Librarians deserve academic status, veteran librarian says

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Veteran librarian, Jonathan Dipeolu has advocated academic status for professional librarians.

He was the Keynote lecturer at the maiden edition of the Eminent Personality Lecture, organised by the Nimbe Adedipe Library, Federal University of Agriculture (FUNAAB), Abeokuta on Wednesday.

The former University Librarian at the University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) was speaking at the lecture themed, “Librarianship in the Twentieth Century Nigeria: My Reminiscence and Observation”.

Mr. Dipeolu stated that professional librarians should be accorded academic status because “to select books effectively and efficiently, by reading book reviews as provided in learned journals is an academic exercise.”

He added that “the classification of books requires subject knowledge if books are not to be lost in the wrong places on the shelves, which according to him is also an academic function in nature.”

According to the former University Librarian, both categories of staff engage in different forms of public service, hence the need for adequate attention to be paid to the major function of professional Library staff, which is to collect and organize for various forms of use the totality of human knowledge as recorded in books and other forms of recorded communication.

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Mr. Dipeolu however described as erroneous the use of a uniform set of criteria for the appointment and promotion of professional Librarians and academic staff because the major business of Lecturers is to teach and engage in research, which can lead to publication of their findings in learned journals and books, whereas professional Library staff undertake bibliographic research which appears in the form of bibliographies.

The erudite Librarian noted that the job of a professional Library staff “is a full time occupation that covers collection development, cataloguing and classification of books and other forms of material and above all reference and assistance to readers”, adding that “some Library staff also engage in the investigation of problems arising from the practice of librarianship and publish their findings.”

  Earlier in her Welcome Address, the University Librarian, Dr. Fehintola Onifade stated that the Library as a subsystem of a university system is an important unit of the university information infrastructure which keeps evolving, hence the need for Librarians also to keep learning and developing new strategies to meet the need of library users.

  She disclosed that the Lecture will border on knowledge sharing, adding that the kind of knowledge to be shared may not be found in books or in the internet, but through mentoring and personal knowledge sharing and experience.

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According to her, “organizing a Lecture like this, provides an opportunity for us to learn from the knowledge of our elders in the profession, life and direct”, adding that “the Nimbe Adedipe Library staff have decided to explore this opportunity by digging into the archives and learning from the experiences of one of our erudite Librarians.”

  In his Remarks, the Vice Chancellor, Professor Kolawole Salako who was represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor Development, Professor Lateef Sanni appreciated the distinguished lecturer for accepting the invitation to deliver the maiden eminent Personality Lecture of the University Library, assuring him that all the recommendations he proffered would be properly looked into.

EduCeleb.com reports that the event was attended by members of the university and librarian communities. Among dignitaries there were FUNAAB’s pioneer University Librarian, Dr Taofiiq Salisu, his successor, Mr. Abayomi Agboola and the immediate past UL, Dr Mulikaat Salaam.

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