The impact of digital divide on skills development amongst academic librarians in Imo State

  • N Emezie
  • N Nwaohir
  • N James
Keywords: digital, information, technology, computer, internet, skills, librarians.

Abstract

The library had been the primary source of information for staff and students, and services were carried out manually until the advent of Information and Communication Technologies which resulted in the digital divide. Today library function/services are carried out with the help of ICT facilities. This has forced academic librarians to shift from manual library services to the use of ICT facilities in carrying out library functions. The paper is on the impact of digital divide on skills development amongst academic librarians in Imo State. Questionnaire were designed and distributed to all the professional and para-professional library staff in the four academic libraries in Imo State. A total of 97 questionnaires were distributed to these staff members but only 60 (61.85%) were who completed and returned. All the professional and para-professional staff who constitute the senior staff members was represented in the sample. The result presented and anlaysed with tables, percentages and graph revealed that; many of the libraries are short staffed, considering the large of students they attend to on daily basis; the libraries under study do not have adequate ICT facilities; majority of the staff members are computer literate but few are experienced in the use of computers and other ICT facilities; majority of the staff members actively participate in continuous professional development in the use of ICT facilities using different methods of training which include conference, seminar, workshop, apprenticeship training, job rotation, formal training and in-service training. It was also observed that many factors militated or hindered ICT skill acquisition by academic library staff which includes lack of fund on the part of library management and staff, inadequate training programme on ICT, high cost of ICT facilities, lack of time on the part of staff. It recommended that: - Academic libraries should employ more professional and para-professional librarians.                                                           - Government should provide adequate funds for academic libraries.          - Academic library management should send their staff on compulsory ICT training and also retain their staff.                                                                                                      - Academic library management should source for alternative source of funds using donor agencies.                                                                 - Staff members can save part of their income and enroll for evening and weekend training on ICT.                                                                     - Academic library management should arrange for in-house training.                                                                                              - Using key members of staff who are experts on the use of ICT facilities or pay consultants on ICT to come and teach staff members.
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eISSN: 1597-4316