BY W.O. MOKOGWU Ag. UNIVERSITY LIBRARIAN BENSON IDAHOSA UNIVERSITY There are as many functions of the library as there are library users and types of the library Libraries and Information Technology The role which Libraries play in the information revolution is obvious. Whether we like it or not there is now a converging of libraries and computer services. This convergence brings information professionals together from different professional disciplines. Their combined skills provide a sound basis for moving forward with an integrated infrastructure and can underpin the sort of initiatives that are essential to development Libraries and General Education (Learning and Skill Development) I am here restricting the discussion to general education at lower levels primary and secondary. I will discuss tertiary and university education latter. Libraries facilitate the developing concept of a learning society in which the individual has greater leisure time while simultaneously being increasingly responsible for his or her own education and development. Libraries and development of literacy Libraries encourage children’s (and near illiterates Adults’) interest in books and reading through different regular activities such as story hours, reciting of poems, essay competitions etc. Persons who have never seen the four walls of a class room have read for their GCE Ordinary/Advance Levels in community libraries and eventually becoming University graduates. Libraries provide support for children in the School. Libraries have traditionally encouraged older children, young people and students to use their facilities and resources for the improvement of their education. Libraries and skill Development Involvement in Library projects has encouraged younger people to take up trainings or learning opportunities mostly in computing or information technology. Others have developed skills in local history research. Libraries and Personal Development: Empowerment and Confidence. Since information is so central to library services, it is not surprising that the development of specialist and pro-active information services has an empowering effect- knowledge, as we know, is power. The difference today between economically and technologically advanced countries and poor countries is a matter of the quality and quantity of information at their disposal. And so it is with individuals Libraries and Development of Community Links Community here refers to different types of grouping – the university community is an example. The Library creates non – discriminating spaces for people to be. There are no professors section, academics section, administrators sections, professionals section etc in the Library. The Library is an agent of helping people become part of the community. Libraries have the power to strengthen existing groups, networks, voluntary commitment and business connections. Keeping Local Culture and Identity Alive Libraries, rooted as they are in neighbourhoods of all kinds are focal points and natural guardians of local identity and culture. Library initiative play important role in documenting and validating local history and identity. Libraries, Health and Wellbeing: Leisure, activity and feeling good. The therapeutic effect of reading has for long been recognized. No. other institution provides “active leisure” more than the library, it enriches the leisure time of many people. In fact it is said that Libraries can offer alternatives and replacement for those who do not work. ENLINK TRUNK LIBRARY We have been talking of libraries generally but I know that any library irrespective of type performs the functions thus far enumerated. However, I suspect that the organizers of this Training Workshop who assigned the Topic have in mind Benson Idahosa University Library. What are the functions of BIU Library? The general part of the questions has been answered. Let us now attempt the specifics. Kumar, Krishan (1996) reminds us that a University Library is a part of a University setup. Therefore it exists to serve the objectives of its parent organization. The University Library programmes must support or facilitate the University’s total programme. In other words, a University Library should aim to advance the functions of its University. It should reflect the character of the University. Kumar goes on to list these University Libraries functions as the facilitation of Teaching Research Publication Extension programmes Administration and Management functions Other functions. All these are the basic functions of the University and ipso facto that of the University Library. But Richard Biddiscombe (2000) of the University of Birmingham tries to delineate the functions in another fashion which I like. He talks of functions such as: Learning Support: Course Management. Developing a course of study, deciding on research programmes, exploitation of databases and web interfaces etc. Quality Assessment. Libraries input in Assessment visitation of all University programmes (involvement of the library in the recent accreditation programmes). IT Support Planning: Provision of library materials; ensuring access to information databases, establishing adequate numbers of computer work places. IT Skill Provision and Enhancements: User education; enhancement of learning process, integrating information resources and technology into the curriculum. Research Support: Research training, research assessment exercises; identifying research collections; accessibility of research collection. Over the years, the library has been a known agent of change. From parchment to Tablets to papyrus to print to electronic – the library does not get ruffled. It accepts and accommodates change. And so, the current wave of change blowing across BIU is accepted and accommodated by the library; after all, libraries were established to produce social change and to produce value. Thank you and God bless you all. AMEN!