Learning English From Home

Learning a new language can be difficult and overwhelming, even when the language is a popular one. Many people hope to learn English through different ways of learning as a way to increase opportunities and job related skills, while others simply want to improve upon their personal knowledge. Different people learn best in different methods. Some people learn quickly by reading books themselves because they have better ability to process the information and remember it. Others might do it better when they go in a group. They can share and discuss more knowledge and gain new ideas with the teacher and friends. Some people even do better when they are alone because they don’t need somebody every time to practice. You can speak English on your own. Out of all the above options, learning English from home is the best option because it gives flexibility to learn at any convenient time.

So if you do not have adequate time to go out somewhere, but still you want to learn it anyhow, then learning English at home is the best option. Whether you are a complete beginner of the language or you already have a little knowledge of the English language, its possible to learn English at home no matter where you live. This type of English language learning will maximize your progress in English, in the shortest period of time, & that too in a relaxed and hospitable environment.

There are many advantages for choosing to learn English at home:

  • It will give you the options of different learning methods like online English learning websites, English learning kits, Podcasts etc.
  • You get flexible and hassle free learning sessions with it. Here you don’t need to plan your schedule or spend your time in going to a coaching class. You have complete convenience of choosing your own time and place for learning.
  • You are not dependent on anyone for your learning. You learn independently, which not only makes you independent but also increases your self confidence.
  • It allows the whole family as well as friends to learn using the same material. This is cost effective & furthermore it also provides flexible learning to everyone.
  • You can use these learning from home material anytime throughout your life. You can revise your learning even after a couple of months or years of your learning.

There are different ways of learning English at home. But the most important aspect is to stay motivated and practice regularly, so that you can improve your language skills. Different ways to learn English at home are:-

Books/Websites/English learning kits

To speak fluent English, you need to understand the rules of grammar. You can learn these through a book or a website or an English learning kit that specializes in teaching English. If possible, choose a resource that includes explanations in your native language. English learning kits are a huge success these days. With these, learning English has become absolute fun! These interactive English learning kits allow you to practice vocabulary as per your own time & convenience.

Flash Cards

Create flash cards that are relevant to the type of English that you wish to learn. For example, if you’re studying English for business, you’ll need to know English words that relate to business. Review the cards on a daily basis. This is a good way to build your vocabulary words.

Watching English movies

If you are a fan of English movies, then learning English can be more than fun. Learning English by watching movies is learning by input, which is both enjoyable & motivational. You learn a lot of things from watching English movies such as – pronunciation, vocabulary, style, intonation even western culture, habit etc.

Podcasts

Listening to others speak English is an essential skill. You can improve listening skills through Podcasts, which you can listen to on your Mp3 player. Start with Podcasts created for non- English speakers, which will include slow, clear language. As your skills improve, you can start listening to Podcasts on topics that interest you

Out of the several options available, it’s up to to the learner which learning method he/she wants to adopt to learn the language but one thing you should always keep in mind that whatever learning method you choose, you should be self motivated.

So learn English by staying at home & boost your confidence in your work & social life.

Learning English in an English Speaking Country

Those of you who have spoken to fluent or native English speakers will have heard them tell of the benefits of learning English in an English speaking country. The advantages of this are obvious. Providing you live with, or have daily communicative contact with English speakers, there is no doubt that this will enhance and speed up becoming a good English speaker. You will find yourself in typical everyday situations, where you need to understand and communicate in English. You are likely to find yourself in embarrassing situations, where you make mistakes, frequently misunderstand, or fail to understand completely. This can often lead to frustration and create an urge to try harder and commit more time to learning English. This can often have very effective results.

Learning English in a non English speaking country

Sometimes, learning English in an English speaking country is not possible. Instead, you have to do it whilst remaining in your home country. However, the results are often somewhat different. Input is often restricted to what you are exposed to in the classroom. Progress can often be slow and you will often find enthusiasm wanes after the novelty has worn off. This is because outside the classroom, there is no need to converse in English. The closest you get to this is through completing your homework, but often you will find this becomes a chore. Unless you are blessed with dogged determinism and enthusiasm, many of us will forget all about learning English until we step into the classroom again the following week.

Other benefits of learning English in an English speaking country

Not only does learning English in an English speaking country improve your general language learning experience, it also exposes you to other important factors attached to language learning. This includes the culture, the people and the overall functions of how certain countries do things. You will become familiar with the food people eat, when and how they eat, how people spend their free time, what people choose to spend their money on and how much things cost. The list is endless. It can provide you with an opportunity to really see how English speaking people live and provide you with an opportunity to see if you would like to live and work there yourself either permanently or temporarily in the future.

Making English speaking friends

If you spend a lot of time learning English in an English speaking country, you are very likely to make friends with native English speakers. You will go out with them, eat with them and experience all the things that they experience in their daily lives. This kind of interaction is especially good for learning the more informal aspects of the English language, like accent and dialect, proverbs and other “-ism’s” found in the English Language. You are only likely to learn these if you hear them spoken by a native speaker and are comfortable enough to ask what they mean. This is a very important part of becoming a fluent English speaker, as there are hundreds of these that are used frequently in everyday conversation among native speakers.

How to learn English in an English Speaking Country

Many of you will be thinking this is easier said than done. Going abroad costs a lot of money, and even once you’re there, issues of where you will stay and what you will do whilst learning to speak English will be on your mind. Fortunately, there are many schemes in place to facilitate this process.

Learn English Online to Master the English Language Easily and Affordably

As we all know, English is without doubt the international language. It is estimated the number of people speak English in the world is in the region of 600 million! Some even say one out of every five people on earth can speak English to some level of competence. It is therefore very important to learn English. It can be really rewarding and broaden your options in job and career advancement. There are many ways one could learn English but the most effective one is through the internet. Learn English online is effective and affordable as there are many good programs and courses available online for learning English. The advantage of Learning English online is that you can learn at your own time and can learn from any part of the world! You can use msn and skype to contact your online teachers and study English from the comfort of your home or office.

To improve your English, you have to learn the meaning of many English words and need to understand the usage of English grammar in great detail. Reading is the best way to increase vocabularies and learn how to avoid making wrong use of words. If we read magazines or newspapers written in English regularly, we will pick up and remember the many new words we come across. You can use online dictionaries to search for meaning of a word or word that you are not sure to pronounce. It can instantly look up accurate and extensive definitions and word meanings, and hear the audio pronunciations of the word selected. Using online dictionary is just like having a teacher close at hand. It makes reading a very enjoyable pastime as we could understand the whole story in detail. You should also test your knowledge of English language with the many free interactive grammar and vocabulary exercises platform available online as well.

Besides learning to read English, we must also learn to speak in English. Practice speaking in English with your family members and friends is one of the best ways to learn spoken English. Try listen to radio stations or online stations if you are away from home. You might not understand at first, but keep listening and maintain a regular habit of listening to the stations will eventually pick up the spoken English. Online learning usually is interactive and you should be able to hear the word being said to you. It is a well known fact that people learn quicker when they hear and see things together

We should also try to talk to native English-speaking people as much as we could because it gives you a real native conversation practice. You should not be afraid to speak in English. If we never learn to take risks to open mouths, it will be impossible to improve speaking skills. There is no reason to be ashamed of speaking poor English. If we can learn from our mistakes, failure can become part of our success. In fact, the secret of success is come from failure.

In conclusion, there is no short cut to learning English. Persistence and consistency is the keys to success. If you want to write and speak perfect English, don’t ever give up trying to achieve your goal. If we are prepared to work hard at it, we will be successful in the end. Learn English online is just like having an online teacher available around the clock, along with the web’s widest range of course and interactive learning tools available. So learn English online is one of the most effective and faster ways to master the English language.

Bringing Out the Best in Professional Library Staff in Sierra Leone

Introduction

Bringing out the best from library staff has been an issue for the proper functioning of librarians in Sierra Leone (SL). Librarians, according to Crosby (2008) are information experts in the Information Age. Their expertise in the handling of information has not been seen or realized, even though these professionals have been around for a long time. Librarians and information professionals have not attained the status and position they should rightly occupy in society. In most Ministries, Departments and Government Agencies (MDAs), where information handling and records keeping are key functions, librarians, records managers and information professionals have not been employed to do these jobs. Instead, other professionals, mostly people with accounting and business management backgrounds have been employed. In essence, the work of librarians has not been so much felt and appreciated.

Library and information services in Sierra Leone

Information is a fundamental asset for any society to thrive well in this 21st century. It is the tool by which learning takes place and decisions are made. It provides the needed answers to people’s requests and longings from all walks of life. Therefore, the provision of library and information services to all is indisputable. Almost all types of libraries exist in SL, because no individual library can provide all the information needed by every potential user. In this regard, different libraries exist to serve different users and their needs.

The Sierra Leone Library Board (SLLB) serves as both the National and Public library in the country. There are mainly nine (9) Academic libraries scattered throughout the country, all of these are found in the tertiary institutions (Universities, Colleges, Institutes and Teacher Training Colleges) providing higher education. School libraries are found in most Primary, Junior and Senior Secondary Schools. However, a vast majority of these are not functional. Special libraries are found in MDAs, private companies and individual established libraries. In addition to these are research and documentation centres, such as the Medical Research Centre; Information Resource centres, such as that established by the Embassy of the United States of America; and many small community information centres. These information centres are widely used by information seekers due to the main fact that they provide online services for almost free of charge.

The SLLB serves as the pivotal point for the provision of library and information services in the country. It is open to all: professionals, academics, researchers, students, pupils and for all children. There also, the general populace information needs are catered for. All of these are geared towards meeting our societal needs for information, education, research, entertainment and leisure activities.

Staff in libraries and information service institutions in Sierra Leone

There are two broad classes of staff employed in our libraries as is the case for libraries all over the world: those involved in library and information work, and those who provide back-up services. Library and information staff functions at different levels from non-professional, Para-professional, professional, specialists to managerial. At the support level, there are also manual/care taking staff, clerical/secretarial, technical and computer staff, and specialist staff. These all play a part in providing the information that users’ desire.

Library staff should function above the normal information provision role. Other important functions are:

I. Guide – providing physical, technical and intellectual guides to information resources in various formats;
ii. Collaborate – with others, known users as well as users who come for some manner of services over and over again, and even remote users;
iii. Prioritize – be flexible in performing new functions in order to incorporate new demands in procedures, structures and directions;
iv. Empower – delegate responsibility thereby empowering colleagues; and
v. Understand core capabilities – of the library, its environment, colleagues and most importantly the users.

Training library staff in Sierra Leone

The Institute of Library, Information and Communication Studies (INSLICS), Fourah Bay College (FBC), University of Sierra Leone (USL), is where Librarians and Information Professionals are trained and equipped for the world of work. INSLICS comprises two divisions that offer two distinct programs: the Divisions of Mass Communication and Library, Archive and Information Studies respectively. The Mass Communication Division offers academic courses in the art and science of human communication and prepares students for career opportunities in public information services, print media, broadcast media, public relations, film production, advertising, marketing, advocacy and related fields. While the Division of Library, Archive and Information Studies caters for the professional training of librarians, records managers, archivists and information scientists to manage libraries, resource centres, information centres and related activities.

The Division of Library, Archive and Information Studies was formally established in 1986. It aims to provide for the training and education of Librarians, Archivists, and Information Scientists at a variety of levels, for those employed in both professional and non-professional capacities in Libraries, Archive Departments and Information Centres. Within the USL it is the particular mission of the Division of Library, Archive and Information Studies to educate men and women for professional careers as librarians and information specialists and to foster research and service programs relating to society’s library and information needs.

Its goals are:

I. To furnish students with the knowledge, skills and attitudes that are basic to professional competence and career-long professional growth in the field of library and information services;
II. To expand the knowledge base of the profession through research; and
III. To share its resources by extending services within and beyond SL.

The Division currently offers the following courses:

1. Special Certificate in Library, Archive and Information Studies – this is a one year full-time course and is ideally suited to those with some experience of library and information work, who wish to receive training in basic library/information skills;

2. Diploma in Library, Archive and Information Studies – a two-year full-time course for those who may have some experience of library work and who hope to hold a Para-professional position in a library/information centre or archive in the future;

3. Bachelor of Arts with Honors in Library, Archive and Information Studies – a four-year full-time course;

4. Post-Graduate Diploma in Library, Archive and Information Studies – a one-year program for graduates;

5. Master of Philosophy in Library, Archive and Information Studies – a two-year program, i.e. one year taught program and one year research.

The challenge for library staff

The challenges facing library staff in SL are numerous. Among them, the following are worth mentioning: low wages, limited capacity, no proper networking, poor infrastructure, users’ ignorance and the polemics of status.

The challenge of users’ ignorance

An anonymous writer once wrote that “A library is a hospital for the mind.” This means that the librarian is the trained doctor or nurse to administer treatment to every sick mind. This also means that the user who needs information is the sick mind that really needs treatment from the librarian. This is the ideal case, but not the pragmatic one. For every Sierra Leonean needs information for survival and growth; but going to the library is the major barrier. This is due to the fact that many are not well informed that the library exists to provide the daily information they want. As such there are libraries with information and knowledge to help people, but these people are unaware of going there for such help. It is therefore the responsibility of library staff to make people become aware that the library can meet their daily information needs. They must find ways and means to reach out to the public. Two important ways for every library are through the public relations and marketing library and information services.

The challenge of the polemics of status

Wilson (1982) stated that librarians have long exhibited a curious, and intense, status anxiety that is reflected in the endless polemics about the professional status (or lack thereof) among them. Librarianship should be one of those professions seeking a conspicuous status in the market. As Harris (1995) mentioned, since the inception of the idea of a ‘library’ in the United States, and more significantly, since the middle of the 19th century, librarians and friends of libraries have been debating the proper role of the library profession. Librarianship is one of those professions that impinge on the very survival of any society. The Librarian commands a unique status parallel with traditional professions in SL. If we can accept the saying that “knowledge itself is a form of power,” then the Librarian is the controller of that power. He is the custodian of the nation’s knowledge base.

A redefinition of the library profession and the librarian in developing countries is urgently needed. Just as how Huttemann (1985) mentioned that “self-sustaining and self-reliant Pan-African economic growth needs to develop its natural and human resources.” So the work and role of librarians are keys for SL to realize her much envisaged economic growth and prosperity. As Huttemann further stated that the promotion of socioeconomic and cultural development can be conducted properly only if it is supported by sound information and documentation services needed for sectors like education, health services, agriculture, industry and trade alike. In essence, it is a matter of must that librarians should be in the business of accessing, organizing, storing and disseminating information where and when needed.
It is also crystal clear that librarians must question the definition they have accepted. A thorough understanding of their role is a sine qua non for a clearer view. They must come forward with the goal of helping society to understand that they exist to provide information for survival and growth. This goal, as insisted by Bundy and Wasserman (1968) and Harris, Hannah and Harris (1998) must be to forge a new professional identity.

Librarianship, according to Taylor (1980), is the profession that is concerned with the systematic organization of knowledge in all its various formats and its dissemination for the purpose of preserving society’s cultural heritage, promoting scholarship and the generation of new knowledge. However, this definition is far-fetched to the common understanding of many Sierra Leoneans. The general view is of some persons sitting behind many books in large stalks of shelves and waiting for patrons to come and request for assistance. For long librarians in SL have been labeled as “book keepers” and jobs for those teachers who have been left out unnoticeable by the school curriculum. The profession itself has long been battling with Public Relations (PR). As Mchombu (1985) put it ” In most developing countries, the percentage of population which are active library users is still very low… it is, therefore, important to encourage many more people from all walks of life to increase their use of Libraries so that existing information resources can be fully exploited” (p.115). In essence, as Mchombu further asserted library staff can no longer afford to sit and wait for a few enlightened readers to come to them, they must be more aggressive, be prepared to go out and search for and encourage all potential readers to come to the library because it has information which can be applied to what they are doing to improve final results.

To this, librarians must ensure that they emphasis on creating value from know-how and expertise. Bell (1973) has long since made this clarion call that the central figure in the post-industrial society will be the information professional. For as Bell insisted what counts is not raw muscle power, or energy, but information. The central person is the professional, for he is equipped, by his education and training, to provide the kinds of skill that is increasingly demanded in the post-industrial society.

Bringing out the best in library staff

The library profession must be able to overcome its challenges. A sure way of doing this is to motivate every library staff. When library staff are properly motivated, the best from them can be realized. Library managers should as a matter of must, make motivation for staff an issue of importance. Motivating staff in any organization is probably the most difficult task of the manager. Not only do people react differently to the same stimuli but the motivation process is quite complex. It is concerned with those factors that stimulate human behavior, how behavior is directed, and how it can be maintained. Staff can seem at times to behave illogically, perversely and unpredictably. Contrary to the belief of some, the good management of staff is not just a matter of common sense. To manage staff requires a formal effort to grasp these influences so that our individual attitudes can be controlled and developed to meet the day to day staff situation in a way in which common sense will have difficulty (Shimmon, 1976).

It is particularly important that the manager of a service organization like a library/information unit makes this effort for two reasons: Firstly, his product, being service is closely linked with the attitudes of serving staff themselves and it is not possible by inspection to reveal a faulty service in the easy way that faulty materials can be detected; and secondly, the cost of labor is likely to continue rising at a greater rate than that of the manager’s other main tools, machinery and materials, and he must therefore use the staff he really does need to best advantage (Webb, 1985). Some of the staff may be motivated by money and what it will buy, others by achieving ever higher services year after year, and some by the “thrill of the change.” Thus the manager, will need to address motivation in some depth by studying speculations such as organizational theory and behavior.

The challenge for bringing out the best

Someone has said unofficially that Sierra Leoneans naturally are not difficult to please. Sierra Leoneans are generally motivated when the two lowest layers of Maslow’s pyramid are satisfied. One of the basic problems in this society is a good remuneration package that can take care of the basic needs of people. In this part of the world five basic needs are evident: food, shelter, clothing, transportation and medical. If attention is paid to these needs for every library staff, we have solved much of the problems affecting them and we are on the verge of getting the best from them.

So a good package must contain basic pay and allowances that will cover rent, transportation, and medical. The Government of Sierra Leone (GoSL) announced minimum wage pay is Five Hundred Thousand Leones (SLL 500,000.00), placing it at Eighty United Dollars (US$ 80) at the current exchange rate (2016). This will not provide the good pay that librarians will want to work for. The rising cost of basic necessities, particularly food items, due to inflation in the country, means that this minimum wage is not encouraging. Therefore libraries must ensure that they go two times beyond this minimum wage pay in order to meet their staff basic need.

Furthermore, staff should be sent to the library school for training and development. Longer-serving staff without qualifications can be encouraged to do certificate programs. Reference and other professional librarians are to be sent for refresher courses and exchange programs for capacity development.

Conclusively, the best from library staff can be enhanced if the challenges facing them are dealt with and if they are properly motivated. Among the several challenges, user ignorance and the polemics of status are to be surmounted by librarians. Furthermore, they should be fairly motivated to take on their proper roles. In this sense, their remuneration packages as well as encouragement for career developments and training must be attended to. The library school should help in this direction.

The University Of Louisville Libraries – A Library of the 21st Century

Whilst in Louisvlle attending a seminar on contemporary American literature and touring various sites of cultural interest the University Library was one of those sites that had a never-fading impression on my mind not only for its unique architectural plan but for other inexpressible qualities that make it an ideal place for quiet and serene study. My first visit was when the Director of our program led us there for an induction into the use of computers and the internet in literature research. The room we were led into for the class was fully equipped with computers in all the over fifty desks for students and a master screen monitor for the instructor. Many other rooms including the state of art auditorium were equally well equipped.

I passed through the library on many other occasions. But the most significant one was when on my way from the University post office the thought occurred to me of recording the beautiful vistas of the campus in pictures as well as in mind and one such was the Ekstrom Library which represented to me the focal point of all the other libraries scattered at various ends of the expansive campus.

I took about two views of this building and I was still gaping in wonder especially at the bewitching splendor of its frontage with readers combining eating and relaxing. I was particularly struck by its inviting, comfortable, and open space teeming with students and bustling with activity, a lovely terrace equipped with outdoor furniture, facing a pleasantly inviting green outdoor space, exploiting the favorably warm climactic conditions here for enjoying nature. Taking advantage of the generally mild Kentucky weather with its ample, inviting green space, students can study or just catch a break at a number of outdoor tables on the terrace. On nice days, there are few better places to study-and certainly it makes for an inviting entry

I found myself wandering in to get a better view. As I wandered through I remembered my mission of seeking support for our resources-starved university libraries in Sierra Leone. My search for the head led me into the office of Mr David Hogarth who instantly became an able facilitator of my mission enabling me within a week to meet the Dean of libraries.

Whilst awaiting my appointment with her I was led on a tour of various parts of the Ekstrom library. This library, I learn, holds more than 1.1 million and 5,100 journal subscriptions supporting research and curricula in the humanities, social sciences, business and education. It also contains large collections of microforms, government publications, multi-media and current periodicals, the Granville A. Bunton Pan African Collection, the Barbara S.Miller Multiracial Children’s literature Collection and the Bingham Poetry Collection.

The Rare Books and Photographic Archives provide rare research sources for scholars and other researchers. African American collections, English, European, and American Literature collections together with the substantial space given to reference and reserved books make this library a very significant research as well as information disseminating tool. But it is also a repository and exhibitor of many prized manuscripts and other documents like for example the outstanding 1482 first printing of Euclid’s Elemental and a copy of the Principal with annotations in Newton’s hand. The working collection of Richard M. Kain, and the first editions and manuscripts of James Joyce and W.B. Yeats preserve much of Irish Literary Renaissance heritage. There is also quite a good collection of Modern English and American writers with noteworthy editions by 1890’s authors and books as well as autographed letters from members of the Bloomsbury Group.

A famous and ever-growing and rich collection of special materials, archives and photography include:

Roy and Dela White Collection of Edgar Rice Burroughs.

Arthur J. Slavin.Collection of English History.

Hattie Winston Collection of African- American Scripts and Screen Plays.

Irwin Hilliard Archive of Fine Bindings.

Billy Davis 111 Collection of Aerial Photography.

Other special collections include the James Chandler World War Posters and Lafin Allen’s Kentucky Maps.

The photographic Archives houses more than 2 million photographs and manuscripts as well as fine art prints. It also offers printing services and a rotating series of exhibits.

The Roy Stryker Papers include photographs and manuscripts from documentary projects directed by Stryker at the Farm Security Administration, Standard Oil Company and Jones and Laughlin Steel. The Cautfield and Shook Royal Photo and Lin Caufield collections consist of photographs from Louisville’s past. Whilst the Lean Thomas, Matlack Studio, Arthur Y Ford and Henderson Settlement School collections document life and culture in Appalachia. 2,000 prints by many notable American artists such as Paul Caponegro and Gary Winogrand constitute the library’s Fine Print Collection.

The library also serves a much wider community beyond the campus.Through e-mail, phone or in person one could request and receive help or even fix a session with a research librarian here. A Cardinal card enables you to check out up to 99 items at a time and renew books on-line. Visiting academics are entitled to inter-library loans of up to 15 books. A University of Louisville student enjoys the privilege of searching for items reserved for his class on-line. Minerva gives on-line access to catalogues and gateways to many collections. University of Louisville distance learners could access off-campus through their ULINK username and password both library assignments by their professors and electronic databases of library resources for self-directed research from non-University of Louisville internet addresses.

Ekstrom Library houses and lends resources to the Delphi and the Writing Centers. The Delphi Center helps professors use technology in their teaching and prepares them to teach courses online. The writing center assists students, professors and staffs with writing projects and holds workshops on improving writing skills. Through this center an appointment with a writing consultant could be scheduled and important writing resources found.

The University of Louisville libraries a conglomerate of libraries stocking books on few selected disciplines such as music, visual art, health sciences, engineering, physical science and technology at the time of my tour was in the process of moving in to Ekstrom the main library, the over 149,000 volumes constituting the engineering, physical science and technology books and journals.
Besides the William Ekstrom main Library, the University library network consists of: The Kornhauser Health Sciences Library; The Dwight Anderson Music Library; The Margaret M. Bindwell Art Library; and The University Archives and Records Center.

The Kornhauser Health Sciences Library a comprehensive and the most current health sciences information resource center is also a “Regional Resource Library” in the National Network of Libraries of Medicine. It represents a significant resource for the entire health sciences community of the Louisville metropolitan area and the western half of Kentucky. It has over 250,000 volumes, 2,700 journal subscriptions, audiovisual materials and a variety of electronic formats. It stocks numerous items relating to health care in Kentucky and the Trans-Appalachian West, including historical collections, the medical school archives, book manuscripts and physical objects.

The Dwight Anderson Music Library providing user-centered services offers seamless access to information resources in all formats and serves as a center for teaching and learning which supports the University of Louisville School of Music curriculum and research. It houses the largest academic music collection in Kentucky including the Gravemeyer Collection of Contemporary Music comprising all submissions to the internationally renowned Music Composition Award as well as a large assortment of sheet music containing thousands of Louisville imprints celebrating the history of music publishing in the city and the “Traipin Woman” collection with its emphasis on American folk song.

The Margaret M. Bridwell Art Library with its more than 80,000 volumes is a gateway to information for teaching, research and scholarship in art, design, art history and architectural history. It subscribes to over 300 domestic and foreign journals and museum bulletins. It has also hundreds of videos and provides access to the major electronic and print indexes. Subjects covered here include painting, drawing, sculpture, print-making, photography, architectural history 45, interior design, graphic design, art education, pottery, fiber arts and decorative arts. It also holds approximately 3,000 rare and scarce volumes and about 150 linear feet of archival materials.

The librarians strive concertedly with academic staff to meet the information literacy and research needs of a diverse population recognizing that libraries are an essential tool in the University’s mission to become a premier nationally recognized metropolitan university.

The University of Louisville libraries is guided in all its undertakings by its vision that libraries are the academic heart of the university and a place for discovery and learning outside the classroom and the lab. They therefore seek to participate as active and integral partners in meaningful learning, outstanding teaching and effective research. Users are therefore always being instructed on information availability and use. Services and resources are tailored to suit the varying needs of users. Library staff thus identify, evaluate and select materials of varying formats to develop collections that meet user needs. They also apply technology, research and instructional innovations to enhance services and access to traditional and electronic collections.

Rapid expansion in stocks, rapid technological advancement including the introduction of a robotic retrieval system has enabled more books than could be retained in the library halls being stacked in trays which are accessed by computers on user request. The system gives the library enough space for over three million volumes. The less frequently used volumes will be loaded into the system, and students can still browse titles in open stacks in the old wing of the library. Books stored in the RRS are identified as such in MINERVA, the library’s catalog. To request the item, patrons click on a live “request” button onscreen, and then a robotic crane is sent off to find the item, moving among racks of steel bins holding books and journals from which the robotic arm selects, grabs and delivers the appropriate bin to a pickup station where a library attendant pulls the exact item and delivers it to the circulation desk within minutes. The entire process which I witnessed myself takes only minutes and handles numerous simultaneous requests.

Having the RRS, I was told, also saves the library the cost of a courier service and the additional library staff needed to operate a remote storage facility. The Ekstrom Library’s RRS stands out in how artfully it is built into the central design of the new addition. With numerous windows on the system, students can literally stand at the circulation desk, make a request, and actually see the system fill their form watching it work serving almost as a piece of 21st-century art, a book fountain of sorts, whizzing and whirring volumes past the windows. In all, the Ekstrom addition contributes a hefty 42,500 square feet of space to the library

The library’s robotic retrieval system (RRS) has freed up significant space for exhibits in the library, like the one by Split Rock Studios, St. Paul; designer, Lisa Friedlander that highlights the year of Kentucky’s founding and features a statue of Henry Clay, Kentucky senator from 1806 to 1850. The desk is a replica of the desk Clay used when he was in the Senate-the actual desk is in the office of Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell, who endowed the Ekstrom expansion and the McConnell Center for Political Leadership.

The libraries now seem poised to attain the ambitious goals of the university of becoming a premier metropolitan university that is nationally recognized for advancing intellectual, social and economic development. The library’s massive atrium allows light to pour into the building and over the circulation desk.

The libraries’ technological resources have developed to state-of-the-art electronic information centers for the campus community with more than 550 computer workstations from which one can borrow laptop computers for use anywhere in the libraries. Advanced wireless technology enables laptop users to access the internet and the libraries’ vast electronic resources. Researchers could access 25,000 full-text journals and hundreds of electronic databases.

Two teaching laboratories enable librarians to conduct classes in the library with instant access to the online world. The library’s three new, modern instruction labs equipped with wireless technology and state-of-the-art audiovisual equipment, emphasize the library’s continually expanding role in teaching and learning. Instructional Lab 1 and Instructional Lab 2 have become extremely flexible spaces hosting a version of the 3M Road Show for Kentucky librarians.

The university community can access thousands of electronic information resources from hundreds of computer work stations in the libraries and also from anywhere: their offices, classrooms or home. Minerva, the online catalogue indexes and accesses the many items held within the libraries. Through its access to national and regional electronic networks one could search many library catalogs and databases around the nation and even around the world.

The University of Louisville Libraries is a member of the Association of Research Libraries, the most prestigious and influential library association in North America. Strong financial support from the University administration has propelled it up to national prominence and impetus in strengthening its ties with Metroversity, a consortium of higher education institutions in metro Louisville, Kentucky, Virtual Library and other library consortia in the region and nation thus adding significantly to the materials made available to its students and faculty and to students and faculties from other campuses.

It has established Kentucky’s first library chair, the Evelyn J. Schneider Endowed Chair For Scholarly Communication underwritten by the estate of a longtime university librarian and the state’s Research Challenge Trust Fund. The first chair holder, Dwayne K. Butler is a highly regarded expert in copyright law, particularly that related to educational and electronic resources.

Overseeing all these developments for the past eleven years has been a charismatic, energetic, ingenious and visionary woman, Prof Hannnelorewery Rader, Dean of Libraries, whom I had the privilege of talking to. Prof Radar brought to Louisville a wealth of experience. For seventeen years she headed the Cleveland and Wisconsin university libraries and held various positions at Eastern Michigan University for almost twelve years. She has written widely in her field and attended many professional conferences. She was eventually named in 1999 Outstanding Academic Research Librarian.

Through Dr Radar’s innovative ideas, her drive and direction together with the expanding library collection, upgraded resources, a more inviting environment, helpful and innovative library staff and academics library usage has recorded a 60 percent increase thus exceeding the 2 million per annum mark. One of her striking innovations is the Tulip Coffee Shop in the spacious lobby where readers enjoy tasty sandwiches and other relishing rolls with cups of tea, coffee orange juice or diet coke as they read or scroll through the internet. The Tulip Tree Café has become so popular that it may soon need to add another cash register.

Louisville offers one of the nation’s best information literacy programs. Louisville libraries are no longer just places for research, but are now like other libraries today places of active instruction.

According to Prof Radar, her philosophy is to cater for the needs of the mostly non-traditional studentship mostly adults of varying ages and non-residential for increasingly comfortable atmosphere and facilitating the processes of accessing information. This explains her introduction of the snack bar and the constant restructuring and redecorating of the premises.

“We wanted to have a space where students could learn and do research but also socialize. … We wanted to offer a library space for all of those things,” for as she stressed “Our students are urban, many are part-time and don’t live on campus. We want them to be on campus.” To accomplish that, she says, they completely re-imagined their library for the 21st century.

“Space was an issue,” Rader says. “We were running out of space for our materials, and that’s pretty much a problem for most academic libraries.” Today, the library space is more than repository but a place for instruction, to showcase unique holdings and exhibits, and to foster student collaboration and all forms of interaction, both with information sources in all formats as well as with librarians.

With space a key concern, the highlight of the Ekstrom Library expansion is its robotic retrieval system, a unique system made up of more than 7000 steel bins, offering climate-controlled storage for up to 1.2 million volumes. Rader was already familiar with how efficient the system could be, having come from Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, one of the first to install such a system. “We never really considered an off-site storage facility,” as she said. “We don’t want to store the books miles away, send for them when a student needs them, and then wait to have them delivered to campus.” For as she notes, the robotic system can retrieve and deliver a book in a matter of minutes while off-site storage can sometimes take days.

The University of Louisville being a public institution, open to the general public,it is, according to Rader putting an even greater premium on space and efficiency. So rather than filling the space with immovable objects, such as banks of PCs, it is completely wireless and filled with flexible seating, from stuffed, comfortable chairs and small tables to wooden chairs and large, roomier tables for students to spread out their work. “Students can bring their own or check out laptops at the circulation desk.” Meanwhile, 600 traditional workstations remain in the old wing for those who wish to use them.

The Libraries in their entirety, the Dean told me, hold millions of print volumes from many countries, electronic books and databases and thousands of electronic journals, reference materials, other library resources, library guides and services.

In addition to increased room for student collaboration, the library expansion features three new library instruction labs, where formal or informal classes are held, and the charming new 150-seat Elaine Chao auditorium, all handicapped accessible, and equipped with the latest technology, including wireless Internet access and state-of-the-art AV equipment.

With digital resources offering access to information, much of the library’s space is freed up for the library’s more unique holdings. An ambitious slate of lectures, seminars, conferences, exhibits, and displays, all designed to engage students, faculty, and the community in the library have been laid out as ongoing activities. Chao, who serves as Labor Secretary under President Bush, spoke recently in the auditorium that bears her name.

In addition, the library is home to the McConnell Center for Political Leadership, featuring the papers and exhibits of Kentucky’s Republican Senator Mitch McConnell. The bipartisan center sponsors a range of programming, including lectures and seminars. In fact, the Ekstrom expansion owes a great deal to the McConnell Center-the $14.2 million project was funded by federal grants earmarked by McConnell.

The Elaine L. Chao auditorium is named for the current U.S. Secretary of Labor and plays host to a full slate of lectures and seminars. The space between the rows is exceptionally wide, preventing cramped knees or contortions to allow people to pass. The acoustics in the auditorium are “perfect,” making the space the university president’s favorite venue for press conferences presenting a great location for TV cameras, press feeds, etc. Chao herself recently spoke there, as has Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA).

To Radar though it’s still a library storing information, it is also a place for people to hang out, a place for the whole university, a space to be, a space for events, for special teaching and learning sessions.” a 21st-century library.”

Learning English Online Can Be Fun But Yet Effective

In today’s competitive world it is a virtual requirement to be able to speak fluent English to get the best jobs in any business. While it is a difficult process to learn any new language, English is considered by many to be very difficult because there are so many exceptions to the rules. Fortunately there are proven ways to successfully learn to read, write and speak the English language fluently. Perhaps the best way is learning English online. The online format has many advantages that traditional self-study and even classroom learning simply cannot offer. Online learning has the ability to combine every different proven learning strategy together in one comprehensive class.

Learning English online is far easier than any other method of study because of the wide range of materials and the flexibility of being able to log on and study at any time of the day or night. There are no rigid class schedules which you have to attend every week so there is little risk of falling behind on your studies. Online classes are also easy to adjust based on your work and personal life which is a big advantage for many busy individuals. Many people’s schedules change week by week with kid’s events, work changes and other unavoidable reasons. Due to these changes it is impossible for many people to attend class at the same time each and every week.

One huge area where learning English online excels is the audio and video media that is available to the students. In many normal English classes there is a very limited number of options to choose from when looking to listen to English spoken aloud or watch a video in English. Online there are literally millions of different options available. When you want to learn a specific part of the English language it is not difficult to find examples of it with a quick search or by being guided along with an online course instructor. Many exceptional online English courses offer a library of different audio, video and written items which can be viewed and studied at any time. These items are very beneficial to help learn how native English speakers sound and also for learning the language in general.

Learning English online is not only extremely convenient, it is also very effective. It is common knowledge that in order to quickly learn English you need to work at it every single day, especially for the first few months. Online instructions allow you to do just that by providing vast amounts of information which is available at any time. There is no need to wait around for an instructor to show up at a class room in order to get the next assignment or to ask a question. You can access all the information you need at any time and if you ever have a question for the instructor he is just an email away.

While it’s true that when learning English online an instructor is typically available to reply to any questions right away, there is yet another advantage. The other students who are studying to learn the language are also often available to ask for assistance. This creates a community of learning which is far superior than just relying on one individual instructor. Allowing students to interact online lets one student who is struggling in one particular area get help from another who happens to excel. Each student can help others with their strength and gain valuable insight on areas in which they are weak. Everyone benefits from this collaborative learning strategy and it takes advantage of the fact that people retain information when they are also teaching it.

It is a well known fact that when people hear, read, speak and teach something they are very likely to retain that information for a long time. Using this strategy, learning English online allows you to perform each of these items every day to help ensure you learn English as effectively, and quickly as possible. In addition to helping students learn faster and retain the information better, this method of learning also keeps it far more entertaining than more traditional methods. Allowing students to participate in every aspect of the class provides additional variety so they do not get bored. Learning by constantly reading or hearing someone talk about the same concepts will quickly get boring but when students are allowed to choose what type of learning they desire on a given day the learning will stay fresh and exciting!

Students will often find themselves creating small groups when they are learning English online because they often interact with the same people on a regular basis. These small groups will let each student contribute what they know and understand best to the others while receiving instructions from others in areas in which they may struggle. The sharing of information also provides opportunities for students to network with each other and potentially learn about additional opportunities in different areas of their lives. These small groups may meet only virtually through online meeting services or even just by replying to email chains to each other. It is all informally set up by the students to compliment the education they find while studying to learn English online as individuals.

As with anything new in life, learning English online will come with it’s own set of challenges. Learning a new language is a very difficult yet extremely rewarding experience for anyone willing to take on the challenge. The rewards come in many ways from meeting new friends to increasing your employment opportunities for your future. Learning English is one of the best things you can do to help open new doors for your career since English is the most commonly spoken language in the business world today. It is important to remember that you need to learn English today in preparation for potential career advancement in the future as when a job opens up, you won’t even be considered if you don’t already have the language skills firmly in place.

Problems in Learning English and How to Improve Them

Are you having difficulty learning English? Are you saying to yourself “If only I could learn English better, I could do so much more.”? If you are answering yes to these questions, I’m sure you’re wondering how you can do that. In this article, I would like to explain some problems many English learners face, and ways to improve your English that are simple and can be fun at the same time.

Problems in Learning English

Poor English Vocabulary

Vocabulary is important when learning a language. Any language, of course including English, has thousands and thousands of words. In many cases, even those native speakers of the language do not know all the words of that language. there are just too many to learn. In fact, according to many sources I have come across, there are only 800 words that you must know to converse in English. That list is too long to display here, but a good start is to read through that list and see how many words you know. You may surprise yourself in the amount of words you are familiar with. I have posted the list on World English club, and you can go over it there. Another problem people face in learning English vocabulary is that they learn new words, but they tend to forget what they have learned quite soon after the just learned them. So what can you do?

How to Improve your English Vocabulary

There are games to play and methods to learn to improve your English vocabulary. The best simple method I want to suggest is this; just make a list. Now there is more to it than just making a list, so keep reading. Once a week, make a list of twenty five words using the World English Club Vocab lists, or choose words from other popular websites. As you are compiling (or making) your list, make sure to write down the definitions if you are unsure of them at the time. Do your best to study and learn these new words. Now break the list down into five words a day. On your first day, study your first five words. On your second day, study your next five words. Now here’s the trick; after your second day of your five vocab words, try to write down yesterday’s words. On your third day, study day three’s words, and then try to remember and write down day two’s vocab words. Are you seeing a pattern yet? I hope so. Do this for five days, and on your sixth day of vocabulary learning, try to write all your vocab words for the last week. Take your time, and do your best. When you are done, review those words and see what you remember. If you use the method above, I guarantee you will improve your English vocabulary and not forget the words you have learned.

Poor English Speaking Skills

One of the biggest complaints I hear about when one is learning a new language, is their inability to communicate successfully. Whether it is an issue with reducing their accent, or not knowing the vocabulary or grammar to create a decent conversation, many people struggle with poor speaking skills. People assume that learning grammar in a classroom or studying vocabulary words will help them speak a English as a language. But those factors only gain you knowledge of the English language and cannot translate into real conversational English skills. Are you having problems with English speaking skills? Here are ways to improve your English speaking skills.

How to improve your English Speaking Skills

Have you tried to watch a movie in English? I’m sure you have. It is one of the easiest things to do while studying and learning English. But what is it about watching movies that is a good idea? I’ll tell you; it’s hearing the words spoken out loud. So there is one thing that I’m sure you haven’t thought of to mirror this learning effect, but it will make a bigger and better improvement on learning English speaking skills. Read a book. Well, it doesn’t have to be a book, but it needs to be in English. Now here’s the trick; As you are reading this book, read it OUT LOUD. Yes, it is as simple as that. Reading out loud will let you hear your English and at the same time, help you gain more confidence in speaking English. It does not have to be for a very long time. But you should read out loud for at least five minutes a day. Do not give up on this. I think this is an important method to practice and not enough people practice in this manner. Make sure you are pronouncing your words, and if you have to read slowly, that’s OK as well. The point is that you are speaking out loud and practicing speaking English. Since many English learners do not have the opportunity to interact with native English speakers, this is one of the best methods to help improve your English speaking skills. Which brings me to my final learning English problem.

Not enough interaction with English speakers

Not being able to have interaction with native English speakers can be a great hindrance on one who is learning English. But there are many things you can do to help improve your interaction with native English speakers, or at least to simulate this experience. Which, let’s face it, is probably the most important part of learning a new language. Interaction. So here are some things you can do.

– As you all are aware, watching movies is a good idea. You can learn slang words and, if you are interested in learning to speak like an American, there are a lot of colloquialisms and Americanisms (as I like to call them) that are difficult to learn about simply by reading. to learn colloquialisms, a person must hear the words and phrases in context. So by watching movies, there can be no way in which you, as a learner, can mistake or misunderstand the meaning of the words or phrases.

– One way (and I think this is the best way) that many English learners do not think of, is finding an native English speaker in a chat room or English learning website and chat with them via Skype or other internet voice service. There are plenty of people who would love to just talk with you over the phone or internet to help you learn. Or maybe you can offer to teach them a little of your language in return. That way everybody gains something from the experience. If you are in a country or city where you do not have the opportunity to find a native English speaking friend, chatting on the phone or internet is the next best thing.

– If you are lucky enough to know an English speaker that you can meet with (and it should be someone you are comfortable with so as you are trying to speak, you will not be shy), try to meet them in a comfortable place that you can hear each other speak and just spend about an hour talking about any topic that comes to mind. You can also plan some topics to talk about so you don’t waste your time thinking of things to say. maybe write down questions you have or have them ask YOU questions so you can practice answering them.

There are plenty of other problems in Learning English but I think these are the three main reasons. I guarantee that if you know these pitfalls and know how to avoid them, every aspect of your English learning will be improved. And you will be a native English speaker in no time. Good Luck!

Reference Services in Academic Libraries in Sierra Leone

Introduction

Society is becoming more stratified and polarized, with the rich and the poor, the educated and uneducated, having limited cognitive skills wider apart than in any time in our history. In this period of increasing stratification by income and ability, the library in academic institutions may acts as a bridge between the entrenched social poles.

Reference libraries have the longest history of any type of library. They existed in the days of clay tablet and from such tablets, information was consulted and a list of concerns is being regarded as the primitive forerunners of current library catalogues. From their beginnings in ancient times, the functions of libraries have not altered significantly. However the format, quantity and content of the materials making up their stock and the resultant services have progressively been transformed to the point where the researchers today have access to a network of sophisticated information resources. The primary role of the library is educational and this has been the attitude if not the realization of reference librarians (Higgens, 1988).

Academic libraries are those designed to meet general studies at the undergraduate and graduate levels and which also support their parent institutions in delivering their programs for an effective teaching and implementation of practical skills. Higgens (1988) defined an academic library as that attached to help academic institutions above secondary level serving the teaching and research needs of students, staff and researchers. According to Harrods (2000) academic libraries are those found in universities, polytechnics, colleges and all other institutions forming part of or associated with the educational institutions.

Reference Services at the Fourah Bay College Library

Fourah Bay College library was established in 1827. It is located at Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone in the Michael Jollife Building which was named after the late Mr. Michael Jollife, an expatriate who served as College librarian from 1961-1970.

The first floor of the library houses the reception desk; photocopying room; issue desk; Sierra Leone Collection (incorporating the United Nations Collection); the American Shelf; General Reference Collection; Cataloguing Department; Acquisition Department; Circulation Department and the College Librarian’s office. The second floor holds the Textbook Collection. The third floor contains the General Lending Collection.

The lower ground floor houses the Bindery; staff rooms and stores. The library has Professional, Para-professional and other support staff. It uses the Dewey Decimal Classification Scheme and the Triplicate Issuing System with Card catalogue.

Fourah Bay College library is one of the outstanding academic libraries in Sierra Leone established with the mission statement “to build a comprehensive collection of recorded information to support effective teaching, research and training in the Liberal Arts, Pure and Applied Sciences, Engineering and Technology, Social Sciences and Law and related fields to facilitate speedy access to information, and to optimize the use of collection by potential library users of Fourah Bay College and other institutions.”

Reference Service is the peak of library activity job. It involves the maintenance of a resource bank from which answers to queries are provided and materials needed by users are made available.Davidson (1979) defined reference service as the provision of information and materials to people entering a reference library and requesting help from the library staff. Katz (1997) viewed reference service as the behind-the-scene activities of the reference library in the selection, acquisition and maintenance of the library stock and its careful recordings and administration.

When we talk of reference service in academic libraries, we mean those activities undertaken by librarians and associated types of staff from the reference department in academic libraries. This is achieved through the use of collection of books, and other materials stocked in the reference department for reference purposes distinct from collection made for home reading or other use outside the library. The reference process in academic libraries involves the following:

• The user recognizes his need for information;
• The user puts his question to the librarian;
• The librarian engages the questioner in a reference dialogue;
• The librarian refines and restates the question;
• The librarian formulates the search strategy;
• The librarian identifies and exploits his own and/or external information resources;
• The librarian presents his tentative findings;
• The user assesses the relevance of these in relation to his requirements; and
• The user accepts an approved answer.

Reference materials at the Fourah Bay College Library include:dictionaries, encyclopedias, abstract journals, directories, yearbooks, biographies periodicals/serials, indexes to periodicals, newspapers, maps and charts, technical reports, patents, standard specifications, dissertations, theses, conference proceedings and the academic and administrative calendar of events or the operation of the college.

In addition to these materials the library offers the following services:

Reference Service: This refers to the personal assistance given to users in finding specific information whether direct or indirect. At Fourah Bay College Library, a resource bank is maintained from which answers to questions are provided and materials needed by users are made available.

Bibliographic Service: The library prepares book lists and bibliographies for its clients, especially post-graduate students which serve as a great aid in their research activities especially in the writing of their theses and dissertation.

Photocopying Service: This service is provided for students who wish to photocopy their notes as well as lecturers who want to reproduce multiple copies of useful materials to make their lecture notes. Users pay a fee for this service.

Internet Service: This is the latest among the services provided at the Fourah Bay College Library. The Library provides an opportunity for staff and students to access information online via the use of the Internet. However, to use the system, the clientele must have some skills in the use computers and a fee is also charged for the service.

Binding Service: Mutilated references materials are sent to bindery to be bound. However it is not a free for all service as some cost is charged for the services rendered especially to students and for personal work of staff members.

The reference department at the Fourah Bay College library is a special one from which materials cannot be borrowed for home reading. It is served by special librarians called Reference Librarians or Information Officers, who assist and advise patrons in their research and other literature needs. They provide bibliographic or intellectual access and offer targeted services and programs with the mission of educating, informing and entertaining a variety of audiences and the goal of stimulating individual learning and advancing society as a whole.

Reference Queries:are also answered in the library. These questions posed by the library patrons to the reference librarians with the aim of getting the right information to satisfy their needs. These queries are divided into:

Directional Queries: These are queries in which the reference librarian is asked simply for directions.

Ready Reference Queries: These are referred to as quick reference questions. They are queries in which the reference librarians need to consult only one source, and that adjacent to the inquiry point, in order to deal with the user’s needs. This is distinguished from the purely directional level of work by the fact that the librarians need to consult some data rather than simply answer from personal knowledge.

Specific Search Queries: These are described as those in which reference librarians may need to consult several sources to ensure complete the satisfaction of user needs. They are the kind which are clearly understood without too much discussion and the sources required are obvious and fairly elementary.

Research Queries: These are queries that require extended searches, perhaps over several days and possibly involving a number of library staff concurrently. The marshaling of facts and figures from a wide range of sources, together with the need to write extensive background notes and explanations, and probably to borrow materials from other libraries and make a telephone call to advice or getting assistance from other libraries will be a feature of this type of query

Challenges of Reference Services at the Fourah Bay College Library

Academic Libraries in Sierra Leone, especially Fourah Bay College Library are not without challenges. These range from shortage of funds through lack of adequate professionally skilled staff to erratic power supply.

The library is wholly and solely dependent upon the college administration for funding. An assessment of funding at Fourah Bay College Library reveals that a very low priority is given to the institution’s academic nerve center. The library is gravely underfunded. Games and Sports Division is given a higher quotation than the library. This financial challenge has therefore limited the library in the provision of an excellent reference service to its clients. The library also lacks the required current reference materials to handle reference queries. This financial constraints has limited the library in acquiring the most recent reference materials.

Further the number of professional staff is small compared to the number of para-professional and other support staff. The reference section does not have adequate staff to handle the volume of reference queries from the bulk of the users of the library especially during peak periods.

Power outages also pose a serious challenge. The problem, though a national one, has affected the operations of the library. The 21st century library is supposed to be a digital library which must thrive on power supply. Sadly power supply in Sierra Leone is erratic and this has handicapped the Fourah Bay College library greatly. As such staff and users could not make use of such facilities as computer, searching the Internet for recent reference materials and information or photocopying materials which cannot be used outside the library or even have access to automated reference materials.

The reference department at the library does not have Internet facilities to aid in answering reference queries that require current response. Also the seating accommodation in the reference department at the library is inadequate and cannot accommodate the large number of students in the college who come in for reference services. The reference department also lacks Current Awareness Services (CAS), Selective Dissemination of Information (SDI) all of which form the basis for reference services. Moreover the reference sources and resources available at the reference department are not well publicized or marketed which could serve as a strong link between the department and the clients.

Indeed, reference service is one of the most important services that a library uses to meet its aims and objectives. There is considerable potential in the use the college library of reference services but there are also many challenges. There should be therefore commitment on the part of the librarians, library administration, users and the college administration in order to achieve quality and sustainability in the development and improvement of reference services. Only through their active participation will reference services transform the teaching and learning process, alter the nature of information seeking, organizing and using behavior at Fourah Bay College.

Getting Self-Published Books in Libraries

Many authors have misconceptions about libraries. I have spoken to several authors who are resistant to have their books in libraries and will not donate copies. The resistance comes from a fear that people will check out their books for free and thereby hurt their book sales. Other authors do not bother with libraries because they believe self-published books are not accepted by libraries and they don’t want to argue with stereotypically snooty librarians.

Not acting based upon these misconceptions actually results in a loss of book sales for authors. Having a book in the library’s collection is one of the best things an author can do. Numerous advantages result from being in the library, but before authors can take advantage of those benefits, they need to get libraries to put their books on the shelves.

Working with Public Libraries

So how do you get your book in the library? The easiest way is to donate a book to your local public library. I have yet to meet a public library that would not add a donated book to its collection, provided the donation was done through the proper channels. Granted, there may be some exceptions because libraries, big as they often are, do have limited shelf space, so they need to make sure the books they carry will be read by their patrons. That said, if you can get your book on the shelf, you will have made a big step toward marketing your book to potential customers.

The key to donating your book is finding the right librarian to accept it. Do not just go to the circulation desk and say, “Here’s a book for the collection.” The person at the circulation desk is usually not the person who makes decisions about what books go on the shelves. He or she might just add the book to the stack of donated books, many of which end up in the library’s book sales to raise money for the library. Instead, call the library and ask to speak to the librarian in charge of collections. That person is the one in charge of buying books and deciding what books get to be on the shelves. Be prepared to give the person information about your book and offer to stop by or email the person with the book cover image. If you are polite and professional, this librarian may be your foot into the library door. Ask other local authors who the appropriate librarian is and what their dealings have been with that librarian so you are prepared for the reception you might get.

Without being pushy, ask for a little publicity once the librarian agrees to accept your book. If the library is in a smaller town, it may have good connections with the local media. I know one library that even takes photos of authors who donate books and sends them to the local newspaper for publication; this gives you expanded publicity and lets people know the book is at the library. At the very least, libraries will often publish in their newsletters, on their websites, in the local newspaper, or on a local access television channel, books recently added to their collections. Remember, everyone can’t read the same copy of your book at the same time. If a waiting list for your book starts, the library will want to buy more books. (Don’t hesitate to ask all your friends to go to the library and request your book so that waiting list does grow). And the longer that waiting list is, the more likely people won’t wait but just go out to buy your book.

Once your book is in the library, it will be catalogued, and once catalogued, it may end up being listed on WorldCat.org. WorldCat is the world’s largest network of library content and services. Libraries belonging to WorldCat provide access to their resources at which allows people around the world to find your book online. These books are also available for inter-library loan, so if your library is in New Hampshire, someone in Texas might request the book and be able to read it.

So beginning with your own local public library, you can make your book accessible nationwide and even worldwide. But getting your book in the library is not the end result. Now that it is in the library, let people know it’s there. This is your chance to do a little guerrilla marketing. I know one author who, whenever he goes to the library, looks up his book on the library’s computer, then leaves the screen up with his book on it so the next user will see it. He also will look for his book on the shelf, and if it’s not checked out, he will pull it out an inch or two on the shelf so it stands out, or even face it outward so people will see it.

At book signings or book fairs, if people ask whether your book is in the library, go ahead and tell them it is. I know many authors who have had people buy their books after reading them in the library just because they loved a book so much they wanted to own it, or they wanted to give copies as gifts.

Also, now that you have your foot in the door at the library, you can continue to network. Eventually, all the librarians may get to know you. When you go to check out books at the circulation desk, they will be pleased to meet you and they might say, “Oh, so you’re the author. We have a lot of people check out your book.” It’s a good way to find out how popular your book is and to make the librarians remember you.

Be sure to get involved with the library. Libraries today are turning into community centers. They are always doing special programming for their patrons. Offer to give a talk. Help with a conference. Donate your time helping with a book sale. Whatever you can do to get to know the library staff will benefit you. I know many authors whom the library continually calls to do events, give advice, or help them with programming. By assisting with library events, authors become known in the community. Being a volunteer also might make the library willing to repay you by hosting a book release party for your second book. Even if you hold events in other venues, the library will often be willing to put up posters for the event-think how many hundreds or thousands of people visit the library each day who may see those posters.

Beyond your local library, branch out to other libraries in your state. First you might visit libraries in neighboring towns, then work your radius out to the next county. You can drop names of your local librarians with librarians in other towns. Most librarians know each other within their own county or state, so if you have library references, other libraries will be more likely to want to host you for a book signing or talk-and buy your book for their own collections.

Special Interest Libraries

Beyond the public library, many other types of libraries exist whose shelves would be a good home for an author’s book.

Most states have their own state libraries. For example, I know one author who sent copies of his book to the Library of Michigan. The result was, without his asking, he ended up being listed on a brochure the Library of Michigan distributed to libraries statewide featuring Upper Michigan authors.

Your town might have a library for the visually impaired that would be interested in your books-even if you don’t have an actual audio book, many of the new readers, such as Kindle, will read books out loud to people, so let such libraries know your book is available in electronic or audio form.

University libraries might be more particular than local libraries when it comes to taking self-published books, but if you went through that university’s English degree program, or you worked as an assistant at the library when you were in college, or you worked at the local newspaper-whatever you did as a student-see if you have connections that can help you. Wherever you were an alumni, use it to your advantage to get your book in the university library, and also to do events on campus.

If your book is age appropriate, talk to librarians at the local school libraries, either elementary, middle, or high school. Many schools love to have author visits, and depending on your book’s topic, they might have you come in to talk to the students about being an author or about your book’s subject.

Is there a local history museum near you? Then donate a copy of your book to its research library-generations from now, people may be interested in the local author who lived in the town, and if you’ve written a local history book, all the better. I know one author whose local history book is regularly used by the research librarians as a resource they show to their patrons, and many of those patrons then go out and buy the book since they can only use it otherwise in the research library.

Many organizations and centers have libraries-from the local senior center to churches. They are all opportunities to get your book included in their collections as well. Think of places you are involved with and ask other people you know about organizations with library collections and who to talk to in those organizations.

Libraries are Your Best Friends

In short, having your book in a library is one of the best things you can do to promote it and to sell books. Be friends with your local librarians and you will get local community recognition that in time can become national and then worldwide. And remember, every library is different and has different policies and different staff. Just because one library says “No” to you doesn’t mean another library will. Keep at it and you’ll find your book on more library shelves than you anticipated when you began.

Learn English Easily at Home

It is the hope of many people, whether for personal or professional reasons, that they will be able to learn English easily. The very idea of learning a new language can often make even the most capable learners nervous. Fortunately, there are people who learn English well every single day, and with the right planning and work, you can be one of those people

Make a Plan
Although no one can guarantee that you will be able to learn English easily with any one particular method, it can definitely be guaranteed that without planning in advance, you will not learn English very easily at all. Whether you plan to learn English by natural methods such as watching English television, listening to English radio, and conversing with people in English as much as possible, or you prefer a more study oriented approach such as taking an English course, or perhaps a combination of the two methods, if you don’t have a clear plan and goals, learning English will not come easily.

Organic Language Acquisition
Organic language acquisition is a natural method of learning a language the way a child might learn to speak his or her native tongue. This is a very natural language learning method, and if you are able to totally immerse yourself in the English world, you will certainly be able to learn English easily. Immersion in the language requires that you do not speak any language other than English. To practice this method, watching television, listening to the radio, reading magazines and newspapers, cooking from recipes, and following various verbal and written instructions, should all be in English. This is particularly effective for non-English speakers who have recently moved to an English country.

Curriculum Based Language Acquisition
For those who prefer a more structured environment when learning English, curriculum based language acquisition might be a good choice. Many people are able to learn English easily by enrolling in an English class, using at-home English learning computer software, or listening to an English language instructional course on CD while driving in their cars. There are also many workbooks, flashcards, and self-tests that can be used to support this method of learning English

Combination Approach
For most people a combination of the above two approaches is the fastest and best way to learn English easily. If a person only goes to classes but never engages in real-life conversations, they will have a very difficult time becoming totally fluent, and a person who is immersed in a language verbally but never learns the specific grammatical rules will not be able to use his or her English in a professional setting very effectively. Therefore, if possible, the English learner should engage in a curriculum based approach to learning English, but should also be sure to engage in conversation with and listen to native English speakers as much as he or she can manage in order to facilitate the quickest learning possible.

Quick Tips
If a person is determined to learn English easily, he or she should also be sure to adhere to certain guidelines that will help them in their mission. First, be certain that your family, friends, and colleagues all know that you are trying to learn English, and that whenever possible, they should speak to you in English rather than your native tongue. Secondly, do not focus on just a single element of language acquisition at the expense of others. For example, it is not advisable to only attempt to speak the language but neglect to read it, write it, or listen to it being spoken. In order to be successful at obtaining fluency, a person should be attentive to all the different language elements.

Because English is one of the most widely spoken languages in the entire world and can be instrumental to a person’s personal and professional success, it is no wonder that there are so many people intent on learning to speak it with fluency. With the right planning and a lot of determination, anyone can learn to speak English quickly and easily. Combining an immersion approach with a curriculum based program will afford almost anyone the right foundation for a lifetime of speaking English. As long as the English makes a concrete plan with a set goal and adheres to it, he or she will be speaking English in a very short amount of time.