Arba Minch University libraries to go hi-tech

By Philips Joseph

Arba Minch University’s six libraries are all set to get fully computerized in a phase manner. The first in line will be Technology Institute Library situated in the Main Campus, said the Library Manager, Mrs Etabezahu Mamo.
Once, Technology Institute Library’s computerized, other two libraries situated in the Main Campus – Applied and Education and Post-Graduate Libraries will follow suit. And the entire process will be completed in three to four-month timeframe.

Thereafter the process will be duly replicated in remaining three libraries – Health Science and Agriculture Library, Natural Science Library and Social Science and Humanities Library situated in Chamo, Abaya and Nech Sar campuses, Mrs Etabezahu Mamo informed.
Till date library collection resources were organized by using Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) manually in print and online library base system. Hereafter, it will switch on to Library of Congress Classification scheme. A combo of hard and software - Library Management System (LMS) or Library Automation System will expedite major circulation tasks including circulation control and overdue notices etc.
AMU library will adopt world-wide used Integrated Library System (Koha) that has various inbuilt features, is very configurable and adoptable. AMU libraries will phase in this software in collaboration with ICT department and would be giving consequential training to its staff, thus making available e-resource services to its users, said the Manager.
With this software in place multiple tasks like acquisitions (ordering, receiving and invoicing materials), cataloguing, reservation of titles and monitoring of serials (tracking magazines and newspapers holdings) etc. can be done.
Technology Institute Library was established in 1979. As of now its inventory has 68324 books, 43801 photocopy books, 933 periodicals, 934 documents, thesis and dissertations, 490 CD-ROM collections and 4898 Newsletters and magazines from across the world.
The classification of such a huge stock has already started in an alphabetical order. Now, catalogues and membership cards are being prepared and soon, they will also be computerized using the date base system. One library would need 20 trained staff members to handle the hi-tech system.
The budget proposal for staff training and library automation process has already been put before AMU authority, which is likely to be approved soon. However, some of the staff has already received two weeks training; one week more training for automation will be sufficient that may start in the first week of August 2013.
Elaborating further, Library Manager said, ‘‘The library is facing difficulty in procuring good quality paper for the catalogue; therefore, we have started using whatever is available to us. Once computerized, the entire function right from membership, issuance of book tickets, books, further updating the day today’s affair would get smoothened.