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02 Oct 2016

Challenges Facing The Library At Western Africa Theological Seminary, Internet Of University Of Nigeri



The library happens to be “someplace entrusted with all the acquisition, company, preservation, storage, retrieval and dissemination of data in whatever format it might appear” (Olanlokun and Salisu 1993, ix). Western Africa Theological Seminary Library is at the crossroad. The standard library practices and modern technical advances must certanly be created and welcomed if it’s to be relevant in this information age. It really is an extremely high cost which must certanly be paid usually the library at some point be such as the celebrated personality whom slept for two decades at Gasgill Mountain in Gulliver’s journeys and eventually woke around find the world entirely altered.


The history of the preceding seminary might be realistically traced into the historical visitation by two American missionaries (Rev. Dr. and Rev. Mrs. Gary Maxey) whom led a group of Nigerian and expatriate Christians to Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria in April 1989. (The Maxeys had at first worked creditably in religious education in Port Harcourt for seven years). The establishment of the seminary in 1989 was a practical demonstration of the need to earnestly participate in the training of pastors, evangelists, missionaries and teachers not just in Nigeria but additionally in other components of the continent and also the western. Currently, the seminary may be the biggest non-denominational evangelical holiness seminary in Nigeria that includes attracted students from an easy spectral range of Nigerian Christian denominations, (and) ethnic groups. During a recently completed semester, WATS features students from thirty of Nigeria’s says, from over forty language groups, from (several) various other African countries, and from well over eighty various church groups (West Africa Theological Seminary Prospectus 2004, 5).

The name of the seminary was altered from Wesley International Theological Seminary to West Africa Theological Seminary on 1 Summer 2001, equivalent 12 months it relocated to 35/37 MM International Airport path, Lagos, Nigeria. The establishment is associated into the University of Nsukka, Nigeria and currently offers several programs of research including : Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies, Bachelor of Arts in Theology, Diploma in Theology, certification in Computer Studies, Diploma in Computer Studies, M.A. in Biblical Studies, Master of Divinity, M.A. in Christian Leadership and M.A. in Intercultural Studies. The seminary started publishing the West Africa Theological Seminary Journal in 2002.

One of many immediate programs of the seminary would be to automate its library collection. A crucial aspect would be to recognize computer software which will be capable meet the needs of the seminary. In deciding computer software, the seminary must believe in terms of networking and keep in mind automation programmes generally need yearly assistance fees.


It really is a truism that “the library may be the neurological center of educational establishments” (Olanlokun and Salisu 1993, vii) and West Africa Theological Seminary Library is no exception. This library uses the next edition of the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules (AACR2) and also the 20th edition of Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC 20). The card catalog is divided, “a file of authors and games kept in a single alphabetical purchase and a file of subject cards in alphabetical purchase” (Newhall 1970, 38) and also the filing system is letter by page, a system in which “entries are recorded without considering the areas between words” (Nwosu 2000, 61). Discover a book catalog, which contains the jobs (undergraduate and graduate) submitted by students of the seminary plus some members of staff whom learned in other establishments.

In 2003 the library benefited from a membership paid by Asbury Theological Seminary to use the ATLA (United states Theological Library Association) Database on CD Rom. That is a comprehensive device designed to help religious education and professors analysis. The library acts students, educational and administrative staff of the seminary and exterior people (educational staff and students off their theological establishments).

Other relevant information consist of:


A. During term: Mondays to Saturdays: 9:00 a.m. ? 10:30 p.m.

B. Holiday: Mondays to Fridays: 9:00 a.m. ? 9:00 p.m.

NO OF BOOKS: 36,500

NO OF journal games: 98



THE BOOK CATALOG: jobs (both card and book catalog)



Using the exclusion of the presenter, WATS library is currently manned by seventeen members of staff, nine of who are student employees. These student employees mostly operate in the nights, manning the protection and blood circulation desks (although no exterior borrowing from the bank is performed during this period). Furthermore, they wash they library.


1. Education and recruiting professional librarians

Nine out from the seventeen members of staff are student employees whom make use of this opportunity to raise a significant portion of their particular fees and, sometimes, some additional resources to keep up by themselves because they pursue their particular theological scientific studies. The presenter is unaware of any that has expressed interest in the library profession. Providers rendered can not be classed as professional. Sadly, only two of the regular members of staff have actually completed some form of library training within senior encouraging degree. The implication is that the library is seriously in need of professional librarians usually it can consistently run sub-standard services. An irksome dimension is the fact that normally, junior members of staff who will be into the vast majority “are allowed to do professional obligations into the absence of the right cadre whom needs to do all of them” (Nwosu 2000, 103).

The card catalog for instance will be familiar with show the consequence the paucity or not enough professional librarians is wearing the library collection.

The most frequent as a type of library catalog in West Africa may be the card catalog and “discover importance of (one) to understand the style of the system to make use of it effortlessly” (Nwosu 2000, 57). Difficult for library would be to keep a consistent filing guideline. Although WATS library operates the device referred to as “letter-by-letter” or “all-through” method, you can find evidences of the various other method, this is the “word-by-word” or “nothing before something”. The previous may be the typical method of alphabetization, where B should always come before C. In the latter, the space between words is considered since the focus is for each term. With regards to gets to the turn of the term into the alphabetic sequence, all its colleagues are believed along.

Marrying the two types of filing or alphabetization could cost one the knowledge which needed.
Another problem is misapplication of the filing rules. The United states Library Association Code (Rule 6) stipulates that “abbreviated words must certanly be recorded as if they were spelled call at full, with one exception, which, the abbreviation Mrs. St. is therefore recorded as if it were spelled Saint, and Mc… as Mac” (Harrison and Beenham 1985, 82). The above mentioned guideline is regrettably misapplied in WATS library. If guideline isn’t considered, the word scan will be recorded before St. with regards to should be the various other means round. In the same manner, the Dr. (physician) may also be recorded before down rather than another means round.

A third concern in filing (Rule 5) states that initials must certanly be recorded before words. (but acronyms are treated as words, for example UNICEF, UNESCO, ECOWAS etc.) You will find cases into the WATS catalog that this guideline isn’t considered. A word like Aaron erroneously comes before A.G.M and A.L.A.

It really is frightening that there is no obvious space for ascending mobility of library staff. When you look at the absence of an expert plan of service or promotion directions, members of staff been employed by in a single position given that they received their particular session letters.

2. Computerizing the library

Some libraries in Nigeria have actually automated their particular services. For example the Institute of Tropical Agriculture Library at Ibadan and also the Federal Institute of Industrial analysis Library, Oshodi, Lagos. Other individuals, including WATS Library, take the brink of putting their particular automation program into action.
Automation can benefit the Acquisition, Cataloging and Serial divisions into the after techniques :
Acquisition : Automation will in investment control as well as in generation and dissemination of reports. Directory of items, like the accession list can be printed.

3. Acquisition

Acquisition is normally thought as “the entire process of obtaining books as well as other documents for a library, paperwork center or archive” (Prytherch 1986, 61). Incontrovertibly, it’s “one of the most extremely important functions of any library system” (Ali 1989, 66). Some way of acquisition of library materials consist of acquisition, donation, exchange, Legal Deposit Legislation and membership of professional businesses. In most libraries in West Africa, it’s observed that
acquisition rates are grossly inadequate to support both training and analysis even in the event evaluated by minimal requirements accepted in created countries. Tries to relieve the scenario with different kinds of aid though intrinsically meritorious provide little hope for lasting improvement (Allen 1993, 232).

Donated materials extensively stock West Africa Theological Seminary Library. Since beggars aren’t choosers, discover a significant proportion of dated magazines. There are lots of reading materials that are not even relevant to the general curriculum of the seminary. Weeding ‘unwanted’ stock is a big issue into the library since there are no suitable replacements.
An often-overlooked way of acquisition is membership of professional organizations. If library consistently distance it self through the professional register of library establishments, it will not be alert to existing styles into the expert that may negatively reflect on the nature and top-notch services rendered.

4. Web connection

The WATS management revealed a letter on 2nd January 2005 announcing a significant reduction (about 75%) of the online sites offered on university. This is related to the reduction in the data transfer which managed to make it impractical to help all of the previous work stations. A technological blow was dealt regarding library cyber café as it fell prey for this choice. Pupils were suggested to use the cyber café on the floor flooring. The seminary management must support the library in its embryonic stage to judiciously accept the latest technology. However, the theological librarians have actually an extremely crucial role “to make sure that the ensuing usage of computers and telecommunication and just about every other proper technology contributes in cost effective approaches to the needs of grant and analysis since (they) possess expertise in acquiring materials in many different platforms and also make all of them available for a variety of reasons” (Simpson 1984, 38).

5. Online learning resources

An internet resource that was utilized at West Africa Theological Seminary (and which will be recommended for any other theological libraries in Africa) may be the American Theological Library Association (ATLA) Religion Index, helpful for opening articles, reviews, essays, dissertations and monographs. The application of databases, which overlap subject areas, which, interdisciplinary database researching, is an often over-looked element of on line searching.Users of West Africa Theological Seminary Library do not have use of an incredible number of online resources since it is perhaps not subscribing to use these materials. A good example of a beneficial online resource may be the on line Computer Library Centre (OCLC). This center, a bibliographic utility situated in Dublin, Ohio is a worldwide electric information co-operative offering about 39,517 libraries in seventy-six countries. It works an internet Union Catalog. You will find about twenty eight million cataloguing documents and also the database (using MARC tapes as well as other on line feedback information for people) provides guide services and interlibrary loan, qualifying it probably while the planet’s most extensive database of bibliographic information that produces initial Search program through which a library can subscribe thousands of educational and professional games from about seventy writers available electronically.

6. Functional photocopier

Even though the library features a photocopier, the machine is frequently out-of-order. This second hand device has to be replaced allow the library to realistically reap the benefits of its services. The seminary management even took a determination recently at hand over photocopying services to a student who’s currently running an improved company.

7. Audio-visual collection

Audio visuals are non-paper based information carriers. They’ve been introduced into the library through advances in technology. They’ve been called audio-visuals since they need auditory and aesthetic understanding. Among their particular chief benefits is storing a large amount of information in a small area. Audio visuals consist of sound tapes, microforms, filmstrips, charts, slides, video clip tapes, television etc. Some of those charm only to the sense of hearing (audios), some only to the sight (visuals) as well as others to both the auditory and aesthetic senses (sound visuals). Although WATS library has received a number of audio-visual materials, discover need to purchase the essential supporting tools to help make the audio-visual collection a real possibility.

The seminary was receiving several analysis tools in the shape of CD ROMS for a large duration. The library is however to produce these open to people by setting up all of them in a functional computer.

8. Bindery

It is a fact that “once anything is selected for collection, the library guarantees to protect it” (Goodrum and Dalrymple 1985, 65). The absence of a bindery collection inside the library is negatively impacting the physical condition of books. It should be borne in mind that since a significant portion of library materials are contributed, many are obtained in an exceedingly poor physical condition.

The bindery could also be very instrumental in binding straight back problems of papers and journals to facilitate a comparatively easier storage, retrieval and dissemination of data.

9. User training

A major weakness of library training may be the failure to teach people into the use of the library into the best benefit. From knowledge, “surveys show that general public usage of these types of tools as magazines are minimal, largely since they have not been proven the way they work” (Jackaman 1989, 3). Many students in WATS go through the seminary without a fair grasp of basic library axioms. This means the one hour orientation conducted at the start of every semester is inadequate.

10. Serial collection

Various journals subscribed to by the library are selected, purchased and obtained, processed and shelved by this collection. It really is continuously examined to determine if you can find any missing problems currently because of but have not been obtained so as to make these types of claims. This part in addition stocks newspaper. The relevance of these a great collection into the library can not be overemphasized. It really is regrettable that WATS library isn’t subscribing to journals which explains exactly why there are many distinct spaces in periodical literary works. The library is at the mercy of donors whom generally send journals randomly.

Periodicals are straight bought by the WATS management that are later sent to the library normally not on a single day of acquisition. This beats the goal of papers given that they come late into the library. Providing current information ought to be the primary concern for library or information worker. Consequently, “money should therefore be a requirement rather than a choice” (Wilson 1993, 636).

11. Heat into the library

Today’s temperature into the library is harmful into the books since humidity is a danger to their success. Or even sprayed occasionally, fungi easily develop inside the pages and damage the writing. Many scientists can’t stay for a large duration mainly because of the vexation caused by an extremely hot environment.

12. Web searching

When the library cyber café was operating, user statistics of people indicated that ninety per cent of the whom utilized the online world did so to send emails and speak to pals. The residual 10 % make use of it to perform analysis and do various other functions. The insignificant portion that uses it for analysis purposes greatly count on Bing. A student and a library staff opined that they adopt the ‘google only’ approach since they are unaware of any various other cite.
It really is observed that “most people find (information) through subscription-free se’s particularly Google” (Harding 2004). This over-reliance is a serious limitation. The effectiveness of Bing is considered hence:

A recent search on Google concerning ‘Ancient Near East’ lead to over 150,000 results. Although of these are most likely excellent sites, many others are most likely perhaps not. The ETANA web site, interestingly, will not appear in initial a hundred directories. Thus, the specialist who reap the benefits of use of ETANA but who does perhaps not know of their existence will not stumble across it utilizing Bing (Limpitlaw 2003, p.5).

It is rather regrettable that even lecturers are incredibly proliferating dependence upon one website (Bing). The issue is that “if professors scientists by themselves are depending very nearly solely upon Bing, but what amount of of them are going to encourage students to enhance their particular online searches beyond Bing, to at the very least explore the sources and materials their particular libraries keep?” (Norlin 2004, 56). The library staff must certanly be very instrumental in directing people to a lot of various other relevant sites and online libraries, for instance Africa Digital Library in South Africa. Continuing education for library staff must certanly be urged for them to be up to date with technical changes. It really is opined that “an effective training program is also determined by the dedication that top administration shows for training process” (Martey 2002, 14). An incontrovertible reality is that “librarians have to know how exactly to accessibility and filter something regarding web” (Rosenberg 1997, 15). Among several recommendations to shake the obvious frost off the African church in its theological objective, Tienou (1990) proffers the improvement of theological libraries, and (by implication), the theological librarians whom intersperse amongst the information and also the user. Working out of library staff and information experts is quite crucial in dealing with the astronomically fast development which obvious into the information age. It is rather regrettable that the theological librarians have never generally accompanied the development of Internet service at West Africa Theological Seminary Library with an intensive training on its usage.

Indubitably, unless … librarians get this staff training, discover a risk that the potential with this technology for sourcing and repackaging for information transfer will continue to be insufficiently exploited hence it does not be integrated with more traditional print-based library services” (Asamoah 2003, 17).

13. Financing

It really is incontrovertible that “every great collection is a manifestation of adequate and sound economic backing, no collection development is capable of this objective if it’s financially handicapped” (Alemna 1994, 47). Inside their commentary regarding challenge in the field of librarianship, it’s observed that “library capital will probably be the issue which uses the vitality of library supervisors into the end with this century (and also the after that)” (Moore and Shander 1993, 19). WATS library must certanly be realistically budgeted for if it’s to keep becoming the educational neurological center of the seminary.


Like Ato Yawson in Ama Ata Aidoo’s The problem of a Ghost, issue is, shall WATS library go to Cape Coast (representing the standard) or Elmina (representing the modern’)? In the area of librarianship, a realistic response lies “in preserving traditional services and embracing the technical advances” (Harding 2002, 9).

Listed here are proffered for consideration to aid WATS library to face the inescapable challenges:

1. Expertly trained staff

The library profession is in crises. It really is observed that “the necessity to discover and keep high quality leadership for libraries is a core concern for the future” (Hisle 2002, 211). Library staff at WATS must certanly be skillfully trained. Acquisition of relevant library qualifications can not be overemphasized. Relevant training must feature usage of software applications. The modern theological librarian is looking at a crossroad and must keep an extremely useful balance between traditional and modern analysis techniques to be relevant in this information age. Substandard services will continue to be offered if staff are utilized simply because they’re Christians with little to no emphasis on professional training. Theological librarians need the particular training conducted by ACTEA (Accrediting Council for Theological Education in Africa) East Africa Library Staff Training Institute in Daystar University in Kenya in July 2004. Untrained librarians require courses in cataloguing and classification, handling of the library and responding to guide questions. Moreover, they must get learning searching online, utilizing Boolean operators to seek advice from full-text journals, opening guide materials on CD Roms, utilizing MARC, and compiling lists of important sites and guide CDs.

Seminary, library, training, recruiting, librarians,

2. Scheme of service

So as not to ever make a continued mockery of the library profession, it is suggested that the professional directions for session and promotion of library staff at all levels be drafted and implemented. The seminary management could compare the plan of service of several establishments in Nigeria and also the sub-region as a guide to fairly retain the standard.

Opportunities which will be studied into account inside the various groups consist of:

a. Junior staff

i. Messenger/cleaner

ii. Library attendant III

iii. Library attendant II

iv. Library attendant I

v. Library associate I

vi. Library associate II

vii. Library associate III

b. Senior encouraging staff

i. Trainee Librarian/Senior Library Assistant II / Admin. Assistant II

ii. Senior Library Assistant I / Admin.

c. Senior staff

i. Library Officer

ii. Librarian II

iii. Librarian I

iv. Senior Librarian

v. Deputy Librarian

vi. Mind Librarian

The requirements for scoring senior library staff must certanly be considered. Some of those areas consist of :

Educational and professional qualifications

Professional/working knowledge

Professional activities

Analysis and magazines

Administrative knowledge

3. Revamping of net services into the library

The library cyber café must certanly be resurrected if library is usually to be relevant in this technical age. The library staff should get training that allow all of them to creditably handle databases inside their library.

4. User training

The library must certanly be much more proactive in user education methods. Much more existing understanding or selective dissemination of data should be done to entice students and staff. A program regarding use of the library might be introduced as a compulsory subject for several categories of students. It really is obvious even yet in West Africa Theological Seminary that “librarians can no longer believe equivalent degree of interest in and assistance for library from a faculty that progressively rely upon their particular search methods and capabilities in a digital world they can access from their particular workplaces” (Norlin 2004, 56). Theological librarians need to be carefully attuned into the problems of the students and professors. If librarians at WATS release professionalism in distinguishing the problem of the specialist, looking for certain bits of information efficiently and expeditiously and transmits caused by the search by any convenient methods to both professors and student people (telephone, e-mail, individual telephone call, brief page to mention various), the interest into the library as information intermediary would slowly be revamped.

The library of West Africa Theological Seminary should spend weeks supplying “faculty only” and “students only” services regarding usage of United states Theological Library Association database (after paying current membership). An incontrovertible fact is that “unless theological librarians consciously see the professors (and students) while the primary target for (their particular) activities, (they) would be unimportant to…students, professors, directors and establishments” (Norlin 2004, 55).

5. The role of the seminary management

Control at WATS must notice that the library isn’t an optional additional hence the impending doctoral programme into the seminary is only going to be a real possibility whenever library attains a certain professional standard. Seminary authorities must help its progress by establishing existing collections (for instance, subscribing to scholarly journals for serials collection) and also by assisting into the creating of a vibrant Digital Library Collection which will be manned by an expert librarian. Providing host updates and disk storage area must certanly be seriously considered. There must be regular in-service training to aid library staff gain relevant skills in it.

The issue of capital can not be overemphasized. The WATS Library can only be relevant in this information age if seminary management would recognize “the centrality of their educational neurological center (the library) and ensure the sustainability of the library programmes and services” (Harding 2002, 9). Introduction of user charges, even more fund-raising activities into the library (particularly book sales), increase in the assistance from donor agencies could yield a rise in earnings needed to purchase and maintain essential gear.

When the library is acceptably funded, it should be capable of subscribe relevant record games, purchase standard theological texts, build a vibrant audio-visual collection, supply ac facilities to manage heat, exchange the photocopier and offer various other essential services as and when essential.

Expertly trained staff, plan of service, revamping of net services into the Computerize, cataloging, acquisition, net, user training, audio-visual, serial, bindery, financing, plan of service,

6. Account of professional businesses

WATS library should enlist as an institutional member of professional library organizations particularly Nigeria Theological Library Association, Christian Librarians’ Association for Africa, United states Theological Library Association and Christian Librarians’ Fellowship. (The presenter is a member of most nevertheless the previous). It absolutely was through United states Theological Library Association that the writer was informed that the twenty second edition of the Dewey Decimal Library (DDC) classification was posted. (WATS is using the 20th edition). The DDC numbers consist of all headings newly mapped into the 200 Religion Schedule, along with other individuals considered to be interesting to theological libraries.

The following is an example:

Subject going Call number

All Souls’ Day in art 704.9493943

Islamic modernism 297.09

Nymphs (Greek deities) in art 704.9489221

Open-air preaching 206.1, 251

Social capital (Sociology) ? Religious aspects 201.7

Venus (Roman deity ) in art 704.9489221

(Osmanski 2003, 2-1)

7. Computerization


It really is indubitable that the role of the library as information intermediary would never change. But the methods to satisfy this invaluable role keeps altering and also the library must conform to maintain steadily its relevance. WATS library is a unit of a self-supporting establishment with several challenges. Standard library practices must certanly be totally created and also the best of today’s technology must certanly be welcomed. This high cost must certanly be paid while the library journeys to ‘Cape Coast’. The seminary librarians have actually a significant challenge to maneuver from being mere keepers of the book to guides through a universe of knowledge, thus playing a great role as information intermediary (Kargbo 2002). Since the objective of the library to facilitate the free circulation of data endures even yet in the midst of technical changes, the librarians in all types of libraries, including WATS, “must discover an extremely useful balance amongst the conventional/traditional library functions and also the types of the latest challenges to be able to keep their particular leadership role in (the) information age” (Harding 2002, 10). Librarians in West Africa Theological Seminary could simply be relevant in this age when they gear around hold the essential skills allow people to creditably usage materials for reading, research and assessment in whatever format they may appear. This can not be recognized with no invaluable assistance of the seminary management. With this specific realization, “the students will be taught the art of electric information retrieval, which they can use to create their particular project work and thesis” (Asamoah 2003, 17).


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