Libraries at University of Nebraska-Lincoln

 

Date of this Version

Summer 11-26-2018

Abstract

E-library is a relatively new concept in technical colleges in Malawi. Over the past three decades, Technical College libraries have been traditional in nature despite the world of information and communication is going through a period of supreme and accelerating transformations. To stay abreast with the latest changes in technologies, the Malawi’s technical educational institutes have now started adopting agile services such as e-libraries to utilize on the internet technology to provide a variety of information resources and services to the scholarly community. The e-library initiative at Lilongwe Technical College was championed by African Development Bank (AfDB) under Higher Education and Science Technology (HEST) Project with an overall goal of fusing Information Communication Technologies (ICTS) in information service delivery, as a basic ingredient for information availability, accessibility and dissemination. Being a new development at the college, a quantitative survey was instituted with the aim of exploring the readiness of Lilongwe Technical College (LTC) in managing such a digital archive as the e-library. Among other aspects, the study closely looked at what are the contents of an e-library, benefits of e-library initiatives in technical colleges, anticipated challenges and suggested solutions in managing the electronic library at LTC. A questionnaire with closed ended questions was used to elicit responses from purposively selected 9 participants (Library staff and ICT instructors/Technicians). The data collected were later analyzed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) version 20.0. The frequencies (f) and percentages (%) which were created using SPSS were then exported to MS Excel to produce charts and MS. Word to produce tables. Our findings revealed that library staff and ICT instructors/Technicians had little knowledge on the contents of an electronic library as they only indicated e-books as the major contents of an e-library. Saving storage space and 24/7 access to the library resources among others were the perceived benefits of an e-library initiative at the college. Finally, managing an electronic library at LTC will be associated with the following major challenges: inadequate government funding, poor state of ICT infrastructural development at the college, lack of laws, policies and strategies to guide the selection and acquisitions of e-resources, problems with long term preservation and access to e-resources; and copyright and licensing issues are of a great concern in a virtual environment. The study has set out strategies to counter deal with these challenges in order to answer the question: “is Lilongwe Technical College ready to manage an e-library?”

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