01 Oct 2016

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



The library has grown to become “a location entrusted with the acquisition, company, preservation, storage space, retrieval and dissemination of data in whatever structure it might appear” (Olanlokun and Salisu 1993, ix). Western Africa Theological Seminary Library are at the crossroad. The traditional library techniques and modern-day technical improvements must be created and welcomed when it is become appropriate within information age. It is an extremely large cost which must be compensated otherwise the library at some point come to be just like the popular character who slept for 20 years at Gasgill hill in Gulliver’s moves and eventually woke to discover the world entirely changed.


The annals associated with the preceding seminary might be realistically tracked toward historic visitation by two US missionaries (Rev. Dr. and Rev. Mrs. Gary Maxey) who led a small grouping of Nigerian and expatriate Christians to Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria in April 1989. (The Maxeys had initially worked creditably in spiritual knowledge in Port Harcourt for seven many years). The institution associated with the seminary in 1989 had been a practical demonstration associated with the need to actively participate in working out of pastors, evangelists, missionaries and instructors not only in Nigeria but also various other components of the continent while the western. Currently, the seminary may be the biggest non-denominational evangelical holiness seminary in Nigeria that has attracted students from an easy spectral range of Nigerian Christian denominations, (and) ethnic groups. During a recently completed semester, WATS has actually students from thirty of Nigeria’s states, from over forty language groups, from (several) various other African nations, and from above eighty different chapel groups (western Africa Theological Seminary Prospectus 2004, 5).

The name associated with the seminary had been changed from Wesley International Theological Seminary to western Africa Theological Seminary on 1 Summer 2001, equivalent 12 months it relocated to 35/37 MM airport terminal Road, Lagos, Nigeria. The organization is associated toward University of Nsukka, Nigeria and currently provides several programs of study including : Bachelor of Arts in spiritual 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 western Africa Theological Seminary Journal in 2002.

One of many instant plans associated with the seminary is to automate its library collection. An essential aspect is to determine pc software which will be able to meet the requirements associated with the seminary. In selecting pc software, the seminary must think with regards to networking and bear in mind that automation programmes usually need annual assistance costs.


It is a truism that “the library may be the nerve center of academic establishments” (Olanlokun and Salisu 1993, vii) and western Africa Theological Seminary Library is not any exemption. This library utilizes the second version associated with the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules (AACR2) while the 20th version of Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC 20). The card catalog is split, “a file of authors and titles held in one alphabetical purchase and a file of topic cards in alphabetical purchase” (Newhall 1970, 38) while the filing system is letter by page, a method where “entries tend to be filed without considering the spaces between terms” (Nwosu 2000, 61). There was a book catalog, containing the tasks (undergraduate and graduate) submitted by students associated with the seminary and some people in staff who studied various other establishments.

In 2003 the library benefited from a subscription compensated by Asbury Theological Seminary to utilize the ATLA (United states Theological Library Association) Database on CD Rom. This is an extensive device designed to support spiritual knowledge and professors study. The library acts students, academic and administrative staff associated with the seminary and exterior people (academic staff and students off their theological establishments).

Various other appropriate information feature:


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

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

NO OF GUIDES: 36,500

NO OF journal titles: 98



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



Because of the exclusion associated with the presenter, WATS library is currently manned by seventeen people in staff, nine of who tend to be pupil employees. These pupil employees mainly operate in the nights, manning the safety and blood circulation desks (although no exterior borrowing is done during this time period). Furthermore, they wash they library.


1. Instruction and recruiting expert librarians

Nine out from the seventeen people in staff tend to be pupil employees who make use of this possibility to boost a significant portion of their costs and, in some cases, some extra funds to keep themselves while they pursue their theological scientific studies. The presenter is unaware of any who’s got expressed curiosity about the library profession. Services rendered can not be classed as expert. Regrettably, just two associated with the regular people in staff have actually completed some type of library training within senior supporting degree. The implication is the fact that the library is really in need of expert librarians otherwise it might continue steadily to operate sub-standard services. An irksome dimension is that in most cases, junior people in staff who’re within the majority “are allowed to do expert duties within the absence of just the right cadre who should do all of them” (Nwosu 2000, 103).

The card catalog as an example are going to be accustomed show the consequence the paucity or insufficient expert librarians is having on the library collection.

The most typical as a type of library catalog in western Africa may be the card catalog and “discover need for (one) to know the style associated with the system to be able to make use of it effortlessly” (Nwosu 2000, 57). Challenging when it comes to library is to preserve a frequent filing guideline. Although WATS library works the device referred to as “letter-by-letter” or “all-through” method, there are evidences associated with the various other method, that 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. within the latter, the area between terms is taken into account considering that the focus is for each term. With regards to gets to the change associated with the term within the alphabetic series, all its colleagues are thought along.

Marrying both types of filing or alphabetization may cost one the knowledge this is certainly needed.
Another problem is misapplication associated with the filing rules. The United states Library Association Code (Rule 6) stipulates that “abbreviated terms should be filed as though these were spelled out in full, with one exemption, this is certainly, the acronym Mrs. St. is for that reason filed as though it were spelled Saint, and Mc… as Mac” (Harrison and Beenham 1985, 82). The aforementioned guideline is unfortunately misapplied in WATS library. If guideline isn’t considered, the term scan are going to be filed before St. when it ought to be the various other way round. In much the same, the Dr. (medical practitioner) may also be filed before down and never others way round.

A third issue in filing (Rule 5) states that initials should be filed before terms. (However, acronyms tend to be treated as terms, including UNICEF, UNESCO, ECOWAS etc.) There are circumstances within the WATS catalog this guideline isn’t considered. A word like Aaron mistakenly comes before A.G.M and A.L.A.

It is frightening there is no clear space for upward flexibility of library staff. When you look at the absence of a specialist plan of service or marketing recommendations, people in staff been employed by in one single place given that they received their appointment letters.

2. Computerizing the library

Some libraries in Nigeria have actually automated their services. These include the Institute of Tropical Agriculture Library at Ibadan while the Federal Institute of Industrial Research Library, Oshodi, Lagos. Other individuals, including WATS Library, take the brink of putting their automation program into activity.
Automation will benefit the Acquisition, Cataloging and Serial divisions within the following ways :
Acquisition : Automation can really help in fund control as well as in generation and dissemination of reports. Set of products, like the accession number could be imprinted.

3. Acquisition

Acquisition is generally defined as “the entire process of getting books also documents for a collection, paperwork center or archive” (Prytherch 1986, 61). Incontrovertibly, it really is “one of the most important functions of every library system” (Ali 1989, 66). Some ways acquisition of library products feature acquisition, donation, change, Legal Deposit Legislation and account of expert companies. In many libraries in western Africa, it really is seen that
acquisition prices tend to be grossly insufficient to support both teaching and study even when judged by minimal requirements acknowledged in created nations. Attempts to alleviate the scenario with different forms of help though intrinsically meritorious provide little hope for long-term improvement (Allen 1993, 232).

Contributed products thoroughly stock western Africa Theological Seminary Library. Since beggars aren’t choosers, discover a significant percentage of dated publications. There are many reading products which are not even highly relevant to the overall curriculum associated with the seminary. Weeding ‘unwanted’ stock is a big problem toward library since there are no ideal replacements.
An often-overlooked ways acquisition is account of expert organizations. If library continues to distance it self through the expert sign-up of library establishments, it won’t be conscious of present trends within the pro that will adversely think on the sort and quality of services rendered.

4. Online connection

The WATS administration circulated a page on 2nd January 2005 announcing a significant decrease (about 75%) associated with the internet service supplied on campus. It was attributed to the lowering of the data transfer which caused it to be impractical to support all previous work programs. A technological blow had been dealt from the library cyber café as it fell prey for this decision. Students were advised to utilize the cyber café on a lawn flooring. The seminary administration must offer the library in its embryonic phase to judiciously embrace the latest technology. However, the theological librarians have actually an extremely crucial role “to ensure that the resulting using computers and telecommunication and any other proper technology contributes in price effective approaches to the requirements of grant and study since (they) possess expertise in obtaining products in many different platforms and then make all of them obtainable for a number of reasons” (Simpson 1984, 38).

5. Online resources

An on-line resource which was made use of at western Africa Theological Seminary (and that is recommended for other theological libraries in Africa) may be the US Theological Library Association (ATLA) Religion Index, helpful for accessing articles, reviews, essays, dissertations and monographs. The employment of databases, which overlap topic industries, this is certainly, interdisciplinary database researching, is an often over-looked facet of on line searching.Users of western Africa Theological Seminary Library would not have use of an amazing quantity of online learning resources because it is not subscribing to utilize these products. An example of a beneficial online resource may be the on line Computer Library Centre (OCLC). This center, a bibliographic energy situated in Dublin, Ohio is a global electric information co-operative serving about 39,517 libraries in seventy-six nations. It runs an on-line Union Catalog. There are around 28 million cataloguing documents while the database (using MARC tapes also on line feedback data for people) provides reference services and interlibrary loan, qualifying it most likely as the world’s most comprehensive database of bibliographic information that creates initial Search program whereby a library can sign up for thousands of academic and expert titles from about seventy publishers readily available digitally.

6. Practical photocopier

Even though the library has actually a photocopier, the machine is often out-of-order. This used machine should be replaced allow the library to realistically reap the benefits of its services. The seminary administration even took a determination recently to hand over photocopying services to a student who’s currently working a significantly better company.

7. Audio visual collection

Audio visuals are non-paper based information carriers. They have been introduced into the library through advances in technology. They are called audio-visuals because they require auditory and visual appreciation. One of their chief advantages is storing a large amount of information in a small space. Audio visuals include audio tapes, microforms, filmstrips, charts, slides, video tapes, television etc. Some of these appeal only to the sense of hearing (audios), some only to the sight (visuals) and others to both the auditory and visual senses (audio visuals). Although WATS library has received quite a few audio visual materials, there is need to purchase the necessary supporting equipments to make the audio visual collection a reality.

The seminary was obtaining several study resources in the form of CD ROMS for a large period. The library is yet which will make these accessible to people by setting up all of them in a functional computer system.

8. Bindery

It is a fact that “once almost everything is selected when it comes to collection, the library guarantees to protect it” (Goodrum and Dalrymple 1985, 65). The absence of a bindery collection within the library is adversely influencing the physical condition of books. It must be borne in mind that since a significant portion of library products tend to be donated, lots of people are gotten in a really bad physical condition.

The bindery may be really instrumental in binding back dilemmas of papers and journals to facilitate a relatively simpler storage space, retrieval and dissemination of data.

9. Individual instruction

A significant weakness of library practice may be the failure to instruct people within the utilization of the library toward most readily useful benefit. From experience, “surveys have indicated that public using these types of resources as catalogues tend to be minimal, mostly simply because they have not demonstrated an ability the way they run” (Jackaman 1989, 3). Numerous students in WATS go through the seminary without a fair grasp of standard library principles. This means that usually the one time orientation performed at the start of every semester is inadequate.

10. Serial collection

Numerous journals subscribed to because of the library tend to be selected, ordered and gotten, prepared and shelved by this collection. It is constantly checked to ascertain if there are any missing dilemmas already due but have not been gotten to make these types of statements. This area in addition stocks newspaper. The relevance of these a great collection within the library can not be overemphasized. It is regrettable that WATS library isn’t subscribing to journals and also this describes just why there are numerous distinct gaps in periodical literature. The library are at the mercy of donors who usually send journals at random.

Periodicals tend to be straight purchased because of the WATS administration and these tend to be later delivered to the library in most cases not on your day of acquisition. This defeats the goal of papers given that they come later toward library. Offering present information should be the primary concern when it comes to library or information employee. Consequently, “currency should for that reason be a requirement and never an option” (Wilson 1993, 636).

11. Temperature within the library

Today’s heat within the library is harmful toward books since moisture is a menace for their survival. If not sprayed occasionally, fungi effortlessly develop within the pages and harm the writing. Numerous researchers can’t stay for a large period simply because of the discomfort due to an extremely hot environment.

12. Online looking

If the library cyber café had been functioning, user data of people indicated that ninety per cent of these who used cyberspace did therefore to send mails and speak to friends. The residual 10 % make use of it to perform study and do various other functions. The insignificant portion that utilizes it for study purposes greatly depend on Bing. Students and a library staff opined they adopt the ‘google just’ method since they are not aware of every various other cite.
It is seen that “most people find (information) through subscription-free the search engines including Google” (Harding 2004). This over-reliance is a critical restriction. The effectiveness of Bing is evaluated hence:

A current browse Bing of ‘Ancient Near East’ resulted in over 150,000 results. Even though many of the are probably excellent internet sites, more are probably not. The ETANA website, interestingly, does not appear in initial a hundred listings. Hence, the researcher that would reap the benefits of use of ETANA but who does not know of their presence will not stumble across it utilizing Bing (Limpitlaw 2003, p.5).

It is quite regrettable that even lecturers tend to be extremely proliferating reliance upon one web site (Bing). The issue is that “if professors researchers themselves tend to be depending practically exclusively upon Bing, however, exactly how many of them will likely encourage students to expand their searches beyond Bing, to at the very least explore the sources and products their libraries preserve?” (Norlin 2004, 56). The library staff must be really instrumental in directing people to numerous various other appropriate internet sites and online libraries, as an example Africa Digital Library in South Africa. Continuing knowledge when it comes to library staff must be encouraged to enable them to be up-to-date with technical modifications. It is opined that “a fruitful training program normally influenced by the dedication that top management programs when it comes to training procedure” (Martey 2002, 14). An incontrovertible the reality is that “librarians need to know how-to accessibility and filter understanding from the web” (Rosenberg 1997, 15). Among several recommendations to shake the obvious frost from the African chapel in its theological goal, Tienou (1990) proffers the improvement of theological libraries, and (by implication), the theological librarians who intersperse between the information while the user. The training of library staff and information professionals is very crucial in coping with the astronomically quick development this is certainly obvious within the information age. It is quite regrettable that the theological librarians never have typically accompanied the introduction of Internet service at western Africa Theological Seminary Library with a comprehensive training on its use.

Indubitably, unless … librarians receive this staff training, discover a risk that the potential of this technology for sourcing and repackaging for information transfer will remain insufficiently exploited and that you won’t come to be integrated with additional conventional print-based library services” (Asamoah 2003, 17).

13. Financing

It is incontrovertible that “every good collection is an expression of adequate and sound financial backing, no collection development can achieve this goal when it is financially handicapped” (Alemna 1994, 47). Within their commentary from the challenge in neuro-scientific librarianship, it really is seen that “library investment will probably be the issue which uses the power of library supervisors toward end of this century (while the next)” (Moore and Shander 1993, 19). WATS library must be realistically budgeted for when it is to carry on becoming the academic nerve center associated with the seminary.


Like Ato Yawson in Ama Ata Aidoois the Dilemma of a Ghost, issue is, shall WATS library go to Cape Coast (representing the original) or Elmina (representing the modern’)? In neuro-scientific librarianship, a realistic response lies “in preserving conventional services and embracing the technical improvements” (Harding 2002, 9).

Listed below are proffered for consideration to help WATS library to manage the inevitable challenges:

1. Expertly trained staff

The library profession is within crises. It is seen that “the requirement to get a hold of and keep high quality leadership for libraries is a core issue money for hard times” (Hisle 2002, 211). Library staff at WATS must be skillfully trained. Acquisition of appropriate library skills can not be overemphasized. Relevant training must add using computer programs. The modern theological librarian is standing on a crossroad and must preserve an extremely of good use stability between conventional and modern-day study ways to be appropriate within information age. Substandard services will still be supplied if staff are employed just because these are typically Christians with little emphasis on expert training. Theological librarians need the kind of training performed by ACTEA (Accrediting Council for Theological Education in Africa) East Africa Library workforce Training Institute in Daystar University in Kenya in July 2004. Untrained librarians need courses in cataloguing and classification, handling of the library and responding to reference questions. Also, they must receive training in looking the internet, utilizing Boolean operators to seek advice from full-text journals, accessing reference products on CD Roms, utilizing MARC, and compiling listings of important sites and reference CDs.

Seminary, library, training, recruiting, librarians,

2. Scheme of service

In order not to make a continued mockery associated with the library profession, it is strongly suggested that the expert recommendations when it comes to appointment and marketing of library staff at all amounts be drafted and implemented. The seminary administration could compare the plan of service of several establishments in Nigeria while the sub-region as helpful tips to fairly take care of the standard.

Jobs that ought to be taken under consideration within the different categories feature:

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 supporting 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 should be considered. Many of these areas feature :

Academic and expert skills

Professional/working experience

Pro tasks

Analysis and publications

Administrative experience

3. Revamping of internet services within the library

The library cyber café must be resurrected if library is usually to be appropriate within technical age. The library staff should receive training that allow all of them to creditably deal with databases inside their library.

4. Individual instruction

The library should be more proactive in user knowledge techniques. Much more present understanding or selective dissemination of data ought to be done to entice students and staff. A program from the utilization of the library might be introduced as a compulsory topic for many kinds of students. It is obvious even yet in western Africa Theological Seminary that “librarians can no longer believe equivalent amount of curiosity about and assistance when it comes to library from a faculty that progressively trust their own search techniques and abilities in a digital world they may be able access from their workplaces” (Norlin 2004, 56). Theological librarians should be very carefully attuned toward problems associated with the students and professors. If librarians at WATS release reliability in determining the issue associated with the researcher, looking for particular items of information effortlessly and expeditiously and transmits the result of the search by any convenient methods to both professors and pupil people (telephone, email, private telephone call, brief page to mention a couple of), the interest within the library as information intermediary would gradually be revamped.

The library of western Africa Theological Seminary should invest several weeks offering “faculty just” and “students just” training sessions from the using United states Theological Library Association database (after paying the present membership). An incontrovertible truth is that “unless theological librarians consciously view the professors (and students) as the primary target for (their) tasks, (they) would come to be irrelevant to…students, professors, administrators and establishments” (Norlin 2004, 55).

5. The role associated with the seminary administration

Control at WATS must observe that the library isn’t a recommended extra and that the impending doctoral programme within the seminary will simply come to be a reality once the library attains a specific expert standard. Seminary authorities must support its development by developing current selections (as an example, subscribing to scholarly journals when it comes to serials collection) and also by assisting within the setting-up of an exciting Digital Library range that ought to be manned by a specialist librarian. Offering host upgrades and disk space for storing must be really considered. There should be regular in-service training to help library staff gain appropriate abilities in information technology.

The issue of investment can not be overemphasized. The WATS Library can just only be appropriate within information age if seminary administration would recognize “the centrality of their academic nerve centre (the library) and make certain the durability associated with the library programmes and services” (Harding 2002, 9). Introduction of user charges, even more fund raising tasks within the library (including book product sales), upsurge in the assistance from donor agencies could produce an increase in earnings needed seriously to purchase and maintain needed equipment.

If the library is adequately financed, it will likely be capable of sign up for relevant diary titles, purchase standard theological texts, build an exciting audio visual collection, offer air-conditioning services to regulate the heat, exchange the photocopier and supply various other needed services as and when needed.

Expertly trained staff, plan of service, revamping of internet services within the Computerize, cataloging, acquisition, internet, user instruction, audio visual, serial, bindery, funding, plan of service,

6. Account of expert companies

WATS library should enroll as an institutional member of expert library organizations including Nigeria Theological Library Association, Christian Librarians’ Association for Africa, United states Theological Library Association and Christian Librarians’ Fellowship. (The presenter is a part of most but the previous). It absolutely was through United states Theological Library Association that the author had been informed that the twenty second version associated with the Dewey Decimal Library (DDC) classification was published. (WATS is using the 20th version). The DDC figures feature all headings newly mapped toward 200 Religion Schedule, in addition to others regarded as being of great interest to theological libraries.

The following is an illustration:

Subject going Call quantity

All Souls’ time in art 704.9493943

Islamic modernism 297.09

Nymphs (Greek deities) in art 704.9489221

Open-air preaching 206.1, 251

Social capital (Sociology) ? Spiritual aspects 201.7

Venus (Roman deity ) in art 704.9489221

(Osmanski 2003, 2-1)

7. Computerization


It is indubitable that the role associated with the library as information intermediary would never alter. However, the methods to meet this priceless role keeps altering while the library must conform to maintain steadily its relevance. WATS library is a unit of a self-supporting organization with several challenges. Standard library techniques must be fully created while the most readily useful of today’s technology must be welcomed. This large cost must be compensated as the library trips to ‘Cape Coast’. The seminary librarians have actually an important challenge to move from being mere keepers associated with the book to guides through a universe of real information, thereby playing a great role as information intermediary (Kargbo 2002). Because the goal associated with the library to facilitate the no-cost movement of data endures even yet in the midst of technical modifications, the librarians in every forms of libraries, including WATS, “must get a hold of an extremely of good use stability between the conventional/traditional library functions while the types of the latest challenges to preserve their leadership role in (the) information age” (Harding 2002, 10). Librarians in western Africa Theological Seminary could only be appropriate within age when they gear to possess the needed abilities allow people to creditably use products for reading, study and assessment in whatever structure they might appear. This can not be recognized without the priceless assistance associated with the seminary administration. With this specific understanding, “the students are going to be taught the skill of electric information retrieval, which they may use to write their project work and thesis” (Asamoah 2003, 17).


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