The potential role of university libraries’ manpower, collections, services, facilities and activities in promoting national security in times of crises in Upper Egypt

Date13 June 2017
Published date13 June 2017
AuthorEssam Mansour
The potential role of university
librariesmanpower, collections,
services, facilities and activities
in promoting national security in
times of crises in Upper Egypt
Essam Mansour
Department of Library and Information Science, South Valley University,
Qena, Egypt
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to explore the potential role of South Valley University (SVU)
librariesmanpower, collections, and services in the fight against terrorism in Upper Egypt.
Design/methodology/approach A quantitative research methodology was used in the form of a survey,
which was undertaken from June to July 2015. The survey instrument was a self-administered questionnaire.
The target population comprised the academic library staff (n¼127) working in SVU libraries who were
contacted to answer the structured questionnaire, of whom 93 library staff responded and returned their valid
questionnaires, representing 73.2 percent of the whole library staff in the SVU.
Findings Demographically, two-thirds of the SVU library staff were males and a large number of them are
aged between 26 and 40 years, and 79.6 percent have a bachelors degree. The speciality of two-thirds of SVU
library staff was library science, of whom a large number were librarians with lengthy work experience.
This study showed that printed materials were the most adequate collections in the SVU libraries.
Other materials, such as CDs/DVDs, audiovisual materials, microfilm and microfiche, online resources and
electronic materials, respectively, were inadequate at SVU libraries. Few of the services provided by SVU
libraries were characterized as adequate services; some are inadequate and other services do not exist.
The average of the facilities provided by SVU libraries was somewhat adequate. A large number of the
library staff showed that facilities, such as the availability of the learning labs were, at least, adequate for
their needs. Activities, such as holding social field trips, holding training workshops, and holding academic
field trips were, at least, somewhat adequate to SVU libraries. Other activities were also described to be either
inadequate, such as holding lectures, seminars, conferences, etc. and library orientation, or not applicable such
as activities related to bibliographic instruction. This study revealed that SVU libraries had no significant role
in fighting the phenomenon of terrorism in Upper Egypt. There is no a reliable relationship between the
professional characteristics of the SVU library staff and the potential role that their libraries may play in
the fight against this phenomenon. Because of the lack of SVU librariescollections, services, facilities, and
activities, this study concluded that such a role could not be achieved. Almost all the library staff admitted
that this severe lack has affected the provision of library patrons and members of the library community to
use these collections and services, which help in countering the threat of terrorism. Despite the significanceof
all these problems faced by SVU libraries in the fight against terrorism, it was found that the inadequacy of
the librarysopen hours is significantly correlated with the professional characteristics of the library staff,
particularly their job title and work experience.
Research limitations/implications This study investigates the potential role of SVU libraries
manpower, collections, and services in the fight against terrorism in Upper Egypt. It covers none of the other
universities or any type of other library. Any findings and conclusions resulting from this study are limited in
scope to only the libraries of this university. The size, convenience and homogeneity of the sample may limit
the generalizability of this study. The study was conducted with a survey approach, which was the most
suitable research method technique to reach the community of the study. However, for further research,
investigating more specific information about such or related topics, other methods/approaches should be
used to investigate the potential role of the university library, as well as the other kinds of libraries, such as
public and special libraries to combat terrorism.
Practical implications This study provides valuable insight into the potential role the university library
can have in the fight against terrorism in one of the most important countries hit recently by this brutal
phenomenon. The study focuses on libraries of one of the regional universities called the SVU, located in the
Southern part of Egypt that is called the Upper Egypt. This deep part of Egypt is one of the places most
Library Management
Vol. 38 No. 4/5, 2017
pp. 182-202
© Emerald PublishingLimited
DOI 10.1108/LM-08-2016-0063
Received 20 August 2016
Revised 5 January 2017
23 January 2017
Accepted 2 February 2017
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
affected by barbaric terrorism. The study tries to explore how much these libraries are ready to combat this
terrorism in terms of sizable, suitable, accessible, qualified, and relevant collections, as well as services,
facilities and activities provided by these libraries.
Originality/value This study is to be the first one of its kind conducted in the Arab world where Egypt is
located and one of the very few studies conducted on this topic in the world. The importance of this study
strongly emanates from its subject that has dominated the obsession of all Egyptians living inside and
outside Egypt over the past five years.
Keywords University libraries, Egypt, Terrorism, National security, South Valley University,
Library professionals
Paper type Research paper
Libraries and librarians should be seen as important tools in national security. National security
is possible through the utilization and collaboration of library, human, and material resources
(Ossai-Ugbah, 2013, p. 103).
Terrorism has turned into a worldwide phenomenon confronting many nations throughout
the world, whether developed or developing nations. Terrorism is rising around the world.
The Global Terrorism Index reported that deaths brought by terrorism have multiplied nine
times in the previous 15 years, and by 80 percent within the previous year alone. More than
32,000 people lost their lives in light of the abominable terrorist assaults that occurred in
67 distinct nations in 2014 (Institute for Economics and Peace, 2015). As expressed by
Lin et al. (2007), the world has turned out to be progressively susceptible to the risk of
terrorism, especially since the events of 9/11. All nations, particularly the Arab countries,
have seen a genuine rush of terrorist acts that have influenced each part of life, including
individuals, institutions and properties. The role of the library, being one of these influenced
properties and an entrance point to data during times of crisis, is plainly shown. In this hard
time, the library may assume another social part that recovers its significance among other
social associations. As indicated by Winston and Quinn (2005), the library has a great role to
play in times of emergency and social change.
Egypt, being one of those nations affected strongly by terrorism, has been confronting
one of the greatest and genuine difficulties not seen all through her long history.
As indicated by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to
Terrorism (2015), set up by the University of Maryland, Egypt has been affected over the
previous three yearstime in more than 400 terrorist assaults, including attacks on colleges,
tourists, the military, businesses and citizens. The war on terrorism is battled by the
military, as well as all state organizations. All foundations must take an interest in this
critical fight. Social-state foundations, such as libraries, are locations permitted to give and
scatter precise and reasonable data, assisting in the comprehension and managing of such
fights. We have gained from the fifth law of Ranganathan (1892-1972) that the library is a
developing living beinginfluencing and influenced by what is going on in the social and
instructive life as well as in all parts of the public. Regardless of the size and type, libraries
do their best to make open esteem that adds in edifying their social orders. This social
librarianship, as expressed by Kagan (2005), is a part of librarianship. National security is, in
this manner, a center estimation of librarianship. The part of the library in national security
is not simply to spread data in a predetermined reach, however, to offer a full approach
around all aspects of the arrangements of the nation. The library, in fact, has a part to play
in national security (Ossai-Ugbah, 2013).
Purpose and significance of the study
The significance of this study stems from its subject (librariespotential role in fighting
terrorism), that has dominated the concern of all Egyptians in the last five years, starting

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