Advancement in Information and communication technologies (ICTs) has revolutionised Library and Information Science (LIS) education and libraries. Both theory and practice have been transformed completely. LIS education programmes have become highly competitive and must be market-driven and technology-oriented. At the same time, academic libraries have been transformed and have become dynamic. Fostering a close collaboration between LIS educators and practitioners can multiply their strength and abilities by sharing educational resources and theoretical and practical knowledge. This paper aims to present the findings of a study carried out to investigate the current status of collaboration among LIS educators and library practitioners at the University of Botswana.
Data were collected using self-administered structured questionnaires from both LIS educators at the Department of Library and Information Studies (DLIS) and practicing librarians working at the University of Botswana Library (UBL). To follow-up some of the issues, an interview was carried out with a subject librarian and a focus group discussion method was used to discuss some of the challenges from the findings.
The major collaborative activities from the DLIS staff were identified as the following: creating awareness of library resources and promoting library usage among students, facilitating library material selection and inviting librarians as guest lecturers to teach in the classroom. The main collaborative activities from practicing librarians were found to be the following: delivering information literacy instruction, providing professional/practical experience to students and information sharing with the DLIS teaching staff. The major challenges were identified as the following: different cultures of educators and librarians, lack of need to collaborate and lack of formal policy at the department and the university level.
The UBL has 51 library staff members. All the librarians were not included in this research study, only senior librarians and library management were involved in the study. No theoretical framework was used to carry out the study. The questionnaire was designed based on the general literature in the field of professional collaboration among faculty and educators in the information profession. The follow-up interview and focus group discussion were conducted to address the collaborative activities and challenges that were acknowledged by at least 50 per cent of the participants. Issues with less than 50 per cent responses were considered insignificant to follow-up. Follow-up interview was conducted only with one subject librarian. As all subject librarians have the same job profile and undertake the similar activities, it was assumed that one subject librarian can represent others.
This research paper contributes to the body of literature. It may be useful for other LIS schools and libraries that work in similar environments, and it also opens up avenues for further research on this topical issue.
Jain, P. (2017), "Delivery of library and information science curriculum: A joint endeavour among LIS educators and library practitioners at the University of Botswana", Library Review, Vol. 66 No. 6/7, pp. 482-504. https://doi.org/10.1108/LR-12-2016-0109Download as .RIS
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