Information resources have constantly been regarded as the lifeblood of any individual and organization. Unarguably, it is the fifth factor of production after land, capital, labour and entrepreneurship. Hence, its significance in keeping learning afloat during the current COVID-19 or Coronavirus pandemic (a large family of RNA viruses that infect birds and many mammals including humans, causing illness that ranges from the common cold to more severe respiratory diseases). While the pandemic has ravaged the world and shaken many organizations resulting in downsizing and pay cuts. Many libraries and information centres are not left out of this ugly trend (Aflia, 2020).
During the first half of 2020, academic libraries across the world have been addressing unprecedented challenges brought on by COVID-19. A large number of these libraries, due to national legislation or institutional decision, had to close their doors and offer virtual services. Academic libraries have been reinventing their services to meet the teaching, learning, and research needs. Libraries around the world are facing hard choices around which services to offer, due to the restrictions in social distance. We are aware that governments themselves are taking different approaches, sometimes ordering the closure of all institutions, others indicating that life should continue as usual, and others simply leaving decisions up to library directors.
In light of the above Skyline University Nigeria Library during the first wave of Covid-19 Era, joined the queue of other libraries in developed countries by providing virtual services to their patrons. The Coronavirus Pandemic may have caused many Public and Private institutions of higher learning to close in Nigeria and the World at large, but, has been an inspiring journey to see the level of creativity and dedication that Skyline University Nigeria’s Library have shown in the steps to continue service to its academic community beyond the four walls of the University’s library. The library has expanded access to e-resources such as e-Books, e-Journals, Video clips etc. Equally, the library has extensively mobilized its staff in organising relevant Webinars for effective information dissemination. The webinars were presented in 4-series and certificate of participation were shared among the participants which cut across several countries.
1. The first Webinar Series of Skyline University Nigeria Library was in collaboration with the National Digital Library of India. It was a live webinar with the theme ‘User Awareness of National Digital Library of India” which was conducted on Friday, 5th June 2020. This was part of the SUN library’s mandate to improve digital library opportunities and awareness in a global platform, to increase consumer education around information and resources as well as to develop community partnerships to broaden the scope of a digital library. The event was aimed primarily to improve the usage and impact of the digital library system into the mindset of Faculty, Librarians, Researchers, Students etc. The host presenters are Prof. Partha Pratim Chakrabarti – Principal Investigator – NDLI, Dr Vignesh Sornamohan – Chief Strategic & Outreach Officer – NDLI and Prof Partha Pratim Das – Join Principal Investigator – NDLI. The webinar had in attendance of over 167 participants including some high profile dignitaries from both Government and Private sectors as well as Universities and Polytechnics across Nigeria.
2. The second webinar was organized and conducted on Friday 10th July 2020. The webinar with the theme, ‘Journal Selection Considerations: Complexities and Solutions for Researchers’ was aimed at developing the concept, rationale, and purposes of an academic journal; it also includes the strategies on how to identify aims, scope, relevance and recognition of an academic journal and why there is a need to understand all these before submission; The Webinar was presented by renowned scholar Prof. Muhammad Kashif of GIFT University. The webinar featured over 196 participants (Sun, 2020).
3. The third webinar series was in collaboration with Elsevier and it was conducted on Tuesday 13th October 2020. The webinar has the theme, ‘Writing without Plagiarism and Proper Citations using Mendeley’ and was presented by Mr Khalid Shalan, who is a Core Research Consultant for Elsevier. The webinar was aimed to give a general overview of Elsevier Content and comprehensively discussed the effect of plagiarism and how to properly create citation by using Mendeley. The webinar featured over 150 participants from diverse academic and professional background (Sun, 2020).
4. The fourth webinar series was with the theme, ‘Digital Transformation Decoded: e-Library for Today and Tomorrow’. It was a collaboration with SUN Library and Knimbus – digital library company. The event was conducted on Wednesday 28th October 2020 and the host presenter of the webinar was Mr Vankatesh – Manager, Training and Customer of Knimbus and Mr Anurag – Senior Manager, Inside Sales. The overall presentation examines the growing imperative for Digital Library with remote access, virtual classrooms, web portal, mobile app (iOS & Android) virtual labs in the provision of successful research support services. The webinar featured over 93 participants from diverse academic and professional backgrounds.
The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated sudden and radical changes in the delivery of library services, as strict social distancing and lockdown measures were imposed by Nigerian Government in the early phases of the first wave of the pandemic. The Internet and web technologies have created a new and unparalleled environment which enables SUN Library to enhance and strengthen the research, teaching and learning of the University through the online Webinar during the first wave of Covid 19. Skyline University Nigeria Library been the first International Private University in North-Western part of Nigeria has changed the narratives by providing the current trends which goes with International standard of other libraries in developed countries.
Aflia, (2020). African Library and information asscoiation and institutions. Retrieved from https://web.aflia.net/underscoring-the-importance-of-information-marketing-as-a-vital-skill-by-librarians-in-post-covid-19-era/ November 2nd
Dadhe, P. P. (2020). Library Services Provided During During COVID-19 Pandemic: Content andemic: Content. Library Philosophy and Practice (e-journal). Retrieved from https://www.ifla.org/covid-19-and-libraries#understanding
Sun, (2020). Skyline University Nigeria’s Library (SUNL) Holds 2nd Webinar Series. Kano, Nigeria. Retrieved from Skyline University Nigeria’s Library (SUNL) January 15) https://www.sun.edu.ng/news/skyline-university-nigeria-s-library-sunl-holds-2nd-webinar-series.
Sun, (2020). Skyline University Nigeria Holds 3rd Library Webinar Series – Writing without Plagiarism and Proper Citations using Mendeley. Kano, Nigeria October 28.
Sun, (2020). Skyline University Nigeria Holds 3rd Library Webinar Series Retrieved from Skyline
University Nigeria’s Library https://www.sun.edu.ng/news/4th-library-webinar-digital- transformation-decoded-elibrary-for-today-and-tomorrow
Mr. Musa Muhammed, is the Assistant Librarian in Skyline University Nigeria. He has MSc in Information Management from Leeds Beckett University, UK.