Introduction To The Organizational Structure Of The Library Or Library Structure

Organizational Structure of the Library

Introduction-Library Structure

The library organizes its operations into different or units to ensure efficiency. This also affords the library administrator or librarian the opportunity to appoint professionals as heads of the different departments. The organizational Library structure reveals ‘who is who’, ‘who does what’, and ‘who contributes what’ in the realization of the objectives of the library.

There is no specified pattern that all libraries must adopt;
rather each chooses a pattern as a matter of convenience. Individuals working in the library need to cooperate with one another and work as a team to achieve both personal and library objectives.

Therefore, it is necessary to establish a formal organizational  Library structure within which these individuals will function. The foundation of any organization is specialization and division of labour. Library staff is assigned specific roles based on their specialization.

But the totality of output of each department leads to the actualization of the broad objectives of the library. This is to say that each department works as a unit of the library and the various units, combined, give birth to a ‘whole’ which is the library system.

However, a pattern that has become common among libraries is to organize activities into sections such as: Administration, Technical services and Readers’ services and subdivided into smaller units where necessary.

• Administration Department: This department is responsible for the day-to-day running of the library. It provides necessary things needed by the other sections for the effective discharge of their duties. It is headed by the overall head of the library that may be given different names such as University Librarian, College Librarian, Director of Library Services etc.

The head of library performs management functions such as planning, organizing, staffing, directing, coordinating, reporting, and budgeting (POSDCORB). Performing these functions effectively will lead to the achievement of the library objectives.

Therefore, for him to achieve these, he must plan well, organize well, direct well, and coordinate well. Staffing issues resolve around recruitment, deployment and motivation. The head Librarian is required to recruit staff that are adequate in terms of number and caliber and deploy them in the various units according to their competencies.

Anything short of this will at best slow down the pace of works and at worst leaves the work undone. It is also the duty of the librarian to prepare an annual budget for the library which he should be able to defend before the authorities responsible for funding the library. It is also the duty of the Librarian to appoint different unit heads.

• Technical Services Department: This is a name given to a joint department where books and non-book materials are acquired, catalogued, classified and technically processed. The following sections make up the Technical Services Department:

Acquisitions: The Acquisitions department has the responsibility of identification, selection and acquisition of materials for the library. This is governed by the collection development policy already determined by the administration. Acquisition is the actual purchase of information resources into the library.

This department keeps record of library materials to be ordered in order to avoid duplication of materials. The acquisition procedure involves purchase, exchange, gifts, bequeaths and depository. 

Cataloguing and Classification: It is in this section that library materials are arranged according to their subject areas. This is done through the process of classification and cataloguing. Cataloguing is the physical description of books according to author, title, place of publication, illustration (if any), publishers etc.

Classification is the arrangement of Library materials according to their subject relatedness and assigning a particular number using a scheme known as classification scheme.

Bindery and Reprography: Bindery section repairs damaged materials in the library before returning them to the shelves. The services are open to students and other interested individuals who wish to bind or repair their damaged books.

Reprographic services such as photocopying are provided in the Reprographic section using photocopying machines. Multiple copies of single texts are reproduced at a reduced rate.
• Readers’ Services Department: This department provides direct services to users through circulation and reference services.

Circulation Unit: This section takes delivery of processed materials from the cataloguing department and ensures that they are arranged on the shelves based on their call numbers. This section is in charge of regulating the circulation of library books.

Some of the functions are:
1. Charging and discharging of books. (i.e Lending out books and receiving them back from the users).
2. Registration of new users
3. Reservation of books in the library
4. Issuing overdue notices.
5. Charging fines.
6. Shelving and shelf-reading etc.

Reference Unit: This unit offers reference services
to users in the following ways:

1. Location of materials in the library
2. Engage in inter library loan services
3. Provision of current awareness services
4. Compiling list of abstracts and indexes
5. Compiling bibliographies
6. Answering reference question
7. Assisting in the use of reference sources

• Serials Department: Serials are publication issued in successive parts, at regular or irregular intervals and intended to be continued indefinitely. Serials publications include newspapers, magazines, newsletter reports, memos, journals etc.

Serials may be parts of reference section depending on the size of the library. The serials department provides current and recent information to researchers. This department is also responsible for the selection of periodicals as well as their purchase.

• Audio-visual Department: This includes films, filmstrips, tapes, slides, microfiches, discs and diskettes and the apparatuses for operating them. These require special hadling and the gadgets are kept under stipulated temperature to avoid damage.

This audio-visual transformed to what we known today as Information and Communication Technology (ICT). Audio-visual department is responsible for the provision and maintenance of films, filmstrips, tapes, slides, motion pictures, microforms and all instructional materials used in
teaching and learning.

Virtual Library / ICT Unit: The ICT is one of the recent developments in science and technology which has brought tremendous changes in Library and Information science. The Virtual library unit was therefore ,established to meet the challenges of library and information services in the 21st century.

The Virtual Library / ICT unit is manned by a System Analyst, who is directly responsible to the Librarian. The unit ensures the maintenance, selection and acquisition of ICT facilities as well as the provision of electronic books, e-journals and odatabases from various publishers and sources which can be accessed by users at any given time from the computers or laptops connected to the Internet.

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