Aspects of multi-skilling contributing to quality service provision within academic libraries
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The research project focuses on aspects of multi-skilling as utilized in academic libraries internationally which contributes to providing a quality service delivery. The researcher's extensive literature search, focuses on aspect of multi-skilling programs such as: job rotation, cross-training, job enrichment, on-the-job training, and succession planning conducted at academic libraries in America, Australia, Canada, Birmingham, Nigeria, Kenya, Botswana and South Africa. Multi-skilling can be seen as the umbrella term for the above concepts.It was found in the literature that aspects of multi-skilling as applied in American academic libraries was a voluntary process and often occurred between the Public service and the Technical service within academic libraries. At Wollongong, Queensland and Birmingham academic libraries the program was formal, and staff had to apply to enrol for the program. This does not mean that staff qualified automatically. This was a formalized policy within the university. In Nigeria, Kenya and Botswana the program, at academic libraries was formal but literature does not indicate if it is a university policy or just the academic library's policy.The immense benefits derived from all the aspects of multi-skilling are: contributes towards employee training and development; employee satisfaction; reduction in boredom; increased productivity; enhances job skills; increased versatility; career mobility and advancement; increased intellectual stimulation and confidence; enhances workers' flexibility and broadens their knowledge; achieves efficiency in the workplace; helps break down barriers in efficiency which exists on many levels; better communication between the various units in the library; and better understanding of responsibility involved in other units.For academic libraries to become effective, the management of service organizations needs to create a climate in which staff will function effectively, be happy and derive maximum satisfaction from their work. Academic libraries exist for the benefit of their users, supporting the teaching and research programs of their parent institutions. To achieve this objective, the academic library manager needs to have effective staff organization strategies devised to ensure best quality service delivery to its users.These strategies employed are job rotation, cross training, job enrichment, succession planning and on-the-job training that will ultimately contribute towards provision of a quality service delivery.