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Library Philosophy and Practice 2009

ISSN 1522-0222

Faculty Expectations of Libraries: A Comparative Study of Covenant University and the University of Lagos

Mercy A. Ijirigho
Readers' Services Librarian
Centre for Learning Resources
Covenant University
Canaan Land, Ota
Ogun State, Nigeria

 

Introduction

The information explosion occasioned by information and communication technologies poses the challenge of satisfying user expectations. According to Aina (2004), a library has achieved its mandate when its users are satisfied with the services offered to them. Libraries face significant challenges in responding to change while sustaining their traditional functions. With the explosion of information technology have come powerful competitive forces that raise fundamental questions about the role of libraries and librarians.

The American Library Association (ALA 2007), says that:

With increases in the availability of information, user expectations have risen substantially. Librarians are increasingly expected to assist users in evaluating the information they receive. These changes evince an evolving role for librarians, one that suggests a closer partnership with users and a great responsibility for the educational process. It is noteworthy, that these challenges will vary in context, institution, organization, and with persons.

Aina (2004) supports this by saying that:

Users require different services; hence librarians are expected to provide a variety of services to them. Even within one type of library, users will demand different services. The services demanded are not static, as users' needs are dynamic, requiring different services at different times. Therefore, librarians must recognize that, their primary product is the users' experience. The need to develop new service models that can help meet users' changing expectations in ways that add real value and reserve their role in the educational process becomes inevitable. In essence Librarians should learn how to keep users satisfaction up by providing a high quality user service. In the words of Kadiri (2000), there is the need for academic libraries to reappraise their service delivery capability as the librarian is capable of forming a bridge between students and lecturers. Akintola and Olayiwola (2004) affirm that libraries must understand the revolutionary change and evolve a strategy of linking organizational form to the pace of change.

Rationale for the Study

This is a study targeted at eliciting information on how librarians can best serve faculty. As an academic librarian, the researcher is interested in providing excellent library resources and services by identifying new services and resources. It is a comparative study of Covenant University and University of Lagos faculty expectations of the libraries It seeks to ascertain the effectiveness of current services, the strength of their collections, and the direction the libraries should take concerning new systems and products. The decision to focus on faculty is born out of the fact that faculty members conduct in-depth and specific research. This makes them heavy library users and experts in their field of study. The requirements for tenure and promotion have compelled faculty to carry out research and publication. More so, faculty members direct their students to the library through classroom assignments. If faculty use library resources, it is more likely that students will have a good impression of the library and be encouraged to use it.

Objectives

1. To assess the quality of service currently rendered by the libraries.

2. To produce information on areas where services are not meeting the needs of faculty and list recommendations.

3. To foster a user-focused environment committed to identifying and delivering information resources and services that meet or exceed faculty expectations.

4. To evaluate faculty use of the library.

5. To compare and expectations of faculty in a public university to those in a private university

Research Questions

In order to achieve the main objectives of this study the following questions were adapted from a study by Weber and Flatley (2008).

1. Where do faculty go to meet their professional information needs?

2. Is the library useful to faculty. Why or why not?

3. What is the quality of services currently rendered by the libraries?

4. How can the library help faculty with their classroom teaching?

5. Do faculty use library resources for their own research, what and how do they use them?

6. What do faculty think is the most important service for the library to provide?

7. In this age of the Internet, what do faculty see as the role of the academic library on campus?

8. In each faculty member's opinion, how can the library be improved?

9. What is the disparity between faculty expectation in a private university and those in a public university?

Hypotheses

1. There will be significant difference in the faculty expectations of librarians in private and public universities.

2. There will be significant difference in where faculty go for their professional information needs in private and public universities.

3. There will be significant difference in what faculty think is the most important service for the library to provide in private and public universities.

4. There will be significant difference in the ways the library can help improve classroom teaching of faculty in private and public universities.

Methodology

The survey method was adopted and 300 respondents were selected: 150 faculty from each university (Covenant University and University of Lagos). The simple random sampling technique was used in determining the sample size for the study. Out of 300 questionnaires distributed, 240 were completed. The descriptive statistical method of analysis was used. Data were coded in simple percentages and were presented in tables. A T-test and chi-square were used to test the hypotheses. Faculty Expectation of Librarians Scale (FELS) was developed and used to collect data. FELS consisted of four sections: access to information resources, provision of necessary services, quality of information resources, and demographic data. This instrument yielded a test/re-test reliability of .68, Cronbach Alpha of .54, and convergent validity of.52

Literature Review

Relevant but related literature was reviewed in the following sub-areas:

Role of the University Library

At the beginning of library development, a university library was regarded as a sStorehouse of material collected for preservation. Significant changes have taken place. The university library is now at the forefront of carrying out the objectives of its parent institution. Roseroka (1999) says that, "the university library is no longer simply warehouse for the containment of books and printed materials but the library has become an intellectual commons where many forms of information are accessed, utilized, and manipulated." According to Aina (2004), It is a store that stocks all kinds of knowledge and information carriers that are meant to be consulted and used by readers with little or no expense on their part.

The university library exists in an academic context, and its role is developing a collections that are well organized and serve as academic support for teaching, learning, and research by faculty and students.

Roseroka (1999) supports this by saying that the university library's role includes enhancing the quality of teaching and supporting research by providing access to the world's thoughts through acquisition of books and journals broadly based on requirements of faculty.

While Kumar (1991), says:

by accumulating and organizing books, manuscripts, journals and materials, the university library serve as an invaluable aid in the conservation of knowledge and ideas and as an active force in teaching, research, and extension programs of the university.

Rader (2001) maintains that:

libraries support teaching, learning and research by building collections, providing electronic information access, and offering proactive library services and integrated information skills instruction.

However, many university administrators do not appreciate why reading materials must be purchased yearly. Faculty and students are disadvantaged by the absence of appropriate academic support materials at the time of need (Asmus, 2007). Another major role of the university library is that of fostering information literacy. Candy (1996) in Andretta (2005) notes that Information literacy is an idea whose time has come. Developments in information technology are leading to changes in higher education, placing increasing emphasis upon lifelong learning (Payne & Waller 2000). Oketunji (1998), emphasizes the need to teach information literacy in the electronic environment as a new but exciting role for libraries. Making services and systems easier to use and clientele less reliant on staff assistance. However, Wilson (1999) warns that making access simpler can lead users to believe that they have better information skills than is the case.

Faculty Expectations of Librarians

Expectations are the standards upon which a service provider's performance should be judged. They reflect anticipated performance. Faculty have their expectations of the service they should receive from the library, especially with the continuous technological transformation in the information environment.

According to Williams (2005), faculty expect librarians to promote an atmosphere of collegiality and professional commitment and represent the libraries in a proactive way. This can only occur if librarians continue to learn new skills stay informed.

Weber and Flatley (2008) discovered that some faculty are interested in face-to-face meetings with librarians rather than electronic communication. Cooper, et al. (1998) support this by saying that faculty need a close relationship with librarians, making room for personal contact and one-on-one help. They further claim that with the avalanche of information, faculty expect round-the-clock access to online databases that are mounted on user-friendly systems.

A research cluster of the University Wide Libraries (2007) found that faculty expect access to information 24/7. Schonfeld and Guthrie (2007) assert that faculty want to be less dependent on the library and increasingly dependent on electronic materials, but need librarians to take leadership in helping academia's transition to the technological environment.

Weber and Flatley (2008) conclude that the transfer of information literacy skills must continue, as expected by faculty.

Faculty Commendations and Complaints

With the increasing expectations, librarians are rising to the challenge that is presented. Payne and Waller (2000) express this view by saying:

In the face of these challenges, libraries are increasingly looking at new ways of providing help and support services, including the increased use of self-instructional materials, virtual help and telephone/e-mail services.

Thus in some quarters, the efforts of librarians have been commended. The American Academy for Library Education (2003) reports that the library staff of South Virginia University deserves high praise for providing SVU students and faculty with high quality service at the same time that its members were engaged in project involving the electronic cataloguing of the library's entire collection and reclassification of much of the collection from Dewey Decimal System to the Library of Congress System. Also, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi presents an annual “Excellence in Librarianship” award to a librarian who has made an outstanding contribution to the library, the University, or to the library profession in any aspect of librarianship.

Central Michigan University and its off campus library services received the MIVER commendation for providing exemplary access to a wide array of relevant library resources and services through electronic, paper, and human interaction with Camp Pendleton students and faculty.

Weber and Flatley (2008) found that faculty the library's role as a place where students and faculty can study, do research, browse, and socialize.

Manuel, et al. (2003) report that Amstuz and Whitson's survey of 313 Professors at the University of Wyoming reveals that 45 percent of the respondents credited librarians with helping students develop information literacy skills.

There are also complaints about library services. Kirk (1992), criticizes librarians for not seeking to understand the needs of science faculty. Manuel, et al. (2003) report that faculty are dissatisfied with librarian-provided instruction and librarians' mastery of their subject content. Librarians are also seen as busy and unapproachable. Holtze (2001) asserts that librarians do not get out of the library to interact with faculty in other venues. Writing on the image of librarians from a general perspective, Slater in Kantumoya (1993), complains that librarians see themselves in both material and intellectual terms as undervalued and as such are frustrated and lack confidence in themselves and the profession. The popular complaint about libraries in Nigeria is lack of relevant and recent information sources. Haruna (2005) corroborates this, saying that that relevant books and other information materials are not likely to be adequate in libraries as a result of economic problems.

Covenant University and the University of Lagos

Covenant University is a private Christian institution in Canaanland, Ota, in Ogun state of Nigeria. It was founded in 2002 by the Winners' Chapel (Living Faith Church Worldwide) and the chancellor, Dr. David Oyedepo, is the founding bishop of the Winners Chapel. Covenant University has three colleges, with more than 20 departments. The colleges are the College of Business and Social Sciences, the College of Science and Technology, and the College of Human Development. The University has about 7,000 students from different countries of the world. Covenant University has the mission of raising a new generation of leaders for the African continent on the platform of human development and integrated learning. Covenant University 's core values are spirituality, positive mentality, capacity building, integrity, responsibility, diligence, and sacrifice.

The University of Lagos also known as UNILAG, is a federal government university with its main campus located at Akoka, Yaba, and a college of medicine located at Idi-Araba all in Lagos, Lagos State, Nigeria. It is one of the twenty-five federal universities which are overseen and accredited by the National Universities Commission. The University of Lagos founded in 1962. From a modest intake of 131 students in 1962, enrolment in the university has now grown to over 39,000. It has a total staff strength of 3,365 made up of 1,386 Administrative and Technical Staff, 1,164 Junior, and 813 Academic Staff. The University has nine faculties and a College of Medicine. The faculties offer 117 programmes in arts, social sciences, environmental sciences, pharmacy, law, engineering, sciences, business administration, and education. UNILAG offers masters' and doctoral degrees in most of the aforementioned programmes. The university has the Centre for Human Rights and the Centre for African, Regional Integration, and Borderland Studies. The Distance Learning Institute (DLI) of the University offers courses in accounting, business administration, science education, and library/information science.

Results

The demographic data is presented below.

Table 1: Sex Distribution of Participants

Sources of Variation Covenant University University of Lagos
 N % N %
Male 78 68 80 64
Female 37 32 45 36
Total 115 100 125 100

One hundred fifteen participants from Covenant University took part in this study. A majority of them were males (78), representing 68 percent. The participants from the University of Lagos were also mostly male (80), representing 64 percent.

Table 2: Age Distribution

Sources of Variation Covenant University University of Lagos
  N % N %
24-30 12 10 6 5
31-37 43 38 58 47
38-44 32 28 25 22
45-51 12 10 34 27
52-58 8 7 2 2
59-65 6 5 2 2
66-72 2 2 - 
Total 115 100 125 100

The largest number of participants from each university was between the ages of 31 and 37.

Table 3: Educational Qualification

Sources of Variation Covenant University University of Lagos
  N % N %
B.Sc 24 21 21 17
M.A?MSc 49 42 30 24
Ph.D 42 37 74 59
Total 115 100 125 100

Participants with MSc and PhD degrees represented two-thirds of the total participants from both universities .

Table 4: Academic Status

Sources of Variation Covenant University University of Lagos
  N % N %
GA 8 5 4 3
Assistant Lecturer 40 36 12 10
Lecturer II 35 31 34 27
Lecturer I 15 13 25 20
Senior Lecturer 8 7 39 31
Professor 9 8 11 9
Total 115 100 125 100

A majority of participants from Covenant University are Assistant Lecturer or Lecturer ll . In UNILAG, a majority are Lecturer ll and Senior Lecturer.

Table 5: Where Faculty Go to Meet Their Professional Information Needs

  Where faculty go Covenant University University of Lagos
  N % N %
Library 51 44 88 70
Office 41 36 10 8
Personal library 9 8 7 6
Cyber café 6 5 12 10
Networking with colleagues outside country 8 7 8 6
Total 115 100 125 100

The largest number of respondents from both UNILAG and CU go to the library to meet their professional information needs.

Table 6 Most Important Service

Most important CU Rank UNILAG Rank
Interlibrary loan and document delivery 11 4
Lending 3 1
Reservation 6 3
Provision of seating and study facilities 15 7
Reference 5 5
Current awareness 2 8
Exhibition and displays 10 11
Library publications 12 9
Information literacy programme 16 14
Selective dissemination of information 6 6
Referral 9 15
Translation 7 13
Abstracting and indexing 8 12
Binding 14 10
Internet 1 8

Faculty from Covenant University ranked Internet service as most important, while faculty from UNILAG ranked lending services at the top.

Table 7: The Library as a Source of Information

Rating of the library Covenant University University of Lagos
  N % N %
Very high 41 36 20 16
High 51 44 12 10
Average 23 20 78 60
Low - - 15 12
Total 115 100 125 100

The largest number of respondents from Covenant University rated the library "high," while 60 percent from UNILAG rated their library as "average."

Table 8: Quality of Service

Quality of service Covenant University University of Lagos
  N % N %
Excellent 35 32 20 16
Good 57 48 22 17.6
Fair 23 20 68 54.4
Poor - - 10 8
Very Poor - - 5 4
Total 115 100 125 100

Nearly half of respondents from CU rated the library services as good, while more than half from UNILAG rated the services fair.

Table 9: Access to Information Resources

Access to Information Covenant University University of Lagos
  N % N %
Textbooks 78 67.8 103 82.4
Journals (Print) 57 49.5 89 71.2
Reference Materials (Print) 63 54.8 41 32.8
EBSCO Database (E-Resource) 79 68.7 17 13.6
JSTOR (E-Resource) 87 75.7 26 20.8
Internet 115 100 109 87.2

Faculty at the University of Lagos rely more on textbooks and journals, while Covenant University faculty have more access to e-journal databases.

Table 10: Usefulness of the Library

Usefulness of the Library Covenant University University of Lagos
  N % N %
Because it contains useful materials 41 35.7 37 29.6
Helps to get relevant materials in specific fields 57 49.6 51 40.8
Library is a source of useful information 14 12.1 21 16.8
Texts for my discipline not available 3 2.6 16 12.8
Total 115 100 125 100

Nearly all respondents are able to find texts for their discipline in the library.

Table 11: Preferred Information Format

Information Format Covenant University University of Lagos
  N % N %
Print 78 67.8 96 76.8
CD ROM 12 10.4 34 27.2
Internet & Remote Access 112 97.4 109 87.2

Respondents from Covenant University prefer the internet and remote access as their information format, while more respondents from UNILAG prefer print.

Table 12: Computers to Access Internet

Adequacy of Computers Covenant University University of Lagos
  N % N %
yes 112 97.4 79 63.2
no 3 2.6 46 36.8
Total 115 100.0 125 100.0

Nearly all respondents from CU agreed that there are enough computers to access the Internet, while more than 60 percent of UNILAG respondents shared this opinion.

Table 13: Faculty Use of Library Resources for Personal Research

Resources for Personal Research Covenant University University of Lagos
  N % N %
To check for recent materials 79 68.7 92 73.6
Relevant text for my research work 56 48.6 71 56.8
To use reference materials 32 27.8 69 55.2
To use electronic and print journals 92 80.0 76 60.8

Eighty percent of respondents from CU use electronic and print journals for their personal research, while about 60 percent of UNILAG respondents do so.

Table 14: Services to Improve Library's Efficiency

Services to Improve Library's Efficiency Covenant University University of Lagos
  N % N %
Scanning Services 79 68.7 92 73.6
24 hour Library Service 88 76.5 56 44.8
Giving out reference/journal sources on loan for a token fee 32 27.8 69 55.2
Recreation/relaxation service 22 19.1 56 44.8

Scanning services was the most popular service that was suggested.

Test of Hypotheses

Hypothesis 1: There will be significant difference in the faculty's expectation of librarian in private and public universities

Table 15: T-test Summary of faculty's expectation of librarian in private and public universities

Sources of Variation N Mean Sd df Cal t Significance level
Faculty in private universities 115 4.26 0.16 238 12.49 0.05
Faculty in public universities 125 6.12 1.77

Table15 above shows the t = 12.49, df =238, p<0.05 and based on this result, it was concluded that there is significant difference in the faculty's expectations of librarians in private and public universities. The hypothesis was therefore sustained.

Hypothesis 2: There will be significant difference in places where the faculty go for their professional information needs in private and public universities.

Table 16: Chi-Square Summary of places where the faculty go for their professional information needs in private and public universities

Sources of Variation N df ?2 -observed Significance level
Faculty in private universities 115 4 12.94 0.05
Faculty in public universities 125

This statistic is used to test the hypothesis of no association of columns and rows in tabular data. It can be used even with nominal data. The ?2 summary table revealed a significant difference in the places where the faculty go for their professional information needs in private and public universities at ?2 -observed =12.94, 4 degree of freedom and p<0.05

Hypothesis 3: There will be significant difference in what the faculty's think is the most important service for the library to provide in private and public universities

Table 17: Chi-Square Summary of what the faculty's think is the most important service for the library to provide in private and public universities

Sources of Variation N df ?2 -observed Significance level
Faculty in private universities 115 14 28.42 0.05
Faculty in public universities 125

The ?2 summary table revealed a significant difference what the faculty's think is the most important service for the library to provide in private and public universities at ?2 -observed =28.42, 14 degrees of freedom and p<0.05

Hypothesis 4: There will be significant difference in the ways library can help in improving classroom teaching of the faculty's in private and public universities

Table 18: Chi-Square Summary of the ways library can help in improving classroom teaching of the faculty's in private and public universities

Sources of Variation N df ?2 -observed Significance level
Faculty in private universities 115 5 14.08 0.05
Faculty in public universities 125

The ?2 summary table revealed a significant difference in the ways library can help in improving classroom teaching of the faculty's in private and public universities at ?2 -observed =14.08, 5 degrees of freedom and p<0.05

Discussion

Respondents from Covenant University meet their professional information needs both in library and in their offices. A majority of respondents from UNILAG just use the library. Faculty from UNILAG ranked lending services most important, while CU ranked Internet-related services highest. Faculty from both universities see the provision of information technology facilities that are vital to research in the modern world as the role of academic libraries; however, they would prefer information in print. The challenge is in the transition from the paper to the virtual library. Services currently rendered by the libraries were rated higher in Covenant University than in University of Lagos. This can be ascribed to the quality and relevance of information resources available in the two libraries. Finally, the study revealed that faculty use the library for their personal research and classroom teaching. A majority of faculty from both universities use the electronic and print journals most often for these purposes. Recommendations for service included scanning, 24-hour library service, and lending reference material.

Conclusion

Despite the increasing availability and accessibility of online resources, faculty do not want to part with a paper-based library, since they prefer information in the print format. This poses the challenge for librarians. Library resources and quality of services were judged to be satisfactory, although UNILAG was below expectations in certain areas. There is much room for improvement in both institutions, and several recommendations were made by the respondents suggesting ways of improving the quality of library services.

Recommendations

Libraries should subscribe to both print and electronic journals that are relevant to programs and courses offered by their parent institution. It is necessary to integrate traditional and modern librarianship through hybrid collections. Electronic resources can only complement print, since most users still prefer the latter. Academic libraries must intensify efforts to teach information literacy. Finally, similar research should be conducted on students' expectations, in order to have a well rounded perspective of user expectations.

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