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Professionalism in library and information science: An examination of current trends, needs, and opportunities in academic libraries in Southeast Nigeria

Chinwe Nwogo Ezeani (Nnamdi Azikiwe Library, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria.)
Helen Nneka Eke (Nnamdi Azikiwe Library, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria.)
Felicia Ugwu (Nnamdi Azikiwe Library, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria.)

The Electronic Library

ISSN: 0264-0473

Article publication date: 2 February 2015

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to examine the current trends, needs and opportunities of professionalism in librarianship in Nigeria. The broad purpose of the paper was to investigate the level of professionalism in librarianship and to ascertain the current status, trends and opportunities within the profession among academic librarians in Nigeria. Five specific research questions were formulated which are: to examine how librarians value librarianship as a profession, to elicit the efforts made by librarians with regards to professional development, to ascertain methods of acquiring current competencies within the profession, to investigate the role of professional bodies in promoting professionalism and excellence within the library and information science (LIS) profession and to proffer strategies to enhance professionalism and excellence among librarians in Nigeria.

Design/methodology/approach

Descriptive survey design was adopted in the study across both quantitative and qualitative research methods. The area of the study was the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Enugu State and the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka Anambra State. Population of the study comprised a total of 63 librarians in the two universities. All librarians were sampled because of the small sample size. The instrument for data collection was oral interview and questionnaire which contained 53 items derived from the research questions and built on a four-point scale of Strongly Agree (SA), Agree, (A) Disagree (D) and Strongly Disagree (SD). The criterion mean was 2.50. Therefore, any calculated mean below 2.50 was adjudged a negative score, while any mean from 2.50 and above was regarded as a positive score.

Findings

The study revealed the challenges facing professionalism and excellence within the LIS field as lack of funding for professional development, lack of sponsorship to workshops and conferences, lack of uninterruptible internet facility and a dearth of professional mentors in the South East zone. Other problems gathered from a scheduled interview with some senior professionals in the institutions revealed that most librarians are still facing the challenge of imbibing and utilizing emerging skills in the LIS professions such as digital archiving and data mining skills for their day-to-day activities.

Originality/value

Recommendations arising from the study were proffered such as the creation of staff development programmes by management; collaboration and partnership by libraries within the zone; acquisition of training through workshops and conferences irrespective of sponsorship by the institutions; and teaming of academic librarians to enhance their visibility and publication output. International staff exchanges and opportunities for sabbatical leave, which hitherto was not common in the South East Zone, were recommended. Among other recommendations also were building of consortia with libraries in the country; LIS professional bodies helping to create visibility and prestige of the LIS profession; and, finally, to scale up the image of the profession the marketing of library products through profiling of patrons and furnishing them with required information has not only become necessary but critical.

Keywords

Citation

Ezeani, C.N., Eke, H.N. and Ugwu, F. (2015), "Professionalism in library and information science: An examination of current trends, needs, and opportunities in academic libraries in Southeast Nigeria", The Electronic Library, Vol. 33 No. 1, pp. 2-18. https://doi.org/10.1108/EL-10-2012-0134

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited