopted to study the existing physical conditions and management of libraries of all the Seventeen (Aided) degree colleges of minority-communities in Andhra Pradesh. Data was collected through structured questionnaires, which were administered personally, and also through interview supported by schedules, observation, and reference of registers.
The table below presents general information of the aided 17 colleges in Andhra Pradesh with NAAC grading. Only seven have been assessed by NAAC and the highest grade (A) has been awarded to St. Theresa's College in Eluru, Maris Stella College, Vijayawada and St. Francis College, Secunderabad, followed by B+ grade to Andhra Loyola College, Vijayawada, and JMJ College, Tenali, while a B was awarded to St. Joseph's in Visakhapatnam and Loyola College, Kadapa.
Table: 1 General Information on Minority Colleges in Andhra Pradesh (A.P)
"College with potential for excellence" was awarded to Loyola College Vijayawada, Loyola Academy, Alwal, St. Theresa's College for Women, Eluru, and Maris Stella College, Vijayawada. The UGC award will provide financial assistance for the overall development of college, laboratories, library, etc.
Management of Library and Information Services
Fewer than one-third of these libraries (i.e., 5 out of 17) have a separate building for libraries with sufficient room stacks, reference, periodicals, etc. The environmental and physical conditions at Anwar-Ul-Uloom and Mumtaz college libraries are very poor and have neither a separate building nor sufficient space even to accommodate the necessary material and equipment, and there is no proper furniture or infrastructure even though they are the oldest of the colleges. In Mumtaz College the library rooms are too small to accommodate even the collection, while the students of Noble College have been accommodatedvarandas (corridors), for newspaper reading. The overall physical condition of most of the colleges such as St. Theresa's (1953), Andhra Loyola (1954), and Maris Stella (1962) are satisfactory and planning a remodel, except in Andhra Christian (1924).
Table 2. Tools for Acquisition
Book shops and exhibitions are the primary sources of acquisition. Library department heads and faculty members use those cited sources and recommend selection. Trade catalogues are also consulted occasionally. Bibliographies, reviews of periodicals, cumulative book indexes, etc., have a lower priority than the other sources.
Table 3 Book Selection
In all the colleges the selection body for library books are the department head and faculty members. Sometimes management of the college does book selection for libraries, while the library committee also occasionally selects books.
Table 4 Access
A majority of the libraries have open access. Only five: Andhra Christian College, Guntur, Noble College, Machilipatnam, Loyola Degree College, Kadapa, Urdu Arts College, Hyderabad, and Loyola Degree College, Secunderabad, have closed stacks.
Table 5 Lending
Only 30 percent of the libraries lend (barcoded) documents through a computerized - circulation system, while 53 percent issue tickets (as per Browne System)
Table 6 Limits on Lending
41 percent of the libraries issue 10 books to each teacher while the remaining 59 percent issue 4 to 20 books to each teacher with no specific limitation.
53 percent of the libraries issue 3 books to each student. 41 percent of libraries issue only two books to each student while the library of Andhra Muslim College of Guntur issues only one book to each student.
Six libraries have the same hours as the college, while five are open one hour before and after the college, three libraries are open one hour earlier, and the rest are open one hour later.
Human Resources Management
All but two colleges have professional librarians. A majority of the assistant librarians are working in unaided posts. Most of the librarians expressed the need for more employees, and have specified the need for assistant librarians, technical assistants (with computer knowledge), clerical assistants, etc.
Table 7 Library and College Hours
Table 8 Collection Management
The table shows the present collection of books in each library. St. Francis Women's College has the largest collection, with 15,172, followed by Andhra Loyola College, Vijayawada with 7,257. The smallest collections are Andhra Muslim College, Guntur with very small collection (46), followed by Urdu College, Hyderabad with 288 books.
A majority of the libraries have no more than 10 to 15 journal titles, and the growth rate per year is meager. However St. Francis College, Secunderabad, Maris Stella College, and Andhra Loyola College of Vijayawada, JMJ College, Tenali, and St. Theresa's College, Eluru (which were all awarded A or B+ grades by the NAAC) have about 35 to 45 journal titles on various subjects.
Organization of the Collection
More than one third of the colleges use the 19th edition of DDC to classify the documents, with 47 percent using the 21st edition. Nearly one fifth do not use any scheme, but do arrange the documents according to their subjects.
More than 80 percent of the libraries use AACR2 to catalog their collections.
More than half of the libraries do an annual inventory, while 29.4 percent undertake it every two years, and the remaining 17.6 per cent do so irregularly.
Maintenance of Registers
About 70 percent of libraries maintain separate registers for withdrawn, lost, damaged, etc., documents and record the same in the main ledgers.
Management of Information Services
Table 9 Services
Apart from lending and reference services, six libraries are provide photocopying, while bibliographic and indexing services are provided very rarely, and no library offers interlibrary loan.
Table 10 Need for Quality Management
A majority of the librarians felt that quality management is necessary for the overall development of their libraries.
Table 11 Management Cooperation
Librarians of twelve colleges found that the management is cooperative and encouraging.
Table 12 Services to Enhance Quality
To improve the quality of the services, a majority gave priority to computerized services and photocopying.
Table 13 Quality Assessment Priorities
Most librarians gave preference to seminars and workshops for quality assessment techniques as their first preference, followed by surveys, appraisal and evaluation.
Sources of Library Funds
All the librarians specified "University Grants Commission" as the main source of their budget since these colleges have been recognised as "Minority Institutions" and granted the status of Aided colleges.
Chart 2 shows that St. Ann 's College for Women received the most funds (2,217,349), followed by St. Theresa's College (1,416,703). The budget allotment is very low in Andhra Muslim College, Guntur (155,060), followed by Urdu College (107,317).
Table 14 Computerization
Automation is a very important element in service quality. Nine libraries are computerized, and eight out of nine have been using locally-developed packages, while one is using a commercial package. Five libraries have an OPAC while the remaining twelve are still at the data entry stage.
Table 15 Reasons for Lack of Computerization
Reasons like lack of computers, budget, trained staff, etc., were expressed by the librarians as reasons for non computerization of their libraries. Barcode technology has been implemented only at St. Francis College, Secunderabad and Maris Stella College, Vijayawada, which has automated the circulation section.
Quality Indicators in Library and Information Services for College Libraries
NAAC has developed a set of objective indicators to facilitate assessment of library and information services in academic institutions. The guidelines are derived from an understanding of global developments, the national environment, and the outcome of a recent national-level workshop held at the NAAC, in which college and university librarians and library scholars from across the country had participated.
College libraries need facilities that promote effective and interactive access and use of information resources for all users. In the area of physical facilities, libraries need safe, comfortable, well-lighted, clean space, with adequate and appropriate seating, to ensure effective use of the library's resources. College libraries must consider study space needs, with special attention to reserve collections and the hostel environment of the institution. The libraries need well-framed rules and guidelines with regard to hours of access, circulation policies, and other regulations, to offer better services to users.
Affiliated college libraries have the primary mission of meeting the library and information needs of undergraduate students. The guidelines below identify the principal factors influencing the development and maintenance of college library services and collections.
1. Management of library and information services.
According to the guidelines of NAAC, the core objective of the library in the degree colleges is to support the academic programmes offered. The library may design a system to delivery products and services to attract more users. NAAC suggests that the college have a separate library building with certain minimum infrastructure, such as book stacks, reading halls, circulation counter, and so on.
2. Collection and services provided to users.
The library is required to provide varied, authoritative, and up-to-date resources that supports its mission and fulfill the needs of its users. Resources may be provided in a variety of formats. A college library must have the quantity of resources prescribed by the UGC and other governing bodies. The library has a key role in supporting the academic activities of institutions. Assessment of college libraries must be carried out regularly to sustain and enhance their quality.
Best Practices for College Libraries
Listed below are some of NAAC's best practices for enhancing the academic information environment and usability.
In view of the NAAC standards and guidelines, every minority college library must be provided with a separate library building with good ventilation, comfortable furniture, reading rooms and stacks, keeping in mind the future development of the library.
A flexible organizational structure with the library advisory committee as an apex body should be established for college libraries. The librarian must be the secretary/convener of the committee with independent responsibility for the library. Efficient and scientific methods of collection funding should be adopted for allocation of grants to different branches, based on the needs of the local area and particular subject requirements.
Interested faculty and student representatives should be given the opportunity to participate in the selection of books. It was found that some areas like commerce and computer science have very few books at some libraries. Steps should be taken to improve this situation.
Library services depend on access to the collection. To cope with present needs and forthcoming challenges, these minority libraries must automate and create a circulation database.
The success of any library depends on the quality and variety of its services. The minority college libraries should endeavor to offer services like document delivery and bibliographic indexing (which approximately 41 percent already offer).Those libraries which do not offer photocopying and Internet facilities free of charge (which about 70 percent do not), should begin doing so.
In accordance with NAAC standards, libraries should establish, promote, maintain, and evaluate a range of quality services that support the colleges, mission and goals. Despite warnings of the UGC and directions to all the colleges, only seven out of seventeen degree colleges of minority communities in the State of Andhra Pradesh have undergone NAAC evaluation. No college has been awarded the highest grade (A+) but A was awarded to St. Theresa's College, Eluru, Maris Stella College, Vijayawada, and St. Francis College, Secunderabad, with a B+ to Andhra Loyola College, Vijayawada and JMJ College, Tenali, and a B to St. Joseph's in Visakhapatnam and Loyola College, Kadapa. These minority libraries in Andhra Pradesh may not immediately find the need for management techniques and programs such as Total Quality Management (TQM), since they are still struggling to solve basic problems in every area, but one cannot be myopic about the need for advanced and particular management programs for future needs and challenges, and even for survival.
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