Reference Providers in Tutorial Libraries in Sierra Leone

Reference Services in Academic Libraries in Sierra Leone

IntroductionSociety is turning into extra stratified and polarized, with the wealthy and the poor, the educated and uneducated, having restricted cognitive abilities wider aside than in any time in our historical past. On this interval of accelerating stratification by revenue and talent, the library in educational establishments could acts as a bridge between the entrenched social poles.Reference libraries have the longest historical past of any kind of library. They existed within the days of clay pill and from such tablets, data was consulted and a listing of considerations is being considered the primitive forerunners of present library catalogues. From their beginnings in historical instances, the features of libraries haven’t altered considerably. Nevertheless the format, amount and content material of the supplies making up their inventory and the resultant providers have progressively been remodeled to the purpose the place the researchers at the moment have entry to a community of subtle data sources. The first function of the library is instructional and this has been the angle if not the realisation of reference librarians (Higgens, 1988).Tutorial libraries are these designed to fulfill common research on the undergraduate and graduate ranges and which additionally help their mum or dad establishments in delivering their programmes for an efficient instructing and implementation of sensible abilities. Higgens (1988) outlined an educational library as that connected to assist educational establishments above secondary degree serving the instructing and analysis wants of scholars, employees and researchers. In accordance with Harrods (2000) educational libraries are these present in universities, polytechnics, faculties and all different establishments forming a part of or related to the academic establishments.Reference Providers on the Fourah Bay School LibraryFourah Bay School library was established in 1827. It’s situated at Fourah Bay School, College of Sierra Leone within the Michael Jollife Constructing which was named after the late Mr. Michael Jollife, an expatriate who served as School librarian from 1961-1970.The primary ground of the library homes the reception desk; photocopying room; challenge desk; Sierra Leone Assortment (incorporating the United Nations Assortment); the American Shelf; Normal Reference Assortment; Cataloguing Division; Acquisition Division; Circulation Division and the School Librarian’s workplace. The second ground holds the Textbook Assortment. The third ground comprises the Normal Lending Assortment.The decrease floor ground homes the Bindery; employees rooms and shops. The library has Skilled, Para-professional and different help employees. It makes use of the Dewey Decimal Classification Scheme and the Triplicate Issuing System with Card catalogue.Fourah Bay School library is without doubt one of the excellent educational libraries in Sierra Leone established with the mission assertion “to build a comprehensive collection of recorded information to support effective teaching, research and training in the Liberal Arts, Pure and Applied Sciences, Engineering and Technology, Social Sciences and Law and related fields to facilitate speedy access to information, and to optimize the use of collection by potential library users of Fourah Bay College and other institutions.”Reference Service is the height of library exercise job. It includes the upkeep of a useful resource financial institution from which solutions to queries are offered and supplies wanted by customers are made accessible.Davidson (1979) outlined reference service as the availability of knowledge and supplies to individuals coming into a reference library and requesting assist from the library employees. Katz (1997) considered reference service because the behind-the-scene actions of the reference library within the choice, acquisition and upkeep of the library inventory and its cautious recordings and administration.After we speak of reference service in educational libraries, we imply these actions undertaken by librarians and related sorts of employees from the reference division in educational libraries. That is achieved by means of the usage of assortment of books, and different supplies stocked within the reference division for reference functions distinct from assortment made for dwelling studying or different use outdoors the library. The reference course of in educational libraries includes the next:• The consumer recognises his want for data;

• The consumer places his query to the librarian;

• The librarian engages the questioner in a reference dialogue;

• The librarian refines and restates the query;

• The librarian formulates the search technique;

• The librarian identifies and exploits his personal and/or exterior data sources;

• The librarian presents his tentative findings;

• The consumer assesses the relevance of those in relation to his necessities; and

• The consumer accepts an accepted reply.Reference supplies on the Fourah Bay School Library embrace:dictionaries, encyclopedias, summary journals, directories, yearbooks, biographies periodicals/serials, indexes to periodicals, newspapers, maps and charts, technical stories, patents, commonplace specs, dissertations, theses, convention proceedings and the educational and administrative calendar of occasions or the operation of the school.Along with these supplies the library provides the next providers:Reference Service: This refers back to the private help given to customers to find particular data whether or not direct or oblique. At Fourah Bay School Library, a useful resource financial institution is maintained from which solutions to questions are offered and supplies wanted by customers are made accessible.Bibliographic Service: The library prepares guide lists and bibliographies for its shoppers, particularly post-graduate college students which function an ideal help of their analysis actions particularly within the writing of their theses and dissertation.Photocopying Service: This service is offered for college kids who want to photocopy their notes in addition to lecturers who need to reproduce a number of copies of helpful supplies to make their lecture notes. Customers pay a charge for this service.Web Service: That is the newest among the many providers offered on the Fourah Bay School Library. The Library gives a possibility for employees and college students to entry data on-line by way of the usage of the Web. Nevertheless, to make use of the system, the clientele should have some abilities within the use computer systems and a charge can also be charged for the service.Binding Service: Mutilated references supplies are despatched to bindery to be sure. Nevertheless it isn’t a free for all service as some price is charged for the providers rendered particularly to college students and for private work of employees members.The reference division on the Fourah Bay School library is a particular one from which supplies can’t be borrowed for dwelling studying. It’s served by particular librarians known as Reference Librarians or Info Officers, who help and advise patrons of their analysis and different literature wants. They supply bibliographic or mental entry and provide focused providers and programmes with the mission of training, informing and entertaining a wide range of audiences and the purpose of stimulating particular person studying and advancing society as an entire.Reference Queries:are additionally answered within the library. These questions posed by the library patrons to the reference librarians with the goal of getting the fitting data to fulfill their wants. These queries are divided into:Directional Queries: These are queries through which the reference librarian is requested merely for instructions.Prepared Reference Queries: These are known as fast reference questions. They’re queries through which the reference librarians must seek the advice of just one supply, and that adjoining to the enquiry level, so as to cope with the consumer’s wants. That is distinguished from the purely directional degree of labor by the truth that the librarians must seek the advice of some knowledge quite than merely reply from private information.Particular Search Queries: These are described as these through which reference librarians could must seek the advice of a number of sources to make sure full the satisfaction of consumer wants. They’re the type that are clearly understood with out an excessive amount of dialogue and the sources required are apparent and pretty elementary.Analysis Queries: These are queries that require prolonged searches, maybe over a number of days and probably involving a lot of library employees concurrently. The marshalling of info and figures from a variety of sources, along with the necessity to write in depth background notes and explanations, and possibly to borrow supplies from different libraries and make a phone name to recommendation or getting help from different libraries will probably be a characteristic of such a queryChallenges of Reference Providers on the Fourah Bay School LibraryAcademic Libraries in Sierra Leone, particularly Fourah Bay School Library should not with out challenges. These vary from scarcity of funds by means of lack of ample professionally expert employees to erratic energy provide.The library is wholly and solely dependent upon the school administration for funding. An evaluation of funding at Fourah Bay School Library reveals {that a} very low precedence is given to the establishment’s educational nerve centre. The library is gravely underfunded. Video games and Sports activities Division is given a better citation than the library. This monetary problem has due to this fact restricted the library within the provision of a wonderful reference service to its shoppers. The library additionally lacks the required present reference supplies to deal with reference queries. This monetary constraints has restricted the library in buying the newest reference supplies.Additional the variety of skilled employees is small in comparison with the variety of para-professional and different help employees. The reference part doesn’t have ample employees to deal with the amount of reference queries from the majority of the customers of the library particularly throughout peak durations.Energy outages additionally pose a critical problem. The issue, although a nationwide one, has affected the operations of the library. The 21st century library is meant to be a digital library which should thrive on energy provide. Sadly energy provide in Sierra Leone is erratic and this has handicapped the Fourah Bay School library drastically. As such employees and customers couldn’t make use of such amenities as laptop, looking the Web for current reference supplies and data or photocopying supplies which can’t be used outdoors the library and even have entry to automated reference supplies.The reference division on the library doesn’t have Web amenities to assist in answering reference queries that require present response. Additionally the seating lodging within the reference division on the library is insufficient and can’t accommodate the massive variety of college students within the faculty who are available in for reference providers. The reference division additionally lacks Present Consciousness Providers (CAS), Selective Dissemination of Info (SDI) all of which type the premise for reference providers. Furthermore the reference sources and sources accessible on the reference division should not effectively publicised or marketed which may function a robust hyperlink between the division and the shoppers.Certainly, reference service is without doubt one of the most vital providers {that a} library makes use of to fulfill its goals and targets. There may be appreciable potential within the use the school library of reference providers however there are additionally many challenges. There must be due to this fact dedication on the a part of the librarians, library administration, customers and the school administration so as to obtain high quality and sustainability within the growth and enchancment of reference providers. Solely by means of their energetic participation will reference providers remodel the instructing and studying course of, alter the character of knowledge in search of, organising and utilizing behaviour at Fourah Bay School.