The Roles of Academic Libraries in Nigeria

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An academic library is a library that is attached to a higher education institution which serves two complementary purposes to support the school curriculum and research of the university faculty and students. The university libraries have long been recognized as the heart of their universities. To fulfill their mission of supporting the educational objectives of their parent bodies, which include teaching, learning, research, and cultural development, the libraries had to develop and maintain standard books, journals, and audio-visual collections and services. Academic libraries must decide what focus they take in collecting materials since no single library can supply everything. Librarians examine the needs of students and instructors, as well as the priorities of the college or university when deciding what to focus on. When there are particular areas of specialization in academic libraries these are often referred to as niche collections.

Find below some major roles of Academic Libraries

1. To support the School curriculum and research of the University Faculty and Students: This can only be achieved with a good collection development plan in place. Books and other materials in the curriculum of the university/ faculties should be purchased first before generalities and the collections should be made available to patrons in a cordial manner. Patron satisfaction is one of the key functions of the library as a service rendering unit of the institution.

2. Academic libraries is basically to provide a service of reference and lending material appropriate to the needs of the staff and students of the institution. Libraries are very invaluable to institutions because all learning revolves around the library.

3. Another basic function of an academic library is to provide education and this means that it should be used as a dynamic instrument for explaining and expanding the horizons of knowledge.

4. While the lecturer is the prime motivator to student learning, the library is strategically positioned to contribute to that motivation through providing a conducive environment for independent learning and the development of a mind that is inquisitive.

5. Academic Librarians teaches the students, faculty members and other researchers on how to make effective use of the resources in the library.

6. The materials in the library helps in the personal self developments of students thereby boosting their performance and grades.

7. Academic Libraries now have computer rooms where students browse for information to meet their needs, photocopy and laminating services are also done in the library.

8. Academic libraries no longer restrict themselves to print services such as collection development, cataloguing and classification, circulation and reference services, current awareness, selective dissemination, and other bibliographic services, but have extended their efforts to interdisciplinary concepts and computer software and hardware and telecommunication engineering and technology.

9. The library serves as a repository of resources, in other words, it archives, preserves, and keeps track of resources.

10. The library pays for resources faculty members need, from academic journals to books to electronic databases

11. The library provides active support that helps increase the productivity of faculty research and scholarship

12. The library helps undergraduates develop research and information literacy skills

13. Publishing roles: More academic libraries are entering the world of scholarly publishing by creating or expanding services.The most common services provided included digital repository, author copyright advisory, digitization services, and management of research data.

From the aforementioned roles of academic libraries, it can clearly be stated that academic libraries are the heart of every academic institution. An institution without a library is like a car without a engine, a house without a good foundation.
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