toplogo
Sign In

Access to Library Information Resources by University Students during the COVID-19 Pandemic in Africa: A Systematic Literature Review


Core Concepts
Academic libraries in Africa adopted various approaches, including expanding access to electronic resources off-campus, virtual reference services, and circulation and lending services, to facilitate university students' access to library information resources during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, students faced challenges such as limited access to internet services, inadequate electronic library collections, and insufficient digital and information literacy skills.
Abstract
The study examined access to library information resources by university students during the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa. It identified the measures adopted by academic libraries to ensure the smooth delivery of library information resources to students, the digital technological tools used by libraries to facilitate access, and the challenges faced by students in accessing library information resources. The findings revealed that the majority of academic libraries in Africa adopted remote access to library resources, virtual reference services, circulation and lending services, online user education programs, and research support services to facilitate students' access to library information resources during the pandemic. Academic libraries utilized various digital tools, such as social media, library websites, email, and video conferencing, to support students' access to library resources. However, the study also identified several challenges faced by university students, including limited access to internet services, inadequate electronic library collections, and insufficient digital and information literacy skills. These challenges hindered students' ability to access library information resources during the COVID-19 pandemic. The study recommends that academic libraries in Africa invest in ICT infrastructures and expand their electronic resource collections to better support students' access to library information resources during emergencies or disasters. Additionally, efforts should be made to improve digital and information literacy skills among university students to enhance their ability to navigate and utilize library resources in a digital environment.
Stats
"Limited access to internet services is the major challenge faced by students in accessing remote library resources during COVID-19." "Inadequate library e-resources collection was another challenge faced by university students in accessing library resources during the pandemic." "Inadequate digital and information literacy skills among students hindered their remote access to library resources during the COVID-19 pandemic."
Quotes
"The closure of libraries and lockdown create a physical barrier between librarians and patrons resulting in increased demand for digital technology tools to facilitate access to library services and resources to avoid total closure and suspension of services." "Access to the internet and other digital facilities for many university students in African countries is made available on their host university campuses, but limited access to physical library buildings presents a challenge for students to purchase their own gadgets such as laptops and computers to access the online library information resources and other digital services."

Deeper Inquiries

How can academic libraries in Africa collaborate with government and other stakeholders to improve ICT infrastructure and internet access for university students to support remote access to library resources during emergencies?

Academic libraries in Africa can collaborate with the government and other stakeholders to improve ICT infrastructure and internet access for university students by advocating for increased funding and support for digital initiatives. This can involve lobbying for government investment in broadband infrastructure, providing subsidies for internet access for students, and partnering with telecommunications companies to provide discounted or free internet services to students. Additionally, academic libraries can collaborate with tech companies to donate devices such as laptops and tablets to students in need, ensuring that they have the necessary tools to access online resources. By working together with government and stakeholders, academic libraries can create a more conducive environment for remote access to library resources during emergencies.

What strategies can academic libraries implement to effectively integrate digital and information literacy skills development into their services to empower students to navigate and utilize library resources in a digital environment?

To effectively integrate digital and information literacy skills development into their services, academic libraries in Africa can implement the following strategies: Offer workshops and training sessions: Academic libraries can organize workshops and training sessions on digital and information literacy skills, covering topics such as online research, evaluating sources, and using library databases effectively. Create online tutorials and guides: Develop online tutorials and guides that students can access remotely to enhance their digital and information literacy skills. These resources can cover topics like citing sources, plagiarism prevention, and effective search strategies. Collaborate with academic departments: Partner with academic departments to embed digital and information literacy skills into the curriculum, ensuring that students receive continuous support and reinforcement of these skills throughout their academic journey. Provide one-on-one consultations: Offer personalized consultations with librarians to help students develop their digital and information literacy skills based on their individual needs and learning preferences. Utilize social media and online platforms: Engage students through social media platforms and online channels to share tips, resources, and updates on digital and information literacy skills development, creating a dynamic and interactive learning environment. By implementing these strategies, academic libraries can empower students to navigate and utilize library resources effectively in a digital environment, enhancing their academic success and research capabilities.

What innovative approaches can academic libraries in Africa explore to expand their electronic resource collections and ensure sustainable access to these resources, even during times of financial constraints?

Academic libraries in Africa can explore innovative approaches to expand their electronic resource collections and ensure sustainable access to these resources, even during times of financial constraints, by: Collaborating with other institutions: Partnering with other academic institutions to share electronic resources and create consortiums for resource sharing, reducing individual costs and expanding access to a wider range of materials. Open access initiatives: Embracing open access initiatives by curating and promoting open access resources, collaborating with researchers to publish in open access journals, and participating in open access repositories to increase the availability of scholarly materials. Negotiating licensing agreements: Negotiating favorable licensing agreements with publishers and vendors to access electronic resources at discounted rates, ensuring cost-effective access to a diverse collection of materials. Crowdsourcing and donations: Engaging in crowdsourcing initiatives and seeking donations from alumni, organizations, and benefactors to fund the acquisition of electronic resources, supplementing library budgets and expanding resource collections. Utilizing digital repositories: Creating and maintaining digital repositories to archive and share institutional research outputs, publications, and other scholarly materials, enhancing access to a wealth of electronic resources within the institution. By exploring these innovative approaches, academic libraries in Africa can overcome financial constraints, expand their electronic resource collections, and ensure sustainable access to a diverse range of resources for students and researchers, fostering a culture of academic excellence and research advancement.
0