THE USE OF INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES BY LIBRARY PROFESSIONALS IN DELTA STATE
Background to the Study
Today libraries are shining their role from the custodian of traditional information resources to the provider of service-oriented digital an ICT-based information resources. Widespread use of computers, increased reliance on computer networks, rapid growth of the Internet and explosion in the quality and quantity of information compelled libraries and library professionals to adopt new means and methods for the storage, retrieval, processing and dissemination of information (Quadri, 2009).
In this age of globalization, the importance of ICT to library professionals cannot be over-emphasized. This is true because ICT facilitates quick and easy
access to a wide range of information and information resources worldwide. In fact, it is now difficult to imagine a world without information technology
(William & Channaveeraiah, 2008). The provision and use of ICTs is part and parcel of the entire system to both the students, library professionals and the
society at large. It is one thing to recognize the importance of ICTs and another to know if they are effectively used by library professionals. If ICTs are effectively
put to use, the essence of acquiring them is to a large extent, justified (Quadri, 2009).
Lowe and McAvley (2002) defined ICT as tools in the digital age used in the information profession for acquiring processing and communicating information.
Similarly, Ebijuwa (2005) defined ICT as electronic tools used for collection, processing storage, transmission and dissemination of information. Haag (2002)
sees ICT as any computer based tools that facilitate the search and retrieval as well as dissemination of information to information seekers and also supports
the information processing needs of individuals, groups and organizations. In the view of Ehikhamenor (1993), ICT encompasses the acquisition, processing,
storage and dissemination of information by means of computers, oice
machines and telecommunications. He further stated that while computers provide
the processing, storage and retrieval facilities, telecommunications provide the facilities for the transfer or communication of data and information to users.
With advances in ICTs, electronic information resources such as electronic books, electronic journals, CD-ROM databases, OPAC, online databases and the
internet have launched the world and library professionals into an information age. In the developed world, no library professional can still rely on only
traditional printed information resource to perform library services and operations effectively and efficiently. To library professionals, ICT is a significant
development that provides tools for managing the vast quantity of information generated by modern society (Ebijuwa, 2005). With the emergence of ICTs,
library professionals subscribe to e-journals, e-books, CD-Rom databases, online databases, web-based resources and a variety of other electronic resources.
Library professionals participate in library consortia and build a network of information exchange via ICT facilities (Quadri, 2009).
According to Khan and Bhatti (2008), a library professional is a person who looks aer
the storage and retrieval of information in the library. In the library, the
library professional is usually a professional who is trained and educated to deal with information in a wide variety of formats and settings including the use
of ICTs. Wordiq (2010) state that library professionals help users to navigate into the voyage of Internet and evaluate information efficiently.
Furthermore, library professionals are a helping hand for users to find out the required piece of information and to use it for personal and professional purposes. Rao and Babu (2001) opined that due to the advent of the Internet, world-wide-web, ICT tools and proliferation of online catalogue, the role of the library professional has been changed. Now, library professionals are more efficient and have new roles as intermediary, facilitator, end-user trainer/educator, web organizer and designer, researcher, interface designer, knowledge manager/professional and provider of timely information via ICT-based resources. In the view of Career Overview (2011), with the advent of ICTs, library professionals should acknowledge and be knowledgeable in a variety of information sources
and follow the new trends and advancements in computers, media and publishing. It is evident from the literature that information and communication technologies (ICTs) have acted positively the skills and responsibilities of library professionals in this new era. ICTs have changed not only the face of information but also the professional work ethic of library professionals. Technology demands high level of technical skill set from library professionals in order to make maximum use of new technological tools for providing effective and better services to users (Khan & Bhatti, 2008).