Research Skills, ICT Application and Sustainable Library Development.

Author:Adekoya, Clement Ola
  1. Introduction

    Library has been and will continue to be one of the keys around which advancement in tertiary education is structured. Sustainable library development is pivotal in the continuous process of delivering quality education and conducting empirical research in the modern period than at any previous time. The pursuit of sustainable library development is a significant policy goal of universities and institutions across the world including the United Nations, World Bank, and the World Trade (Elliott, 2006). Literally, sustainable library development includes ensuring development of library over time. In the modern period, the link between research skills and ICT application as the basic tools for ensuring sustainable library development has been appreciated in many literature (Kate, Parris & Leiserowitz, 2005; Lee, Holland & McNeill, 2000).

    Sustainable library development is one of the overall sustainable development plans of the United Nations in the United Nations 2030 Agenda. Access to information has been acknowledged as primary under Sustainable Development Goal 16: promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development; provision of access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels (ALIA, n.d). Target 16:10 of the 2030 Sustainable Development plan is to 'ensure public access to information and protect fundamental freedom, in accordance with national legislation and international agreement. In Lyon Declaration on Access to Information and Developments, it was stated that half of the world's population lacked access to (online) information. Meanwhile, in our knowledge society, libraries is in prime position to provide access and opportunity for all (IFLA, n.d)

    One of the core concepts in sustainable library development is to use ICT and research skills to assist the development needs of libraries and librarians. Sustainable development refers to the development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generation to meet their own needs (World Commission on Environment and Development, 1987). It is the organizing principle through which human development goals are met and at the same time sustaining the potentials of natural resources upon which the economy and society depend.

    Primary to academic institutions is the presence of academic libraries through which scholars are able to get information resources to increase their frontier of knowledge. The conduct of empirical research requires the development of research skills and application of ICT in the modern days. Hence, the sustainable development of libraries in the modern period requires that librarians develop vast research skills and at the same time be robustly complying with the emerging trends in ICT applications.

    Librarians are increasingly called upon these days, not just to support the research of academics in other disciplines, but also to be proficient researchers in their own right. Heeding this obligatory clarion call, academic librarians are now producing research and scholarly works of their own to assist them have better knowledge of the profession and to contribute back their own knowledge, skills and experience (Canadian Association of Research Libraries, 2010). Even, since the assumption of faculty status by the library, librarians in universities are consigned to conduct research as a mandatory requirement for their career progress. However, it is obvious that educational research is complex in nature to the extent that none of the existing methodological approaches can be enough to mirror its complexity (Fernate, Surikova, Kalnina & Romero, 2009). Hence, the need to posses the basic research skills that would aid the proficiency of the librarians in making their pedagogical experience available to the wider world by the way of research productivity.

    The vision of sustainable library development takes into consideration the ICT and research dimension of human development. Research skills are one the most vital skills required for sustainable library development. Onus is therefore on academic librarians to develop their discipline through a research-based method by creating environment that includes vital integration of research activity and ICT application (Deem, 2007; Haverhals, 2007).

    Ensuring sustainable library development in the modern period requires continuous acknowledgement of libraries as the warehouse of information resources needed for global advancement. Most of these resources are kept in digital format. 21st* century librarians are therefore expected to be fully ICT compliant and endear themselves with the current trends in research skills. This is so as ICT and research skills are integrated in every facet of library operations. Libraries are by all standards at the forefront of the digital transformation and provision of digital information infrastructures and at the same time manage and curate cultural heritage collections. This ushers in modern ways of involvement with information and knowledge and the need to rethink skills and competency profiles that will enable academic librarians to support e-research all along the research cycle (Schmidt, Calarco. Kuchma & Shearer, 2016).

    1.2 Objectives of the Research

    The objectives of the study are to:

  2. know what constitute sustainable libraries development

  3. to investigate the extent of research skills needed by librarians for sustainable library development;

  4. examine the impact of research skills of librarians on sustainable library development;

  5. investigate the extent of application of ICT in library;

  6. examine the impact of ICT on library operation; and

  7. find out the challenges militating against ICT for sustainable library development.

    1.3 Research questions

    The following research questions guide the study:

  8. What constitutes sustainable library development?

  9. What is the extent of research skills of librarians for sustainable library development?

  10. What is the impact of research skills of librarians on sustainable library development?

  11. What is the extent of application of ICT in the library?

  12. What is the impact of ICT on library operation?

  13. What are the challenges militating against the application of ICT for sustainable library development?

  14. 1.4 Hypotheses

    The following null hypotheses were tested in the study.

  15. There is no significant relationship between research skills and sustainable library development.

  16. There is no significant relationship between ICT application and sustainable library development.

  17. There is no significant relationship between joint influence of research skills and ICT application on sustainable library development.

    Literature Review

    2.1 Sustainable library development

    Massive and qualitative human capital development with emphasis on the development of research skills and ICT application are factors responsible for the sustainable development of the more advanced nations of the world in the last half century (Bogoro, 2014). Integral elements of sustainable development are research and the application of ICT because their outputs are expected to have direct effect on humanity. It is even now evident that the development of research skills and the use of ICT by librarians is a concerted endeavor facilitated to stimulate and expedite advancement in the delivery of library services. Librarians now play remarkable roles in development processes in educational sector, with great emphasis on the development of research skills and ICT application for sustainable library development in most developing countries, including Nigeria.

    The United Nation 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is a framework of 17 Sustainable Development Goals spanning economic, environmental, educational and social development (IFLA, 2018). Libraries are one of the key institutions for actualization of the goals. Libraries as institutions are deeply involved in the creation of UN 2030 Agenda, advocating for the inclusion of uninterrupted access to information, safeguard territorial cultural heritage, universal literacy, and access to information and communication technologies (ICT) in the framework. Access to information is also a target under Sustainable Development Goal 2030.

    Given the current developmental needs in library for sustainable development across the world, countries that treasure development have to adopt library information use policies by the way of allocating adequate fund to research with a view to generating pertinent knowledge that will influence livelihoods (Altibach 2009). Ensuring sustainable library development requires that the research skills of librarians together with maximum application of ICT to library operations are enhanced. In August 2013, the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL), the Association of European Research Libraries (LIBER), and the Confederation of Open Access Repositories (COAR) launched the joint Task Force on Librarians' Competencies in Support of E-Research and Scholarly Communication. These include ICT and research skills, among others.

    2.2 Research skills

    Global educational growth and competitiveness rests significantly on application of ICT, driven by a well-planned vibrant research skills acquisition system which integrates the research prowess of higher education with the demands of industry and larger society. Tertiary Institutions all over the world are usually the key drivers of research and development activities (Bogoro, 2014). As a result of the declining quality of research infrastructure in tertiary institutions coupled with the declining quality of the academics, lack of financial incentive for publications and paucity of fund, research output of librarians in Nigerian universities have been at a very low level. Also, the level of investment by governments in innovative research and development and education...

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