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  • Published on: 21st September 2019
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1.1 Introduction

Over the times, the community has trekked diverse phases. First it was agricultural society where agriculture was the dominant force for development. This was followed by industrial phase as there was a sudden increased growth in industrialization. Then the revolution in information technology which made the society to force forward and was called as information phase. Present society is known as knowledge society, for it is being driven by knowledge management practices. The part of libraries in contributing boundless and inclusive access to knowledge is widely acknowledged. In today’s ambiance, library has to perform two unconnected roles-to serve as a local center of information and knowledge and to be a passage to national and global knowledge.

The dynamic environment of library and information sector stresses the need for library professionals to remain flexible and adaptable to change. To meet this need they have to ensure that their insight, competencies and expertise accommodate the requirements of the community, which they serve. Similarly employers have a duty to facilitate moments for library and information professional to keep their skills, knowledge and competencies up-to-date. In addition to technical and professional skills they have to possess various other skills like management, leadership and soft skills etc. The competencies encompass a cluster of skills approach and values that facilitate librarians to work efficiently. Good communicators; focus pursing learning throughout their careers; demonstrate the value-added nature of their significant additions; and endurance in the new field of work. Successful running of an organisation require certain leadership skills and certain management techniques. It is important that academic librarians attain the proficiency that will permit them to improve productity in large and increasingly competitive organisations.

Over the period of time LIS profession has evolved and gained new roles and responsibilities in this growing knowledge environment. The knowledge management process in library and information centers call for developing suitable skills and methods to function as knowledge managers. The various avenues are wide open for librarians to acquire the required skills for professional development. Increased applications of ICT and rapid developments that are shaping knowledge society are pressurizing LIS professionals to perform and deliver results. At the same time, these developments have also created new challenges and opportunities for them. In this dynamic information environment, LIS professionals are facing complex problems to meet the ever changing diverse information needs. They need to upgrade their skills for implementing new practices and technologies and for withstanding the demands of knowledge society. Therefore there is dire need for improving the suitable soft skills to cope with the demands for the varied user community.  “Interest” is the driving force for the successful life. In the changing scenario it is experienced that interest builds and sustains self-motivation and purpose, or course of action in spite of reason that is required to stay committed against all odds. Interest play a vital role in choosing successful career. Individuals in these days spend most of their time in career building. Along with persons interests personality and values also matter a lot. These will help to choose the correct career and how the personality and values are aligned with that career.  

The quality library service is mainly ascertained d by the competencies, skills, talent and motivation of the librarians. In the present day context librarians have to play an enabling role in development of users.  This involves not only imparting thinking, research, consultancy and extension work preparing set of services with the aid of subject matter experts and information technologies and use of modern methods of management. There for it is necessary to update periodically their skills and competencies

1.2 Realisation of skills and competencies for librarians.

Libraries just like business, need to focus on building their capacity for maximizing their effect on the R&D community. LIS professionals need to dedicate themselves to update their capacities and capabilities as that of their organisation’s critical functions (Bundy, 2003). The professionals have to build their capacities aligned with the organisation. This is not one time activity it has to be inculcated at each and every level of the LIS profession so that one can realise the change. It calls for working out the strategies and restructuring of the system. The rapid changes in higher education has changed the nature  of services which  library and information professionals provide and one can also see the major shift in their appropriateness of  skills (Lacrux, 2000). Explores the kinds of skills which will be required by scholarly ‐ and, chiefly, subject ‐ librarians in the foreseeable future. Further it indicate that, while technological developments clearly have significant association for libraries, they should not outshine the people‐oriented skills which are equally important for organizing and facilitating the  effective and qualitative services. There are practical suggestions concerning specific set of skills including improving reliability with teaching staff, giving suitable suggestions on teaching information skills, concentrating on particular information technology ‐related skills and capturing the key management proficiencies such as change management, finance and strategic awareness (Laili, 2012). Some of the responsibilities of the library information management and the individual to safeguard the skills are utilized by means of co‐ordination and progression. Which will benefit both as a person and the wider academic community.

Dawn of Digital Libraries:

An unprecedented transformation in librarianship resulting from the application of cutting edge and converging technologies has emphasized the education and training programs in library and information science to design and offer appropriate courses and teaching and training to prepare competent digital librarians. In this context the survey was conducted in (Karabbenhoeff, 2014)United States to identify the activities, skills and find out the gaps in the training. Analysis of the survey helps to understand the quality of digital library work practices and to make out necessary attributes (skills and wisdom) crucial of "Cybrarian." The aftereffect of the study have presented the implications for the designing of digital library education that facilitates the real workplace requirements. All over the world, people have witnessed the transformation of libraries. These transformational changes which affected mostly academic libraries, in terms of how services are provided, research being conducted, facilities being upgraded and learning made possible. Hawkins says that “library is not World Wide Web, and approach to it is away from egalitarian. This needs to be clearly known”  (Hawkins, 2000). This shows that majority population believe that internet can supersede the library and they can have the access to all types of informational sources from it. Hence, the library professional must take on the challenge of guiding the users on how to evaluate and identify the accurate and correct sources using the right method. This can be executed only if the librarians are well equipped and are aware of the new transformational changes happening in the libraries.

1.3 Capacity Building: Historical perspective

The study of capacity building programme in all libraries is the need of the hour in the existing uneven situation in India. However it is a vast and complex topic which needs to be deliberated in a comprehensive manner. Present study is limited to studying the overall development in the knowledge environment wherein various training and development activities are available for LIS professionals for the professional development (SALIS, 2006). The important manifestation of capacity building is that they need to be tuned to the changing scenario. Although professional development is an individual accountability, it succeeds in partnership with the association as well as with the institutions that share similar objectives, aims and ethics with professional librarians. However a lot depends upon the individual’s attitude and interest in attaining skills to establish do fare better when they have an institutionalized approach for preparing their resources for the comprehensive knowledge society.

In 1970 the UN system for action and thinking on what was then called growth of Institution was given to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP, 2008) and it has presented guidance to its staff and fellow member governments. By 1992, Capacity Building became a main concept in Agenda twenty one and in other “United Nation Conference on Environmental and Development” (UNCED) agreements. By the end of 1998 the UN General Assembly had executed and received evaluations of the effect of the UN system's support for capacity building. These evaluations were further utilized by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs as part of the system development activities. Ever since, the concern of capacity building has evolved one of the important priorities within the global councils, international communities, Global Environmental Facility (GEF).

UNDP through its Strategic alliance with the GEF Secretariat, kick started Capacity Development Initiative (CDI), an advisory process bound with extensive transcend  and dialogue to identify countries’ immediate priorities challenges in capacity development needs, and based on these analysis, to develop a strategy and action plan that addresses the issues needs to meet the challenges of global environmental action. World Summit in Sustainable Development (WSSD) and the Second GEF Assembly approved the priority of building the capacity of developing countries. The WSSD suggested that GEF information resources be utilized to provide financial aid to developing countries to meet their capacity needs for training, technical knowhow and strengthening national organisations. Capacity Building is, after all, not bounded to global aid work. Off lately, capacity building being used by governments to transform society and industry approaches to social and environmental issues.

Presently information technologies are rapidly changing. The readily availability of digital resources from many sources and those contents are available to the teachers and learners through the internet (Madya, 2012). Fast developing movement aims to encourage and enable sharing content freely is called Open Educational Resources. There quite a number of library and information centers and library consortiums that have taken the forefront in generating resources for the global community. Librarians, who are experts in a variety of fields, contribute to the open educational resources. India is becoming an active participant not only in the technical (Open Source) evolution, but also in the open access movement and also the movement of Open Educational Resources (Biswas, 2011). In this open educational movement the resourceful librarian with vision, abreast with the latest knowledge remains open to the changing trends in the educational world, Awareness of available resources both print and online, and inclination to deal with changing technologies, becomes important partner in the collaborative educational efforts with the passage of time moved through several phases (Seetharaman, 2007). First it was agricultural society where it was the dominant force for development. This was followed by industrial phase as there was a sudden spurt in industrialization. Then the revolution in information technology which made the society to force forward. Today’s society is known as knowledge society is driven by knowledge management process. The role of the libraries in providing widespread and inclusive access to knowledge is widely acknowledged. In this context library has to play two distinct roles to serve as an information center and as gateway to national and global knowledge. Over the years the field of librarianship has evolved and found itself new roles and responsibilities in this knowledge environment (Calzada Prado, 2013).

 The knowledge management process outlines the responsibilities that are expected of librarians to operate as knowledge directors. The assorted avenues available for librarians to acquire the skills for their professional development. Increasing applications of ICT and rapid developments happening in knowledge environment have put plenty of strain on LIS professionals to execute and deliver results. At the same time, these developments have also created new challenges and opportunities for them. In this dynamic environment, LIS professionals are facing complicated challenges to meet the dynamic, diverse information needs (Morgan, 1996). They need to upgrade their skills for implementing new practices and technologies and for sustaining the demands of knowledge environment. As knowledge professionals, there is a need for LIS professionals to be conscious of the use and implementation of these changes and develop technological, supervisory and communication skills. Such approaches can help LIS professionals in realizing their full potential Libraries, just like enterprise, need to focus on building their capacity for maximizing their effect on the R&D community (Ganaie, 2014). LIS professionals need to dedicate themselves to raising capacity building to the same level. The professionals have to build their capacities aligned with the organisation. This capacity building activity will not happen in a single initiative, it has to be initiated at each and every level of the LIS profession so that one can see the change. It includes strategies and the structure of the system (D, 2004).

1.4 Need for the Study

The study of overall development in the knowledge environment where in various training for LIS professionals for the professional development becomes essential. The important manifestation of capacity building is response rapidly to the changing environment. Although professional development is an individual responsibility, it thrives on partnership with the affiliations and the establishments that experience universal goals and values with librarians. Much depends upon the individual’s attitude and interest in acquiring skills, institutes do better when they have an institutionalized approach for preparing their human resources for the knowledge society.

Capacity building helps LIS professional to improve both personal and professional development. In turn they will promote and improve the services provided by all kinds of library and information agencies. And ensure the high standard of personnel engaged in information provision and foster their professional interests and aspirations (Bundy, 2003). The library and information sector serves the information needs of an autonomous, dynamic, technologically matured and culturally diverse society. A key focus of the sector is sanctioning people to relate with the universe of information, interacting with information and utilising information in all facet of their impulse. The sector cherishes long lasting learning, personal fulfillments, improved decision making, knowledge evolution, novelty, creativity, ingenuity and cultural continuity (Austrelian Library and Information Association, 2009). Professionals working in the sector have specialised subject knowledge and skills as well as generic attributes. The level to which individuals have requisite knowledge, skills and attributes depends on their precise requirement, work background, professional buildup, and the role/s they perform. Professional librarians and information managers require the knowledge and expertise to design, plan, develop, manage and evaluate the delivery of library and information services to meet the information needs of their clients and assist them to become information literate. With their professional education and experience librarians and information managers have the ability to analyse, evaluate, organise and synthesise information and to develop programs that will enable their clients to acquire the proficiency crucial to productively seek, detect and utilize the information for their varied needs (Sheikh.etal, 2014).

1.5 Statement of the Problem

It is perceived that the upcoming library and information professionals require sound practical knowledge and skills in order to bring in impressive library and information services. Realising the rapid proliferation in the application of technologies it is strongly felt that the coming generation of library professionals to be trained and empowered with new competencies and skills.  Hence the topic entitled “Learning beyond the Professional Education: Need for the objective capacity building programmes for professional excellence with specific reference to leadership and quality library services” is undertaken for research.

1.6 Objectives of the study

Considering the available literature and the through observation of the growing service sectors, it was thought of translation of the key success of similar service sector with the library and information services, especially with regards to the capacity building. The following major objectives are formulated;

1. To develop the capability of projecting the core values of LIS profession in the professional practices;

2. To build the spirit of motivation among the working professionals to attract the attention of the users and facilitate them to exploit the information resources available in the library and elsewhere;

3. To train the professionals at different levels with well-defined curriculum and inculcate PR qualities and service mindedness;

4. To make the professionals information literate by education, training and demonstration with the help of suitable teaching, learning programmes;

5. To build the visible image of the library and its services with the help of well-developed leadership qualities and communication skills;

6. To establish the true spirit of ambassadorship in sharing and exchanging the information overcoming barriers of the space time and language

1.7 Methodology

Intensive investigation of some social aspects never tackled by a single method. It needs the application of several methods of which some are acting as core and some are used as supplementary and complementary. Therefore the study under investigation has to utilize few methods to get the perspective of the problem and to collect the relevant data required for analysis and synthesis.

a) Discussion method

Discussion method is effective in getting the researcher to think constructively while interacting with the experts. Discussion with some of the successful library experts enable to get the insight for the proper evolution of the system

b) Observation method

The observation method comprises of human or mechanical experience of what people actually do or what events take place during a issuing and return including the interaction with the users. Information is collected by observing the activities at work in different library environment.

c) Documentary sources

Documents are rendered by human being and teams in the course of their everyday practices and are geared exclusively for their own immediate practical needs. They have been written with a purpose and are based on the particular assumptions and presented in a convinced approach or style and to this intensity the researcher must be fully aware of the origins purpose. It must be noted that documents are not consciously composed for the purpose of research but naturally occurring objects with a concrete or semi-permanent existence with tell indirectly about the social world. Available documentary sources of all types are consulted for the purpose.

d) Interaction method

More often the closer interaction with the librarians and other similar service oriented professionals help to get ideas and enable to design and develop a methodology for presenting new ways and means of acquiring competencies and skills

1.8 Limitations of the Study:-

The study is limited exclusively to those efforts which are enabling the professionals in promoting the capacity building activities to serve the cause of library and information services in right perspectives. This is a descriptive study mainly based on the published literature and close observation of the existing practices in the libraries of all types. The support to study intensively on the problem is the success of the service professional in the service and corporate sector.

1.9 Chapterisation

The study is formulated in six chapters. A crisp aspect of each chapter is presented in the following paras

Chapter one introduces the concept of capacity building and explains the various facets involved in it. In addition, the objective and methodology is presented.

Chapter two deals with the reviewing of the related literature classified in four distinctive facets. Article papers and reports are reviewed extensively to project the extensiveness and significance of the capacity building programmes in the library environment.

Chapter three presents the overall view of the capacity building programmes with brief historical perspective

Chapter four highlights the role of empowered library professional in the knowledge society keeping in view the required competencies and skills to perform effectively

Chapter five Deals with the possible and feasible suggestions and conclusion.  

1.10 Conclusion

Off lately LIS profession bank massively on ICT tools for knowledge management activities. Knowledge environment has posed several challenges which are really staggering. To perform the role of the information professional, one needs to be armed with highly skilled, managerial skills, leadership skills, communication skills and information skills. With these skills LIS professional will build professional personality life. These developments require increased technological skills to persuade admissible and constructive action on the part of information professionals.

Capacity building is a critical means to build library professionals ability to serve the cause of complex needs of the community. Library professionals often has advocacy skills but need their skills strengthened and need to gain confidence to use those skills. Capacity building helps them to understand the need to demonstrate the impact that their library has on the community strengthens their ability to communicate that impact through tailored messages to the community, government officials, and community leaders builds the confidence they need (Ammons Stephen, 2009). Through capacity building library professional will be able to create sustainable library services that improve health, education, workforce skills, and employability and funds. It also improves library professional’s planning skills as they learn how to set goals and objectives for future library services and advance the status of the library in the community. Further it enables to create, maintain and expand personal and professional advocacy networks. It is envisaged that if library and information center draw the best practices that are prevailing in some of the established service sectors regarding skills and competency building, it will emerge as a champion among the contemporary service sectors and can regain the glory of inevitable partner in the progress of the knowledge society.

Information center is becoming available to the users community at their door step. To keep oneself up to date in the digital borderless library environment there is the maximum need of the skill enhancement programs for the library professionals. Besides academic institutions, other organisations can help in enhancing the skills of the library professionals should also have the pro-activeness and positive attitude to work for the benefit of user community. This is in tune with the goals of the National Knowledge Commission (NKC) in establishing a knowledge dependable society emphasizing greater participation and more access to knowledge across all sector of the society (Pitroda, 2006).

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