Managing Periodical Literature in Higher Education Libraries in Sierra Leone

INTRODUCTION

At the General Conference of UNESCO held in Paris on 19th November, 1964, it was agreed that “a publication is a periodical if it constituted one issue in a continuous series under the same title” (Norman, 2008). Supporting this notion, a periodical literature is published at regular intervals over an indefinite period, individual issues in the series being unnumbered. On this note, a periodical literature is a publication with a distinctive title which appears at stated or regular intervals without prior decision as to when the last issue shall appear. It contains articles, stories, or other writings by several contributors. Periodical literature is used in its narrower sense as indicating transactions and percentages of societies, daily newspapers magazines, scholarly journals, trade journals, review journals. Like most underdeveloped and developing countries in the world inadequate funding of higher education libraries in Sierra Leone reflects on poorly developed periodical literature collection and as a result ineffective information service is provided to the dissatisfaction of users. Based on the value for research work in the academia, managing periodical literature in higher education libraries in Sierra Leone should be the need for a collection of standard periodical literature in academic libraries is necessary.

HIGHER EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS IN SIERRA LEONE

Sierra Leone operates a 6-3-3-4 system of education are subdivided into six(6) years at the primary level, three(3) years at the Junior Secondary level, three(3) at the Senior Secondary level, and a minimum of four(4) years at the tertiary level. This sub-division allows the implementation of curriculum that takes account of the different pupils more fully. The general aim of education policy in Sierra Leone is to provide every child with an education which takes fully into an account: character development: his interest ability and aptitude; his emotional, psychological and physical well-being; the manpower needs of the country; the equal importance of both academic and non-academic education; the need for a literature and numerate populace.; the economic resources of the state, so that his education can be of use to the country and at the same time provide opportunities for him to be successful in life.

Higher education is post-secondary education given in a university, college or polytechnique and is the stage of specialisation. The objectives of higher education vary according to the institution and course of study but generally include the acquisition physical and intellectual skills necessary for the development of both the individual and his society. In Sierra Leone, higher educational institutions form the basis of educational advancement following the completion of secondary education. Higher education is the most effective means altering the outlook of people through the broadening of their horizon. Societal development to a large extent is dependent on the human resource empowerment and development. Against this background, higher educational institutions play a pivotal role in developing the human resource to contribute positively and meaningfully to the socio-economic, political and educational development of Sierra Leone.

Higher educational institutions in Sierra Leone are the University of Sierra Leone, Ernest Bai Koroma University and Njala University which are state owned and University of Makeni and Limkonwong University which are private owned. The constituent colleges under the University of Sierra Leone include Fourah Bay College(FBC), Institute of Public Administration and Management(IPAM) and College of Medicine and Allied Health Science(COMAHS); Bo Campus and Njala University. The higher educational institutions of collegiate status include Milton Margai College of Education and Technology; Eastern Polytechnigue; Bonthe Polytechnique; Freetown Teacher. Port Loko Teachers College and these offer courses leading to the award of diplomas and Certificate. On the contrary, the state-owned and private -owned universities offer Certificates, Diploma, Undergraduate and postgraduate degree courses in various disciplines in the faculty of their respective institutions. The curricula differs from institution to institution and curricula and programmes that require the use of periodical literature include medicine, law, engineering, education, agriculture, arts and humanities, social sciences, pure and applied sciences, technology, management and administration. To a greater extent, the Central Government, through subventions funds for higher educational institutions to enhance their smooth-running, even though some donor agencies do render financial assistance to these institutions in addition to internal funds generated by them.

HIGHER EDUCATION LIBRARIES IN SIERRA LEONE

Libraries are storage of information and information is such a valuable commodity that its immense contribution to national development cannot be underestimated. Higher education libraries are the nerve centres of all academic activities. This simply implies that these libraries contribute to the teaching/learning and research programmes of the parent institutions by providing the needed information services for undergraduate and postgraduate students, teaching staff, researchers, administrative and technical staff. Effective academic work is dependent on quality information service and the library plays a significant role in this regard. According to Frederick Ken Nicol information is an important source used by organisations to deliver appropriate product or services to customers(2011 p.64). In this vein, higher education libraries manage information to satisfactorily meet the need of their clientele. Thus, information needs to be planned for in the same way that human and financial resources are planned to ensure increased productivity and efficient service delivery. Therefore, academic libraries like all other organisations that have thought out and systematic information planning process stand out to benefit more those that do not. Well-planned and organised information enhances effective service delivery.

Higher education libraries in Sierra Leone support research work, community development and complement the teaching/learning processes in their respective parent institutions. In this regard, good management of higher education libraries is the organisations and maintenance of a well-balanced and vibrant collection in ensuring that the information needs of users are satisfactorily met. The different collections stocked in these institutions include but not limited to general book collection on all disciplines to loan by users out of the library building, specialised collection, reference collection and periodical literature and the quantum of their contents depends on the size of the library and its readership. Developing and maintaining a well-stocked collection as well as recruiting and empowering competent and qualified staff is largely dependent on the financial strength of the library. Therefore academic libraries need to be prioritised by their parent bodies when it comes to annual budget approval and allocations for their effective operations.

Managing academic libraries could be linked with the services they offer. Since the operations of academic libraries are gear towards the provision of effective services, this is only actualised by purchasing multiple copies of textbooks, recent journals and a good collection of recommended texts for background reading to develop and organise an academic library for effective academic work.

PERIODICAL LITERATURE IN HIGHER EDUCATION LIBRARIES AND MANAGEMENT

The provision of higher education libraries is necessary in complementing the teaching/learning process and for effective research work. In this regard, premium should be put on the management of periodical literature in higher education libraries taking into account their significance in providing current and researchable information.

Since periodical literature forms part of the collection of an academic library, a large percentage of its budget allocated should be utilised for the purchase of current and popular journals. The periodicals to be acquired should be titles recommended by faculty members in collaboration with the periodical Librarian across disciplines offered in the institution such as Library Quarterly; Journal of Sociology; Chemical, Abstracts; Soils Science Journal; International Journal of Management; Clinical Science Quarterly. It is important to note that organising and maintaining periodicals in higher education libraries differ from institution to institution.

Initially, periodicals were published to enable philosophers and Scientist to communicate their new ideas and thought to others interested in the same or similar subjects. Today, periodicals are principal media for publishing original learned papers and the state-of-the-art reviews. They are increasingly important as they can be useful for both current and retrospective information needed by academics.

Lawson(2014) opined that the significance attached to periodical literature necessitates the development of a strong periodical literature collection as part of the library stock. The writer of this article, however revealed that periodicals are of great significance in higher education libraries in that:

new topics new discoveries and technologies are usually introduced in articles in periodicals;
they supply generally the latest possible information on a given subjects;
they are often the purely source of materials on new subjects;
they supply a particular article to a reader who has seen it cited in a book or another journal; and
they provide an overview of the state of a given discipline at a particular time.
Also periodical article may remain invaluable information sources for a generation or indeed for a longer period. Periodical articles are usually fairly concise, often very reliable and frequently well-illustrated. A point to note is that periodical carry current information on most disciplines.
Further significance of periodical literature in higher education libraries as asserted is that they are primary source of new information, whether it be the result of research, news items, statistical data, announcement, correspondence, advertisements about a products and services or whatever. Each type of periodical is important to at least a group of people in academia, relating to their work, or leisure activities; some have ephemera existence; others may be useful for many years, even indefinitely. Taking into the consideration the significance of periodical literature in higher education libraries, their selection and acquisition either by subscription, donation or exchange should be a collaborative effort between the libraries and staff of the various colleges and universities.

Periodical literature in higher education libraries in Sierra Leone include journals, indexes, abstracts, magazines, serials and their organisations and management differs from library to library. Issues of all received periodical literature are recorded on a kardex and any missing issue should be claimed from the publisher. Before displaying and shelving them, all recorded issues are claimed with the ex libri stamp of the library in question. When all the issues to complete a volume are received, they are then put together to be sent to bindery or conservation unit for either hard cover binding or stitching. Users of periodical literature in these institutions include students, lecturers and researchers. Periodical literatures are to be used within the walls of the Periodical Department. However, users are allowed to take them out to photocopy the required pages after signing for them. Lecturers are given conception to loan them on short term basis and loan records are kept to recall overdue issues. The maintenance of periodical literature is as importance as the other collections of the library.

CHALLENGES

The major challenge higher education libraries in Sierra Leone face is funding. These libraries are inadequately funded by their parent bodies to a point that the smooth-running of their operations in ensuring effective information service delivery is greatly hampered. For an academic library to develop and maintain a vibrant periodical literature collection depend on how well it is funded. Collection development in higher education libraries in Sierra Leone has faced challenges of fulfilling the demand of their clientele with an increasing scarcity of funds to cope with the high cost of periodical publications. As the result of the law budget allocated to run these libraries, subscribing to the required journal title poses a serious problem for the Acquisition Librarian. Some volumes are incomplete; missing issues are hard to replace and the purchase of kardexes on which received journal issues are recorded is not quite feasible since the library operates within a limited financial resources.

In effectively operating higher education libraries, both the human and financial factors should be balanced as these two are inseparable in achieving the desired goal of an organisation. Against this background, colleges and universities in Sierra Leone with the support of the Ministry of Technical and higher Education should re-defined their respective libraries so that premium could be placed on the subscription of relevant journal titles as well as claiming missing issues from publishers and their agents.

Another challenge higher education libraries in Sierra Leone faced in managing their periodical literature collection is that of storage space. Most of these libraries with the exception of Fourah Bay College(FBC) library which has a separate Periodical Department, do not have enough space for newly acquired titles. The storage problems these libraries faced leads to the frequent weeding of periodical literature to create space for subsequent issues.

The cost involved in conserving and preserving periodical volumes and issues is another challenge in managing periodical literature in higher education libraries. Unbound, unstitched issues can be easily snatched away especially for those in heavy demand. Completing the problems are those of heavy use of limited copies. Opening hours of periodical literature collection and loan system; inadequate staff situation and capacity building for staff to effectively manage periodical literature collection which implies that recruited staff should be trained academically and professionally to enhance their competence and efficiency; misuse and abuse of periodicals in terms of theft mutilation of important articles thereby depriving other users and rough handling that causes damage which simply means insecurity; digitisation of periodical literature collection as a way of modernising it in this information Age whereby information is processed, preserved and retrieve electronically in ensuring speed and accuracy; unavailability of online copies and photocopiers taking into account the growing number of periodical literature.

Any treatment of collection development in higher education libraries cannot afford to overlook the question of periodicals which can be seen as a challenge. As valued sources of recent and reliable information for researchers and academics, periodicals are of great significance. The role they play for the advancement of knowledge to combat illiteracy cannot be underestimated. Periodical literature remains vital sources of information for a generational period. Higher education librarians may not be able to judge the intrinsic value of periodicals but should know something about their value to the institution in question and pattern of use which are important criteria for judging their value.

Periodical literature can be of great significance in higher education libraries in Sierra Leone and so their effective management should be of concern to the librarians and university authorities. In developing periodical literature collections in academic libraries ensure balanced collection of current journal titles in subject areas relevant to the curriculum, librarian-faculty collaboration is crucial. The adequacy of periodical literature collection depend on journal titles selected and acquired to be added to the existing stock to meet the needs of the curriculum of the institution and those of users. In view of these challenges, the authorities of higher education libraries in Sierra Leone should see the need to solicit adequate funds through lobbying the Government, NGOs, parastatals and philanthropists to render financial assistance for the effective cooperation of their libraries. Advocating by librarians for good budget allocation is quite in place and the step in the right direction.

CONCLUSION

Higher education libraries in Sierra Leone need to build and maintained vibrant periodical literature collections but this is dependent on how adequately they are funded by their respective parent institutions. Therefore, there is a need for an increase in the budget allocation of these libraries so that they can achieve their desired goals. A point-worth noting is that the appointment of qualified and competent staff in running the periodical collection of these libraries should be taken into keen consideration as both the human and financial factors should be well balanced in enhancing effective service delivery. Capacity building of the recruited staff to a large extent is fundamental for efficient performance ensures their upward mobility which is seen as a motivational factor. Staff of the periodical literature collection should be security-conscious to avoid the misuse and abuse of periodicals. The use of periodical should be closely monitored by staff so that pages are not mutilated and heavily used issues are not taken away by users whereby others are deprived. Photocopying facilities should be provided within the library, so that needed pages are photocopied by users on request. The availability of adequate funds enhances the digitisation of periodical literature collection thereby ensuring the availability of online copies which makes the management of periodical literature in higher education libraries in Sierra Leone advantageous. The librarians of these institutions should endeavour to revisit the opening hours of their periodical literature collections as long hours could allow profitable use of the time of users.

Promoted to Manager? Great! – What Now?

Congratulations on being promoted to your new management role! Did you have a party? Have you settled into your new desk yet? Did you decide what to do with your pay rise?And are you wondering ‘what now?’I remember well my first promotion to manager. Maybe my experience is something like yours? Here’s how it wentA typical story of the newly promoted managerI was recruited into a job as a ‘technician’ (in the glamorous world of Tax Audit, as you asked). I was good at this so quickly got promoted to senior technician and then manager. We had a party on the Friday afternoon – goodbye senior technician role – and then I was into my management job on the Monday morning. Date of next management course? Six months hence. Likelihood of being coached by my senior manager? – zilch. Result? Six very tricky and stressful months where I managed to make just about every mistake in the management book (and write a few new ones as well)Not fun and not funny – for me, and certainly not for the poor people I was attempting to ‘manage’.Eventually I did get some training. It wasn’t great and I still made a lot of mistakes. But then I got lucky. I got a new manager who was not only skilled at managing, but a great coach. And I became a much better manager. And not a day too soon some would say (including me)Is this sounding familiar? I guess it might (on the basis I’ve rarely met a manager, team leader or supervisor who hasn’t had a similar experience!)What do new managers need?Here’s what I needed when I became a manager and what I see many managers, team leaders and supervisors needing;• Some simple tools I could have accessed from day one would have been hugely helpful. Practical, step-by-step processes that I could have used as ‘road maps’ or guidelines. Some ‘how to’ information. Anything that would have helped me approach my new management role with some level of competence and confidence• Some advice on how to deal with those tricky management situations – the underperforming employee, the high performing (but unhappy) employee. Some help in working out how to motivate my employees to high performance, preferably by someone who’s been there and done it themselves.It’s no fun making it up as you go along or trying to learn by ‘trial and error’ (often with the focus on error). And if you’re anything like most of the managers, team leaders and supervisors I know you just don’t have the time to get out there and do the reading and research on what makes for effective management and then learn how to apply that knowledgeGetting the help and support you needThe biggest mistake I made as a new manager was failing to look for help and support. Instead I tried to tough it out and muddle along. I wouldn’t recommend it. So here are some ideas on how you could get the help and support you need to build your management confidence and competence1. Go to your learning and development, training, HR department or whoever it is who looks after developing people. Don’t wait until they come to you. My tip here is be very specific about what you’re looking for. My experience in life generally is that, the more specific you are about what you want, the more likely you are to get it. If you need, for example, a simple step process for defining and agreeing performance objectives, or a sample agenda for performance review or appraisal meeting, or a planned approach for having a conversation with your staff around improving their performance then go to your L&D, HR, training department and ask them for specifically for that. I think sometimes we make the mistake of waiting for opportunities to come to us in this area of learning. That’s what those people are there to do – to help you develop your management competence and confidence. What sometimes you need to do though is get out there, get to those people and ask for what you want.2. Look for coaching, mentoring or just some good old plain advice. Take a look around and try to identify managers who are managing in a way that you think is effective. It could be your own manager. It could be the manager in the next department. It could be a manager who maybe isn’t in your organisation but who you know is an effective manager. Or ask other people. Ask your colleagues. Who do they consider to be a really effective manager? What you’re trying to do here is to find a model – someone you can learn from. Then the question is, would they help you? Most effective managers are open to helping other managers develop. And again be really clear on what you’re looking for because most people find it easier to say yes to a request if that request is very specific. For example you might ask “I would like some help in thinking through how to explain to my employees that I need them to work in a different way”, or, “I’d appreciate some help with working out how to have a conversation with one of my employees about an area of performance they need to improve.” Get really clear on what you want and then go and ask for it.3. Do some research. If you need tools and techniques, there are many resources out there you can use. You could visit you local bookshop or library or, of course, access some of the thousands of blogs, articles, or videos you can find online. OK so it takes some time, but so does trying to learn by your mistakes!SummaryIt’s easy (as I know to my cost!) to wait patiently for management development opportunities to arise, to wait eagerly for the next training course date to be announced. The issue is we often need help right here, right now. I want to encourage you to take responsibility for your own development as a manager, to get clear on what you want and need and then try to find ways of meeting those wants and needs, so that you can quickly, efficiently, and effectively build your management competence and confidence

What Is ‘Connection Marketing’?

Expand With Connection MarketingWhat you can do now to thrive in the new economy…If this has caught your attention it’s because we’re discussing Connection Marketing.What is Connection Marketing?In this article, I’ll go into an overview of what Connection Marketing is, and what you can do NOW to thrive in these new economic times.Connection Marketing: What is it?Marketing:My definition of ‘marketing’ is the communication between a business and a consumer. A ‘consumer’ is a potential customer; also know as a prospect. Any type of communication between the business and the consumer – whether it be through a video, through an ad, through a brochure – is what I consider ‘marketing’.Connection:’Connection’ means that the exchanges that take place, between business and consumer, do so in a friendly and humane manner. The interaction is from one person to another; NOT from a corporation trying to jam something down your throat.A quick back storyThe industrial economy brought us the television. The T.V. allowed us to market our products and services to the masses. In order to reach the general population, companies needed to create average products and services.This is in the traditional marketing sense. It’s the traditional way of doing things.Back then, we used to buy things that we NEEDED. As long as a company created a product that filled a NEED, they’d be able to advertise it – traditionally – and make money. But what happened is they started making bland and regular products so they could sell as many as possible to the masses.The internet has changed everything. It has made it possible to reach the most unique groups of people. The mass market has been dissolved – we no longer buy what we NEED, we buy what we WANT. And that means that businesses can now thrive by creating unique products, to unique segments of the population. This is where connection marketing comes in.Since people buy what they WANT (they already have everything they NEED), we should ask ourselves what that is. We don’t need to create something super bland and uniform, and we don’t have to worry about selling a bazillion units to average people. All of a sudden you can make niche products; very unique products, to niche crowds.Quick Recap:For the past 100 years here’s how I’ve seen the promotion of a product or service – the ‘marketing’. For the past 100 years, it’s been:Annoying: You ever watch a T.V. show, and every commercial timeout you see runs the same ad? Whether it be for Pizza Pops or Cadillac cars, they are very annoying and repetitive.Repetitive: They hope it burns into your brain, so that when you see it, you feel compelled to purchase it.Interruptive: When you’re looking for information you visit a blog. Within the first second you’re bombarded by pop-ups, asking for your e-mail address so they can send you something great. Don’t get me wrong I’m all for that, but give me a chance to read the headline!Exaggerative: The best example I can use for this is when you go to a fast food restaurant. How good does that burger look when it’s up on the billboard, or on posters? Of course when you get it, it looks NOTHING like advertised…Here’s how I see the next 100 years of promotion for a product or service – or the next 100 years of ‘marketing’:Relevant: Because we’re selling unique products to unique people, all of a sudden we don’t have to advertise our stuff absolutely everywhere. Only those people who have shown an interest or may have looked at something like this in the past, will see our ads or marketing, therefore making it relevant to them.Subtle: Imagine if you’re someone who loves books, but everywhere you look you see ads for sneakers… That not very subtle, and you’d notice that right away since it’s not very appealing to you.Anticipated: This is especially true when it comes to e-mail correspondence. Most companies now collect e-mails (which is understandable). The problem is that you get the same 6 e-mails a day, containing promotion notices, sales, and early-bird specials whether you want them or not. Because these messages are not anticipated, it is the MAJOR factor that makes a person decide to ‘opt-out’. In the future, these anticipated messages (also being relevant) will see much better open rates. Also, a person only gets the information they agree to receive.Honest: This may sound trivial, but a very important example is pricing an item at 49.99$. “Who are you kidding?” “Call it like it is!” You’ll never see two people at a party with the following exchange: “Nice shoes… how much did you pay?” “I paid 49.99$” Your marketing message should be from one person to another.The good news is that it’s all looking up from here! Taking a look at the past 100 years and the next 100 years, you can see that it’s looking good.The world is a different place… People want to connect.That means:NO MORE bureaucracyNO MORE ridiculous policiesNO MORE exploitation from greedy corporationsDecisions based on ROI are the ways of old – No more greedy fat-cats, wearing suits, drinking scotch and smoking big cigars making decisions based on how much money they can squeeze from people.Connection Marketing encourages better values; such as honesty and integrity.We don’t have to engineer bland products to serve average people, nor should we cater to a general public anymore.We can be TRANSPARENT. We can be OURSELVES.I truly believe that we can be successful when we follow this etiquette.Transitioning to Connection MarketingYou’re probably wondering: “How can I make the transition to connection marketing?… Will it work?”Well, most aspects of connection marketing are very similar to those of traditional marketing…You still have things like an online store or website, you still use landing pages to collect e-mails, you still offer products and services, and of course, you’re still making a profit!You’re still in business; you still provide value for people and for that you get paid handsomely.It’s the METHOD by which you carry yourself that’s different.It’s the look, the feel, the layout of the online store… It’s the look, the feel, the offer of the landing page… It’s what you do with those e-mails… It’s the product or the service that you’re offering that’s different.The 3 Pillars to Connection MarketingCABBIT – An aspect of your offering is remarkable and worth talking about.If you were driving down a country road and saw a cow in the field, you probably wouldn’t look twice. But imagine it was a PURPLE cow! (referencing Seth Godin’s incredible book titled Purple Cow)You’d most likely stop, take pictures, upload them to social media, and call your friends and family to explain what you saw. That’s because a purple cow is remarkable and worth talking about. Whether your product already has a Cabbit, or whether it needs one, it’s something you want to lead-off with. What truly separates you from your competition?CONNECTION – Opening the channel of communication with your prospects – creating a two-way dialogue.This pertains to the e-mail sequences mostly. Rather than bombarding people with unrelated, unanticipated messages, you’re creating an open dialogue with consumers. Imagine that you want to upgrade, update, or create a new product. Now imagine being able to ask your fans what they like/dislike about the current version. No more guesswork! Plus, a person might be more inclined to purchase your new product knowing they had a say in its creation. Powerful, and not to be taken advantage of… It’s free research!CONTRIBUTION – With our newfound success, we’re able to support worthwhile causes.I believe we all have a need to contribute – amongst others. We all want to help others. We want to do great things together. What if you build contribution into your ticket price? What if you took a portion of profits from every sale and donated it to a certain charity. Some people would like to do business with you merely because they’d be helping others. You’re not JUST doing it as a clever ploy to sell more stuff, but you WANT to do it because you’re helping others – and it’s good KARMA.I realize just may still have a few questions…How do I know this really works?Let me ask you this:Are you tired of the way you’re being marketed to by other companies?Are you tired of receiving irrelevant and unanticipated e-mails from companies?Are you tired of being misled by fine-print and exaggerated claims?These are traditional methods of marketing.If you’re fed up, chances are that lots of others are too.How do I know if this is a good investment?The fact of the matter is that traditional marketing methods are working less and less – companies find themselves spending more advertising money than ever, to have the same effect they may have had in the past.On a daily basis, we’re bombarded by 3000-7000 ads. We’ve grown so accustomed to them, we tune them out. Large corporations then resort to ‘ramping it up’. “We’ll just be louder than ever!” (Just look at how we now get ads in our inbox).I believe it’s possible to reach MORE, while spending LESS. The key is Connection Marketing.What I’m suggesting is that we stop marketing to EVERYONE though repetitive, average marketing and we instead start CONNECTING to unique markets – offering truly remarkable options.I’m sure there are many companies headed in this direction…Let’s start utilizing this approach as a means of promoting ‘the human connection agenda’.