INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY (ICT) FACILITIES AND SKILLS DEVELOPMENT IN ACADEMIC LIBRARIES IN BENUE STATE
This study looked at information and communication technology (ICT) facilities and skills development in academic libraries in Benue state. Seven research questions and one hypothesis guided the study. It sought to find out among other things the ICT facilities available in the institutions, extent of ICT skills possessed by the staff, ICT skills possessed as a result of availability of ICT facilities in the institutions and the training methods used by the staff to acquire their ICT skills among others. Descriptive survey design was employed for the study and the entire population of 248 staff comprising professional and paraprofessional library staff was used. The instruments used for data collection were questionnaire and observation checklist. The questionnaire had seventy eight (78) items while observation checklist had sixteen (16). Descriptive statistics including frequency tables, percentages, and mean (x) were used to answer research questions while t-test was used to test the hypothesis. It was revealed from the study that, most ICT facilities are available including computers (190), printers (14), photocopiers (15), CD-ROMs (386) etc and that, staff of academic libraries in Benue State possess to a large extent all the ICT skills. It was also found that library staff of academic institutions in Benue State does not acquire their ICT skills as a result of the availability of ICT facilities in the libraries and that the staff obtained their ICT skills through personal efforts. Different problems ranging from inadequate funds, poor or erratic power supply, to poor attitude of library staff towards ICTs were found to militate against availability of ICT facilities in these libraries while various challenges spanning inadequate ICT skills by management staff hinder effective acquisition of ICT skills. Sourcing for funds internally for ICT projects, better funding of ICT programrmes, adequate training for librarians on the use of ICTs, improvement of power supply among others were suggested as strategies for improving ICT facilities and skills.