The use of electronic resources at university library has become exponential in the last
decade which can be credited to Information and Communication Technological innovations.
University libraries have on their part made use of these technologies by going digital with
their support services rendered to users. These technological developments have also
exercised their influence in the process of teaching and learning at universities of which the
University of Zululand (UNIZULU) is one. Literature (Griffey, 2010) suggests that current
library users do not like going to the physical library, but rather prefer the library to come to
them. This notion has prompted libraries to provide services and products for e-Learners.
For this reason, the research was aimed at examining if UNIZULU is able to effectively
support the needs of her e-Learners through her embedded library support services.
To realise the aim of the study, the researcher used a qualitative research approach within
an interpretivist paradigm. Data for the study was collected through interviews from three
universities within the province of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN). The reason for including data
collected from other libraries was to benchmark the embedded support services at UNIZULU
against those of other universities within KZN. Thirteen participants were interviewed - four
academics from UNIZULU and three librarians from each of the participating universities.
The findings of the study revealed that the UNIZULU library has the essential embedded
support services which are able to engage with e-Learning. However the level of
effectiveness was determined by several factors. The primary reason for inefficiency, as
revealed by the findings, was the absence of the UNIZULU librarians in planning for and
supporting the Learning Management System (LMS) of the institution. The absence of the
librarians affected communication between the academics and the librarians and therefore
also the smooth access to e-Resources prescribed for e-Learners by the academics. For
benchmarking purposes, it was realised that the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) had all
the essential embedded e-Learning support services which made the library and the
librarians visible via the LMS. There were products that were found at UKZN that were not
available at UNIZULU library. At the time of the study, it was established that librarians at
the Durban Institute of Technology (DUT) were in the process of becoming part of the LMS
planning team. DUT also has a similar number of resources as were found at UKZN but it
does appear that UKZN is the most efficient in rendering e-Learning support services.
The researcher recommended that the study be expanded at UNIZULU to include the views
of e-Learners along with a wider range of academics and librarians. This should surface a
wider variety of inputs to guide improvement in the quality of the service delivery as well as
in the collection of products available through the LMS infrastructure.
Mini Dissertation (MIT)--University of Pretoria, 2015.