The history of the growth and development of John Harris Library is a chequered one. Its history is entwined with the history and growth of the parent body, the University of Benin. It is a history of a Library that began from the scratch and blossomed to a research Library within a few years. Mrs A. P. Harris was one of the initial planners of the Library, and as she puts it, she was called upon to produce “an instant Library”. It is pertinent to note that in 1970, Midwest Region embarked on the establishment of two libraries viz the State Library and the University Library. While Mrs A. P. Harris was appointed the Director of the State Library, her husband, Professor John Harris was the Director of Library Studies at the University of Legon, Ghana. Mrs A. P. Harris midwived the first collection of John Harris Library. In April, 1970, Professor John Harris was appointed to establish the University of Benin Library. He eventually became the University Librarian after the completion of his contract term at the University of Legon, Ghana in June, 1970. Years down the line, the University of Benin Library was named after Prof. John Harris in honour of its first University Librarian, hence, the name John Harris Library.
LOCATION AND AMBIENCE
John Harris Library is situated at Ugbowo Campus along the main drive between the students’ complex popularly called “Basement”, and the students’ Halls of Residence. Also, it stands directly opposite the Clinical Students Hostel, popularly called “Medical Hostel”.
The ultra-modern library building is air-conditioned, as a way of creating an atmosphere conducive to learning. For electric power generation, there is a standby 500KVA generator which stands as backup to power from the national grid. Additionally, the Library gets electric power from the University’s central generator which supplies power when the other two sources of power fail.
The John Harris Library building has three levels namely:
- The Basement
- The Ground Floor and
- The First Floor
The Basement houses the Bindery, the Reprography, the Audio-Visual Section, the Archival Section, and the Canteen.
The Security Post, Journal Office, Waiting Area, Readers’ Conveniences, Checkpoint, Catalogue Cabinets, Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC) points, Reference Desk (Ask-a-Librarian), Reference Section, Circulation Section, Acquisitions Section, Serials Section, Cataloguing and Classification Section (Workroom), and the administrative offices are all located on the Ground floor. While the Open Shelves, Special Collections Section, Reserved Collection, popularly called Textbook Collection Unit or TC, Pharmacy Library, Management Sciences Library and Study Carrels are on the First floor.
John Harris Library comprises:
- the Main Library
- the Library Extension, which houses the Donald Partridge e-Learning Centre, the MTNF UniversitiesConnect e-Library, and a reading area
- Faculty Libraries, and
- the Ekehuan Campus Library
The Main Library has a sitting capacity of 1000 readers at a time, with 58 carrels for faculty and research students. The Library Extension has a siting capacity of 1,800 readers at a time, but can take up to 2000 readers at peak period. Also housed in the Library Extension are the Donald Partridge e-Learning Centre and the MTN Foundation / NetLibrary UniversitiesConnect e-Library, which cater for 100 and 128 users respectively. Faculty Libraries are 12 in number, with the Ekehuan Campus Library inclusive.
The library is organized to cater for both undergraduate and postgraduate studies. Books on the various academic programmes run in the University are shelved on the open access shelves. Reading desks are arranged near the shelves to facilitate quick access, as well as encourage use of the books. Where multiple copies of a book are purchased, at least, one copy is shelved in the Reserved Collection. Books in the Reserved Collection Unit are not loaned out to users, however, they can be used within the Unit. Hardcopy journals and backfiles are shelved in the Stack Room of the Serials Section, while rare books, theses, dissertations, official documents of Federal and State Governments as well as publications of International Organizations such as UNO, WHO, ECA, OAU, World Bank, etc., are shelved as special collection in the Special Collection Unit.
DIVISIONS, SECTIONS AND UNITS
John Harris Library is organised into four major divisions namely:
- Administrative Division,
- Readers’ Services Division,
- Technical Services Division and
- Branch Libraries Division.
The Administrative Division is responsible for personnel recruitment, discipline, welfare, budgeting, library development – planning and equipping of library offices and buildings – updating the existing facilities, preparation of statistics, reports, memoranda, etc.
READERS’ SERVICES DIVISION
The Readers’ Services Division comprises:
- the Circulation Section,
- the Reference Section,
- the Special Collections Section, and
- the Reserved Collection Unit / Textbook Collection Unit.
This Section is mainly responsible for library users’ registration, checking out and checking in of books (borrowing and returning of books), and staff and students’ library clearance.
This Section basically renders assistance to library patrons by providing them with answers to their queries.
Special Collections Section
This Section houses publications of government and non-governmental agencies, theses and dissertations and the heritage collection.
Reserved Collection Unit
This Unit houses a collection of recommended course materials in the various courses offered in the University of Benin.
TECHNICAL SERVICES DIVISION
The Technical Services Division comprises:
- the Acquisitions Section,
- the Bindery OR Binding Section
- the Cataloguing and Classification Section,
- the IT Unit, and
- the Serials Section
This Section is responsible basically for the acquisition of all library books. The Section is also responsible for the reception of books donated to the library.
This Section provides facilities for the preservation of books and journals, not only for the library, but also for all library users and outsiders. It also binds students’ projects, theses and dissertations, etc.
Cataloguing and Classification Section
The Cataloguing Section is responsible for the organisation (cataloguing and classification) and management of all library resources. Resources which come into the library in different formats and disciplines are sorted out and organised in this Section, for quick and easy storage and retrieval.
This Unit manages all electronic and digital activities of the library, including e-learning and training, software installation and management, hardware installation and maintenance, network architecture and management, and database management. Included in the IT Unit are the Donald Partridge e-Learning Centre and the MTN Foundation / NetLibrary UniversitiesConnect e-Library.
This Section houses all serial/periodical publications in the library – bulletins, dailies (newspapers), journals, magazines, newsletters, etc.
BRANCH LIBRARIES DIVISION
This Division is responsible for the affairs of all branch libraries.
The Branch Libraries include:
- Faculty of Agricultural Sciences Library,
- Faculty of Arts Library
- Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences Library
- Faculty of Education Library,
- Ekehuan Campus Library
- Faculty of Engineering Library,
- Faculty of Law Library,
- Faculty of Life Sciences Library,
- School of Medicine Library
- Faculty of Pharmacy Library
- Faculty of Physical Sciences Library and
- Faculty of Social Sciences Library.
LIBRARY MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE
John Harris Library is an automated library. The Library uses the NewGenLib Library Management Software (LMS) to manage its professional activities. NewGenLib is an open-source Integrated Library Management System (ILMS) developed by Verus Solutions Private Limited, with domain expertise provided by Kesavan Institute of Information and Knowledge Management in Hyderabad, India. However, in John Harris Library, NewGenLib was installed, configured and still being managed by the IT Team of the Library.
Prior to the full adoption of NewGenLib in 2017, the Library used an LMS known as Strategic Library Automation and Management (SLAM). SLAM was adopted in 2000, same year the Library was automated. However, prior to the full adoption of NewGenLib in 2017, the Library introduced NewGenLib in 2012, and since that time, it was being studied and test run, before its total adoption in 2017.
- Silence must be observed in and around the Library
- Bags of all kinds, umbrellas, etc., should not be brought into the Library
- Making and receiving phone calls is prohibited in the library. Phones should be put on silent or vibration mode. Defaulters will be denied access to the library.
- Power packs (chargers) for electronic devices are not allowed in the library
- There shall be no smoking or drinking in the library
- The use of any form of naked light, including candles is strictly prohibited in the library
- Immodest dressing is prohibited in the library
- Spiked foot wears are not allowed in the library
- Food of any kind MUST NOT be brought into the Library
- No book should be marked, defaced, or damaged in any way. Readers are held responsible for any damage to books in their charge
- All persons leaving the Library must be screened for unauthorised library property at every exit by library security personnel.
- Library I.D cards are not transferable.
8:00 am – 8:00 pm
8:00 am – 3:30 pm
12 noon – 6:00 pm
8:00 am – 4:00pm
Saturday and Sunday CLOSED!
Branch/Faculty Libraries are open from 8:00 am – 6:00 pm weekdays.
The Library is closed on Public Holidays.