Library Consortia in Nigeria and the Place of ICT

Library Consortia in Nigeria and the Place of ICT

Idiegbeyan-ose Jerome (Covenant University, Nigeria), Ugwunwa Esse (Covenant University, Nigeria) and Egbe Adewole-Odeshi (Covenant University, Nigeria)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5888-2.ch479
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Introduction

Library Consortia implies the coming together of two or more libraries in a formal agreement to share their resources. The essence is that no library can boast of acquiring all the published literature in the world to render effective and efficient services for their users.

Islam (2013) cited Manan (1998) and explained that libraries have been cooperating and collaborating on collection building for many years, he further stressed that the aim of library consortia is to maximize the availability of and access to information and service at a minimum cost, consortia enables the participating libraries to leverage shrinking budget, learn from each others, build better tools together and serve their users better by taking advantage of one another’s collection (Borek, 2006).

Obaro (2013) opines that resources sharing or Library consortia is a vital practice in every library especially academic libraries, this is as a result of the fact that no library can boast of self sufficiency; also knowledge has continued to grow over the years due to the high rate at which researches are conducted and their findings published for the purpose of educating people. Knowledge is growing at a geometric progression.

The need for access to information to support academic activities in institution is so high that a single library cannot afford it due to finance, manpower, and space. As a consequence of the perception of this situation, libraries started organizing networks and consortia with the aim of resource sharing. Collaborative efforts among and between libraries have been documented as far back as the late 19th century.

Academic library consortia in the United States have existed for multiple decades, having gained momentum in the 1970s with the development of shared catalogs and then having moved full speed into the shared purchases of electronic resources in the 1990s. Several library and information science (LIS) authors have covered consortia history and development, notably Weber (1976), Alexander (1999), Kopp (1998), and Bostick (2001) as cited by Chadwell (2011). The longevity or persistence of consortia speaks to their success. It also sets the stage for arguing that if academic libraries must adjust to a new climate focused on assessment and accountability, then consortia and other partnerships in which academic libraries participate must consider seriously how they might demonstrate their value more effectively.

In other words library consortium as a generic term is used to indicate any group of libraries working together towards a common goal whether to expand co-operation on traditional library services in the area of collection development or electronic information services. However, the common thing of all the definitions and consequently the subject matter is the coming together of libraries having common interest, needs and purposes to achieve a common goal that is beyond what an individual library can achieve on its own (Okeagu and Okeagu. 2008).

Consortium is further defined as an association of independent libraries and/or library systems established by formal agreement usually for the purpose of resource sharing. Membership may be restricted to a specific geographical region, type of library (academic, public, school) or subject specialization. The term consortium, networking, resource sharing, co-operation and partnerships are used inter-changeably to refer to strategic alliances amongst libraries with the aim of meeting the demands of clients for services that are delivered faster and reliably (Nwegbu, Echezona, and Obijiofo 2011).

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Background

library consortium is a group of two or more libraries that have agreed to cooperate with each other in order to fulfil certain similar needs, usually resource sharing. Cooperation among libraries which is not a new concept according to Sanni and Igbafe (2004) is an imperative for resources sharing and networking among libraries for the provision of qualitative library services especially in Nigeria being a developing nation like other African countries where development is in a very abysmal state. Traditionally, library cooperation meant sharing collection in some ways but is could as well include sharing of services, or of processes such as joint cataloguing of materials, or staff and user training.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Librarian: A librarian is a professional who studied Library and Information Science and works in a library. A librarian deals with print and non print materials. His or her major duty is to offer library services to the library clientele.

Library Consortia: Library consortia' may be defined as a group of libraries who come together in agreement to achieve a common purpose. The major purpose of consortia is for libraries to share resources in order to improve services to the clientele of such libraries.

Nigeria: Nigeria is a country in West Africa comprising 36 states and its Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. It is divided into six geopolitical zones. Nigeria practices a democratic system of Government.

Information Communication Technology: Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is the integration of telecommunications, computer hardware and software which enables users to access, store and transmit information.

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