A framework of cooperation between academic staff and library staff for a meaningful university education for students.

Author:Arua, Uche


There is no arguing the fact that no matter how intellectually endowed a lecturer may be, he or she cannot exclusively impart to the student all that the student requires in any given subject matter. This is because knowledge is dynamic and quality teaching depends among other things, on a number of variables; namely personal and in -depth knowledge of the subject matter, quality and up-to-dateness of the research put into it, teaching method employed as well as the communicative ability and skill of the teacher. Besides, modern teaching and learning are resources based and student centered. The teacher in this era of information explosion is not sufficiently equipped with all the necessary modern gadgets to keep track of the latest developments and advances areas of specialization. Worse still, most academics do not use the library available to them on the wrong assumption that they do not find the materials they require. Even when they use the library, they do not maximize the expertise and resourcefulness of the librarian and other library staff who are better positioned to assist them in their information retrieval.

Consequently, there is the need for effective cooperation between the teacher and the library staff who normally acquire, process, organize and make available materials in every subject field, if the students are to be given quality and meaningful university education. By training, attitude, orientation, function and commitment, the librarian is a teacher in any academic setting. Librarians' responsibilities extends far beyond organizing and maintaining library collections. Their major responsibility and prime function Davies says, are to implement the Education Programme of the parent Institution by working directly with the academic staff to facilitate and expedite their teaching and by working directly with students to effectualise and to enhance learning." Knight acknowledges the role of the librarian when he said, "the librarian is a teacher whose subject is learning itself". The library collections will be meaningless if it is not used in the day to day instructional programme of its parent institution.

One of the key ways to give students meaningful education resides in the quality of teaching. The quality of library staff as a teacher is equally of utmost importance. The library staff first and foremost must be a sound professional as well as an education generalist. Thus, the library staff carries out dual roles-management of the library and instructions to student or client.

The library-academic staff cooperation is very fundamental in the actualization of an Education Programme of excellence. This is owing to the fact that both of them are close associates in teaching and learning, visa-vise their complementary roles. Moreover, by virtue of their position and day to day interaction with students and other library clients, they are in better position to know and understand the information needs of students and how best to meet them. This immense understanding of the students information needs is sine qua non for effective and result oriented academic programme of excellence. But if the library staff is isolated from the planning of instruction, they fail to provide for the teacher, group, or student the degree of effectiveness possible when pre-planning and direct communication exist.

The Need for Academic-Library Staff Cooperation

It is a truism that academics and librarians have not adequately perceived the commonality and complementary nature of their duty and have therefore not co-operated sufficiently in the discharge of the functions thrust on them by society. However, the fact remains that academics and librarians are partners in the Education industry-teaching, learning and research and the need for them to co-operate in the Education of students is too glaring to be ignored. As partners whose work are complementary to each other, and also spend much of their time more than any other group on campus interacting with students, it is incumbent on them as building a balanced collection of information resources to support the teaching-learning objectives. This is more so, because modern Education is not only resource based but also learner oriented rather than teacher oriented.

In policy formulation and selection of objectives, it is important to consider on a holistic manner the needs of the student- readiness, interest, abilities and the ideals of parent institution. Since no man is an island unto himself, when academics and library staff plan and work together they will have greater fulfillment for their labour and the students will be the best for it, in that, in such harmonious working relationship they will share appropriate learning experiences which will help them to fill necessary gaps, especially those gaps which have to do with successful and timely provision of relevant and important learning resources. The library staff is there after all to help the teacher to make a continuous plan for the effective evaluation of the...

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