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Library Philosophy and Practice 2009

ISSN 1522-0222

Effectiveness of Library Resources in the Libraries of Agricultural Research Institutes in Nigeria

Lily Oluebube Ezeala, PhD
Technical Services Unit, Library Division
National Veterinary Research Institute
Vom, Nigeria

 

Introduction

Nigeria's agricultural research institutes in Nigeria were founded during the period of colonial administration (1861-1950). They passed through the periods of internal self-government (1951-1960), and have continued to develop and grow during the post-independence era. There are fourteen agricultural research institutes in Nigeria, which were founded in different circumstances at different times to satisfy different agricultural needs (Idachaba 1987). The purpose of these institutes is to conduct research in various areas of agriculture to enhance agricultural production. Research results are communicated to farmers through agricultural extension. Each institute's responsibilities call for specialized information collections to achieve their objectives and to function efficiently. The agricultural research library is responsible for supplying and organizing information that is relevant to the work of the institutes.

The agricultural research libraries face problems that may make them ineffective: poor funding, poor infrastructure, and lack of technology. These libraries cannot improve without evaluation of the present situation. This study assesses the level of user satisfaction with agricultural research institutes' library resources in order to identify impediments to effectiveness and offer research-based solutions.

Literature Review

Nigerian agricultural research institutes face rising demand for scientific data and information, which places more demand on the libraries. Fabunmi (2004) describes library effectiveness as including information customized to meet individual needs, stating that effective library systems are timely in delivery, meet their specific needs, are easy to understand/use, and are delivered by courteous and knowledgeable staff.

Effective research libraries provide ICTs that aid timely delivery of information in response to researchers' needs. ICTs are combined with standardized information delivery techniques. Librarians in administrative and management positions coordinate these things to provide an effective system. Nwalo (1997) advises that library effectiveness be measured in terms of the satisfaction expressed by library users.

The effectiveness of library resources and services can be measured in various ways. Nwalo (1997) citing Ene (1978) states, "libraries are judged by set objectives. [And] application of set standards to measure the quantity of operations." Ifidon (1977) observes that library evaluation can use both qualitative and quantitative techniques. Irrespective of whether the evaluation is quantitative or qualitative, parameters are set to be judged by users, who are in the best position to evaluate the effectiveness of the library. Agricultural institute researchers should have the prerogative of evaluating the agricultural research institute libraries. Kellaher (2005) gives six reasons why library evaluation from user's perspective is very important.

  • the place of initiative services;
  • the quality of these services;
  • the flexibility of these services;
  • users ability to effect changes to services they receive;
  • how initiative service can fit with mainstream services; [and]
  • how the library might develop mechanisms for assuring quality in library resources and services.

The scope of this study covers facilities available in the libraries, serials collection, library services, and special services such as selective dissemination of information (SDI), current contents search, and reprography. Library adequacy variables in this study are internal to the library.

Methodology

This is social survey research that involves systematic collection of data about opinion, attitudes, feelings, and behaviors of people (Aina, 2002). The survey technique was chosen for this research, which involves evaluation of the information services of many research libraries and their diverse resources. This total population for the study consists of research officers in the fourteen agricultural research institutes in Nigeria. The research officers include veterinary doctors, medical laboratory scientists, animal health scientists, horticulturists, biochemists, agricultural scientists, and so on. The research officers in the branch offices (Outstations) were not involved because a majority of such branches do not have libraries.

The objectives and the hypotheses of this study necessitated the use of questionnaire, structured interview and direct observation to collect the required data.

Result and Interpretation

Table 1: Assessment of user satisfaction with Electronic Resources

Types of Electronic Resources

Responses

 

Very Inadequate

Inadequate

Fair

Adequate

Very adequate

Total

 

No

%

No

%

No

%

No

%

No

%

No

%

Functional Computers

Photocopying Machines

CD-ROM Resources

Microforms

Microform Readers

Fax Machines

Internet Services

Local Area Network

Radio Message

Telephone

Lighting

No. of Computer Work Stations for the Library Users

Mean

104

87

127

136

153

187

111

126

150

111

49

125

122

41.6

34.8

50.8

54.4

61.2

74.8

44.4

50.4

60.0

44.4

19.6

50.0

48.9

63

74

68

79

63

37

38

56

52

48

34

64

56

25.2

29.6

27.2

31.6

25.2

14.8

15.2

22.4

20.8

19.2

13.6

25.6

22.5

38

40

32

23

24

11

38

32

30

44

56

39

34

15.2

16.0

12.8

9.2

9.6

4.4

15.2

12.8

12.0

17.6

22.4

15.6

13.6

29

39

18

7

5

12

38

27

13

33

84

15

27

11.6

15.6

7.2

2.8

2.0

4.8

15.2

10.8

5.2

13.2

33.6

6.0

10.7

16

10

5

5

5

3

25

9

5

14

27

7

11

6.4

4.0

2.0

2.0

2.0

1.2

10.0

3.6

2.0

5.6

10.8

2.8

4.4

250

250

250

250

250

250

250

250

250

250

250

250

250

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

Table 1 shows that respondents are unsatisfied with electronic resources in the libraries. Buckland's (1975) views on library services state that, "intellectual access to recorded information has quite properly been a major pre-occupation of librarians," and that "intellectual access needs to be accompanied by physical access if the documents are to be used to obtain information." The libraries must enhance electronic access to be in line with current trends in information selection and distribution to spur productivity.

Table 2: User Satisfaction with the Library's Collection

Types of Library Collection

Responses

 

Very dissatisfied

Dissatisfied

Undecided

Satisfied

Very satisfied

Total

 

No

%

No

%

No

%

No

%

No

%

No

%

Text books

Journals

Reference books

Newspapers

Magazines

Microforms

CD -ROM

The entire collection

Mean

35

36

29

36

58

102

98

28

53

14.0

14.4

11.6

14.4

23.2

40.8

39.2

11.2

21.1

77

85

75

37

89

63

64

83

72

30.8

34.0

30.0

14.8

35.6

25.2

25.6

33.2

28.7

34

21

53

37

57

68

56

77

50

13.6

8.4

21.2

14.8

22.8

27.2

22.4

30.8

20.2

92

90

79

92

38

15

28

57

61

36.8

36.0

31.6

36.8

15.2

6.0

11.2

22.8

24.6

12

18

14

48

8

2

4

5

14

4.8

7.2

5.6

19.2

3.2

0.8

1.6

2.0

5.6

250

250

250

250

250

250

250

250

250

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

Table 2 shows that respondents find their library's collections unsatisfactory. The libraries are not meeting user expectations. The books that are available are not current as reported by the respondents in Table 1. Electronic resources can substitute for print collections, which are not available in most of the libraries.

Table 3: Overall Assessment

Effectiveness of the library

Frequency

Percentage

Very Ineffective

Ineffective

Effective

Very effective

Total

13

177

58

2

250

5.2

70.8

23.2

0.8

100.0

More than three quarters of the respondents indicate that the libraries are ineffective, which implies that the productivity of the research scientists could be hampered.

Conclusion

The results of the survey show that the agricultural research institute libraries in Nigeria are ineffective in supporting their institution's research mandate. This ineffectiveness has resulted from gross underfunding of the libraries by the parent institutions and failure by the management to give the library the status it deserves. This has adversely affected the resources and services of the library. The low research and publication productivity of agricultural research officers may be attributable in part to the ill-equipped libraries.

References

Aina, L.O. (2002). Research in information sciences. In Onyango. R.A.O. (Ed.), Data collection instruments in information sciences. Ibadan: Stirling-Horden. pp. 63-109.

Buckland, M. K. (1975). Book availability and the library user. New York: Pergamon.

Ene, N. (1978). Analysis of the clientele of the public libraries in Benin-City and the effectiveness the libraries in meeting their needs . Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Ibadan.

Fabunmi, B.A. (2004). Planning the university libraries for effective customer services in Nigeria . In Madu, E.C. (Ed.), Technology for information management and service: Modern libraries and information centers on developing countries. Ibadan : Evi-Coleman. pp. 147 - 158.

Idachaba, F.S. (1987). Food for all Nigerians: Is there hope? Alumni Lecture of the University of Ibadan Alumni Association, Ibadan: Ibadan University press.

Ifidon, S. A. (1977). A quantitative assessment of adequacy of Nigerian university library collections in the humanities and social sciences in relation to postgraduate research. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Ibadan.

Kellaher, L. (2005) Quality measurement: A user approach. Available: http://www.psi.org.uk/publications/archivepdfs/making/4-KELLAH.pdf .

Nwalo, K.I.N. (1997). Measures of library effectiveness in Nigerian polytechnic libraries with emphasis on user satisfaction . Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Ibadan .

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