Library Philosophy and Practice 2011
Lecturers’ Perception of the Adequacy of Resources and Services of University of Ado-Ekiti Library
University libraries exist to enhance the acquisition of knowledge by their clientele through the provision of reading materials (book and non-book) for the purposes of teaching, learning and research. A university library, according to Mallaiah, Kumbar and Mudhol (2008) occupies the central and primary place in teaching and research, therefore, it has to meet the diverse and growing needs of educational programme at the undergraduate, post–graduate and research levels.
Every tertiary library, including university library, is expected to meet the objectives of the institution that established and funds it. In a similar vein, library, according to Aina (2004) is concerned with the collection, processing, storage and dissemination of recorded information for the purpose of reading, study and consultation. He further sees university library as leaning centre which provides materials that are needed for learning all the courses offered in the university, as well as potential courses that may be offered.
Oyedum (2006) asserts that one of the objectives of a university is to encourage acquisition of knowledge, that is, to encourage and promote scholarship and research in all fields of learning and human endeavour. She claims that apart from classroom teaching and practical exercises in university laboratories, one of the main departments that assists the university to achieve this objective is the library.
Library services, according to Bassey (2006) are regarded as social services which are bound to stimulate the reading habit of the society, including people in the academic environment. Library services present a picture of remarkable variety and play an important role in the educational, economic, cultural and recreational life of the entire population. There is no doubt that any library is in the business of providing services to its user’s community. To be most functional, the services it provides should correspond with the needs of its users because the user is the very reason for the existence of the library and it ensures that the services so provided are exploited to the maximum.
To determine whether the objectives of the library are met, according to Bassey (2006), the views, opinions, and perception of the library users should be sought. In other words, any library that wants to improve its resources and services must solicit the help of its users to identify areas of weakness in order to improve upon them. On the adequacy of library resources and services, Aguolu and Aguolu (2002) showed that it is the size of a collection, combined with its quality that ensures its adequacy. Thus, adequacy of any collection has both qualitative and quantitative dimensions.
The extent to which library resources and services satisfy the needs of users will determine how effective and efficient a particular library is. For a library to be worth its salt, the resources and services it renders must strive to meet and satisfy the needs of its users. However, user’s perception, which is a way a user forms impression of and makes inferences about library resources, services and personnel in term of how far they meet their expectation, should be used to measure library performance. This is because, according to Aina (2004) user is critical to the practice of librarianship and that all processes revolve round the users. User is a focal point of all libraries or information centres since the primary objectives of library’s existence is to satisfy its users i.e. provision of excellent services to its users. This is usually the mission statement of libraries. Therefore, the project surveys lecturers and students’ perception of the adequacy of resources and services in two university libraries in Ekiti State, Nigeria.
The services rendered by academic libraries, according to Bassey (2006) include: circulating materials to eligible patrons under equitable policies; providing reference referral services; providing indexing and abstracting services covering the professional periodicals received in library; providing current awareness services, which include library display, selective dissemination of information (SDI), and compilation of bibliographies; providing continuing instruction to patrons in the effective use of the library (user education); preparing a library handbook giving details of the rules, resources, services and staff of the library and making it available to patrons free of charge or at minimal cost; promoting inter library cooperation loans; provision of computer services and convenient hours of services; and displaying newly received books in an appropriate place and arranging book exhibitions on different themes appropriate to a given occasion in an effort to bring its resources to the notice of its patrons or users.
Mallaiah, Kumbar and Mudhol (2008) analysed the main tasks of a library to include collection, storage and distribution of the reading materials keeping in view the user requirements. Out of these three main functions, the collection occupies the most vital position. If the book collection of library is efficient, ideal and could satisfy the needs of the readers, then it would enhance the image of the library. The quantity and quality of the collection are vital in the achievement of the university library’s goals and objectives. The efficiency of library is governed by the quantity and quality of its collection.
The materials stocked in the library, according to Aina (2004) are meant to be a source of knowledge, pleasure and assistance for generations to come. The collection and services of these libraries are usually consciously built up and organised for maximum utilisation by clientele they are meant for. It is therefore necessary for such libraries to periodically examine the extent to which these facilities and services are utilized, as this will assist the library management in the planning and management of activities as well as evaluating the performance and achievement of their goals. Library user studies have, therefore, become a veritable tool for this assessment.
Thus, knowledge of the level and extent of use of any library is seen as vital component of the planning processes that provides librarians and library administrator with feed back information and service delivery in response to user needs and preferences. This knowledge is, therefore, considered an important factor in management of libraries. Therefore, it is imperative that academic libraries and its resources be within the reach of the users in order for them to broaden their knowledge and make meaningful and effective contribution to the development of the nation (Awojobi and Madu, 2005).
University libraries have long shifted from the old notion of being the custodian of books to that of being the disseminator of information. For university library and information professionals to be effective as information providers, according to Bello and Musa (2005), they require a fuller knowledge of students’ information needs, the characteristics of needed materials, the context of research process in which information needs occur, how information is used and whether users’ information needs have been met.
The library today is a busy information centre where information is packaged in various formats to the advantage of the users. The value of the library collection depends not only on the quantity of information sources but on the effective ways and means of providing and interpreting them to users. The artificial techniques followed in the library activities are not common to the users hence these should be interpreted in the easy understandable ways (Mallaiah, Kumbar and Patil, 2008). The library within the university today is user-centered as a result of the provision of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) facilities in Nigeria (Onwubiko, 2005). According to Aina (2004b), ICT has radically transformed most of the services provided by a library.
ICT is heavily utilized in the storage, processing and dissemination of information. It has made the organization of information very efficient, the delivery of basic information services more effective and dissemination of information to users easier. It has eliminated a lot of routine and repetitive tasks in a library. Any modern library and information professional must be knowledgeable in library automation, networking, Internet surfing, database management, processing software, statistical software, etc in order to provide tailored information, according to the user information needs, and adequate facilities for physical comfort and mental peace.
The primary purpose of university libraries, according to Oyewusi and Oyeboade (2009) is to support teaching, learning and research in ways consistence with, and supportive of, the institution’s mission and goals. In addition, library resources and services should be sufficient in quality, depth, diversity, and currency to support the institution curriculum. As a result of this, university libraries are often considered as the most important resource centre of an academic institution.
However, university education in Nigeria is facing a critical challenge in meeting new demand of 21st Century with its ever increasing population growth, inadequate library facilities and resources. Adequate library resources and services at the appropriate level for degrees offered should be available to support intellectual, cultural, and technical development of students enrolled in Nigerian universities. The growth of research in all fields of human endeavors is becoming increasingly detailed and sophisticated, faculty members and students have realized that the library has great role to play in the provision of information necessary for their day to day research.
Moreover, the library acts as a medium of getting latest scientific and technological information either in print or electronic form. University libraries collect varieties of materials for preservation and use of library patrons. These resources include not only traditional print-on-paper media like books, journals , newspapers and maps, but also audio visual materials like records, audio cassettes, video cassette and projectors. Libraries maintain collections that include not only printed materials but also art reproductions, maps, photographs, microfiches, CD-ROM, computer software, online databases, Internet, electronic books and e-journals and other media in addition to maintaining collections within library buildings, libraries often feature telecommunications links that provide users with access to information at remote sites (Halsey, 2006).
Statement of the Problem
Despite several efforts being made by the library management to proffer solution to the problems of ever rising costs of documents, inelastic library budget and technological advancement which are now making traditionally held information resources to be archaic and mere anachronistic. To develop need based collection, a survey of lecturers’ perception of the resources and services should be undertaken to measure the library resources and services in term of its value and utility to the clientele. Such survey will reveal the users’ satisfaction with regard to the adequacy of the resources and services. The study, therefore surveys lecturers’ perception of the adequacy of the resources and services of the University of Ado-Ekiti library.
Objectives of the Study
The objectives of the study are to:
Significance of the Study
The primary objective of organization and administration of the university library is to facilitate the academic community to exploit and harness fully the resources of the library for the maximum use. Hence it is essential to survey such techniques, resources and services from the point of view of the users with a view to identifying services and collection gaps that should be filled. The findings of this study will encourage the management of the University of Ado-Ekiti library in particular and librarians generally in the country to evaluate their resources and services periodically.
The research design used for this study was the descriptive research design of the survey type. Descriptive research was considered appropriate because it focuses on the perception of existing situation, describes and interprets what is concerned with the issues, conditions, practices or relationship that exist, views, belief and attitudes that are held, processes that are going on and trends that are developing. The plan of study involved the use of questionnaire to collect data in order to answer research questions raised in the study. The study population consists of the lecturers in the University of Ado-Ekiti (UNAD).
For the purpose of this study, random sampling (i.e. selection of respondents without any definite plan, aim or pattern among the eight faculties) was used in order to give each person in the sampling frame an equal chance of being included in the sample study. A total number of one hundred (100) lecturers which cut across the eight faculties in the university were randomly selected by lottery which gave each person in the sampling frame an equal chance of being included in the sample.
Table 1: Demographic Characteristics of the Respondents (Lecturers)
Table 2: Frequency of Library Use
Response from Lecturers and Students
Table 3: Purpose of Using the Library
NOTE: Some Respondents chose more than one option
Table 4: Satisfaction with library resources
Table 5: Availability and adequacy of library services
Table 6: User’s satisfaction with library facilities and its physical environment
Data Analysis and Discussion
Out of 100 copies of the questionnaire distributed, 82 (82%) were retrieved. The section A of the questionnaire dealt with respondents’ demographic characteristics. Below are responses to other questions, analyses and discussion of results.
The study revealed that University of Ado-Ekiti (UNAD) had 48 (58.5%) lecturers. The study revealed that male respondents were more in number, 56 (68.3%) than female respondents with 26 (31.7%). Majority of the respondents were in the Faculty of Education with 42 (51.28%), followed by Faculty of Social Sciences 28 (34.2%), while Faculty of Management Science had the least number of lecturer 12 (14.6%). It was also revealed in the study that majority of the lecturers were lecturer II with 24 (29.3%) followed by senior lecturers with 22 (26.8%), Assistant lecturers 18 (22.0%) while Associate professors (Readers) are the least in numbers with 4 (4.8%).
In reference to the frequency of library use, Table 2 revealed that majority of the lecturers 34 (43.9%) visited the library weekly closely followed by 22 (26.8%) who visited the library occasionally. Only 16 (19.5%) lecturers visited the library daily while 8 (9.8%) visited the library on monthly basis.
In relation to the purpose for which the lecturers used the libraries, Table 3 revealed that majority of the lecturers 76 (92.7%) used the library for research purpose, 74 (90.2%) equally used the libraries for reading newspapers/magazines while few of them used the libraries for other things like borrowing books, visiting exhibition shelves, etc.
On the satisfaction with the library resources and services, responses from the lecturers which are shown in Table 4 revealed that they were satisfied with the availability of dictionaries and encyclopedias, maps, books and library staff. However, the study further revealed that library resources like abstracts, indexes, yearbooks, atlas, CD-ROM, journals, online public access catalogue (OPAC), Internet facilities were neither satisfactory nor available.
Table 5 revealed the response of the lecturers on the availability and adequacy of library services. The study showed that some of the services like selective dissemination of information (SDI), Internet services, photocopying services, E-mail services, telephone services, online public access catalogue (OPAC) and inter library loan were not available in the libraries. However, it is revealed in the study that some services like current awareness services, answering user queries, user education i.e. teaching users how best to exploit library resources and services, loan service were available but inadequate.
Table 6 revealed that majority of the lecturers were satisfied with library building, reading area, reading tables and chairs, silence in the library and library cleanliness. Majority of them were, however dissatisfied with the lighting system, ventilation in the library, individual study carrels, toilet facilities and security of personal property
From the findings of this study, it was discovered that the university library was not rendering adequate Internet services, E-mail services, selective dissemination of information (SDI) and online public access catalogue (OPAC), as a result, the lecturers were not satisfied with their library. Ordinarily, lecturers and students would like to get information from their libraries easily and fast and the most convenient way is either through Internet services, online public access catalogue (OPAC) or selective dissemination of information (SDI). The library management should, as a matter of priority, improve on the automation of its library so that users can have access to library resources and services without much of their time being wasted. This way lecturers will be satisfied with both resources and services in their library.
Based on the findings of the study, the following important recommendations that will assist not only university library but the librarianship as a whole in providing effective service delivery are made:
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