TABLE OF CONTENTS
Title Page – – – – – – – – – i
Approval Page – – – – – – ii
Certification Page – – – – – iii
Dedication – – – – – – – – – iv
Acknowledgements – – – – – v
Table of Contents – – – – – vi
List of tables – – – – – – – – – ix
Abstracts – – – – – – – – – x
CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION – – – – – 1
Background to the study – – – – 1
Statement of the problem – – – – – 7
Purpose of the study – – – – – – 8
Research questions – – – – – 9
Hypothesis – – – – – – – 10
Significance of the study – – – – – 10
Scope of the study – – – – – 11
CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW – – – – 13
Conceptual Framework – – – – – 13
Overview of information and communication technologies (ICTs) – 14
Overview of skill development – – – – – 20
ICT facilities in libraries – – – – – – 22
ICT skills required by library staff – – – – – 25
Methods of ICT skills acquisition by library staff – – – 29
Problems hindering ICT facilities availability – – – 33
Challenges associated with ICT skills development – – – 35
Strategies for enhancing ICT skills development – – – 37
Theoretical Framework – – – – 39
Connectivity theory – – – – – – – 39
Self-efficacy theory – – – – – 41
Wormell model – – – – – – – – 42
Empirical Studies – – – – – – 43
Summary of Literature Review – – – – 46
CHAPTER THREE: RESEARCH METHODS – – – – 48
Research design – – – – 48
Area of the study – – – – – 48
Population of the study – – – – 49
Sample and sampling technique – – – 49
Instruments for data collection – – – 49
Validation of the instruments – – – – – 50
Method for data collection – – – – – 50
Method for data analysis – – – – 51
CHAPTER FOUR: PRESENTATION OF DATA – – – 53
Research Question 1 – – – – – – 54
Research Question 2 – – – – – – 57
Research Question 3 – – – – – – 58
Research Question 4 – – – – – – 59
Research Question 5 – – – – – – 60
Research Question 6 – – – – – 61
Research Question 7 – – – – – 62
Summary of findings of the Study – – – – 63
CHAPTER FIVE: DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION – 65
Discussion of the Findings – – – – – 65
Implications of the Study – – – – – 70
Recommendations – – – – – 73
Limitations – – – – – – – 74
Suggestion for Further Research – – – – – 74
Conclusion – – – – – – 75
References – – – – – – 77
Appendix 1 – – – – – – 85
Appendix 2 – – – – – – 86
Appendix 3 – – – – – – 91
List of Tables
Table 1: Distribution of questionnaire among the institutions – 53
Table 2: Staff response on ICT facilities available in libraries of academic
institutions in Benue State – – – – – – 54
Table 3: Information and Communication Technology (ICT) facilities availablein libraries of academic institutions in Benue state – 56
Table 4: Staff responses on extent of skills possessed by staff of academicinstitutions in Benue state – – – 57
Table 5: Skills acquired by the staff of academic institutions in Benue stateas a result of ICT availability – – – – – – 58
Table 6: Training methods used by staff of academic institutions in BenueState to acquire ICT skills – – – – – – 59
Table 7: Problems militating against the availability of ICT facilities inlibraries of academic institutions in Benue State – – – 60
Table 8: Challenges militating against effective acquisition of ICT skills by staff of academic institutions in Benue State – – – 61
Table 9: Strategies for enhancing the acquisition of ICT skills by staff of academic institutions in Benue State – – – – 62
Table 10: t-test analysis of significant difference
in mean scores of staff of universities and that of other tertiary institutions in Benue state regarding extent of ICT skills possessed – – – – 63
study looked at information and communication technology (ICT) facilities and
skills development in academic libraries in Benue
state. Seven research questions and one hypothesis guided the study. It sought
to find out among other things the ICT facilities available in the
institutions, extent of ICT skills possessed by the staff, ICT skills possessed
as a result of availability of ICT facilities in the institutions and the
training methods used by the staff to acquire their ICT skills among others. Descriptive
survey design was employed for the study and the entire population of 248 staff
comprising professional and paraprofessional library staff was used. The
instruments used for data collection were questionnaire and observation
checklist. The questionnaire had seventy eight (78) items while observation
checklist had sixteen (16). Descriptive statistics including frequency tables, percentages,
and mean (x) were used to answer research questions while t-test was used to
test the hypothesis. It was revealed from the study that, most ICT facilities
are available including computers (190), printers (14), photocopiers (15),
CD-ROMs (386) etc and that, staff of academic libraries in Benue State
possess to a large extent all the ICT skills. It was also found that library
staff of academic institutions in Benue State does not acquire their ICT skills
as a result of the availability of ICT facilities in the libraries and that the
staff obtained their ICT skills through personal efforts. Different problems
ranging from inadequate funds, poor or erratic power supply, to poor attitude
of library staff towards ICTs were found to militate against availability of
ICT facilities in these libraries while various challenges spanning inadequate ICT skills by management staff hinder
effective acquisition of ICT skills. Sourcing for funds internally for ICT projects, better funding
of ICT programmes, adequate training for librarians on the use of ICTs, improvement of power supply among others
were suggested as strategies for improving ICT facilities and skills.
Background of the Study
Academic libraries are those that are located in institutions of higher learning (Universities, College of Education, Polytechnics and monotechnics). Reitz, (2004) considers academic libraries to be libraries that are an integral part of a college, university or other institutions of post secondary education administered to meet information and research needs of its students and staff. In a similar vein Ifidon and Okoli (2002) in Oyedode (2004) maintains that, academic libraries are attached to tertiary institutions. The reason for the attachment is to help fulfill the curriculum requirements as well as promote studies and research in the parent institution.
The objectives of academic libraries, according to Ifidon et al (2002) in Fabunmi (2004, p151) are:
- Provision of materials for undergraduate instruction, term papers and projects as well as for supplementary reading.
- Provision of materials in support of faculty, external and collaborating researches.
- Provision of materials in support of post graduate research.
- Provision of expensive standard works especially in the professional disciplines.
- Provision of materials for self development.
- Provision of specialized information on the region within which the academic institution is situated.
- Cooperation with other academic library resources that are at the disposal of all scholars.
Academic libraries in Benue state include libraries of three universities (Federal, state and private universities), two colleges of education libraries and two polytechnic libraries as well as one monotechnic library. The eight academic libraries are located in academic institutions spread across different locations in the state.
Academic libraries employ various resources at their disposal (both physical and human) as well as services in order to achieve these objectives. Thus academic libraries require good building, a rich collection of information materials (books, journals, government documents, grey literature etc) in both print and electronic forms in order to meet up the information needs of their users. Adequate facilities like computers, telephones, scanners, etc; comfortable furniture and sufficient funds are needed. The resources above are manipulated and managed by library staff of different categories in order to achieve the objectives. The staff are like entrepreneurs that combine the other factors of production to create products and services.
The staff of academic libraries are “the entire group of paid employees responsible for the operation and management of library or library system” in institutions of higher learning. They include university/college librarians, librarians, paraprofessionals, technical assistants, clerical personnel, pages and student assistants (Reitz, 2005, p416).
University/College librarians are heads of the library department in universities, colleges of education, polytechnics and other higher institutions as the case may be. Librarians refer to those library personnel that have studied library science in universities and have obtained a degree in library sciences, library and information science or library studies as the case may be. Another category of librarians are those with post graduate qualification in library and information science like post graduate diploma, masters degree and PhD in library and information science. Reitz, (2005) defines librarian as a professionally trained person responsible for the care of a library and its contents including selection, processing and organization of materials and delivery of information, instruction and loan service to meet the needs of the users. Librarians also manage and mediate access to electronic based resources. A paraprofessional, according to Reitz, (2005, p522) is “a library support staff who is trained to understand and undertake specific procedures according to pre-established rules without exercising professional judgment”. We shall consider those with diploma and certificate in librarianship as paraprofessionals. All these categories of staff are found in academic libraries.
They provide such services as reference services, current awareness services, reprographic services, Selective Dissemination of Information (SDI), interlibrary loan and others (Oyelode, 2004). These services are provided to both staff and students with the aim of supporting learning and research.
Efforts have been made over the years in the traditional library setting to provide these services to library users. The use of catalogue cards, newspaper indexing and press cuttings, use of post offices to deliver photocopied documents on inter-library exchange were some of the commonly used traditional library tools. However, the traditional library tools are incapable of coping with the management of large volumes of information materials that emanated from information boom or explosion (Oyelude, in Madu, 2004). Thus the need to introduce ICTs as a way of improving and transforming libraries’ house-keeping operations.
The twenty first (21st) century library, has therefore been transformed from its traditional status of store house of information materials (mostly print) into information centres where information and communication technologies (ICTs) are used to acquire, process and disseminate information. The emphasis on print resources or total dependence on them is no longer tenable. This is because, apart from cost, delay, bulkiness etc that characterize print resources, print has a deficiency of assuming that everyone learns at the same pace and in the same manner and is therefore not sufficient in today’s high tech. multi-sensory approach to learning (Watson, 2005). Many libraries across the world have therefore converted and are fast converting their information resources into digital content with the aid of information and communication technologies to make service delivery to patron faster and more efficient. ICTs have therefore become a major resource used by librarians to enhance effective services delivery. This is because one’s ability to access information in the digital age depends greatly on his skills in the use of information and communication technology (ICT) facilities.
Information and communication technology (ICT) consist of computers and other communication facilities like telephones, fax machines etc that are used to process and communicate (disseminate) information. In line with this, Ukwugwu (2004) indicates that ICT is used to describe a wide range of new technologies and their applications such as telephone, World Wide Web (WWW), e-mail etc. It is also described as “an umbrella term for acquiring, processing, storing and disseminating information whether textual, numerical, graphic or vocal form using computer and telecommunications” (Johannsen and Page, cited in Onyekweodiri, 2008, p7). It then follows that the presence of such facilities like computers, Internet, CD-ROMs, flash disc, digital cameras, telephone lines, library softwares etc. which are some of the ICT facilities will greatly enhance library operations and improve the competence of staff in information services delivery.
Apart from the fact that ICT will enhance library operations and improve competencies, there are other countless benefits that the application of ICTs in libraries will bring to academic libraries. According to Hinderson in Adebisi (2009), ICT in library services ensures speedy and easy access to information, access to unlimited information from different sources, facility for the reformatting and combination of data from different sources, flexibility of the usage by any individual according to his or her needs. Furthermore, ICTs have the potential of ensuring the dissemination of precise and concrete information as well as facilitating effective link between different categories of people and institutions worldwide. Okore (2005).
To maximize the above benefits, ICT skills and competencies are needed by both library staff and students of academic institutions in Benue state. Skills are defined as the capacity to respond in a particular way to the varying conditions and challenges posed by our situations and jobs in such a way as to accomplish a goal or purpose (Xasa, 2009). Similarly, competency is defined as an ability to do something, especially measured against a standard (Encarta, 2009). It is also defined by Hornby, (2005) as the ability to do something well.
The development of ICT skills is imperative to better accomplishment of library routines and services. An academic library staff that is skilled in the use of ICT resources can be a great asset to the student community he serves. Adebisi (2009) enumerates some of the possibilities before an ICT skilled library staff as follows:
- Access to electronic documents including e-books and e-journals.
- Better utilization of retrieval system like CD-ROM databases of various disciplines including MEDLINE for medicine, AGRICOLA and AGRINDEX in agriculture etc that can be used to retrieve information for users.
- Better use of Inter-library loan services using digitized collection and databases with which electronic documents or holdings are easily released to the cooperating libraries.
- Possibilities for networking and online databases. He can log on to, search, browse, copy or print data in various databases like full text, multimedia, bibliographic, numeric etc either for free or for a fee.
- Ability to index and abstract automatically.
- Efficacy of use of digital library. This is a library in which all the operations are done electronically using software and hardware (ICT resources).
Those who are not able to process and access information using ICTs, according to Cullen (2003), are increasingly disadvantaged in their access to information.
The chartered institute of library and information professionals (CILIP): Continuing Professional Development (2004) recommends workshops (e.g. on ICT, Internet, professional and technical skills), conferences, chartership as well as continuing professional development facilities for library staff in order to acquire requisite ICT skills. The use of computers to check and retrieve information on the internet, to access data bases, send and receive ordinary and attached mails, ability to use scanners and printer etc are some of the basic skills required of information professionals in academic libraries in order to meet the (academic etc) needs of their patron.
Accessing and retrieving information on the Internet has been listed as one of the ICT skills required by an academic library staff. Internet is “a connectivity that connects various types of computers to one another in a way that a computer on the Internet can communicate and share information with other computers in the network of networks, even though there is no direct physical connection between them” (Ogomo, 2004, p55). Closely linked to the Internet is the World Wide Web (WWW) which is a portion of the Internet with web sites or computer sites that are accessed electronically for information in multimedia formats (texts, graphics, sound and video) on thousands of topics (Shelly, Cashman, Waggoner and Waggoner, 1997). Electronic mail (E-mail) which is also one of the services available on internet can be described as an electronic post office. Ogbomo, (2004) asserts that, it is a resource provided by the internet for sending and receiving messages through electronic devices. It normally accepts mails of average lengths but through file attachments, documents of hundreds of pages can be transferred. This, in addition to the ability to access and retrieve information on databases is highly needed by academic library staff. Libraries have the privilege to subscribe to databases of organization for the benefit of her users. The skill therefore becomes an added impetus for efficient information service provision to patron. A database therefore is a larger, regularly updated file of digitized information related to a specific subject organized for ease and speed of search and retrieval (Reitz, 2005). Staff with these ICT skills are highly needed by academic libraries.
Literature available reveals that, developing countries in general have a challenge of access to ICT resources and services. For instance, world population statistics of September, 2009 presented by Ezeani, (2010) reveal Africa’s figure of Internet usage as about 67 million persons. This is very low compared to that of Asia, Europe and North American whose figure of Internet use stood at 738, 418 and 253 million respectively. There is need for academic library staff and other information professionals to have effective access to ICT resources as well as be highly skilled in the use of the resources if they must function well in the academic environment.