Sunday, July 1, 2001

Status, Problems and Prospects of Networking among Libraries of Higher Education Institutions in the Province of Isabela

Researcher: ELLEN G. ANCIANO

Course: Master of Arts in Education major in Library Science

School: Saint Mary's University, Philippines

Subject Area: Library Networking-Isabela

Year of Graduation: 2001

Library networking is a potentially workable and valid process of obtaining coordination among libraries and information service organizations engaged in educational programs and other development-related activities. This means the coming together of two or more information systems and/or libraries as partners in accomplishing specific development tasks supportive of their agency's goals and objectives towards quality education.

Statement of the Problem
This study aimed to determine the status, problems, and prospects of networking among libraries of higher education institutions in the province of Isabela on the following aspects: (1) Status of the libraries of HEI's on terms of: staff, clientele, library collection, services, equipment and facilities, and budget, (2) Status of networking activities in terms of: information resource sharing and cooperative technical service, (3) Problems and constraints in networking as perceived by the librarians, and (4) Prospects of networking in terms of: perceived relevance of networking, extent of readiness of the libraries as perceived by the librarians, and activities perceived by the librarians to be initiated immediately.

The study utilized the descriptive-normative method of research. The respondents involved were the librarians of 13 HEI's, namely: AAIC, Angadanan; CPC, Cauayan; DAMIAT, San Mariano; ICF, Cauayan; ISAT, Ilagan; ISU, Echague; OLPI, Cauayan; NC, Santiago City; PSCC, Santiago City; PNU, Alicia; SFC, Ilagan; ULS, Santiago City; and WIPC, Mallig, Isabela. The instrument used in gathering data was a researcher-developed questionnaire. Frequency distribution, percentage, rank, mean and standard deviation were used in the analysis of the data.

1.Status of HEI's libraries
The average size of the professional staff per library is 1.23; only one is a semi-professional staff, and the rest are support staff. The average size of the clientèle in all the study schools is 822.54 with 6 administrators, 39.08 faculty, 24 personnel, 23.92 researchers and 729.54 students. Most users of the libraries in every school are students with a total of 9,484.

Each of the HEI's libraries has an average library holdings of 7,522.85 which include 4,472.62 volumes of books; 1,978.31 titles and 2,834.85 volumes of theses and dissertations; 17.08 titles and 75.31 volumes of journals/periodicals. There is an average of 2,200.3 titles and 4,472.62 volumes of book collection with social science and technology books having the greatest mean. The Dewey Decimal Classification system is commonly used by the 13 study schools; only 3 use the AARC 1 and the rest use AARC2; and all of the schools involved use the Sears List of Subject headings as thesaurus for cataloging.

There are more services available among the insiders than the outsiders. Twelve schools (or 92.3%) offer accession list service to their clientèle (insiders). Only 4 schools (or 30.77%) offer accession list service to outsiders. Libraries involved in the study provide borrowing privileges to their inside clientèle; 9 libraries do not provide borrowing privileges to their outside clientèle. The most available equipment and facilities in the study schools are computer facilities and manual typewriters. Only one school does not have any equipment and facilities. Most of the private school have a separate budget for the library while government schools allocate only a part of their general fund for their libraries which is prepared by the administration.

2. Status of Networking Activities
Majority of the study schools participate in informal networking activities such as information resource sharing, i.e., interlibrary access, and referral service and cooperative technical service, particularly, sharing of tools.

3. Problems and Constraints in Networking as Perceived by the Librarians
The main reasons for librarians who are not participating in networking activities are inadequate staff and finance. The major problems which are moderately met by participating libraries in networking activities are external physical and environmental obstacles, absence of formal or written agreement, and inadequate bibliographic tools to share with other libraries.

4. Prospects of Networking Activities
Majority of the respondent schools perceived that networking activities are very relevant; 3 (or 23.07%) perceived that is somewhat relevant; and 1 (or7.69%) perceived that it is of little relevance. The prioritized activities to be initiated immediately as perceived by the librarians are cooperative acquisition of books and periodicals, interlibrary access and current acquisition list.

1. In general, the study schools library are adequately staffed with qualified librarians; their users are mainly students which indicates a potential necessity for networking; the bulk of materials available consists of books and periodicals; there are many services available in the study schools which also open the gate for sharing; equipment as well as facilities in the study schools are said to be adequate, updated and advance; most of the private study schools prepare their library budget, government schools do not.
2. The study schools generally participate in limited informal networking activities.
3. Very few among the study schools do not participate in networking activities. The reasons for not participating in networking activities are inadequacy of stuff and fund.
4. Networking activities are perceived by the respondent schools as relevant in to enhancing quality higher education.

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