Building the Professional Library Infrastructure in Sierra Leone

Building the Professional Library Infrastructure in Sierra Leone


Building countries are characterised in a person way by shrinking economies. Sierra Leone is a person these state that inspite of federal government and donor help, instruction has been a significant obstacle. The problem has been worsened, thanks to the actuality that libraries have been neglected. According to the African Development Bank (ADB) Sierra Leone Region Office environment (2011), the total money offered for education and learning by the ADB/ADF funds up to 2010, was about US$ 22 million. The venture supported the development of Ninety Eight (98) principal educational facilities, Fifty Four (54) Junior Secondary Educational institutions (JSS), Eight (8) Vocational Expertise Training Centres and Twelve (12) duplex housing blocks for academics. The challenge also furnished schooling for Four Thousand and Fifty (4,050) lecturers. Instructor manuals were being also built obtainable. However, absolutely nothing was at any time manufactured available for library improvement. This neglect of libraries, signifies that libraries in Sierra Leone with confined resources, have to operate with each other in order to satisfy the info requires of their people. One library might not be capable to correctly and suitably meet up with the information and facts needs of all its users. Library cooperation is as a result, urgently necessary.

Library Scene in Sierra Leone

The nation has all the various styles of libraries they assortment from public, educational, particular to college libraries. In addition to these are details and useful resource or documentation centres that provide library and facts solutions. On top of that, there are museums, this kind of as the National and the Peace Museums, and the Countrywide Archive which also deliver information services.

Nevertheless, the Sierra Leone Library Board (SLLB) which was proven by an Act of Parliament in 1959 serves as the area of the provision of library and data expert services in the nation. It features as both the Countrywide and a General public library. To day it has a Central library and headquarters found in Freetown, Regional branches in Provincial headquarter towns, and branches in all District towns, totaling twenty just one (21) libraries [One (1) central and headquarter library, three (3) regional libraries, sixteen (16) branch libraries, and two (2) sub-branches].

Libraries in Sierra Leone are for that reason, establishments for the storage and dissemination of information are for consumers they present consumers with guides and other obtaining lists they give adequate access to the documents or documents customers may would like to seek advice from they have topic arrangement and they are price tag-effective.

Library Cooperation

The term cooperation describes the joint action of two or far more functions for mutual gain. Library cooperation implies exchanging cataloguing information, setting up complementary collections, exchanging library materials by inter-library personal loan and doc supply service, joint getting of library resources or automated system, providing companies to each and every others’ people. Library cooperation is also described as an agreement, mixture, or team of libraries fashioned to undertake an business past the methods of any just one member.

There are unique forms of cooperative actions and some of the most well-known functions are reciprocal borrowing, union catalogues or lists, photocopying solutions, cooperative reference assistance, shipping and delivery expert services, cooperative acquisition preparations, topic specialisation in selection development, centralised cataloguing and card creation, as nicely as central storage of materials.

Burgett, Harr and Phillips (2004) asserted that there is proof that cooperation amongst libraries to share sources goes back to a extended way, at the very least to the to start with half of the 13th century, when monasteries created what we would currently recognise as union catalogs of manuscripts to assist in their scholarly routines. Musana (1991) indicated that information and facts resource sharing has been in existence as long as libraries and other types of details products and services. The existence of a library is by itself a variety of cooperation. A lot of libraries arrived into existence for the reason that a team of people today with a popular motivation and aspiration wanted to put a selection of products together for use by the team associates. Historically, the driving power at the rear of the evolution of useful resource sharing idea was the motivation to satisfy the felt desires of the consumer inhabitants. Before, each individual library was an entity, serving or hoping to provide the requirements of its individual customers and purchasing supplies to meet their principal requires.

Beenham and Harrison (1990) having said that observed that a blend of situations produced it more and more challenging for an unique library to be self-sufficient. These instances incorporate:

a tremendous enhance in know-how and a corresponding expansion in publishing

the spread of schooling from most important to college degree which lead to increased and additional assorted requires on the public library services by a considerably much more literate general public

the advance of know-how with its influence on industry and commerce and the necessity for businesses and employees to build new techniques and methods and

improved chances for journey and international economic cooperation, which desire up-to-day information and facts about foreign nations.

Existing Library Cooperation in Sierra Leone

There has been increased strain for libraries in Sierra Leone to cooperate, which include ideas to build networks thus generating way for sources to be obtainable to users. As such what has received is as follows:

Lending of materials – libraries lend products to each and every other officially and unofficially to assistance their end users

Donations – huge libraries donate to smaller sized libraries resources mostly publications for their customers

Photocopying – these are out there in most libraries. The lending library will copy the needed substance and mail a duplicate to the requesting library with no having to mail the unique

Exchange of cataloguing information – cataloguing data is given to other libraries. The Sierra Leone Library Board (SLLB) provides its information to college libraries that are unable to do this technological do the job correctly.

There have been some benefits with these forms of cooperation present in the nation:

Availability and entry to facts – there has been sizeable attain to information by customers, considering that other libraries’ assets can be tapped from

Lessen expense – resources are saved thanks mainly to the actuality that some high-priced resources are not ordered as lengthy as they are accessed in yet another library

Working experience sharing – the exchanging of employees and facts provides a system for understanding from each and every other, specifically with cataloguing information and

Assortment improvement – just about every library tends to build its assortment to the greatest place, narrowing the focus, and at the end making a strong selection.

Notwithstanding, the actual added benefits that these cooperation ought to bring about have not been entirely realised. Therefore, there are specified ways that libraries must take to make this workable.

Building the Infrastructure of Cooperation

The subsequent are vital steps to be taken into account for an efficient cooperation in between libraries in Sierra Leone if considerable achievements are to be created.

Make certain typical comprehending and believe in. There need to be an proven better doing the job romance between and amongst libraries exactly where popular knowing and believe in are constructed up. A continued conversation and publicity of a person another’s means should be preserved. This can be performed by sharing of knowledge and practical experience, signing of Memoranda of Understanding, dialogue to allay fears, and to respect what each and every celebration can present. Trade of staff if necessary will have to be done.

Master from highly developed libraries. On top of that, lessons can be learnt from how other countrywide and worldwide cooperation is getting done. Cooperation is not a working day celebration but a thing that need to be inspired and designed upon. There will have to be home for demo and mistake as nicely as correction of earlier mistakes.

Administration need to provide the leadership. Each library administration must choose on itself to lead the process correctly. There have to be the political will and the willingness to share sources, as properly as prioritising the go towards cooperation. Management ought to be prepared to make favourable compromises to arrive at the sought after intention.

Networking and collaboration. The shift in the direction of cooperation must not be a just one person clearly show. Cooperation can consist of voluntary settlement among the libraries, or it can be imposed on libraries by Library Legal guidelines or by dependable ministries that fund libraries. It is crucial that the participant libraries be prepared to operate jointly in the direction of widespread aims.

Provision of funds. A person of the benefits of cooperation is to help you save value. However, every library need to offer money for the processes involved. This is significantly so for processing and complex products and services capabilities. These have to be taken treatment by specific libraries. As these funding should be provided.

Condition intervention. In the context of the producing international locations state intervention would be known as for to permit coordination of a nation’s complete library and data resources and be certain satisfactory funding. This is significantly crucial provided that on the whole libraries in Sierra Leone do not have substantial ample money foundation of their personal to invest in these kinds of tools as pc hardware and software program, and telecommunications. However, condition handle need to not be authorized to exceed co-ordination as this could to some extent have an effect on the zeal, initiative and the goodwill of collaborating libraries, institutions and the unique professionals.

The Challenges in Building the Infrastructure of Cooperation

In spite of the added benefits accrued in cooperation, there are serious and perceived problems, which, except effectively dealt with, could minimise the prospects of even the finest conceived plan getting off. In Sierra Leone, these are:

Overcoming the society of hoarding – the society of greed and selfishness that has eaten up the very material of culture. This has affected even library observe. Libraries are to amass info for the basic superior of the culture.

Confined collections – exactly where participating libraries have not developed up their collection to a bare minimum common to let for trade, they are to develop their collections to some measurable position to guarantee reasonable participation.

ICTs infrastructure – the marked absence of sufficient Details and Interaction Technologies (ICTs) is a worrisome concern for cooperation in this 21st century.
Acquiring and set up of ICTs is quite very important, as perfectly as the education and learning and coaching of staffs for use.

Staffing – some of the taking part libraries have untrained and unqualified employees as a major impediment. Also, most team are worried about their position, performance, career stability, salaries, and autonomy or independence, and this has afflicted the synergy. If the fears of personnel are to be dispelled through suitable sensitisation and schooling, ability making also must be undertaken.

Administration – administration ought to get decisive techniques to cooperation.

In summary, details to libraries is as cash to banking companies it is an indispensable enter in the improvement approach of the nation. However, to be effective it has to be optimally out there and accessible from every corner if probable. Library cooperation if effectively prepared and executed presents a answer to a great deal of difficulties confronted by libraries, librarians and other details specialists in building nations as Sierra Leone. Valls (1983) has presented the very last words, “cooperation involving information centres and the co-ordination of endeavours essential to successfully share sources implies the existence of an infrastructure linking the centres to one one more.” This library infrastructure need to be designed up as it would guide in fostering self-enable, exchange info, improve culture, increase productiveness and work lifestyle, and share means.