IMPACT OF INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY (ICT) ON STAFF TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT IN JOHN HARRIS LIBRARY IN UNIVERSITY OF BENIN, EDO STATE, NIGERIA
1.1 Background of study
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) refers to technologies that provide access to information through telecommunications. It is similar to Information Technology (IT), but focuses primarily on communication technologies. This includes the Internet, wireless networks, cell phones, and other communication mediums.
In the past few decades, information and communication technologies have provided society with a vast array of new communication capabilities. For example, people can communicate in real-time with others in different countries using technologies such as instant messaging, voice over IP (VoIP), and video-conferencing. Modern information and communication technologies have created a “global village,” in which people can communicate with others across the world as if they were living next door. For this reason, ICT is often studied in the context of how modern communication technologies affect society.
Training is teaching, or developing in oneself or others, any skills and knowledge that relate to specific usefulcompetencies. Training has specific goals of improving one’s capability, capacity, productivity and performance. In addition to the basic training required for a trade, occupation or profession, observers of the labor-market recognizes the need to continue training beyond initial qualifications: to maintain, upgrade and update skills throughout working life. People within many professions and occupations may refer to this sort of training as professional development.
Staff training and development is a broad term covering multiple kinds of employee learning.
Training is a program that helps employees learn specific knowledge or skills to improve performance in their current roles. Development is more expansive and focuses on employee growth and future performance, rather than an immediate job role.
In recent times, the development and training of human resources has been the focus in national development. This is due to the fact that, the growth of any nation depends on the extent human development. Hence, without adequate investment in developing the human resources of the educational sector especially on the use of ICT, the possibility of national growth might be hampered. Okpala, (2006) stated that training and development is an instrument for social and economic mobility at personal level and instrument for transformation by society at national level.
Training and development for libraries is a critical factor in a knowledge base economy where information and communication iskeyto national development. Knowledge has become the only reliable instrument of gaining competitive advantage and staff training and development has become the panacea for addressing these challenges. Currently, organizations are recognizing the need to use best training and development practices to achieve their goal. In the Boards of Alan, (2009), staffs are now seen not just as employees, but as the organizations greatest asset which when given development opportunities, will deliver services to meet the changing needs of customers. The implication of the above position is that for library staff, relevant training and development should not be underestimated.
Training plays crucial role in the attainment of organizational goals through staff. There is a correlation between organizational success and investment due to relevant training and development. Hence staff training and development can also lead to organizational change and success, Sardar (2010). Besides, the value of staff training and development cannot be over emphasized for organizations. Effective training can boost the confident of library staff. The feedback from library users can also lead to job satisfaction and motivation. Organizations’ that invest in staff training and development usually benefits from an enriched working environment with higher level of staff retention as well as increased productivity and performance, Cobblah(2015).
Due to rapid technological and organizational changes, libraries have also increased the scope of librarians` responsibilities. In order to meet the information needs of library users; the skills and services have also drastically change with staff development and continuing education (Callahan & Watson, 1995). Staff training and development in libraries is therefore intended to strengthen the capabilities of libraries to perform functions effectively and efficiently in an information technology era. Staff training and development programs in libraries encourage the growth of both individual and library. This study focuses on the impact of information technology on staff training and development in John Harris Library in University of Benin, Edo State, Nigeria.
The University of Benin, main library, the John Harris Library, was named after the pioneer university librarian, PROF. JOHN HARRIS, from New Zealand. The library began with the inception of the university in 1970 at the Ekehuan Road Campus. John Harris Library is an ultra-modern building with central air conditioning. The building is designed to seat about 700 readers. It provides photocopying, duplicating, laminating and binding services. The library has been computerized. Installation of other modern information technology facilities is ongoing.
With the high increase in student population, the library has embarked on an expansion programme with the establishment of faculty libraries; the Ekehuan Road Campus Library, Medical Library, Law, Engineering and Pharmacy Library are functional. A John Harris Library extension is awaiting commissioning. The library participates in interlibrary co-operation among Nigerian academic libraries.
OBJECTIVE OF ESTABLISHMENT OF JOHN HARRIS LIBRARY:
The overall objective of establishing John Harris Library is defined as follows:
To offer a current and up-to-date collection of print and non-print materials, research and teaching needs of all library users. This translates into the following more specific objectives:
· Provision of current information to users in a quick and cost effective manner
· Provision of balanced perspective on knowledge based issues
· Provision of alternatives to formal learning in form of material support for continuing education
· Provision of value services, which improves information delivery
· Satisfying the information needs of the community
· Locating and assisting in the development of relevant information or materials
· Pairing information outreach with other activities in which the populations already engaged e.g. workshops, conferences, community events etc and
1.1 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Information Communication Technology (ICT) is changing the work of libraries and information centers. More than ever, university libraries need this technology. An increased number of users, a greater demand for library materials, an increase in the amount of material being published, new electronic formats and sources, and the development of new and cheaper computers are some of the reasons for the growing need for ICT in University Libraries. University libraries have not made equal progress in this area. Librarians, library patrons and supporters, and, above all, the government, must help develop ICT-based libraries to meet the changing demands of the users.
Despite these importance, usefulness of ICT in libraries, it is observed that there is a problem of absence of ICT based information services delivery, even when there is evidence of ICT’s in John Harris Library that have resulted to computerized library system.
Similarly, observation by the researcher also show that library staff in university of Benin are faced with the challenge of rapid technological advancement, increased demands from the university communities for innovative services and the University libraryis observed to be changing in response to changes in teaching, learning and research activities but it was observed that there is a dearth in staff training and development programs to keep the librarians abreast of new developments in librarianship for effective and efficient service delivery using ICT.
However,it has been revealed that studies relating to this area are very scanty and no similar study has been carried out in universities in Edo State, Nigeria to the best of knowledge of this researcher. Therefore, the problem of this study is to investigate the impact of ICT to staff training and development to improve provision of effective library and information services in John Harris Library in University of Benin, Edo State, Nigeria.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The objective of this study is to determine the impact of Information Technology on staff training and development in John Harris Library in University of Benin, Edo State, Nigeria. Specifically the study seeks to:
1. Determine availability of staff training and development programs in libraries.
2. Identify the types of staff training and development programs in John Harris Library, University of Benin.
3. To identify the benefits of staff training and development programs in John Harris Library, University of Benin.
4. Ascertain the effect of ICT on staff training and development programs on libraries.
5. Identify the challenges that affect staff training and development programs in John Harris Library, University of Benin.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
This study seeks answers to the following questions:
1. To what extent are staff training and development programs available in John Harris Library, University of Benin?
2. What are the types of staff training and development programsexisting in John Harris Library, University of Benin?
3. What are benefits to be derived from staff training and development programs for library staff in John Harris Library, University of Benin?
4. Does ICT use affect staff training and development programs?
5. What are the challenges that affect staff training and development programs in John Harris Library, University of Benin?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
It is hoped that the findings of this study will be of benefits to librarians, researchers, university management, stakeholders, management of university libraries and library schools.Also, it is hoped that this study will assist librarians and library management to fill the gap that exists between staff training and development programs in University Libraries. Practically, it is hoped that the findings from this study will provide university libraries access to current and timely resources that will enhance effective discharge of services by librarians.
It is expected that the findings of this study will be useful to practicing librarians by exposing them to the type of ICT competencies they need to possess in order to perform optimally in the profession. Similarly, it will also assist Curriculum Developers in the department of Library and Information Science to provide useful information about the type of professional training required by modern information workers. This will help them to plan a rich academic course content that will incorporate ICT competency training programmes.
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This study covers the types of staff training and development programs that are available, reasons, effect and challenges of staff training and development programs. This study is also limited to John Harris Library in University of Benin, Edo State, Nigeria.
1.7 OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF TERMS
The following terms are hereby defined in the context in which they are used in this study:
Impact: in this study, refers the measure of the tangible and intangible effects (consequences) of entity’s action or influence upon another.
Staff: in this study refers,a group of people who work for an organization, in this case, a university library.
Academic Library: in this study refers the library that is attached to a higher education institution which serves two complementary purposes to support the school’s curriculum, and to support the research of the university faculty and students.
Staff Development: in this study, refers the process of assisting managerial library staff to perform non-routine jobs toimprove managerial, administrative and decision- making abilities and competence.
Training:in this study, refers teaching of lower-level or technical library staff on how to perform their jobs.
Information Communication Technology: in this study, refers the use of modern electronics to render library services.