THE ROLE OF ICT IN PROVISION OF LIBRARY SERVICES: A PANACEA FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN NIGERIA.

Author:Adebayo, Odunola Adefunke
 
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Introduction

Information Communication Technology (ICT) has remained a catalyst in the issue of national advancement and development. Information, as power is effectively an infinite resource and a vital tool needed for the development of all sectors in any nation. It is therefore, imperative that application in libraries would go a long way in satisfying the information need of the citizens. It is worthy of note, that the emergence of ICT has impacted greatly on the quality of information provided through libraries. It also enables proper and adequate provision of library services to library users from all disciplines. In this 21st century, the drastic role of ICT in library operations cannot be over emphasized. Many library routines and operations that were initially performed manually are now being converted to computerized operations which means, applications of ICT techniques to providing better and faster services to the end users. A nation without functional libraries and information centres may lack access to information that would enable her sustainable development. In this era of globalization, in which the world is connected, information gains its power through permanent storage and wide distribution, which could be achieved through ICT. According to Janakiraman and Subramaniah (2015), the world now experience a digital scenario in which ICT has changed the possibilities of the library job promotions and has brought changes to expected library performances.

ICT is a generic term that refers to the technologies that are used to collect, store, edit and communicate information in various format (Raji, 2018). The use of ICT improves access to digital information, narrows down the digital divide and also improves standard of living. Adoption of ICT in libraries is a way of improving on information services provided in libraries. This is an era, when people need to access timely information with ease, and this can only be done through the application of ICT to library services. It is also a way of contributing to sustainable development of the nation, since timely and effective provision of useful information can assist in building up a society ICT as an enabling tool, assist libraries in provision of information, which is very paramount to development of the various sectors in the nation. Libraries are playing a very important role facilitating access to global information and knowledge resources, using ICT.

Apparently, ICTs are indispensable tools needed for provision of value added information that support the sustainable development. Although, many institutions and organizations including libraries face diverse challenges in the process of integrating ICTs to their services. Nevertheless, information provision is paramount to development and growth of any nation. It is therefore important that, effort is made to enable usability of ICTs in all sectors, of the nation ICT and library services.

Information and communication technology is the application of technologies consisting of hardware, software, network and media for collection, storage processing transmission and presentation of information in vocal, textual, pictorial and multimedia formats, (Igwe, 2011). ICT is a term used in the library to refer to application of computers and other technologies to library practices such as acquisition, storage, organization and dissemination of information. The world has become a global village and with ICT, many library users now have access to vast sea of information, without necessarily investing much time or energy. The process of generally and distributing information is now being facilitated through the use of ICT.

Aina, Okunnu and Dapo-Asaju (2014) postulated that ICT is a term used to describe the ability to access information with the use of telecommunication based internet resources. ICT provides the ability to create, organize, manipulate and access information from remote locations across the globe, within a short time. ICT involves incorporation of a range of technologies that are used to support communication and information dissemination. Saidu, Tukur and Adamu (2014) described ICT as the use of computer-based technology and internet for making information and communication services available to a wide range of users. The term is broadly used to refer to a range of technologies including telephones, e-mail and so on. Central to the range of technologies is the internet, which provides the mechanism for transporting data in a number of formats such as text, images, sound and video. ICT is system that enables information to be collected, analyzed, processed and disseminated.

Olise (2010) opined that information communication technologies (ICTs) are new technologies that cannot be ignored in Africa. He further identified that ICTs are significant tools that must be employed to achieve and sustain development.

The advent of ICT is indeed a boost to the library services as it now assists many librarians to use their ICT potentials to reach out to library users. Chisenga (2004) identified some of the ICT-based services that are provided by libraries as follows:

* Provision of web access to OPAC: Libraries are providing access to web-based Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC) interfaces. The OPAC makes it easier for users to access and use information resources. OPAC is the computer form of library catalogue, to access materials in the library (Afolabi and Abidoye, n.d.)

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