ASSESSMENT OF STAFF DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMMES IN COLLEGE AND POLYTECHNIC LIBRARIES IN ANAMBRA AND ENUGU STATES
This research work assessed staff development programmes in college and polytechnic libraries in Anambra and Enugu states. The main objective was to assess the availability and practice of staff development programmes in the five libraries under study. Five research questions guided the study. These include: What are the training and development needs of library staff? What staff development programmes are available in college and polytechnic libraries? To what extent do staff development programmes meet training and development needs? What are the perceived hindrances for effective implementation of staff development programmes in college and polytechnic libraries? What are the strategies for improving staff development programmes in college and polytechnic libraries? Descriptive survey method was adopted for the study involving 142 respondents. Out of this figure 129 responded to the questionnaire distributed to elicit information for the study. The findings from the study indicate that college and polytechnic library staff value training in ICT more than other aspects of librarianship; performance appraisal of staff is available in all the libraries studied; management staff benefit from development opportunities more than other categories of library staff; the most frequently used criterion in selecting staff for developmental programmes is relevance with regard to service area; objectives of staff development programmes suit organizational aims and objectives; lack of fund is the greatest problem for effective implementation of staff development programmes. To remedy the situation of staff development programmes in these libraries, the respondents indicated that the whole process should be transparent. Other recommendations put forward by the respondents include: more funding by the parent institutions; college and polytechnic library administrations should show more commitment to staff development programmes; the junior cadre library staff should be given more opportunities to benefit from staff development programmes; emphasis should be on ICT application and opportunities should be given to apply new learning on the job.
Background of the Study
College and polytechnic libraries are those libraries maintained at the colleges of education and polytechnics. The two institutions are characterized by study, teaching and research and concerned with the production of middle/high level manpower. Specifically, colleges of education, which are the parent institutions of college libraries, are those tertiary institutions, which have the mandate for the training of middle level manpower for the Nigerian education system. The objectives of the colleges are:
• To produce highly motivated, conscientious and efficient classroom teachers for the primary and secondary levels of education.
• To encourage further spirit of enquiry and creativity in teachers.
• To help teachers to fit into the social life of the community and society and to enhance their commitment to national objectives.
• To provide teachers with intellectual and professional background adequate for their assignment.
• To enhance teachers commitment to the teaching profession (National Commission for Colleges of Education, NCCE 1994)
In order to achieve the above objectives, the college libraries were mandated to ensure that their collections and services are designed to meet the objectives and information requirements of colleges of education; that the resources and facilities provided are maximally used through proper organization and dissemination. Furthermore, college libraries are required to give qualitative reference and information services for study, teaching and research needs in the college community and to evaluate from time to time the success of the library in meeting the library and information needs of its users (NCCE 1994).
Polytechnic education in Nigeria was formally established following the promulgation of Decree 33 of 1979, which states among others that the main purpose of polytechnic education is to produce middle/high level manpower to man the nation’s economy (Attama 2005). The main objectives of polytechnic education in Nigeria include: the production of trained manpower in science, technology and commerce, particularly at sub professional grades; the provision of technical knowledge and vocational skills necessary for agricultural, industrial, commercial and economic development; to produce people who can apply scientific knowledge to the improvement and solution of environmental problems for the use and convenience of man. Furthermore, polytechnic education is established to give an introduction to professional studies in engineering and technologies; to give training and impart the necessary skills leading to the production of craftsmen, technicians, and other skilled personnel who will be enterprising and self reliant; and to enable our young men and women to have an intelligent understanding of the increasing complexity of technology. (NPE, 1998). These objectives are pursued through teaching, research and the dissemination of existing and new information. As observed by Attama (2005),
the polytechnics would be incapable of fully realizing these objectives without the availability of the heritage of mankind’s documented knowledge. The library is a reservoir of this knowledge and wisdom. It provides the podium for the development of human capital for technological advancement (p.11).
As academic libraries, college and polytechnic libraries share the following responsibilities: dissemination of information, promotion of teaching and research, promotion of intellectual leadership, manpower development and, socio-economic and political modernization (Ifidon, 1985).
Two resources – human and material resources- characterize every type of library. These two resources are employed proportionately for the library to achieve its primary objective of acquisition, organization, preservation and dissemination of information to its numerous clientele. The human resources consist of the various levels of library staff, while material resources comprise the building, equipment, collection and furniture.
The human resources of the library are akin to those of business entrepreneur who employs his skills and managerial ability to see that his business succeeds. His ability to adequately plan on how to combine the other three factors of production – land, labour and capital, determine the success or failure of his business. According to Arua (2001), “the library by whatever definition or explanation given to it must include four basic elements, namely: stock, personnel, accommodation and accessibility or availability for use. All these elements must be present for a library to function properly”. Like the business enterprise, the human resource of the library (personnel) combines three other elements – stock, accommodation, availability/accessibility to make for maximum usability of the library materials. As Umeji (1997) notes,
the achievement of every library’s objectives is largely dependent on the effective development and use of its human resources. One major way of developing the human resources of the library is through well-coordinated staff development programmes designed for every category of staff (p.1).
Staff development, otherwise referred to as human resources development (HRD), employee development or personnel development in business management, “is intended to strengthen the capability of an organization to perform its mission more effectively and more efficiently by encouraging and providing for the growth of its human resources”. (Synder and Sanders, 1991).
The selection process is designed to find people who have the skills and ability necessary to carry out required job duties. But to become an asset to an organization, new employees generally need some additional training. They need to learn about their work environment and about their specific job responsibilities. Also, they need to become familiar with the organization’s policies and procedures and learn how they themselves fit into the work group. Staff development is a veritable tool, which an organization employs to keep its staff abreast of new changes in job roles.
Corroborating the above view, Ifidon (1985) notes that “the whole purpose of staff recruitment and evaluation is defeated if recruitment and evaluation are not complemented by staff development”. He further summarizes the objectives of staff development programmes thus:
• To enable the staff make contributions that are more effective to the library’s total effort in service mission.
• To make the individual look for satisfactions that go beyond economic i.e., for self-pride, self-respect and achievement.
• To prepare the staff for the challenge of complex modern technology which requires an integration of activities and persons of diverse and specialized competence.
• To enable the library worker to develop a life of his own outside the library.
• To make the staff receptive to change and innovation rather than resistant to them.
• To create climate where the dignity of employees as human beings, not just as factors contributing to the library’s efficiency is respected.
• To qualify an individual for a new different and higher responsibility.
Training and development of an organization’s employees is becoming an increasingly important and necessary activity of personnel and human resource management. As Noe (1996) opined, staff development is a necessary component of a company’s effort to improve quality, to meet the challenges of global competition and social change, and to incorporate technological advances and changes in work design. Rapidly changing technologies increase the potential obsolescence of employees more quickly today than ever before. Elliot (1983) recommended staff development programmes for all levels of staff in an academic library. Supporting the above assertion, Akpokurerie (2006) suggests that training of employees is ultimately necessary so that they can be acquainted with the changes in the world. According to him, this is particularly necessary especially in the present computer age which makes it imperative for both managers and old/new staff to undergo training so as to remain relevant. In recent years, there have been a series of developments in science and technology; it therefore behoves every librarian (or library staff) to strive to become relevant in this vast changing world, now regarded as a global village. Matarazoo in Eze (2004) notes that,
Librarians bear a heavy responsibility to master and make available massive body of specialized scientific literature and information to a variety of clientele. If the scientifically uninformed citizen is an anomaly in the modern world, the scientifically illiterate librarian is a positive menace (p.74).
A librarian does not become scientifically literate from the programme of studies undertaken in the university but through training and development, which can be obtained on-the-job or off-the-job. Precisely speaking, with the development of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the information industry, the library staff as custodians of knowledge need additional training in this area to cope with this development and to become relevant in the current trend in information generation and dissemination.
Staff development programmes are needed in every type of library and meant for every member of staff. However, evidence of staff development programmes exist more in academic and research libraries where library staff undertake continuing education programmes, attend seminars, workshops and conferences.
If there is any enterprise that deserves the development of skills of its staff, it is the library. This is even more important with the current transformation in information industry. The library staff therefore, require adequate training and development to cope with the trend in information industry and thereby ensure effective and efficient library services. From the foregoing, it is evident that the library staff need to update their knowledge to fit into present and future changes in the global information business. Varlejs (1987) suggests that, “while change may be, in turn, more or less evident, it is perpetual. That is staff development may seem requisite only when the profession is most conscious of change, but the basic need for it is on going”.
Hewton (1980) noted that despite the visionaries and the considerable thought and effort that is put into planning staff development (globally), activity remains generally on a small scale, outcomes are intangible and benefits uncertain. He outlined five broad aims of staff development to include; the improvement of current performance, preparing staff for changing duties, and for advancement, enhancing job satisfaction and encouraging personal development. Perhaps Hewton’s observation prompted the convening of the first world conference on continuing education for the library and information science professions held under the auspices of the International Federation of Library Association and Institutions (IFLA) and the American Library Association (ALA) which was held from 13 through 16 August, 1985 in Palos Hills, Illinois, South Chicago. The conference, reports Stone (1986) had 150 participants from six continents representing 30 countries and 31 US States. Within the continent of Africa, five countries including Uganda, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Tanzania and Nigeria were at the conference and presented papers. This conference served as an eye-opener following which many librarians and information science professionals became more interested and put in more vigour in staff development and continuing education for the professionals. Staff development was identified as an instrument for improving productivity in any well run organization and takes the form of on- the-job and off-the-job programmes designed to harness the activities of an organization to the mutual benefit of both the organization and the staff.
In the Nigerian scene, irrespective of the fact that she participated in the first world conference on continuing education in 1986, there has not been a serious commitment to its development. Nok (2006) observed that most staff in academic libraries in Nigeria were trained in traditional librarianship hence, find it difficult to cope with the requirements of the electronic age. According to her, staff training and retraining have not been given a pride of place. She recommended a proper, frequent and regular information technology training if maximum benefit is to be gained from the automation of library services.
Statement of the Problem
Change persists as one of the major concerns and motivators to professional development in librarianship. With the increasing variety of formats in which information is available, the expanding dependence on automated systems, the shifting nature of library clientele and the demand for librarians with the skills to cope with the growing size and complexities of libraries and library networks, the profession has begun to assume a greater responsibility for the provision of adequate programmes of continuing education for its members. Continuing education or staff development has gained prominence because employees need to learn how to work with new equipment and processes, especially in the area of ICT.
Irrespective of the importance of staff development programmes in libraries with regards to service delivery and personal professional growth, it is yet doubtful if staff development programmes exist in Nigerian institutions of higher learning, especially in college and polytechnic libraries. For example, experience gathered as a librarian in Federal College of Education, Eha-Amufu library has shown some level of deterioration in the services offered by library staff in areas of reference services, binding services, charging and discharging services, current awareness services, and application of modern information seeking techniques. As a result some library users seem to prefer alternative sources such as the Internet in search of information. It is appalling that these library staff still use obsolete equipment and methods in library services delivery. This situation prevails irrespective of the fact that in 2001 ETF donated some sets of computer to the library. These computers have remained unutilized, probably because the library has not developed strategy for the staff to undergo training in computer application. This situation affects the type, quality and quantity of services offered to the library users.
Observations have shown that many library staff are willing to improve on their services to their clientele but are handicapped by lack of training and development opportunities. The questions are; Do college and polytechnic libraries staff get staff development opportunities needed in their job roles? What factors hinder staff development opportunities in these libraries? And, what differences are there in staff development opportunities in college and polytechnic libraries in Anambra and Enugu states?
Purpose of the Study
The general purpose of this study is to determine the effectiveness of staff development programmes in college and polytechnic libraries.
The specific objectives are;
1. To identify the training and development needs of library staff.
2. To ascertain the types of staff development programmes provided in college and polytechnic libraries.
3. To identify the extent to which these programmes meet training and development needs.
4. To identify the barriers to effective implementation of staff development programmes in college and polytechnic libraries.
5. To determine strategies for improving staff development programmes.
Significance of the Study
Library human resources (personnel) seem to be the most important resource needed to drive other resources (material resources) of any modern library. The development of library human resources therefore, becomes imperative to harness the activities of the library. This work, on completion, would bring into limelight the role of human resource development in ensuring greater productivity and increased job role in libraries.
The total dependence on annual performance appraisal of staff in determining their promotability without adequate staff development policies and programmes would be de-emphasized. Annual performance appraisal simply allows the employee to appraise his performances for the year and suggest ways of improving on his capabilities and potentialities. Staff development and training should as a matter of fact complement performance appraisal and the promotability of an employee hinged on both. The successful completion of this study will therefore, highlight staff development as a prerequisite for improved job performance. Further, it will assist college and polytechnic libraries administrators/staff to ascertain the imperativeness of staff training/development in ensuring quality output and improved job role. It will further highlight the role expectations of both the library administrators and staff in mapping out an effective structure for staff development policies and programmes for the mutual benefit of both the staff and the library.
Finally, the work promises to be a veritable tool/reference point in personnel administration in libraries as it enlists into the literature on the subject.
Scope of the Study
The study seeks to compare the staff development programmes in college and polytechnic libraries. The research shall be limited to the college and polytechnic libraries in Anambra and Enugu states only. The college and polytechnic libraries include libraries of Federal College of Education, Eha-Amufu, Federal College of Education (Technical), Umunze, Nwafor Orizu College of Education, Nsugbe, Federal Polytechnic, Oko and Institute of Management and Technology (IMT), Enugu.
1. What are the training and development needs of library staff?
2. What staff development programmes are available in college and polytechnic libraries?
3. To what extent do staff development programmes meet training and development needs of college and polytechnic libraries?
4. What are the perceived hindrances for effective implementation of staff development programmes in college and polytechnic libraries?
5. What are the strategies for improving staff development programmes in college and polytechnic libraries?