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ASSESSMENT OF STAFF TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT FOR NON-PROFESSIONAL STAFF IN UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES IN NIGERIA
The study identified Training and Development for non-professional staff in Nigerian University Libraries as practiced and the type of training available to them. The categories of staff that are enjoying the training programme, the relevance of the course contents, the effect of the training programme for non-professional and job performance. The method adopted for the study was survey research method. It was used to assess Training and Development for non-professional staff in six (6) Nigerian University Libraries. These include Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, University of Benin, Benin City, University of Ibadan, University of Ilorin, University of Maiduguri and University of Nigeria Nsukka. The data collected were analyzed and presented in frequency table and percentages. The study found that staff training and development is a necessary tonic for effective and efficient services by the library staff, because with training, it enables the employees to acquire and possess the necessary skills, capabilities, and attitude needed for efficient performance of their job. The type of training available to them include job orientation, formal in-service training, job rotation, typewriting, computer training, Factors like lack of finance, poor remuneration for teachers, delay in releasing the results, lack of basic teaching facilities, lukewarm attitude of staff militate against effective establishment of training programmes.
1.1 Background to the Study
The establishment and development of academic libraries in all parts of the world is very necessary for the development of their parent institutions – the Universities. According to
Olanlokun and Salisu (1993), this type of library started in the 16th and 17th centuries in Europe and America with the founding of universities in those continents. The far Eastern University Libraries followed much later. According to Salisu (2002), academic libraries are recent phenomena in the developing countries of Africa. For instance, Aguolu (1989) stated that Nigeria had the first academic library with the founding of the University of Ibadan in 1948. No other university came into existence until the independence year when the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) was established in 1960.This was followed by University of Ife in 1961 and both Ahmadu Bello and Lagos Universities in 1962. New Universities sprang up in the seventies in response to the yearning of the people for higher education. This trend has continued up till today.
The National Universities Commission (2010) indicated that there are 113 approved universities in the country by this; it means that there are no less than 112 university libraries. It must be realized that University Libraries being an integral academic parts of the University generally emerged simultaneously with their parent institutions. Hence, there are as many university libraries as there are universities in Nigeria.
Tabs (2003) define academic library as an entity in a post secondary institution that provides all the following:
An organized collection of printed or other materials or a combination there of. A staff trained to provide and interpret such materials is required to meet
the informational, cultural, recreational, or educational needs of clientele.
An established schedule in which services of the staff are available to clientele.
The physical facilities necessary to support such a collection, staff and students.
In order to provide users with excellent services, university libraries in Nigeria need a staff well vast in all facets of their work. This is because librarians perform unique role in the society which no one else can exactly do. This is why Kenerson (1997) stated that all categories of library personnel in all types of library have needs to learn; often for a number of reasons. The daily task and major issues that confront individuals require them to apply their knowledge and skills appropriately to each situation. He further stated that universities are experiencing profound changes as a result of automaton of their holdings as well as net-working capabilities to the world of information resources. Indeed, technology is the primary driving force behind this rapid rate of transformation. The catch phrase, according to Zhang (2004), is “do more with less” has forced University Libraries to place a high priority on the continual growth and development of their staff. Notwithstanding the importance of collections and services, the staff remains the libraries’ most important and expensive resource. In support of this, Meggison (2001) stated that the success or failure of library activities depends largely on human resources at its disposal.
University libraries have been significantly influenced by these transformations The National Universities Commission NUC (1978) in its draft manual on University Libraries, stressed that:
“The Librarian should ensure regular training and development of all his staff, He should encourage illiterate staff, if any , to go for adult literacy classes to ensure their retention and progress in a ‘book’ institution such as the university library. The librarian should encourage all staff, when appropriate, to go for higher education. Library Assistants for Diploma in Library Science, Graduates for Master’s and Doctorate Degrees, short courses for administrative and secretarial staff. Sponsorship for any training should be based on hard work. The librarian should encourage his staff to participate in continuing education programmes. The staff should be sponsored for conferences, seminars and workshops; they should be encouraged to participate actively in presenting papers. The library seminar papers usually help the staff in these external seminars/workshops and conferences.
The manual also notes that: There is so much professional expertise available locally and
internationally that the librarian should tap these sources for training his staff. Through staff
exchange between his staff and those of other institutions, his staff should be able to gain
additional experience and knowledge from experienced hands in other library situation. Whether
it is university, public or special library, the need for proper training and development cannot be
Smith (1979) observed that an untrained man in the modern world may be a menace to the society. He is a quack; he knows only the “how”. Hence if there is any trouble anywhere, breakdown in machine or mistake in a ledger, all he can do is to fumble and patch up the trouble any-how, leading to a more serious breakdown or a greater confusion. Really, there is no place for the untrained worker or even the intelligent amateur.”
There is no doubt that training and development in its entirety is beneficial to both the employee
and the organization. The organization can better meet its goals by providing employees with new knowledge necessary for performing the job satisfactorily. When an employee also performs poorly, the reason may not be that he or she does not want to do the job well. What he/she needs is training.
STAFFING IN ACADEMIC LIBRARIES
Aina (2004) stated that the human resource of any library constitutes an important component of the organization. Staffing an organization is a complex process. A well-trained and competent staffs are asset to any organization. The tasks involved in staffing an organization can be daunting. It includes the provision of job tasks for each staff to be recruited, requirements needed for each task, etc. The essential ingredients of staffing are recruitment, training/staff-development, career prospects, evaluation, etc.
The staff required in academic libraries need to have different competences. The most important staff is the professional librarians. These are supplemented by Para-professionals and other non-professional staff who may include clerical staff, finance officers, system analysts, administrative staff, cleaners, messengers and security staff.
The professional librarians are expected to provide leadership. They are graduates of library and information science. The tasks of professional librarians are usually intellectual not non-routine tasks. The professional librarians are expected to manage the library as an organization. The heads of libraries are assisted by other professional librarians who are in charge of divisions, departments and sections.
The professional librarians are expected to provide specialist information services to their clients. Many of the tasks performed by professional librarians are reference services, cataloguing,
selection and acquisition of library materials, selective dissemination of information and current awareness services, etc.
The Para-professional staff usually possesses qualifications beyond Secondary School Certificate or its equivalent, plus qualifications in library and information science such as diploma. They assist the professional librarians. While their tasks may not be intellectual in most cases, they may be involved in routine tasks. This cadre of library staff usually heads small units of libraries. They perform supervisory roles. They also assist professional library staff in some other intellectual tasks, such as reference services, cataloguing, current awareness services, etc.
In many University Libraries, a large portion of the total employees comprised non-professional staff. Kao (1998) estimated that library non-professional staff comprises two third (2/3) of the total staff in University Libraries and many of them hold essential responsibilities in the library’s day-to-day operation.
In the same vein, Oberg (2004) stated that non-professional or support staff constitute the largest force of library tasks and perform tasks that might not be directly related to library activities, such as clerical work but complimentary to library tasks. They are also involved in library tasks such as bibliographic searching, charging and discharging of library materials, filing of cards, copy cataloguing, shelving, etc.
Ibrahim (2001) also stated that the non-professional staffs in academic library do the routine activities and they help immensely in the running of the affairs of the library. The educational qualifications of this cadre of staff are school certificate or equivalent qualifications plus certificates in library training such as Library Officer (L.O.), Assistant Library Officer (ALO), Senior Library Officer (SLO), etc.
Akhidime (1980) wrote on the Ahmadu Bello University Libraries junior staff training programme which is being studied. He emphasised how this category of library staff (non-professional) require a great deal of training in order to perform their duties reasonably well. He went on to say that this category of staff can use successful completion of the course as a substitute for formal education achievement, as a requirement for promotion in addition to good service records as the procedure is in the Kashim Ibrahim Library.
Reevely (1976) wrote on the training of non-professional staff in a Nigerian academic library. She stated that some major reasons for establishing the programmes are as follow:-
- To make the junior staff stays in library work (professionals). Mostly they feel their isn’t any interest in their future so they often move to other jobs.
- To help them (non-professionals) offer efficient and adequate services in libraries where they work.
- To help promote their professional and academic qualifications.
- To help them get promotion on time for earning their living.
She emphasized on the difficulties of studying and passing the G.C.E exams by this category of staff and concluded that this training can help them to improve in their library operation and future career.
According to Martin (1970), in establishing training programmes, the following should be taken into consideration for avoidance of future problems and smooth running of the training programme:-
- Identify training needs
- Formulate training policy
- Implement training processes
. Assess training effectively
The above four points, according to him, will help in achieving the main goals of the training. Also, the working organization will be improved by the staff in training. He further remarked that the library or institution offering the training should apply its own principles especially to the staff in training since they are being trained for the job there. He goes on to emphasize that the staff learn best when they are interested. According to him,” where there is no satisfaction to reward performance there is little interest, where there is little interest both learning and performance are poor. Therefore, the basic principle of any training first should be to involve the staff (learner) to make learning active and rewarding.
Colley (1970) opined that training programme is very important because it helps a staff to perform his task (duty) with skill of competence. This, of course, presents challenges to the people on service and helps him maintain his prestige and respect as he continues to exhibit new theories, tactics and experiences in performing his job in his place of work especially in the library situation.
Dean (1972) gave reasons for establishing training programmes in existing libraries as follows:
- Availability of senior staff for teaching.
- Availability of equipments for practical work.
- The use of the library itself.
It can be seen that there are various needs for training programmes especially for non-professional staff. Through the training scheme, it is possible to maintain a library high standard, to keep it alive, living and very effective despite the changing times.
For staff to perform their tasks effectively, libraries usually assist their staff to equip themselves
with skills that they think they might require to enable them perform these tasks better. This could be in the form of training courses, workshops, conferences and professional attachment. Some libraries provide staff development in which staff members are assisted to obtain higher qualifications in library and information work.
There is an increased attention on non-professional staff in recent years. The 3rd congress on professional education, held in May, 2003 in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, focused on three main issues. One of which was the non-professional staffs. The meeting argued that training must not be limited to professional librarians in academic and private or special libraries. It must be extended to all other staff of the library.
Staff Training and Development Programmes
A programme of staff development encompasses a range of learning activities, including those designed to teach specific skills, techniques and procedures, and those that provide employees with an understanding of organizational objectives and the general knowledge and concepts necessary to ensure effective performance. Both types of activities are essential in staff development programme in order to meet the learning needs of all levels and categories of staff. It is important to differentiate between a programme and activities that make up the programme. Conroy (1978) indicates that a programme consists of a coordinated variety of learning activities that are sequentially planned over a substantial time span and are directed toward defined objectives. Activities, on the other hand, are discrete but coordinated components of a programme designed to produce results that help to achieve programme objectives as well as more specific educational objectives and learning activities which include a wide range of possibilities.
In addition to providing a more efficient and effective means of achieving quality
performance, Marfell and Dougherty (1978) indicate that training can be an important means of producing organizational change. A systematic and organized approach to the training and development of library staff may benefit the library in the following ways:-
- An increase in the quality and quantity of work.
- Reduced need for close and constant supervision; thus freeing supervisors to make more effective use of their own time.
- Improved staff morale and job satisfaction by developing independent and competent employees.
- Increased organizational flexibility and stability. Since management will be able to reassign critical tasks to other staff when there are absence of or staff shortages.
- The relationship between well-trained and knowledgeable employees and efficient and effective library is obvious.
That is why Okanlawon (2008) stated that training of staff has always been necessary to enable workers understand job requirement and contents. She further stated that “staff training programme has been necessary for improvements in the performance of duties. It helps in keeping workers abreast of recent developments and new methods of performing old functions. The library staffs training programme is part of a larger university staff training programme.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The importance of staff training and development has since been realized by most Nigerian libraries, particularly, academic libraries. This led to most of the libraries to establish in-house training and development programmes to train and ensure the development of their staff particularly the non-professionals. While the professional and Para-professionals obtain their
degrees and diplomas respectively before joining the library and are made to attend seminars, conferences and workshops outside the library as continuing education, the non-professionals are left with no option. Therefore, the in-house training programme is essentially created to cater for this category of staff According to Reevely (1976), the need for such training is obvious. The professionals and paraprofessionals staffs have little time for training staff in the variety of skills needed in a particular area and are then reluctant to rotate their staff to give them wider experience. This limits the usefulness and the awareness of the non-professional staff. They feel there is no interest in their future so they often move to other jobs.
The only standards available for promotion are formal education and the supervisor’s assessment. Studying privately for the General Certificate of Education may just not be possible for some junior staff but an internal training programme gives another means of evaluation for promotion and encourages staff to learn about the total operation of the library.
For this reason, Ocheibi(1979) noted that Kashim Ibrahim Library Complex, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria has since 1975 established a staff training and development programme that is serving not only the university but the tertiary institutions libraries in Zaria. Similarly, University of Benin and Maiduguri followed suit as well as others.
It is also noted that the existing literature on staff training and development, no study was conducted on assessment of training and development programme in Nigerian university libraries.
Grodzin (1989) stated that assessment of training and development programme is often not clear whether the training has made any difference in efficiency or effectiveness. A successful library training programme operates with the conviction that activities which contribute to the effective performance of each individual will strengthen the entire organization and that training
and development are part of a continuous process because what is accomplished carries over from year to year.
1.3 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
- What types of training programmes are available for non-professional staff in Nigerian university libraries?
- What categories of non-professional staff enjoy training programmes in Nigerian university libraries?
- What are the course contents of the training programmes for non-professional staff in Nigerian university libraries?
- How relevant are the course contents of the training programmes to non-professional staff in Nigerian university libraries?
- What are the challenges of the training programmes in Nigerian university libraries?
1.4 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
- To find out the types of training programme available for non-professional staff in Nigerian university libraries.
- To find out the categories of non-professional staff that enjoy training programmes in Nigerian libraries.
- To examine the course contents of the training programmes in Nigerian universities libraries.
- To find out the relevance of the course contents of the training programmes for non-professional staff in Nigerian university libraries.
- To find out the challenges of the training programmes in Nigerian university libraries.
1.5 Significance of the Study
It is hope that this study would help the university librarians in Nigerian University libraries to fashion out ways of training its library staff because of the accruing benefits derivable from training. The findings would assist Nigerian university library management to pay more attention to the training of their Non-Professional staff in order to enhance their professional capacities.
The result of this study would also suggest better ways of re-orientating employees, expose them to different library assignments and modern library equipment as well as improved relations with the people they serve. Staff training programme shortcomings would improve and the services in the libraries would be revolutionized, as identified impendiments militating against training programmes would be removed.
1.6 Scope of the Study
The study covers only staff training programme for non-professional staff in Nigerian University
Libraries. The University Libraries are Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, University of Ilorin,
University of Maiduguri, University of Ibadan, University of Benin, and University of Nigeria
Nsukka. Therefore, the study does not cover the training programmes run by other Nigerian
University libraries; neither does it cover training programmes conducted by other types of
libraries, such as public, special etc.
1.7 Limitation of the Study
The study is restricted to only those issues relating to “staff training and development for non-
professional staff in Nigerian university libraries.
Some constrains which include the spread and distance of the university libraries; shortage of funds required to tour the study area; time within which to complete the project; delay caused by respondents and some of the respondents did not return their completed questionnaires in good time while others did not return them at all.
1.8 Operational Definitions of Terms
Systematic process used to identity needs including both gathering and analyzing the information.
A plan process used to assemble and utilize information necessary for effective, on-going decision making and for accountability.
The educational qualification of this cadre of staff is Primary School Certificate or equivalent qualifications. They do not possess any qualifications in library and information science.
One who has obtained Diploma in Library Science and is working in the library.
One who obtained either first degree or Masters Degree in Library Science or both.
A coordinated variety of learning activities that is sequentially planned over a substantial time span and is directed toward definite objectives.
The ability to apply knowledge proficiently in a manner appropriate to a given situation.
Is define as ‘any member of a library who is officially employed to work in that library’.
A purposive effort intended to strengthen the library’s capability to fulfill its mission effectively and efficiently by encouraging and providing for the growth of its human resources.