Library Philosophy and Practice 2012
User Education in Agricultural Science University Libraries in India with Special reference to South India
Dr. H.M. Chidananda Swamy
Agriculture university libraries play an important role in providing the right direction to the agriculture, scientific and technological development of a nation. The agriculture university is to develop the personality of the human being as a whole. Every library exists, to serve the needs of its own community of users. It follows the overall evaluation of library thought to base mainly on how well it serves these needs. The organized information and dissemination function to suit the needs of the users necessitate a study of library and information service needs of users.
With the strides in the area of Science and Technology, any information centre has to initiate and sustain a variety of library and information services to provide the right type of information to the users. To achieve this, it is necessary to have a continuous feed back from the users. One of the ways by which, this can be achieved is by observing and analyzing the requests received for further information on any of the items already included in the library and information services. By this it is possible to know which are the areas of interest and orient the contents of the library and information services according to those requirements. This will form a quick and continuous way of evaluating the various library and information services. This type of evaluation will also help to facilitate the information centre to collect and keep the right type of information, which is sought most by the users.
Objectives of the Study
A major objective of the present study is to know the user perception and opinion and evaluate the 'User Education in Agricultural University Libraries in India: With Special Reference to South India'. Following are the other objectives of the study.
1.1. To know the frequency of conducting the user education programmes in the Agricultural University libraries
1.2. To assess the different methods used for conducting the user education in Agricultural University libraries
Any scientific investigation starts with the statement of a problem followed by a tentative generalization in the form of a proposition i.e. hypothesis. Keeping in view the objectives of the study attempts have been made to test the following hypothesis
There is a significant relationship among the opinion of the Post Graduate Students, Research Scholars and Faculty Members towards overall satisfaction of user education service.
There have been many methods and techniques are available for data collection. Among them questionnaire survey is found to be very useful techniques for collecting data relating to the users and their information needs. So the survey method is adapted for the present study, which can be applied for collecting data
Analysis and Interpretation of Data: Users Point View
Here an attempt has been made to analyze and interpret the data collected on users opinion of "User Education in Agriculture University Libraries in India: with Special Reference to South India." After collecting data, suitable tables have been formulated for each aspect with the aid of computer and the percentages of their performance are analyzed. In some important aspects cross comparisons are also made. Further, to trace out the variations between Post Graduate Students, Research Scholars and Faculty Members, Chi-Square Test has been conducted and the calculated values are displayed. The analysis of the evaluative study reveals that some of the findings are really startling. Results of the evaluative study are analyzed and displayed here under:
Users General Information in Agricultural University Libraries in South India
Population of this study consists of three categories of users i.e. Post Graduate Students, Research Scholars and Faculty Members (at different level). Since the population size of south Indian agricultural universities is very large, random sampling technique has been applied. Post Graduate Students sample size being larger has been limited to 25% of their total population, whereas for the Research Scholars and Faculty Members the sample size is 20% of the Research Scholars and Faculty Members strength. The sample size is inclusive of all south Indian agricultural universities. The details of population size and sample selected i.e., questionnaires administered along with the response has been provided in the following Table 1
Population, Sample Size in Agricultural University Libraries in South India
Table 1. Population, Sample Size of the Distributed Questionnaires
Table 1 shows clearly the entire population and the sample size of the respondents under the study. It is observed from the study that there were totally 4396 users, out of which 1000 users have been chosen as sample and distributed the questionnaires to them. Out of 1000 respondents 765 were returned the filled in questionnaire and which amount to 76.50%. In case of university librarians, the response is 100% since the researcher has paid a visit to each university and has personally distributed the questionnaires and collected the duly completed questionnaires.
The details of the various responses on users parameters are presented in table numbers 1 to 5. The highest percentage of response has come from University of Agricultural Sciences Library, Bangalore 81.50 (163), next is University of Agricultural Sciences Library, Dharwad with 77.50 (155), followed by Tamil Nadu Agricultural University Library, Coimbatore 77.00 (154), Kerala Agricultural University Library, Thrissur 73.50 (147) and the least response is form Acharya N.G. Ranga Agricultural University Library, Hyderabad 73.00 (146).
Gender Wise Questionnaires Distribution in Agricultural University Libraries in South India
Table 2. Gender wise Distribution of Respondents
(Figures in Parenthesis indicate percentage)
The data on the gender details of the respondents are presented in the Table 2. The completed data in the table indicate that out of 765 respondents 570 (74.50%) are male and remaining 195 (28.49%) are females. This table shows that male is dominant over female categories.
Language Wise Respondents
Table 3. Language Wise Distribution of Respondents
Note: Because of the multiple choices the percentages are not rounded of to 100 percent.
The data of language wise distribution of respondents are presented in Table 3. The data in the table shows that all the respondents under the study are proficiency in English language. 70% of the respondents have proficiency in the national language i.e., Hindi. Since the study is confined to south Indian agricultural universities, the regional languages have also played a dominant role. However the data shows that Kannada language occupies 32% followed by Telugu 28.76%, Tamil 17.52% and Malayalam 21.57% respectively.
Age Wise of Distribution of Library Users in Agricultural University Libraries in South India
Table 4. Age wise Distribution of Respondents
The library users are categorized into four types depends on their age, and so collected information was tabulated and presented in Table 4. It is observed from the table that most of the users 528 (69.02%) are between the age group of 21-30, naturally this group belongs to Post Graduate Students and Research Scholars. Further it is analyzed that 106 (13.86%) were under the age group of 31-40, followed by 109 (14.25) are in 41-50 age group and 22 (2.88%) are fallowing in 51-above age group. This clearly shows that majority of the users are students.
User Education Programme
Books and other library materials play vital role in supporting teaching, research and extension activities of a university, which goes a long way in supplementing classroom learning. They widen and deepen the knowledge base and provide an intellectual stimulation. Ability to locate, to have an access and use the library materials is considered as an important requisite both for the university and the life long learning process of students.
The aim of user education is to make the user aware of different types of information resources available in the library, and to educate them to develop skills to search for information on their own. It is important to take steps to improve the information consciousness of users and their ability to make the best use of library resources. User education may be defined as a process of making the library users conscious of the tremendous value of information and to develop an interest amongst the users to seek information as and when they require it. A user education helps in encouraging the users to learn and use techniques by which they can specify their needs and acquire, evaluate organize and communicate information. Information is now channeled through a variety of media and it is necessary for a librarian to prepare students and scholars for a continuing process of self-education to handle information and the various channels.
Opinion about the User Education Programme by Post Graduate Students
Table 5. Opinion about the User Education Programme by Post Graduate Students
Opinion about User Education Programmes by the Post Graduate Students of agricultural university libraries under the study have presented in Table 5. It is observed from the table that all the Post Graduate Students under the study, have expressed that the library provides user education programmes in the library. Majority of the Post Graduate Students 396 (89.19%) have reported that user education helped them to make best use of library facilities and services.
Opinion about the User Education Programme by Research Scholars
Table 6. Opinion about the User Education Programme by Research Scholars
Table 6 presents the data pertaining to the opinion about the user education by the Research Scholars of agricultural university libraries under the study. It is observed from the table that all the respondents 161 (100%) under the study have reported that library is providing user education programmes. Further it is observed from the table that most of the Research Scholars 140 (86.96%) have expressed that the user education is helping them to make best use of library resources and services.
Opinion about the User Education Programme by Faculty Members
Table 7. Opinion about the User Education Programme by Faculty Members
The opinion about the user education by the Faculty Members of the agricultural university libraries under the study is presented in the Table 7. It is very clear from the table that again all the Faculty Members 160 (100%) have reported that the library is providing user education programmes. Further it is observed from the table that most of the Faculty Members 144 (90.00%) have expressed that the user education is helping them to make best use of the library resources and services effectively and efficiently.
Frequency of Conducting User Education Programme
Table 8. Frequency of Conducting User Education Programme
Table 8 indicates that 42 (9.46%) Post Graduate Students, 34 (21.12%) Research Scholars and 18 (11.25%) Faculty Members have reported that always the library staff is educating the users to make use of library resources and services. 74 (16.67%) Post Graduate Students, 23 (14.29%) Research Scholars and 35 (21.58%), Faculty Members have expressed that library personal will educate the users on how to make use of library resources and services. 118 (26.58%) Post Graduate Students, 28 (17.39%) Research Scholars and 31 (19.38%) Faculty Members have reported that the user education is conducted in the beginning of each term. Majority of the Post Graduate Students 210 (47.30%) Research Scholars 76 (47.20%) and Faculty Members 76 (47.50) have expressed that annually that is beginning of the academic year library is offering the user education to the users.
Conducting the User Education Programme
Table 9. Conducting the User Education Programme
Opinion about who conduct the user education in the agricultural science universities under the study is depicted in Table 9. It is very clear from the table that most of the Post Graduate Students 182 (40.99%), Research Scholars 83 (51.55%) and Faculty Members 62 (38.75%) have reported that librarian is conducting user education programmes. Where as 131 (29.50%) Post Graduate Students, 40 (24.84%) Research Scholars and 51 (31.88%) faculty members have expressed that the Deputy Librarian is conducting the User Education Programmes. 131 (29.50%) Post Graduate Students, 38 (23.60%) Research Scholars and 47 (29.35%) Faculty Members have expressed that Asst. Librarians are conducting the User Education Programmes.
Methods of User Education Programme
Table 10. Methods of User Education Programme
Opinion about the methods of user education programme by the users of the agricultural university libraries under the study is depicted in Table 10. It is observed from the table that most of the Post Graduate Students 107 (24.10), Research Scholars 39 (24.22) and Faculty Members 41 (25.63) have reported that lecture method is used to educate the users, 92(20.72) Post Graduate Students, 34 (21.12) Research Scholars and 28 (17.50) Faculty Members have expressed that seminar method is used, where as 66 (34.86) Post Graduate Students, 23(14.29) Research Scholars and 31(19.38) Faculty Members have opined that demonstration method is used for conducting the user education on the other hand 97 (21.85) Post Graduate Students, 37(22.98) Research Scholars and 21(13.13) Faculty Members expressed that guided tour method is used. Further it is observed from the table that 78 (17.57) Post Graduate Students 24 (14.91) Research Scholars and 32 (20.00) Faculty Members have reported that printed guides were used to educate the users. Finally a very few users expressed that computer assisted instruction method is used to educate the users.
Weekly Timings allotted for User Education Programme
Table 11. Timings allotted for User Education Programme
Table 11 clearly shows that most of the Post Graduate Students 211 (47.52), Research Scholars 82 (50.95) and Faculty Members 82 (51.25) have expressed that two hours taken to complete the user education programme followed by 102 (22.97), Post Graduate Students 50 (31.06) Research Scholars and 39 (24.38) Faculty Members have reported that one hour is taken for user education, 85 (19.11) Post Graduate Students 18 (11.18) Research scholars and 26 (16.25) Faculty Members have said that three hours were taken for the user education programme and 46 (10.10) Post Graduate Students, 11(6.83) Research Scholars and 13 (8.13) Faculty Members have expressed that one day is taken to educate the users.
Overall Satisfaction of User Education Programme
Table 12. Overall Satisfaction of User Education Programme
The opinion of the users on overall satisfaction of user education programme is collected, tabulated and presented in Table 12. It is observed from the table that majority of the Post Graduate Students 284 (63.96), Research Scholars 88 (54.66) and Faculty Members 112 (70.00) have reported that they are satisfied with the user education programme conducted by the library personnel's, around 11% of the users are partially satisfied and very few users have reported that they are not satisfied with the user education programmes.
Testing of Hypothesis
There is a significant relationship among the opinion of the Post Graduate Students, Research Scholars and Faculty Members towards overall satisfaction of user education service.
In addition to the above discussion statistical test has been conducted using Chi-Square technique. The calculated Chi-Square value is presented in Table 12. The Chi-Square value is significant at 0.5% level of significance. The Chi-Square value and the analysis of the data depict that there is significant relationship between the different users and their overall satisfaction with the User Education Programme. Hence the above Hypothesis is accepted
Agricultural university libraries under the study are in the initial stage of development. Modern technologies in the libraries are now being utilized to satisfy the information need of the users. The staffs working in these libraries need training and exposure to new technologies available at national and international levels.Since India is a land of farmers, here Socio-Economic developments depend on the education of the farmers and their information level. They need information to become enlightened and rational so as to take quick and correct decisions to improve the rural life. The nature and efficiency of the information services provided by the agricultural university libraries vary from one to another, owing to the whole range of interest of the user community. However with the emergence of the computer and revolutionary changes in communication technology, it has become possible for a agricultural university libraries to provide a variety of technology based information services to the users community with a wide range of interests, which was not possible earlier. As a matter of fact all these activities and services are interdependent, interrelated and direct towards maximization of the usefulness of the agricultural university library systems.
While disseminating the library and information services to the user community the agriculture university library is able to fulfill its aims and objectives with regards to the promotion of advanced learning and research. Extending the active library services by the university libraries to the user's community is a very fundamental factor in attaining the quality in university library service systems. It is an important function of the university library is to collect and preserve the information and then make the some accessible to the users. For effective utilization of the existing resources and services the user's needs some sought of user education. Unless we educate our users it is very difficult to reach them to a full extent, so we have to conduct user deputation programmes in regular intervals. As for as the present study is concern the users are feels satisfied with the users education programmes conducted by their respective agricultural university libraries. In spite of that the concern university library authorities have to take necessary steps to strengthen the user education preogrammes, so that users are feels more satisfied in accessing the required information in their respective libraries.
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