The Sam Jonah Library has launched the 2019 Library week celebration on the theme “The 21st Century Library Services for Higher Education: Redefining University of Cape Coast Library Services”.
Speaking at the function, the Chancellor of the University, Dr. Sir Sam Esson Jonah, noted that the library was an important academic facility that contributed greatly to enhance academic work in universities. He was happy that the University’s Library system was responding to the changes and transformations taking place in academic libraries across the world. “Libraries are now using cutting-edge technologies to deliver information resources to support their parent organisations.
The Chancellor commended the Sam Jonah Library for showing commitment to modernise its resources, facilities and services and some other new facilities that would be inaugurated as part of the programme. “This is a demonstration of the University to transform the Library System into a modern Library capable of delivering Information and Library services that meet the needs of the University community” he added.
Innovations of the Sam Jonah Library
Touching on new innovations in the Library, the Chancellor mentioned that the establishment of the Research Commons in the Sam Jonah Library to promote research works by Academics, Research Fellows and students was a welcome development. “This project is timely considering the fact that the University is now hosting a number of International Graduate programmes including the African Centre of Excellence in Coastal Resilience Programme,” he noted.
Explaining further, Dr. Sir Jonah indicated that “Learning Commons have technologically enhanced learning spaces, innovatively-designed to promote collaborative learning and research. Learning commons provides research support services at each stage of the research life cycle”. The Chancellor was confident that the Sam Jonah Library Research Commons would contribute immensely to the growth and quality of research outputs and the visibility of the University. “Gone were the days where Graduate students had office space at their Departments of study. The situation is not the same any longer because of obvious reasons,” he pointed out.
Pay Attention to Research
The Chancellor urged the University to give equal attention to Research stressing that “There is too much emphasis on teaching at the expense of Research”. He noted that the University could earn a lot of money from research adding that “Her Research outputs can also make the University popular and attractive”. He, however, indicated that research required capital investment before realising the expected results and commended UCC for investing in the necessary infrastructure that would propel the University to yield high-quality research outputs. “I am reliably informed that the Research Commons of other partner Universities were sponsored through donor funding such as CARNEGIE and DANIDA. I am happy that the Sam Jonah Library Research was funded by the University resources and my personal financial support,” he noted.
The Chancellor also spoke about the establishment the Sam Jonah Research and Exhibition Centre adding that “Our aim is to establish a Centre of Excellence for Research where top-notch Researchers and Students across the world can visit to learn about our experiences”.
Role of the Library in Academic Institutions
On his part, the Librarian, Dr. Mac-Anthony Cobblah, emphasised on the role of the library to in academic institutions saying “University Libraries all over the world provides scholarly information resources, learning facilities, spaces and services to support teaching, learning and research”.
The University Librarian argued that emerging technologies had not come to replace libraries, but rather strengthen them to provide more efficient services. “There is always information preceding technology, if there is no information to be transmitted, technology will remain a white elephant” he stressed. He further indicated that information could be in the form of both electronic and print formats and the web technology has made global access to information possible. However, he posited that “What has changed is just the format in which information comes and the speed of transmission. Information will always remain information and has to be managed by professionals”.
Modernisation of the Sam Jonah Library
Focusing on the modernisation of the Sam Jonah Library, he said efforts had been made to adopt new technologies. He mentioned the e-library platform made up of online catalogue, UCC Institutional Repository, Online Library Services and the e-resources (e-books/ e-journals)
According to him, the Library has been restructured into three departments to reflect its academic nature. He mentioned that the departments comprised Client Services, Collection Management and Technical Services, and Information Technology and Research Support.
Dr. Cobblah said some of the new sections that have been established are Learning and Research Support Section, Distance Learning Library Services Section, Library IT Infrastructure and Digital Services Section, Business Development Unit, Person with Special Needs Section, and Library Policies and Operational Manuals Section”. Dr. Cobblah said new Library policies and Operational manuals have been developed to reflect best practices in Library and Information Management. Another significant facility he mentioned had been established by the Library was the-state-of-the-art Research Commons which he described as comparable to any kind in the world for graduate students and faculty members. “The Sam Jonah Library Research Commons is envisaged to meet the Research needs of Graduate students, academic staff and Research Fellows" he noted.
Future Plans of the Sam Jonah Library
Cataloguing some future plans of the Library, Dr. Cobblah mentioned the establishment of the Sam Jonah Research and Exhibition Library Centre for Excellence on the Legacy of Dr. Sir. Sam Jonah; creation of Knowledge Commons for the Undergraduates; putting up Conference and Seminar rooms - for departments that do not have such facilities for academic purposes. Others include facilities for managing Indigenous Knowledge at the Africana Unit, Computer Assisted Learning Unit and Resource training Centre; Reading room and Personal Librarian Services.
Impact of Sam Jonah Library on Academic Work
The Pro Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Dora F. Edu-Buandoh, who chaired the launch, commended the Sam Jonah Library for providing the best of service to the University Community. She noted that the Sam Jonah Library had raised the profile of the University through services it continued to provide to students and faculty members as well as other communities in Cape Coast. “Let me use this opportunity to commend the Sam Jonah Library for organising reading clinics and competition for basic schools in some communities in Cape Coast,” she noted.
The Pro Vice-Chancellor thanked the Chancellor for generously donating to support the creation of the Research Commons, Law Library and other projects in the Library. She assured that the Management of the University would continue to support the Library to provide excellent services to the University Community.
As part of the ceremony, a bust on the Vice-Chancellor was inaugurated. Other facilities that were inaugurated by the Chancellor were the Research Commons, the Law Library, Moot Court for the Faculty of Law, Social Learning Space, Research Support Services, Electronic Support Services and the Distance Learning Library Services.