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The future of libraries and changing user needs

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Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) plays a vital role in bringing about changes in our societies. The range of services provided also improves lifestyle, businesses, educational systems, as well as social and political values. The accelerated adoption and use of ICTs have resulted in the globalization of information and knowledge resources (Etokudo, 2009). That is why it has become very important to adopt the technology for the good of the education sector. Libraries nowadays are expected to definitely go with the current trends, in the sense that, they ought to have all the necessary ICT infrastructure and professional ICT skills so as to discharge their duties effectively. Technologies have made communication and access to information very convenient and timely to users from the comfort of their homes, offices and where ever they are.

Fatoki (2014) noted that “the demanding nature of the 21st-century library users, particularly researches, undergraduate and postgraduate students, especially with the proliferation of wireless communication devices, the Internet, social media platforms compels libraries to devise means of satisfying the users’ needs”. Using ICTs for educational purposes is becoming a common expectation of 21st-century students. These technologies give students increased access to educational materials and services. It is with these assertions one will understand the increased demand from the students on librarians and libraries for more options of open access to information, digital referencing, mobile-based service and information sharing as this will buster their performances and having increased access to information anywhere, anytime.

With the growing concern over the availability of information on the web and lack of technical know-how, nonchalant and lackadaisical attitudes of librarians and inherent friction from the library managements to convert their resources to be accessed electronically makes the expectations of the 21st-century students more complex and sophisticated. It is no longer possible nowadays to contain the information needs or expectations of these students and make them readily available due to the emerging technologies. The students virtually do everything online from purchase of books, interactions and communications, enquiries, assignments and research, social interactions, etc to the extent that, conventional libraries seem no longer relevant. (Abdulkarim, Darus & Hussain, 2006).

Going by the above references, libraries nowadays must strive to be sophisticated especially in ICT content and compliance so as to handle the current millennial students as expected. They must upgrade and embrace newer technologies to bridge the incompatibility, dynamism and complexity of the 21st-century users of the libraries. Of course, the future of libraries is very bright as long as they embrace the full utilization of ICT in their domain, else, they are doom.

References
Abdulkarim, N.S., Darus, S.H., & Hussain, R. (2006). Mobile Phone Applications in Academic library services. Students’ feedback survey. 23(1), 35-51.

Bates, MJ (2010). Information behaviour. In Encyclopedia of library and information science,

British Broadcasting Cooperation (2004). Research on audience Characteristics.

Dunmill, M. & Arslangic, A. (2006). ICT in art education: a literature review. New Zealand, University of Canterbury.

Etukudo, O.M (2009). Uses and effects of GSM among residents of urban Lagos: Thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of award of Master of Science (MSc) Lagos State University.

Fatoki, O.C (2004) Library automation in Nigeria: The Kenneth Dike Library experience, Lagos Journal of Library and information science; 2(2) 111-116. http://www.bbc.co.uk/commissioning/marketresearch/audiancegroup2.htm
New York: CRC Press 3, 2381-2391

Mr. Kabiru Danladi Garba, is the Head Librarian, Skyline University Nigeria. He has his MLA in Library and Information Science as well as his Ba/Bsc Library and Information Science from Bayero University Kano, Nigeria.

You can join the conversation on facebook @SkylineUniversityNG and on twitter @SkylineUNigeria


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