The continuing explosion of information, as well as continuing developments in information technology, mean that organizations continue to look for employees who are creative. Creative people are needed to deal with the constant re-engineering that organizations are going through. Libraries in Nigeria are not left out of this search for excellence. Morgan (2004: 1) observes that, [t]raditionally, librarianship has been aligned with the collecting; organizing, archiving, disseminating, and sometimes evaluation of data and information. Libraries are not about books. They are about information and knowledge. The past librarianship has been associated with books only because books were the primary manifestation of information. In today's world, information manifests itself in many more mediums. Most notable is the electronic medium. If librarians are to continue with their self-imposed mission, then there will be a continuing need for creative librarians. This will be like a midwife for the profession enabling the clientele to give birth to new ideas through then use of collected, organized, archived, disseminated, and evaluated, electronic data and information."
Related to this view, Kumaravel (2005:1) asserts that, "universities libraries are in transition wherein the process of information acquisition, synthesis, navigation, and archiving are increasingly focused on networked and interactive access to digital multimedia information to point of need, and on the innovative application of electronic technologies." Morgan observes that university libraries are changing their role from information providers to information access providers. This calls for creativity on the part of the librarians as well versatility in the application of electronic technologies.
Creativity is a fundamentally human characteristic. Sternberg (1996) observes that, "[c]reative people generate ideas that are like undervalued stocks (stocks with a low price-to-earning ratio), and both are generally rejected by the public. When creative ideas are proposed, they are often view as bizarre, useless, and even foolish, and are summarily rejected, and the person proposing them regarded with suspicion and perhaps even disdain and derision." Leonard and Straus (1997) express the related view that creativity is difficult to manage, and Candy (2000) remarks that creative people are "notorious for resisting rigid formulaic approach."
Prior computer experience and librarians self-efficacy are two factors that can make a difference in libraries' search for creativity. It is not surprising that computer experience is valuable, and an investment in computer training for new employees is a good one. Likewise, self-efficacy has been proven to be a consistent predictor in a vast array of human behaviours (Stajkovic and Luthans, 1998). Do these two factors have any relationship with creativity? The present study examines the impact of self-efficacy and prior computer experience on creativity in freshly-recruited librarians in selected universities libraries in Southwest Nigeria.
Self-efficacy is defined in terms of individuals' perceived capabilities to attain designated types of performances and to achieve specific results (Pajares, 1996). It has been found that a strong sense of personal efficacy is related to better health, higher achievement and creativity, and better social integration (Bandura, 1997; Schwarzer, 1992). The construct of self-efficacy represents one core aspect of Bandura's Social Cognitive theory (Bandura, 1977, 1997, 2000, 2001). In a unifying theory of behaviour change, "Bandura hypothesizes that expectations of self-efficacy determine whether instrumental action will be initiated, how much efforts will be expended, and how long it will be sustained in the face of obstacles and failures" (Schwarzer and Schmitz, 2005). According to theory and research, self-efficacy makes a difference in how people think, feel, and act (Bandura, 1997). In terms of feeling, low self-efficacy is associated with depression, anxiety, and helplessness. Persons with low self-efficacy also have low self-esteem, and they "harbour pessimistic thoughts about their accomplishments and personal development" (Schwarzer and Schmitz, 2005). A "strong sense of competence facilitates cognitive processes and performance in a variety of settings, including quality of decision-making and achievement. People with high self-efficacy choose to perform more challenging tasks and are creative (Bandura, 1997). High self-efficacy also allows people to select challenging settings, explore their environment or create new ones (Schwarzer and Schmitz, 2005). Having confidence in one's ability to and tolerate, to overcome (Bandura, 1977), to grow start-up companies (Baum and Locke, 2004) and many other activities is a critical predictor of improved performance and creativity. "Without self-efficacy, individuals give up trying to accomplish...