Library Philosophy and Practice 2012
Acquisition and Use of Locally Published Law Textbooks as Correlates of Textbook Publishing in Nigeria
M. B. Edem, PhD
A. O. Okwilagwe, PhD
Basic textbooks that attempt to discuss and analyse subjects with particular reference to Nigerian circumstances and relevant judicial opinions are adjudged to be very useful for law teaching and learning in Nigeria (Jegede, 1981). In recent times, serious concern is being expressed about the acute shortage of essential law textbooks in University libraries and the adverse effects that the problem may be having on legal education and the practice of the profession. With the present gross under-funding of most universities, most law faculties do not seem capable of meeting the approved minimum standards with respect to physical and library facilities. In particular, the scourge of inadequate funding for university library acquisitions continues to pose serious challenges to collection development librarians and the various universities offering the law degree programme. Thus, law report, journals, basic textbooks and other reading materials are inadequate and outdated. Consequently, the legal profession and most especially legal education processes in Nigeria have been hard hit by inadequate funding. Most law facilities do not seem capable of meeting the approved minimum stands with respect to physical and library facilities. In particular, the present gross under-funding of universities has affected the ability of librarians to acquire relevant textbooks for students' use.
In a related development, the high cost of books has not helped matters. Panella (1990) pointed to the rising law library costs and stated that they increased at a higher rate than those of other general and special libraries due to the nature of legal research tools. It may thus be presumed that no other library would require the kind of investment on local and foreign publications as the law library. The high cost of books has affected the ability of libraries to acquire relevant textbooks for students' use. It has also contributed to the reduction in students' purchase of relevant textbooks, thereby affecting the growth of distribution points for locally published law textbooks and by implication the tertiary book market. Lawal (1989) identified other factors generally affecting acquisition from the Nigerian book market and these include; lack of bibliographic control, lack of promotional activities for published titles, insufficient distribution outlets and difficult payment terms on the part of publishers and booksellers.
Previous studies on book situations in Nigeria have explored indigenous publishers' contributions to general book provision (Apeji, 1997) and some have emphasized on issues and problems generally affecting the production and distribution of essential tertiary books (Bankole, 1985; Okekwe, 1995). Only very few studies have connected book production to library acquisition and use (Fasanya, 1978; Omadibi, 2000 and Nwagwu, 2001), although the more libraries they are, the wider and the more stable the book market. In Nigeria, the purported radical increase in law students' enrolments in recent times, and the problem of acute shortage of essential basic law textbooks have brought the book needs of students into a sharper focus by the purported. The study raised the question; can variation law book production be accounted for by library provision use? The study assessed Indigenous law Textbook Publishing (ILTP) in Nigeria during the period 1960-1999 and related library acquisition of published titles, law student's textbook utilization and Indigenous Law Textbook Publishing (ILTP) in selected Federal Universities in Nigeria. It was anticipated that study results would provide an empirical basis for determining the extent of the Nigerian book market for locally published law textbook
The specific research questions are the following:
The study was conducted ex post facto, using the descriptive survey method. There were two categories of population in the study. The first category comprised the population of ILTP output together with that of published titles acquired by sampled University libraries during the period under study. The total enumeration or census technique was used to cover the population of ILTP output together with that of published titles acquired by libraries for the period under study. The 40-year period (1960 - 1999) was chosen to make for adequate coverage of the subject. In the second category were final year law students and acquisition librarians in the 15 Federal Universities offering courses and programmes leading to the degree of Bachelor of Laws (LL.B). The study focused on conventional Federal Universities because they are seen to be representative of the political, economic, and cultural environments in which universities operate in Nigeria.
The universities of Lagos, Calabar and Abuja were selected using stratified sampling approach to represent the first, second, and third generation universities respectively. The necessity to examine the library collection of law textbooks made for the inclusion of libraries of selected universities.
The sample of law students was drawn from the 768 final year (500 level) students registered in the law faculties of selected universities for the 2002/2003 session. The choice of 500 level was informed by the fact of the extensive use of law textbooks and other legal resources in the fulfilment of all compulsory as well as optional course requirements for the LLB programme. It was expected that this category of law students would provide adequate and relevant information on their experience. The selection of 384 law students was guided by the proportional sampling approach with a sampling fraction of 50% assigned in order to balance up proportion in the three institutions.
Two sets of research instruments were designed for the survey of law students and acquisition librarians. These were, Law Students' Textbook Utilization Questionnaire (LSTUQ) and interview schedule for acquisition librarians. Of the total number of three hundred and eighty four (384) copies of questionnaire administered, three hundred and fifty four (354) copies of questionnaire were suitable for analysis. A substantial portion of data needed for this study also existed in published and unpublished documents of relevant institutions. The documents were relied upon because they represented the most appropriate that were available for the study. These documents are listed below:
(I) National Universities Commission (NUC) Publications.
Relevant information on law faculties and law libraries were derived from the NUC Approved Minimum Standards for Law in all Nigerian Universities, 1984. Figures on university institutions, law faculties as well as law students' enrolments were mainly derived from the NUC Statistical Digest and Annual Reports.
(II) Retrospective and Current Nigerian Bibliographies.
Three Nigerian Bibliographies were consulted for a comprehensive listing of the book output of Indigenous Law Textbook Publishing (ILTP) from 1960-1999. Relevant statistics such as the number titles published, publication dates, the subject areas covered and category of publishers were derived from these publications. The bibliographies are listed below:
(a) Nigerian legal bibliography, 2nd ed. 1983.
(b) Nigerian Publications, lst and 2nd ed. 1996 and 1996-2002 respectively.
(c) National Bibliography of Nigeria, 1970-2000.
Unpublished sources of data like the list of law library holdings, library notes and shelf lists provided adequate information on the attributes of indigenous law textbook collection of sampled university libraries.
The data were analysed by descriptive; correlation and regression analyses. Descriptive analyses of frequency counts and percentages were used to summarise data on the research questions. Correlation analyses were used in order to specify the relationship between the dependent variable (ILTP output) and the independent variables (library acquisitions and use). Regression analysis was used to explore the magnitude of relationship between library acquisitions and Indigenous Law Textbook Publishing (ILTP) output.
Results and Discussion
This study assessed Indigenous Law Textbook Publishing (ILTP) in Nigeria during the period 1960-1999. It also related ILTP output of this period to library acquisitions and law students' textbook utilization. The study based its findings on the quantitative assessment of book output and library acquisitions, together with data collected from 354 law students, 3 university libraries and their acquisition librarians. Study results are given below in descriptive and tabular format.
Book Output of Indigenous Law Textbook Publishing Firms.
An assessment of Indigenous Law Textbook Publishing (ILTP) in Nigeria revealed that four categories of Nigerian Publishers contributed to a total of 215 titles during the period 1960-1999. Local publishers made the greatest contribution to ILTP (48%) followed by multi-nationals (22%) and university presses (17.7%). The Legal research institute and department contributed the least (26%). Findings reveal that the greatest contribution of published titles, 104 or 48.4% was not made by the multinationals, who are Nigeria's foremost educational publishers, said to be responsible for approximately 98% educational titles and 80% of total book production (Apeji, 1997). The contribution of 215 titles of textbooks in forty years raised the average yearly output to approximately 5 titles or 25 thousand volumes annually.
The length of the study period necessitated five (5) yearly class intervals in the frequency distribution of the 215 published titles. This is shown below in Table 1
Table 1. Frequency Distribution of Published Titles during 1960 and 1999
The result shown in Table 1 highlights both rising and falling trends in publishing output over time. The slow but steady rise in publishing output between 1960 and 1984 can be explained by relating the situation during this period to the attainment of independence on the one hand, and the relative complacency of Nigeria as a result of the oil boom, on the other. It would appear that the nation's oil wealth discouraged the exertion of adequate efforts at developing the budding publishing industry just receiving a boost from the attainment of independence. Indigenous publishing remained at its infancy well into the 1980s and over 80% of the tertiary books used in Nigerian universities were imported from overseas. For Nigerian scholars writing at this time, overseas publishing became more advantageous due to the static underdevelopment in the Nigerian publishing sector. Accounting for the highest number of published titles, 64 or 29.7% is the 1985 -1989 period.
This 16.2% increase in publishing output from the 29 titles of the 1980 -1984 period is quite incidental, considering the fact that it was in 1986 that the Federal Government introduced the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) as a strategy for stimulating self-reliance through industrial development. A possible explanation for this may have been the positive effect of the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP), tied in with the publishing industry's, recovery from the stringent conditions imposed by SAP, especially in late 80's. A similar increase in the publishing output of surveyed University Presses was attributed to the relative economic stability witnessed in the country during the stated period (Okekwe,1997).
The gradual drop in production figures witnessed in all of the 1990s is very significant. The inconsistent growth in ILTP can be observed by the fall in production figures from the 64 titles of the 1985 - 1989 period to 45 or 20.9% of 1990-1994. A further decline to 35 titles or 16.3% is also witnessed between 1995-1999. The decline in the Nigerian currency (the naira) and the sharp rise in bank loan interest rates may be a possible explanation for the decline in publishing output of the 1990-1995 (Etim, 2001). The slight decline in the publishing output of the 1995-1999 may have followed a general pattern of business decline evoked by the unstable political realities in Nigeria around this period. Unstable political realities equally accounted for the 49.7% decrease in the publishing output of the Nigerian local book industry in 1962, although specific reasons cited by Fasanya, (1975), were tribalism, nepotism and related social ills.
On the whole, the usual 5000 print runs for tertiary publishing would put the total volume of law texts produced for the 215 titles at 1,075,000 copies during the period. In table II below, the frequency distribution of published title according to subject areas is shown.
Frequency Distribution of Subject Coverage of Published Titles
Table 2. Subject Coverage of Published Titles 1960 - 1999
It can be seen in Table 2 that the 215 published titles span a wide range of 19 subject areas. There is gross inconsistency, however, in the degrees of coverage within individual subject areas. The variance, depicts a lopsidedness in published titles and this can be observed in subject areas like Jurisprudence and legal system (17.7%), Constitutional and Administrative law (16.3%) with larger coverage of over 30 titles as against others like Equity and Trusts, Torts and Evidence with relatively smaller coverage of less than 5 titles or 2%. The significance of this, which is not immediately obvious from the result presented in Table 10, can be explained briefly. Twelve of the nineteen subject areas in the table comprise core areas of compulsory course requirements for the LL.B degree programme. These include: Legal methods, Constitutional law, Contract law, Criminal law, Company law, Commercial law, law of Equity and Trusts, law of Evidence, Jurisprudence, Land law, Nigerian Legal System and Law of Torts. Others, Environmental law, Medical and Health care, Family and Social work, Insurance and Banking law make up optional law courses.
The results presented in Table 11 indicate that out of the twelve (12) core courses listed, five (5) seem to have received some form of meaningful coverage. They are: Administration of Justice, Land Law, Business, Commercial and Company Law, Jurisprudence and Legal System, Constitutional and Administrative law. Others like Contract Law, Torts, Evidence, Equity and Trusts appear to be somewhat deficient with less than five titles or 2% coverage.
Indigenous Law Textbook Collections of Selected Federal University Libraries
Data on the above was generated from the interview with acquisition librarians and through personal observation. It is presented in discussion under subheadings below:
i. Acquisition policies and methods
Written acquisition policies existed in sampled libraries, although the specific goals of such policies for the legal collections were not clearly defined. Indigenous law textbooks (ILT) constituted about twenty-five percent (25%) of the total textbook collection of sampled libraries. The collection was mainly acquired by purchase of required textbooks from the Nigerian book market. The purchase method was used.
ii. Acquisition Procedures
Active faculty involvement was clearly lacking in the selection process, contrary to the NUC (1989) stipulation that law library acquisitions be guided by the recommendations of faculties. The frequent use of ordering plans like approval plans, blanket and standing orders may have accounted for faculty lack of involvement. Book jobbers and vendors were frequently used in supplying book orders.
iii. Library Materials Budget
No formula was used for allocating the library materials budget to existing subject fields. Current practice of resource allocation highlighted relevance and equitable distribution as typified by gaps in the library collection. Such was deemed most adequate in meeting library requirements and goals for the ILT collection.
iv. Financial Constraints
Financial constraints to acquisition were commonly experienced in all sampled libraries. Institutional budgetary constraints giving rise to this were: short fall of total grants received, low over head grants, seizure of capital grants as well as library development fund. The effects of these constraints on acquisition work included: inability to pay vendors and suspension of book orders and supplies. It was noted that no sampled library adopted any form of alternative collection development like cooperative acquisitions to improve on the availability and accessibility of required law texts.
On the whole, the problem of bibliographic and standards control was brought to the fore. Other factors militating against collection development were inadequate funding, poor resource allocation and utilization as well as lack of clearly defined acquisition policy.
Table 3 shows frequency distribution of titles acquired by sampled university libraries.
Table 3. Frequency Distribution of Library Acquisitions
The Universities of Abuja and Calabar all together acquired sixty-seven more titles than the 215 titles earlier determined for ILTP in Table 1. This is significant considering the general assumption that Nigerian University libraries do not acquire locally published books to any reasonable extent. Arising from this, however, may be the likely problem of bibliographic and standards control accounted for by materials from obscure sources. The frequency distribution of subject areas of acquired titles for each sample law collection can be seen in Table IV.
Table 4. Subject Coverage of Library Acquisitions
.The subject coverage of library collection spanned a wider range of twenty-two (22) subject areas than the nineteen (19) areas earlier identified in Table II for ILTP output. The difference of three (3) subjects - Human rights, Oil and gas and Intellectual property and planning law is evident of the responsiveness of Indigenous Law Textbook Publishing (ILTP) to contemporary.
The degrees of variance in the subject coverage of library acquisitions is also clear from the above results and seem to be somewhat similar with that of the 215 published titles shown in Table II. The similarity in subject deficiencies highlighted, is again affirming the fact that ILTP may not have sufficiently responded to textbook requirements for the LL.B programme in some relevant areas.
On the whole, a comparison of the legend in Tables I and II, with that of Tables III and IV denotes some degrees of correlation between publication trends and library acquisitions. This may indicate that, the factors affecting the growth and direction of indigenous law textbook publishing may have far-reaching effects on the collection development of sampled university law libraries.
Law Student Use of Locally Published Law Textbooks
Results indicated that utilization was generally high for more than half (55.9%) of the respondents and very high for 29.9%. Low extent of textbook use was recorded for the remaining 14.1%. The study further identified the various sources from which respondents' textbook needs were regularly merged into: Personal Collections (68.6%), Library Collections (37.6%) and Friends and Colleagues (22.6%). Lecturers' Collection (19.5%) did not seem to be a popular source of textbook use.
On the purpose of using indigenous law textbooks, all aspects of respondents' academic training were represented. Course Work (94%) was the most important purpose, followed by Examination (64.7%), Project (52.5%) and Class Assignments (52.3%) respectively. Moot trials a more practical aspect of training attracted the rating of (29.4%).
In respondents' rating on use of locally published law text books in core courses of the LLB degree programme, results indicated the great extents to which textbooks are utilized in all core courses of the LL.B degree programme. This was obvious from the above average percentage ratings for seven (7) out of the twelve courses listed. Nigerian legal system topped this list with the highest rating of 71.5% followed by Land law (69.2%), Criminal law (69.9%), Contract law (61.3%), Law of Evidence (60.5%), Constitutional law (55.4%) and Company law (50.8%). These relatively high ratings of textbook utilization for all of the twelve (12) courses, the highest percentage (15.5%) given for Jurisprudence by 56 respondents.
In all, respondents identified factors that hindered effective utilization of indigenous law textbooks into: Non-availability of current texts 232 (65.5%); Insufficient number of copies 217 (61.3%); inaccessibility of available texts 169 (47.7%); Others 90 (25.4%).
The Relationship Between Indigenous Law Textbook Output of Publishing Firms and its Acquisition by University libraries.
To study the above relationship, the Pearson Correlation Coefficient statistical formula was employed. The correlation analysis is presented in Table V.
Table 5. Pearson Correlation Coefficient table for Relationship between ILTP Output and Library Acquisitions.
* P < 0.05;
df = 7;
P = 0.00
The result shows that there is significant relationship between ILTP output and Library acquisitions (r =.955). The magnitude of relationship between IILTP output and library acquisitions was reflected in the value of multiple regression (0.955) and multiple R-squared (0.898). It may thus be stated that about 89.8% of the variability in the output level of ILTP in Nigeria is accounted for by library acquisitions.
A correlation analysis (table VII) was further used to study the relationship between book output and law student utilization, the result of this analysis is presented below.
Table 6. Pearson Correlation Coefficient Table for Relationship between 11,11* output and law students utilization
* Significant at 0.05 level
The result presented above shows that the correlation is significant at 0.05 level. The calculated correlation value of 0.516 is greater than the critical r of 148 with 352 degrees of freedom. This indicates that there is significant relationship between ILTP output and its utilization by Law students.
The relevance of ILTP to the education and research needs of law students is revealed by study results. The contributions of Nigerian publishers in 40 years, to 215 published texts of a wide range of 19 subject categories are shown in Tables I and II. Arising from this is the yearly output of five (5) titles or 25,000 volumes as well as the inconsistency exhibited in the subject coverage of published titles. These are sufficient indications that ILTP is neither keeping pace with the increasing book demands of law students, nor responding adequately to the entire compulsory course requirements for the LL.B degree programme. In consequence, problems of adequacy and currency of titles are bound to arise as touching the NUC (1989) demand that core areas of compulsory course requirements be adequately covered. The availability of sufficient number of current titles for students' use will no doubt require improved funding as well as adequate government support for the publishing industry.
The study also substantiated the issue of poor resource allocation, a frequently mentioned limiting factor to the collection development of university law libraries. It has been the contention of scholars (Jegede, 1985; Dada, 1995 and Okonkwo, 2000) that legal education has not received the same government patronage and attention, which other disciplines like the Sciences and Engineering get. Lack of proper funding, they argued adversely affects the development of the law faculties as they lack modern facilities and in particular, good libraries. Nwogugu (1985) stated that as long as law continued to struggle with other disciplines for allocation of funds under the direction of the university librarian, the position of its administration will never be in doubt. The reason is simply because law books are expensive to purchase initially and updating the collection is a constant concern since law is a reflection of the fluidity of the society. According to Panella (1992) law library costs continue to rise well above the consumer price index and above the costs of most other libraries. In view of this the adequacy of the current practice of university libraries' resource allocation in meeting the book needs of law students is highly questionable. The necessity to recognize the special needs of the law discipline and give considerations to the need for providing necessary legal resources for effective and qualitative performance is important. In the face of what Dada (2000) described as the staggering and prohibitive cost of establishing and maintaining any legal collection, some form of guidance for allocating the library materials budget of university libraries may become a necessity.
The result of the relevant data examined, indicate that there is a significant relationship between library acquisitions and Indigenous Law Textbook Publishing (ILTP) output. It is commonplace however, that under-funding has been a major constraint to university library acquisitions in Nigeria. This has negatively influenced Indigenous Law Textbook Publishing (ILTP) by grossly reducing the financial support, which would have encouraged the production of many more books for a larger textbook market at reduced costs. For instance, 5-10 copies of books were purchased in the 1970s in University of Lagos for readership population of some three thousand students (Olalokun, 2000). At present only about two copies per title are purchased for a reading population of 35,000 students. The study also highlighted other social, economic and political conditions affecting ILTP and library acquisitions. The imperative of all round improved funding, although understated in this case is important and should make for flourishing law library systems that have a strong impact on publishing and vice versa.
Fasanya's (1975) study results, contradicted this finding of significant relationship between the library and publishing. Out of the fourteen (14) equations tested, libraries accounted least for the behaviour of indigenous book publishing than all other variables. In lieu of a satisfactory explanation for this negative correlation, the probability of using wrong quantitative measures to run the equations was suggested.
A significant positive relationship between law students' utilization and Indigenous Law Textbook Publishing (ILTP) was also revealed by study results. This finding is thought to be in line with Okekwe's University Presses and the volume of purchases made by students and lecturers in Nigerian universities. The observation was that while students and lecturers bought many books in the period under consideration, the university presses correspondingly published more books. Although the independent variable in this case is utilization and not purchase, the implication of the present finding is not in doubt. Law students, law teachers as well as libraries constitute major buyers of law textbooks. The fact that these sources were frequently used by law students to meet their textbook needs indicates the significant influence of sales on Indigenous Law Textbook Publishing (ILTP), implying therefore that law students' utilization affects the performance of ILTP albeit indirectly. This finding is as significant for ILTP as Okekwe's finding was for tertiary publishing in Nigerian University presses.
Conclusion and Recommendations
Based on analysis of the generated data, their interpretation and discussion, it is established that Indigenous Law Textbook Publishing (ILTP) is of relevance to the LL.B programme, and has been responsive to the education and research needs of law students in Nigerian Federal Universities. It is also evident that, Indigenous Law Textbook Publishing (ILTP) is not keeping pace with the increasing book requirements of law students. The inconsistency exhibited by the subject coverage of published titles is enough evidence that Indigenous Law Textbook Publishing (ILTP) has not sufficiently responded to the entire compulsory course requirements for the LL.B degree programme. Also is the fact that Nigerian university libraries acquire locally published law texts to a reasonable extent, even though a greater percentage of resource allocation for the legal collection is still being absorbed in the development and management of the foreign legal textbook collections. Furthermore, it is indicated that factors militating against the collection development of Indigenous Law Textbook Publishing (ILTP) are bound to give rise to problems of unavailability and inaccessibility of published texts as well as currency of titles. Lastly, library acquisitions and law students' utilization are found to be critical variables in the determination of Indigenous Law Textbook Publishing (ILTP).
In view of these findings, it is recommended that, the opportunities provided by the core areas of textbook deficiency in ELTP should be maximally explored and exploited by potential authors and publishers. This is with the view to stepping up book production taking cognizance of current emphasis on legal education and research. In order to achieve greater coverage in the acquisition of ILTP, the possibility of establishing effective and efficient cooperative acquisition among university law libraries should be revisited and considered for proper management. The advantages of cooperative acquisitions in reducing duplicates, increasing various categories as well as obtaining a rational distribution of resources can hardly be exaggerated. The formulation of a planned acquisition policy, identifying specific goals for the collection and management of the ILTP library collection is recommended. Such policy should take cognizance of the minimum standards of law library holdings for all Nigerian universities as prescribed by the National Universities Commission (NUC) and the Council of Legal Education (CLE). Some kind of guidelines for allocation, distribution, and control of library materials budgets should be prepared. The suggested guidelines should take cognizance of the special needs of the law discipline and give considerations to the need for providing necessary legal resources for effective and qualitative performance of law libraries.
The diminishing funding of law libraries in relation to ever increasing students' demands makes it imperative that acquisition librarians liaise more closely than even with the law faculties in determining law students' needs. On this, the book selection procedure should be streamlined, possibly in the form of a statement stating the complete procedure and emphasizing the need for individual faculty member selection. That adoption of this means of approach will ensure that faculty recommendations are given serious consideration. Lastly, the sustained support of government through industrial and information policies and practices is needed to encourage Nigerian printers and publishers in order that the capacity of the Nigerian book industries can be improved. Incentives to be provided could involve credit preferences, tax preferences, renting of industrial plants as well as policy direction and protection.
The above recommendations if implemented are capable of improving the responsiveness of ILTP in order for more benefits to be achieved for legal education, law libraries and the publishing industry as a whole.
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