The libraries are one of the valuable assets for academic advancement and understanding. Social transformations have affected whole society either socially or academically. These changes are necessary for the libraries to perform several adjustments in order to match the latest trends. These requirements pose challenges to the academic libraries in different aspects. For instance, the technological changes will bring about positive change in all aspects of library management is debatable. Previously, in a library we had manual catalogue system to identify the location of study materials. The process was manually done which proved to be very hectic and time consuming. Current trends have introduced online cataloging that allows for easy access to the materials (Werts et al, 2008). This study explores the challenges facing academic libraries at the moment.
Key Challenges Facing Librarians in Academic Libraries
- Setting up an accessible catalog – Librarians have to keep and maintain record of both the vendors and the readers this can be sometimes complex as the transforming technology could be hectic at times.
- Handling Data management tools – The placement of libraries is of core concern as they are the centers for research and curation. The librarians have to be supportive to the faculties as the data advancements can make the research pulled back.
- Catering customers of different walks-As we are observing the technology shift drastically a librarian sometimes has to carter customers from six different generations. This can increase the workload of a librarian as he has to cater the traditional readers to innovatively technical readers.
- Role Development – The change in academic structures also made the librarians work out in every subject. The institutions don’t expect the librarians to be master of all but the readers are going through a massive shift of acknowledgements of different subjects which is also an overwhelming job for a librarian. The budget constraint adds on to this problem.
- Digital licensing – Since the technology era has given birth to the advancement of e-books, the digital license, if not understandable makes it a hectic job for the librarians. The norms of digital license should be easy to understand.
Currently, several studies and research have been carried in every field of academics thus increasing the literature bas and the need to organize this information is handled by librarians. Notably, any user expect to be offered efficient services characterized by easy access to study materials (Werts et al,2008). Today the demands have been diversified as the readership spans from baby to millennial, thus the librarians should familiarize themselves with the wide range of library content to ensure all information is easily accessible. This requires a lot of input and hard work from the librarians. There is always a task in retaining the integrity and assets of libraries. These constraints are associated with the need to identify and maintain proper leadership especially in future. The current system is characterized by retirement cases with a less number of participants to join the profession. As such, there is a great challenge in providing the required library management skills while enhancing the knowledge of the current workers and also equipping them with an advanced set of management skills.
Many librarians are listed among the lowly paid individuals thus making it difficult for them to cope up with their personal and professional needs(Leysen & Boydston , 2009). Additionally with the little diversity in the relevant subtopics, problems often arise hence there is a need of a collective action. The role of the library in the field of academics by the growing era of e-books and applications. The librarians have been tasked to maintain the significance and relevance of the library as a centre for intellectual growth in the educational institutions. The librarians suggest that the learning institutions should promote the expertise, values and leadership of different professions through proper utilization of the library resources to ensure that the librarian skills are properly utilized. With the current decentralization of information by the help of technology. The computer labs are promoting e-books that is now competing with the traditional libraries implying that the librarians need to create an awareness in the society that the library is still the main source of academic knowledge.
Information technology is increasingly undermining the operations at the library as the advancements in electronic reading create a need to maintain a balance between modern and traditional library materials (Brophy, 2007). There are a number of issues that need to be addressed. These include whether the academic institutions should incorporate information commons within the institutions. Librarians from different parts of globe are in dilemma as to whether they should report through the old analog systems or through the modern digital systems. These questions have been very challenging for both the library professionals and the institutions at large. It has also been considered very difficult, despite its importance, to have an application management system due to declining number of resources and the increase in costs as well as the changing the perspectives as regards to the priority of funds by the learning institutions.
The development management and maintenance of digital resources are major issues of concern among the librarians in the 21st century. There is a huge task in identifying the aspects that need to be digitized as well as to identify the type of resources that should do a particular assignment and the development of methods to control the bibliography of the digital content (Brophy, 2007). The librarians are given the task to ensure that digital materials are available for as long as they are needed. Secured digital content is a huge challenge so in the digital era where cyber businesses threaten the safety digital content stored by the electronic storage systems. For the librarian to keep the permanent access to these materials, they need more skills on cyber security and how to protect their library files from damage, theft or any other interference from malicious parties. There are notably a number of companies that offer cyber protection services. These include company such as Kaspersky and Bit Defender. Their software engineers have developed systems that can easily detect malicious activities thus preventing hackers from tampering the files.
The librarians usually encourage equality among different scholars accompanied by proper models such as establishment of copyright laws to protect authors from content fraud. Plagiarism has been an issue of concern for a long period of time and the librarians have been in the center stage of the issue.
For instance, the library may purchase an article from an author but later notice that the seller did not have the copyrights. This makes the librarians enter into disputes with the original authors who own the copy rights.
As such, a lot of time is wasted in unnecessary cases that may at times lead to financial losses through fines and even through the court hearing proceedings. This implies that the librarians have a task to ensure that the content they purchase is original and cannot be disputed by any other party under the law. This requires adequate anti plagiarism skills. The copyright laws are subject to change and the librarians ought to be updated with these latest laws governing the content creation and plagiarism (Stepchyshyn & Nelson, 2007). The copyright laws also encompass the use of digital content and the librarians have been in the pursuit to be well equipped with this information, a process that is proven to take a lot of time. Students are also increasingly introduced to the web as it helps them to access specific information without much effort. Apparently, it is the responsibility of the librarians to overcome demotivation and lack of commitment to library use among the researchers in order to ensure the future generation’s access to information does not bring new challenges.
The new library users have also been said to be a challenge to the librarians. This is because the users need to be guided through the systems that appear very complex to them. In this regard, the librarians spend huge amount of time in offering them the necessary training so as to ensure they can comfortably use the library resources. Furthermore, the students who access the library services from remote areas through the internet have been struggling to access all materials due to systems adopted that does not fully support online platforms.
This implies that remote learners do not fully utilize the library resources hence limiting their knowledge base. The librarians are noting major issues among the new learners including lack of enthusiasm and technical skills as well as creativity. This makes it difficult for the librarians who have to make more efforts to guide the learners though the processes which they would otherwise navigate through independently.
The current state of the world economy has highly restricted the amount of funds put aside to facilitate the library projects. Lack of funds often translates to elimination of library based programs, resources and workers salaries. With these important aspects disregarded, the librarians hardly become motivated thus reduce their efforts in managing library operations. With increased cost of resources, the libraries may not be in a position to offer the learners all the required materials. Allocation of scarce resources remains a challenge for the libraries.
From the study, there occur a number of issues associated with librarians in the academic libraries. Such instances as technological advancements have created a new generation that disregards the traditional library. Issues such as scholarly conflicts and miscommunication, poor remuneration and lack of sufficient knowledge in using modern techniques pose challenges to the librarians. These among other challenges, imply that the librarians have to make more efforts to maintain the reputation of the library as it has been understood to be the source of knowledge to all learning institutions.
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Stepchyshyn , V. ,& Nelson R.S. (2007). Library plagiarism policies (Vol. 37). Assoc of cllge & rsrch libr
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