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The potential role of university libraries’ manpower, collections, services, facilities and activities in promoting national security in times of crises in Upper Egypt

Essam Mansour (Department of Library and Information Science, South Valley University, Qena, Egypt)

Library Management

ISSN: 0143-5124

Article publication date: 13 June 2017

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the potential role of South Valley University (SVU) libraries’ manpower, collections, and services in the fight against terrorism in Upper Egypt.

Design/methodology/approach

A quantitative research methodology was used in the form of a survey, which was undertaken from June to July 2015. The survey instrument was a self-administered questionnaire. The target population comprised the academic library staff (n=127) working in SVU libraries who were contacted to answer the structured questionnaire, of whom 93 library staff responded and returned their valid questionnaires, representing 73.2 percent of the whole library staff in the SVU.

Findings

Demographically, two-thirds of the SVU library staff were males and a large number of them are aged between 26 and 40 years, and 79.6 percent have a bachelor’s degree. The speciality of two-thirds of SVU library staff was library science, of whom a large number were librarians with lengthy work experience. This study showed that printed materials were the most adequate collections in the SVU libraries. Other materials, such as CDs/DVDs, audiovisual materials, microfilm and microfiche, online resources and electronic materials, respectively, were inadequate at SVU libraries. Few of the services provided by SVU libraries were characterized as adequate services; some are inadequate and other services do not exist. The average of the facilities provided by SVU libraries was somewhat adequate. A large number of the library staff showed that facilities, such as the availability of the learning labs were, at least, adequate for their needs. Activities, such as holding social field trips, holding training workshops, and holding academic field trips were, at least, somewhat adequate to SVU libraries. Other activities were also described to be either inadequate, such as holding lectures, seminars, conferences, etc. and library orientation, or not applicable such as activities related to bibliographic instruction. This study revealed that SVU libraries had no significant role in fighting the phenomenon of terrorism in Upper Egypt. There is no a reliable relationship between the professional characteristics of the SVU library staff and the potential role that their libraries may play in the fight against this phenomenon. Because of the lack of SVU libraries’ collections, services, facilities, and activities, this study concluded that such a role could not be achieved. Almost all the library staff admitted that this severe lack has affected the provision of library patrons and members of the library community to use these collections and services, which help in countering the threat of terrorism. Despite the significance of all these problems faced by SVU libraries in the fight against terrorism, it was found that the inadequacy of the librarys’ open hours is significantly correlated with the professional characteristics of the library staff, particularly their job title and work experience.

Research limitations/implications

This study investigates the potential role of SVU libraries’ manpower, collections, and services in the fight against terrorism in Upper Egypt. It covers none of the other universities or any type of other library. Any findings and conclusions resulting from this study are limited in scope to only the libraries of this university. The size, convenience and homogeneity of the sample may limit the generalizability of this study. The study was conducted with a survey approach, which was the most suitable research method technique to reach the community of the study. However, for further research, investigating more specific information about such or related topics, other methods/approaches should be used to investigate the potential role of the university library, as well as the other kinds of libraries, such as public and special libraries to combat terrorism.

Practical implications

This study provides valuable insight into the potential role the university library can have in the fight against terrorism in one of the most important countries hit recently by this brutal phenomenon. The study focuses on libraries of one of the regional universities called the SVU, located in the Southern part of Egypt that is called the Upper Egypt. This deep part of Egypt is one of the places most affected by barbaric terrorism. The study tries to explore how much these libraries are ready to combat this terrorism in terms of sizable, suitable, accessible, qualified, and relevant collections, as well as services, facilities and activities provided by these libraries.

Originality/value

This study is to be the first one of its kind conducted in the Arab world where Egypt is located and one of the very few studies conducted on this topic in the world. The importance of this study strongly emanates from its subject that has dominated the obsession of all Egyptians living inside and outside Egypt over the past five years.

Keywords

Citation

Mansour, E. (2017), "The potential role of university libraries’ manpower, collections, services, facilities and activities in promoting national security in times of crises in Upper Egypt", Library Management, Vol. 38 No. 4/5, pp. 182-202. https://doi.org/10.1108/LM-08-2016-0063

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited