If these walls could talk, they would tell stories of great academic minds grappling with the circumstance of the digital world. The American University of Nigeria (AUN) is home to the Robert Pastor e-library. With 99.9 % electronic resources, the Robert Pastor Library is one of the few libraries in Nigeria with an integrated library system. “It is a hybrid library with high-tech ICT facilities. Students and faculty can get books online(e-books) instead of the printed copies.” Said Information Literacy Manager, Omachi Okolo.
The integrated library system also classifies and catalogs resources with open source applications, this helps reduce costs. It is equipped with inter-library services which connect AUN with some of the best libraries in the United States and across the world. The AUN library is also a member of the Association of American International Academic Libraries (AMICAL). Membership of this network gives faculty and students access to comprehensive workshops which discuss trends and current practices in library services.
The library collects, preserves, organizes, and disseminates resources that relate to academic content, within academic disciplines in the American University of Nigeria. It is the main university hub, housing 18 classrooms, 2 conference rooms, a 24hrs section, a large auditorium with over 200 sitting capacity, and several sitting areas and lobbies.
“This school is wonderful. I gained a lot of exposure and experience from AUN. Especially the library in terms of homework, class-work, and my final project. With the aid of relevant resources including credible well-cited journals and articles on-site, it’s easy for me to locate information for research”. Said Faruk Mohammed Saad a final-year student.
Dr. Nasiru Yakubu, Coordinator, Accreditation, Academic Planning & Quality Assurance was one of the first people to set up the Information Technology infrastructure in the library. “AUN is the first university that established an e-library in Nigeria, we started with shelves of 20 to 30 books and then the university invested heavily in transitioning to e-books by subscribing to online materials to gain access to journals, articles, and databases. This allows staff and students access to materials whether they are on or off-campus by using credentials such as username and password.” Said Dr. Nasiru.
Those resources can be downloaded onto any device for later use, which tally with the curriculums taught in AUN either undergraduate or post-graduate. Dr. Nasiru and his team are also in charge of quality assurance for any proposed research on campus including external requests for research on AUN. He is also responsible for providing information to the National Universities Commission for accreditation for all academic programs.
In 2013, AUN won the American Library Association’s Innovative International Library Project Award in Chicago. While the Association of University Librarians of Nigerian Universities (AULNU) honored AUN with the Best Digital Library Services in Nigeria award in 2012. The AUN library is not just an academic hub, it is an institution that safeguards documented knowledge from sinking into oblivion. Its hallowed halls hold cherished memories for all who have passed through Africa’s premier development university.
Reported by Hadiza Aliyu