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Formulation of a training policy for the Library Assistants in Sri Lankan university libraries: a case study of the University of Peradeniya Library Network

Author:

Sunil Premarathne

University of Peradeniya, LK
About Sunil
Senior Assistant Librarian, Faculty of Dental Sciences
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Abstract

A university recognizes that its staff is fundamental to its success. Moreover a library is the life blood of a university. The quality of a library depends on its staff. If a library collection is not well organized and qualified trained staff is not employed, an efficient service cannot be expected. Staff training is a critical and challenging task. Library assistants form the largest staff category in any university library. They perform a wide variety of duties from counter operations to the acquisition, circulation of reading material, technical services and assistance with administration. There are 50 library assistants in the University of Peradeniya library network and they provide assistance to all categories of readers in the university of Peradeniya library network. Unfortunately, however, there is no comprehensive plan or policy for the training of library assistants. This survey was, therefore, conducted to collect baseline information required to formulate a comprehensive training policy for the library assistants in University of Peradeniya library network. A questionnaire was used to gather data from 50 library assistants while the response rate was 82% (41 library assistants responded). The findings of the survey revealed that the library assistants have not undergone appropriate in- service training. Whatever training they have had has been of an ad-hoc nature in the form of short courses and workshops. The areas of training needs of the library assistants are basic skills on information communication technology, handling of electronic information resources, database searching, communication skills, Tamil and English language proficiency and skills on library technical service. All of these do not appear to have been addressed broadly in existing training programmes. The findings of the survey have been carefully studied and the issues raised competently analysed and the data have been used to formulate a comprehensive policy for the training of library assistants. The policy provides a framework that supports and encourages the development of all the library assistants of the University of Peradeniya library network. The policy document covers equal opportunities of the training, identification of training needs in accordance with the requirements of the library ( library assistants training needs can be identified in a number of ways), and responsibilities of the trainees and senior staff of the library. Training policy also includes specific areas of the training requirement of the library assistants. The main areas are upgrading the knowledge in the overall background in the library or division, ability to perform all library activities to maintain a high level of services to users, skills on counter operation, developing skills on library technical services such as acquisition procedure, cataloging, conservation preservation, basic knowledge on book binding, knowledge on Information Communication Technology and communication skills.


Journal of the University Librarians Association of Sri Lanka, Vol. 18, Issue 1, January 2014, Page 19-38

 

How to Cite: Premarathne, S., (2015). Formulation of a training policy for the Library Assistants in Sri Lankan university libraries: a case study of the University of Peradeniya Library Network. Journal of the University Librarians Association of Sri Lanka. 18(1), pp.19–38. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/jula.v18i1.7859
Published on 24 Apr 2015.
Peer Reviewed

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