Issues and Prospects of Knowledge Sharing in Academic Libraries.

Author:Ajie, Ifeoma
Position:2-20-2019 - Report
 
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INTRODUCTION

An academic library is the heart of a university, without a functional library a tertiary institution cannot be accorded the status of a university, thus a library is established as soon as a university starts full operation. Over the years, academic libraries have been able to generate wealth of information about its operation but just like other organisations, they are yet to be fully explored and re-invented into the system to create organisational knowledge (Towley, 2001). Knowledge is considered a competitive resource for organisations and a strategic capital in the information economy. Towley,2001 corroborating this in relation to the library, stated that the knowledge and experiences of library staff are the assets of any library and should be valued and shared. This signifies that knowledge is an important asset for university libraries. Knowledge is primarily of two types: explicit knowledge and tacit knowledge. Explicit knowledge is characterized by external appearances and can be expressed in the form of books, the web and documents. This type of knowledge is easy to store and circulate, through the use of technology. Another type of knowledge is tacit Knowledge. This type of knowledge resides in the minds and behaviour of individuals, the internal intuition and common-sense. This type of knowledge is hidden and often is based on experience and difficult to express through technology.

For any academic library to perform its functions effectively, its work areas must include the following: information and communication technologies, automation, networking, internet, administration, cataloguing, acquisition, abstracting, indexing, publishing, marketing of products and services, seminars, workshops, polices, interlibrary loan, staffing, knowledge management and database management among others (Fayose & Nwalo, 2000; Alegbeleye, 2010 & Etim, 2010). Academic libraries are quite interested in using technology to network operations such as administration, cataloguing, interlibrary loan and international bibliographic project. If properly utilized it helps the growth and development of libraries in different directions. It allows easy integration of various activities, facilitates cooperation, helps to avoid duplication of efforts within the library and among libraries in a network, eliminates some uninteresting and repetitive work and provides marketing opportunity for its services (Fayose & Nwalo, 2000). The option available for now is to include networks, electronic mail and the internet if we must satisfy the information needs of the users in the twenty-first century. Some African universities have seen the need to make use of information technology in order to promote research and enhance excellence.

Etim (2010) supported this assertion when she stated that the need to share and transfer information in Africa is not new. The issue is that in most of Africa, adequate internet access presents a great challenge for university administration. Ogunshola (2004) noted that the proliferation of Nigeria universities, despite the economic recession in the country since 1980 have aggravated the problem for universities and their libraries. On the whole, university libraries in many African countries are faced with dearth of funding for books and journals, staffing difficulties and perhaps a loss of the perception of the library as the centre of academic life and scholarship. Lack of internet access has deprived African universities the latest search for information, web based learning, opportunities to be part of international research teams, and the ability to connect campuses with video conferencing (Etim, 2010).

Longshak (2010) stated that inspite of all these impediments in the implementation of technology in Nigerian libraries, there are reasons to believe that prospects are brighter. Therefore, there is the need for knowledge sharing among librarians in university libraries if we must come out of these challenges.

PURPOSE OF PAPER

Today's libraries emphasis has shifted from ownership of information to access, thus librarians are faced with the task of having to develop themselves in order to meet the ever-changing user needs. This has therefore necessitated that librarians invest in training and professional development in order to keep pace with constantly changing user needs and information environment. However, studies have shown that there is reluctance to share acquired or experienced information and knowledge among librarians. Because there is no regular or systematic ways of sharing both explicit and tacit knowledge by the librarians, and making such knowledge available to others in order to improve organisational effectiveness and add value to the operations of libraries.

Since knowledge is stored in individual brains, studies have also shown that when librarians disengage from service in libraries or are being transferred from one section to another, they often leave such duties with their acquired and experienced knowledge, as there had been a failure in the system to capture, retain and transfer such knowledge. Such knowledge are often buried in unread reports and filed away in cabinets or totally lost. This study therefore seeks to unravel the type and extent of knowledge sharing among academic librarians. It will also dig into the impediments of knowledge sharing by academic librarians

The structure of this paper aims to describe the knowledge sharing strategy by some academic libraries. First, is to define purpose or motivation of conducting knowledge sharing, following that is describing the types of knowledge sharing activities, facilities are used in knowledge sharing, documentation process of the knowledge sharing results, and knowledge sharing barriers during the implementation.

CONCEPT OF KNOWLEDGE SHARING

Knowledge sharing is the process of coordinating learning activities whereby individuals, mutually exchange their knowledge and jointly create new knowledge. Knowledge sharing is a process which consists of both, bringing knowledge and getting knowledge. (Yang, 2004). Each worker can learn from the experiences and practices of the other.

Knowledge sharing among workers worldwide is perceived as one of the most convenient and effective way to obtain knowledge. Knowledge sharing among workers enhances the ability to seek related help from one another. Knowledge sharing among workers essentially facilitates achieving outcomes of collective learning. Learning and knowledge sharing are intimately connected. The knowing process is a component of sharing, thinking and learning.

In light of this fact, organisations tend...

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