The mandate of any tertiary institution of learning including the polytechnics is traditionally defined by a trinity of agenda – teaching, research and community service – and it is from this purview that libraries come in. The main function of the polytechnic libraries is to support teaching, learning and research programmes of the parent institutions. Strategies must therefore be designed to establish effective and efficient libraries that can provide services and resources needed to support teaching, learning and research which are inevitably geared towards community service. Many polytechnic libraries in Nigeria are still struggling to ensure effective service delivery to their users. This is the crux of the matter. This paper examines the teaching, learning and research support roles of polytechnic libraries in Nigeria, current challenges of these libraries and the librarians in ensuring effective service-delivery, and strategies to improve performance and service delivery. Recommendations were also made.
Polytechnic is any institution of higher learning offering a variety of scientific, technological and business diploma programmes at the National Diploma and Higher National Diploma levels (Mcartney, 1990). The core objectives of Polytechnics as provided in the National Policy on Education of the Federal Government of Nigeria (2004) are to provide full time and part-time courses and training in engineering, technology, applied science, commerce, management, natural science and agricultural distribution leading to the production of trained manpower. The courses provide the technical knowledge and skills necessary for agricultural, industrial, commercial and economic development of Nigeria, and training to impact the necessary skills for production of technicians, technologists and other skilled personnel who shall be enterprising and self reliant.
The establishment of this sector of higher education in Nigeria was necessitated by the realization of the urgent need for indigenous technical and middle-level manpower for speedy technological and industrial take-off in the country. It is against the need expressed above that the objectives of polytechnics have been set.
These are to provide students opportunity for training and acquisition of techniques in applied science, engineering and commerce as well as other spheres of learning. Iloeje (2004) noted that the mandate of any tertiary institution, including polytechnics, is traditionally defined by a trinity of agenda: teaching, learning and research. In tertiary institution, therefore, the link between teaching, learning and research is an article of faith, joined in faith, for one does not, cannot and should never exist without the other.
As a centre of study, the main functions of the academic library are to support the learning, teaching and research programme of the institution. It fulfills the functions by acquiring, processing, organizing and disseminating the necessary materials to users in the required formats. The library is a repository of knowledge and the scope is expanding to include specialized access and dissemination of information resource beyond the library walls (Uzoigwe, 2014).
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