Reference Services in Educational Libraries in Sierra Leone

Reference Services in Educational Libraries in Sierra Leone


Society is becoming far more stratified and polarized, with the abundant and the very poor, the educated and uneducated, owning restricted cognitive techniques wider apart than in any time in our historical past. In this interval of raising stratification by income and potential, the library in tutorial institutions may well acts as a bridge amongst the entrenched social poles.

Reference libraries have the longest heritage of any form of library. They existed in the times of clay tablet and from such tablets, information and facts was consulted and a list of concerns is remaining regarded as the primitive forerunners of present-day library catalogues. From their beginnings in historical times, the functions of libraries have not altered considerably. Having said that the format, quantity and content of the products making up their inventory and the resultant solutions have progressively been reworked to the point the place the researchers today have accessibility to a network of complex details means. The most important position of the library is educational and this has been the perspective if not the realisation of reference librarians (Higgens, 1988).

Tutorial libraries are individuals created to meet up with normal experiments at the undergraduate and graduate levels and which also support their parent institutions in providing their programmes for an helpful teaching and implementation of simple expertise. Higgens (1988) outlined an academic library as that attached to support tutorial institutions higher than secondary amount serving the training and analysis needs of students, staff members and researchers. According to Harrods (2000) tutorial libraries are these identified in universities, polytechnics, colleges and all other establishments forming component of or affiliated with the instructional establishments.

Reference Providers at the Fourah Bay School Library

Fourah Bay School library was recognized in 1827. It is found at Fourah Bay College or university, University of Sierra Leone in the Michael Jollife Setting up which was named following the late Mr. Michael Jollife, an expatriate who served as College librarian from 1961-1970.

The initially flooring of the library properties the reception desk photocopying area situation desk Sierra Leone Collection (incorporating the United Nations Selection) the American Shelf Standard Reference Collection Cataloguing Section Acquisition Office Circulation Office and the Faculty Librarian’s office environment. The 2nd flooring holds the Textbook Assortment. The third flooring incorporates the Standard Lending Assortment.

The reduced ground floor homes the Bindery workers rooms and outlets. The library has Expert, Para-expert and other assist personnel. It takes advantage of the Dewey Decimal Classification Plan and the Triplicate Issuing Technique with Card catalogue.

Fourah Bay Faculty library is a person of the remarkable academic libraries in Sierra Leone set up with the mission assertion “to create a detailed assortment of recorded details to assistance effective instructing, study and instruction in the Liberal Arts, Pure and Utilized Sciences, Engineering and Technology, Social Sciences and Legislation and connected fields to aid fast entry to information, and to improve the use of collection by opportunity library end users of Fourah Bay School and other establishments.”

Reference Service is the peak of library exercise work. It requires the upkeep of a resource lender from which responses to queries are furnished and materials required by users are produced offered.Davidson (1979) defined reference services as the provision of details and resources to folks coming into a reference library and requesting assistance from the library personnel. Katz (1997) considered reference service as the behind-the-scene routines of the reference library in the choice, acquisition and routine maintenance of the library inventory and its mindful recordings and administration.

When we converse of reference provider in academic libraries, we suggest those people things to do carried out by librarians and associated varieties of team from the reference division in tutorial libraries. This is achieved by way of the use of assortment of books, and other supplies stocked in the reference office for reference applications distinct from collection built for household examining or other use outside the library. The reference procedure in educational libraries requires the next:

• The user recognises his need to have for facts
• The consumer places his dilemma to the librarian
• The librarian engages the questioner in a reference dialogue
• The librarian refines and restates the problem
• The librarian formulates the look for strategy
• The librarian identifies and exploits his personal and/or external information resources
• The librarian offers his tentative findings
• The user assesses the relevance of these in relation to his prerequisites and
• The consumer accepts an authorized respond to.

Reference materials at the Fourah Bay University Library include things like:dictionaries, encyclopedias, summary journals, directories, yearbooks, biographies periodicals/serials, indexes to periodicals, newspapers, maps and charts, specialized studies, patents, normal requirements, dissertations, theses, meeting proceedings and the educational and administrative calendar of occasions or the procedure of the college or university.

In addition to these supplies the library provides the following solutions:

Reference Support: This refers to the own aid presented to customers in finding precise data irrespective of whether direct or indirect. At Fourah Bay College Library, a source lender is taken care of from which responses to inquiries are delivered and components necessary by people are produced accessible.

Bibliographic Provider: The library prepares guide lists and bibliographies for its shoppers, in particular publish-graduate students which provide as a terrific aid in their research activities primarily in the producing of their theses and dissertation.

Photocopying Assistance: This support is offered for college students who would like to photocopy their notes as effectively as lecturers who want to reproduce a number of copies of valuable supplies to make their lecture notes. Consumers pay back a fee for this support.

Online Provider: This is the latest among the companies presented at the Fourah Bay University Library. The Library delivers an prospect for employees and students to entry info online by means of the use of the World wide web. However, to use the technique, the clientele need to have some expertise in the use computers and a price is also billed for the company.

Binding Support: Mutilated references materials are sent to bindery to be certain. However it is not a absolutely free for all service as some value is billed for the solutions rendered specially to learners and for personal work of workers users.

The reference department at the Fourah Bay Faculty library is a distinctive just one from which products are unable to be borrowed for property reading through. It is served by unique librarians called Reference Librarians or Data Officers, who help and recommend patrons in their research and other literature desires. They supply bibliographic or intellectual access and offer specific companies and programmes with the mission of educating, informing and entertaining a selection of audiences and the objective of stimulating personal mastering and advancing society as a whole.

Reference Queries:are also answered in the library. These questions posed by the library patrons to the reference librarians with the purpose of getting the correct details to fulfill their desires. These queries are divided into:

Directional Queries: These are queries in which the reference librarian is requested only for directions.

All set Reference Queries: These are referred to as swift reference thoughts. They are queries in which the reference librarians need to consult with only just one supply, and that adjacent to the enquiry point, in order to deal with the user’s requirements. This is distinguished from the purely directional amount of work by the reality that the librarians require to check with some info relatively than only remedy from private understanding.

Distinct Look for Queries: These are described as those in which reference librarians may perhaps need to have to check with numerous resources to ensure comprehensive the gratification of user wants. They are the type which are clearly recognized without the need of way too substantially dialogue and the sources expected are evident and reasonably elementary.

Research Queries: These are queries that need extended searches, probably more than numerous times and quite possibly involving a number of library workers concurrently. The marshalling of points and figures from a vast variety of sources, collectively with the require to write intensive history notes and explanations, and likely to borrow materials from other libraries and make a phone get in touch with to assistance or obtaining aid from other libraries will be a feature of this style of question

Difficulties of Reference Providers at the Fourah Bay University Library

Academic Libraries in Sierra Leone, especially Fourah Bay University Library are not with out worries. These variety from shortage of funds as a result of absence of sufficient skillfully expert staff members to erratic ability source.

The library is wholly and solely dependent upon the faculty administration for funding. An evaluation of funding at Fourah Bay University Library reveals that a quite minimal precedence is given to the institution’s tutorial nerve centre. The library is gravely underfunded. Online games and Sports activities Division is provided a greater quotation than the library. This financial problem has therefore minimal the library in the provision of an excellent reference provider to its clientele. The library also lacks the expected existing reference supplies to deal with reference queries. This monetary constraints has restricted the library in obtaining the most recent reference materials.

More the selection of qualified staff members is smaller in comparison to the number of para-specialist and other assist team. The reference part does not have sufficient personnel to take care of the quantity of reference queries from the bulk of the people of the library particularly throughout peak durations.

Electric power outages also pose a major challenge. The challenge, nevertheless a nationwide one, has influenced the operations of the library. The 21st century library is supposed to be a digital library which have to thrive on electrical power offer. Sadly electricity provide in Sierra Leone is erratic and this has handicapped the Fourah Bay Higher education library tremendously. As this kind of employees and users could not make use of these facilities as laptop, exploring the Internet for the latest reference materials and info or photocopying materials which are unable to be employed outside the library or even have accessibility to automated reference supplies.

The reference division at the library does not have World-wide-web facilities to aid in answering reference queries that have to have current reaction. Also the seating accommodation in the reference department at the library is insufficient and can not accommodate the large quantity of college students in the school who appear in for reference services. The reference section also lacks Latest Awareness Products and services (CAS), Selective Dissemination of Information and facts (SDI) all of which sort the foundation for reference expert services. Additionally the reference sources and sources available at the reference department are not effectively publicised or promoted which could provide as a robust website link amongst the section and the purchasers.

In fact, reference services is 1 of the most crucial solutions that a library employs to meet its aims and goals. There is substantial possible in the use the college or university library of reference solutions but there are also numerous worries. There should really be as a result determination on the component of the librarians, library administration, customers and the college or university administration in buy to accomplish quality and sustainability in the growth and enhancement of reference services. Only by way of their active participation will reference products and services change the educating and finding out course of action, change the mother nature of facts searching for, organising and employing conduct at Fourah Bay University.