Constructing the Skilled Library Infrastructure in Sierra Leone

Building the Professional Library Infrastructure in Sierra Leone

IntroductionDeveloping international locations are characterised in a technique by shrinking economies. Sierra Leone is one such nation that regardless of authorities and donor help, training has been a serious problem. The state of affairs has been worsened, because of the truth that libraries have been uncared for. In response to the African Improvement Financial institution (ADB) Sierra Leone Nation Workplace (2011), the whole funds offered for training by the ADB/ADF funds as much as 2010, was about US$ 22 million. The challenge supported the development of Ninety Eight (98) main faculties, Fifty 4 (54) Junior Secondary Colleges (JSS), Eight (8) Vocational Expertise Coaching Centres and Twelve (12) duplex housing blocks for academics. The challenge additionally offered coaching for 4 Thousand and Fifty (4,050) academics. Trainer manuals had been additionally made obtainable. Nevertheless, nothing was ever made obtainable for library improvement. This neglect of libraries, signifies that libraries in Sierra Leone with restricted sources, need to work collectively in an effort to meet the data wants of their customers. One library might not be capable to successfully and suitably meet the data wants of all its customers. Library cooperation is due to this fact, urgently wanted.Library Scene in Sierra LeoneThe nation has all of the several types of libraries; they vary from public, educational, particular to highschool libraries. Along with these are info and useful resource or documentation centres that present library and knowledge companies. Moreover, there are museums, such because the Nationwide and the Peace Museums, and the Nationwide Archive which additionally present info companies.Nevertheless, the Sierra Leone Library Board (SLLB) which was established by an Act of Parliament in 1959 serves because the area of the availability of library and knowledge companies within the nation. It capabilities as each the Nationwide and a Public library. So far it has a Central library and headquarters positioned in Freetown, Regional branches in Provincial headquarter cities, and branches in all District cities, totaling twenty one (21) libraries [One (1) central and headquarter library, three (3) regional libraries, sixteen (16) branch libraries, and two (2) sub-branches].Libraries in Sierra Leone are due to this fact, establishments for the storage and dissemination of knowledge; are for customers; they supply customers with guides and different discovering lists; they supply enough entry to the paperwork or data customers might want to seek the advice of; they’ve topic association; and they’re cost-effective.Library CooperationThe time period cooperation describes the joint motion of two or extra events for mutual profit. Library cooperation means exchanging cataloguing data, constructing complementary collections, exchanging library supplies by inter-library mortgage and doc supply service, joint buying of library supplies or automated system, offering companies to every others’ customers. Library cooperation can be described as an settlement, mixture, or group of libraries shaped to undertake an enterprise past the sources of anybody member.There are several types of cooperative actions and among the hottest actions are reciprocal borrowing, union catalogues or lists, photocopying companies, cooperative reference service, supply companies, cooperative acquisition preparations, topic specialisation in assortment improvement, centralised cataloguing and card manufacturing, in addition to central storage of supplies.Burgett, Harr and Phillips (2004) asserted that there’s proof that cooperation amongst libraries to share sources goes again to a great distance, at the very least to the primary half of the 13th century, when monasteries developed what we’d as we speak recognise as union catalogs of manuscripts to assist of their scholarly actions. Musana (1991) indicated that info useful resource sharing has been in existence so long as libraries and different sorts of info companies. The existence of a library is itself a type of cooperation. Many libraries got here into existence as a result of a bunch of people with a standard want and aspiration wished to place a set of supplies collectively to be used by the group members. Traditionally, the driving drive behind the evolution of useful resource sharing idea was the need to fulfill the felt wants of the person inhabitants. Earlier, every library was an entity, serving or attempting to serve the wants of its personal customers and buying supplies to satisfy their main wants.Beenham and Harrison (1990) nonetheless famous {that a} mixture of circumstances made it more and more troublesome for a person library to be self-sufficient. These circumstances embody:an amazing enhance in data and a corresponding progress in publishing;the unfold of training from main to college stage which result in higher and extra various calls for on the general public library companies by a way more literate public;the advance of expertise with its impact on trade and commerce and the need for employers and staff to develop new abilities and methods; andincreased alternatives for journey and worldwide financial cooperation, which demand up-to-date details about international international locations.Current Library Cooperation in Sierra LeoneThere has been elevated strain for libraries in Sierra Leone to cooperate, together with plans to create networks thereby making method for sources to be obtainable to customers. As such what has obtained is as follows:Lending of supplies – libraries lend supplies to one another formally and unofficially to assist their customers;Donations – giant libraries donate to smaller libraries supplies principally books for his or her customers;Photocopying – these can be found in most libraries. The lending library will copy the wanted materials and ship a duplicate to the requesting library with out having to ship the unique;Trade of cataloguing knowledge – cataloguing knowledge is given to different libraries. The Sierra Leone Library Board (SLLB) offers its knowledge to highschool libraries that can’t do that technical work correctly.There have been some advantages with these sorts of cooperation current within the nation:Availability and entry to info – there was vital attain to info by customers, since different libraries’ sources may be tapped from;Decrease price – funds are saved due primarily to the truth that some costly supplies will not be bought so long as they’re accessed in one other library;Expertise sharing – the exchanging of workers and knowledge offers a platform for studying from one another, particularly with cataloguing knowledge; andCollection improvement – every library tends to construct its assortment to the utmost level, narrowing the main target, and on the finish constructing a robust assortment.However, the true advantages that such cooperation ought to result in haven’t been totally realised. Thus, there are particular steps that libraries ought to take to make this workable.Constructing the Infrastructure of CooperationThe following are important steps to be taken into consideration for an environment friendly cooperation between libraries in Sierra Leone if vital achievements are to be made.Guarantee widespread understanding and belief. There should be a longtime higher working relationship amongst and between libraries the place widespread understanding and belief are constructed up. A continued interplay and publicity of each other’s sources should be maintained. This may be carried out by sharing of experience and expertise, signing of Memoranda of Understanding, dialogue to allay fears, and to respect what every social gathering can supply. Trade of workers if essential should be carried out.Be taught from superior libraries. Moreover, classes may be learnt from how different nationwide and worldwide cooperation is being performed. Cooperation just isn’t a day occasion however one thing that should be inspired and constructed upon. There should be room for trial and error in addition to correction of previous errors.Administration should present the management. Every library administration should take upon itself to guide the method efficiently. There should be the political will and the willingness to share sources, in addition to prioritising the transfer in the direction of cooperation. Administration should be prepared to make constructive compromises to succeed in the specified aim.Networking and collaboration. The transfer in the direction of cooperation shouldn’t be a one man present. Cooperation can include voluntary settlement amongst libraries, or it may be imposed on libraries by Library Legal guidelines or by accountable ministries that fund libraries. It’s important that the participant libraries be prepared to work collectively in the direction of widespread objectives.Provision of funds. One of many advantages of cooperation is to avoid wasting price. Nevertheless, each library should present funds for the processes concerned. That is notably so for processing and technical companies capabilities. These should be taken care by particular person libraries. As such funding needs to be offered.State intervention. Within the context of the creating international locations state intervention could be referred to as for to allow coordination of a nation’s complete library and knowledge sources and guarantee enough funding. That is notably vital provided that on the entire libraries in Sierra Leone wouldn’t have giant sufficient capital base of their very own to put money into such tools as laptop {hardware} and software program, and telecommunications. Nevertheless, state management should not be allowed to exceed co-ordination as this will to some extent affect the zeal, initiative and the goodwill of collaborating libraries, establishments and the person professionals.The Challenges in Constructing the Infrastructure of CooperationIn spite of the advantages accrued in cooperation, there are actual and perceived challenges, which, except correctly handled, might minimise the probabilities of even the most effective conceived scheme taking off. In Sierra Leone, these are:Overcoming the tradition of hoarding – the tradition of greed and selfishness that has eaten up the very material of society. This has affected even library follow. Libraries are to amass info for the overall good of the society.Restricted collections – the place collaborating libraries haven’t constructed up their assortment to a minimal customary to permit for change, they’re to develop their collections to some measurable standing to make sure honest participation.ICTs infrastructure – the marked lack of enough Info and Communication Applied sciences (ICTs) is a worrisome difficulty for cooperation on this 21st century.

Buying and set up of ICTs may be very essential, in addition to the training and coaching of staffs to be used.Staffing – among the collaborating libraries have untrained and unqualified workers as a serious impediment. Additionally, most workers are involved about their standing, effectivity, job safety, salaries, and autonomy or independence, and this has affected the synergy. If the fears of workers are to be dispelled via correct sensitisation and training, capability constructing additionally should be undertaken.Administration – administration should take decisive steps in the direction of cooperation.In conclusion, info to libraries is as cash to banks; it’s an indispensable enter within the improvement technique of the nation. Nevertheless, to be efficient it needs to be optimally obtainable and accessible from each nook if doable. Library cooperation if correctly deliberate and executed presents an answer to loads of issues confronted by libraries, librarians and different info professionals in creating international locations as Sierra Leone. Valls (1983) has offered the final phrases, “cooperation between information centres and the co-ordination of efforts needed to efficiently share resources implies the existence of an infrastructure linking the centres to one another.” This library infrastructure should be constructed up as it could help in fostering self-help, change info, change society, enhance productiveness and work life, and share sources.