This dissertation reports on a study that investigated the functions and services that are rendered at the library of ARC-Small Grain Institute in Bethlehem. The study was directed by the research questions that included the investigation in library services and sources globally; the information seeking behaviour of the patrons of the library as well as the skills and competencies needed by librarians to render an effective service in a constant changing environment. These components served as a foundation for the development of a proposed service model, which reflects the incorporation of the changing roles of librarians in a research library. The current services and sources of the ARC-SGI library were discussed and compared to other libraries. A systematic review of the literature included the information seeking behaviour and information needs of researchers as well as the skills and competencies of librarians.
A mixed-method approach, using both qualitative and quantitative methods, has been applied in the study. Data was collected through questionnaires and fifteen semi-structured interviews were held with selected patrons of ARC-SGI. The findings showed that information needs depends mostly on the different stages of research and flows directly from the type of work that they do. Attention was given to preferred source choices and problems experienced during information seeking. Training needs were addressed as well as the needs for additional information needed from the library.
Based on the results, the study proposed a service model for an agricultural library. The model displays the library within the setting of an organisation as it supports the mission and vision of the parent organisation. It illustrates all the interdependent components that are essential for a successful agricultural library. The model also outlines the strategies of on-going evaluation and monitoring of the library services; the information needs and information seeking behaviour of the patrons as well as the challenges facing the library.
The study concluded by making certain recommendations that can benefit the library of ARC-SGI, which will be an improvement added to the current services. A few suggestions are made for future research, which have definite advantages for an agricultural library within an organisation.