Library Philosophy and Practice 2011
Library Use Education as a Correlate of Use of Library Resources in a Nigerian University
The user is very important in the practice of librarianship; library processes revolve around the users. Users must be constantly asked to assess the services and resources provided, as this will help the library to improve upon its services. No matter how large the stock of a library is, if the services and its resources are not fully used, such a library will be a white elephant. Ignoring user satisfaction is done at the library’s peril.
The library provides library use education to equip users with knowledge. This will enable the user to use the library resources effectively and efficiently. Library processes may be so complex that the average user may not easily comprehend how to use available resources. As a result of the era of information explosion in which we are, information is expanding at a very fast rate and new resources are being introduced into the library (Aina, 2004). With the advent of Information Technology (IT), which has permeated almost all the activities of libraries, it is important to explain the working of a library to a new user in detail. The ultimate objective is to enable users exploit the resources of a library to the fullest. Fjallbrant (1990) defines the concept thus: “The teaching of those skills that will enable students to locate and use materials effectively, and feel confident in using the library. Also, its aim is to acquaint users with the use of materials in the libraries. Similarly, Fleming (1990) defined library use education “as various programmes of instruction, education and exploration provided by libraries to users to enable them to make effective, efficient and independent use of information sources and services to which these libraries provide access”
Bello (2003) corroborated the view of Fjallbrant, by stating that library use education is a device by the librarians to educate users on how to use the resources available in the library in a result oriented ways. Thus it is concerned with information retrieval, since the objectives of the library use education according to Osagie (2003) are as follows:
(1) to enable users to know how to use the library catalogues independently in any library with particular references to the Author/Title and subject catalogues.
(2) to enable users to understand the classification schemes in any library so as to be able to locate materials (books, journals, audio visual materials etc) with little or no problem;
(3) to be able to see library catalogues as indexes to the entire collection and use them as such, and
(4) to enable the users to see the library as a repository of knowledge that determines the success of the students academic programme because it is not possible for an individual to have the collection of a library.
Over the years, there have been various terms referring to teaching effective use of the library and its resources. These terms include “library use education” “reader instruction”, “user instruction” “library orientation”, and “library user education”. All these terms refer to organized programmes practiced across various types of libraries to enable library user to acquire skills to allow them to use the library resources effectively (Lwehabura, 1999).
The instruction in the library use has roots as far back as library profession itself. The origin of library user education can be traced back more than 170 years ago. The earliest evidence of instruction was seen in a librarian lecturing to undergraduates was found at Harvard College in the 1820s. It was reported that most academic librarians were professors with part-time library appointments who taught the use of library for academic purposes. It was in early 1900s that William Warner Bishop and William Fredrick Pole espoused the concept of library instruction that are still valid today, with the aim of making students independent learners and to clarify the role of the library in the University. In 1905, William Harper observed that “the equipment of the library will never be finished until it has upon its staff men and women whose sole work shall be, not the care of books, not the cataloguing of books but giving instruction in their use”. Adio, (2006) stated that the history of development of user education is not recent and that it has been traced to 1960s, particularly the use of academic libraries. This was in line with the view of Akande (2002) that library instruction movement as we know it today and the controversies which surround it came to maturity in 1960s.
There are goals and objectives for library use education in any type of library. Fjallbrant and Stevenson (1978) described the goals and objectives of user education in academic libraries as follows; “ The goals and objectives for programmes of University library user education must be in agreement with the general aim of the library, the aims which must in turn, be related to the goals and aims of higher education”.
Among the information goals of university libraries as stated by Adio (2006) are:
Libraries are places where information services are rendered to users. Catering for the needs of users, in the context of the libraries, ideally means the provision of physical and bibliographic access to information sources (Oyewumi, 2006). There are different services and facilities offered to clientele by libraries in order that the quest of the prospective users might be met. Since personal assistance to readers is the centre of these services, it appears in different forms. The services provided by the libraries can be grouped into three main categories. These are:
(a) The provisions of materials to use:- This includes selection of materials, acquisition, processing, organization of materials and the placements of these materials on the shelves for use. All the activities under this category is called “behind the scene services” in librarianship;
(b) Making materials available to users is the other category of services rendered by the library. This is usually carried out under the reader services where the library makes available all the processed materials to the intending users through the activities of the circulation units of the library;
(c) The reference services is the third category of services provided by the library. Materials kept under the reference section of the library are consulted only when one wants some particular information. This section provides reference materials such as dictionaries, Encyclopedias, Directories, gazettes, Handbooks and some other bibliographic materials.
In summary, reference materials aid users in their pursuit for quick, ready made and factual information needs.
Other information services provided by academic libraries across the globe includes the following:
Lending Services: Staffs at the circulation desk are responsible for charging / discharging of textbooks to users. It is perhaps the most important services provided by a library. In borrowing library materials, however, certain processes must be followed. It is only the registered user of the library that can pick books/other library materials from the open shelves in the collection area, such a book must be taken to the circulation desk for proper processing and recording by the staff on duty. This enable the librarian/staff to know who loan an item out of the library and how long it has been out. At Ladoke Akintola University of Technology library, a student can take out a book just over the weekend while members of staff are accessible to two books for a maximum of two weeks.
Inter-Library Lending Services: There is no library in the world that can boast of having all library materials-books and non-books it patrons needs. No matter how large or big is the stock of a library; there would still be a lack in certain areas (Olajide and Yusuf, 2003). To be able to satisfactorily meet users demands, libraries within the same geographical location could agree to share their resources. This is called inter-library lending.
Referral Services: There are situations in which a reader might be directed to another library or to an alternative source of information such as research institutes like IITA library Ibadan, individual specialists e.g. Chief Afe Babalola’s Chamber library or Professional Organizations that can meet the requirement of a reader. Readers are advised to collect a letter of introduction to take to the library where they are directed to from the reference librarian. This service is called referral service.
It is to be noted however that there are other information services provided by the academic librarians, these includes reservation services which provide avenue for the users to make use of some books or any other library materials for in-house use only. Others includes Current Awareness Services, Selective Dissemination of Information Service (SDI), translation services, photocopying services and lastly library instruction service which is the main focus of this project work.
Library resources are those materials which enable libraries to carry out their functions effectively. They are made up of books and other information bearing media. Library resources can be divided into groups according to their functions and level of scholarship or according to their different formats. In academic libraries, especially university libraries, for example, the resource, fall into two major categories according to the level of scholarship and their functions. These include study/teaching materials and research materials. (Fayose, 2000).
Study/Teaching materials are the resources required by students for their study. They consists of recommended textbooks, books to support class texts, journals, past examination papers, reference books, monograph, etc. while the research materials are used by higher degree students and lecturers. These are made up of periodicals, documents of different kinds, treaties, manuscripts, pamphlets, government publications, conference proceedings and papers etc. (Fayose, 1995).
Resources in the library can also be grouped according to formats. The main formats includes:
Printed library materials/resources are made up of all items that are printed on paper through moveable type. This consists of books, periodicals, government publications, graphics and other illustrative materials such as maps and atlases. Books may be written by one or several authors and may come in a single volume or in multiple volumes. Periodicals/serials come at regular or irregular intervals and are meant to continue indefinitely. They are characterized with distinct titles and several authors or contributors contributing to each issue. Other printed materials include judicial publications, indexes and abstracts, legislative publications, Ephemerals etc.
Non-printed materials or media are often referred to as audio visual resources. They are the product of advanced Technology, some of which require special equipment to operate. Non printed media can grouped into three.
(a) Audio:- This has to do with learning. They are sound recordings produced on magnetic tapes. Only the auditory senses are required for their appreciation. Examples are Mp3, CD audio, etc.
(b) Visual- This appeals to the eyes. Materials in this group include photographic, three dimensional objects, painting and other information bearing resources that the eye can focus on and abstract information.
(c) Audio-Visual- These combine both the auditory and the visual. Sound, film, and slides, video tapes, video cassettes, video compact disk (VCD) etc.
Other non-print resources in the library include microforms which can be sub-divided into microfilm, microfiche and micro card. (Harrison, et al, 1981).
Electronic Resources: In this age of information technology (IT) as it is fondly called, libraries in both developed and the developing countries are characterized with the provision of resources to their teeming users on-lines. Oduwole, Oyewumi, and Oyesiku, (2002) opined that electronic services are characterized by state of the art computer equipment which are fast at processing and retrieving information and relatively cheap to maintained. A survey of information technology application in Nigerian University libraries carried out by Idowu and Mabawonku. (1999), show that the electronic mail and CD-Rom database are widely used by academics and researchers. The massive storage capacity of CD-Rom databases has enable libraries to access instantly, easily and conveniently a substantial amount of relatively current and retrospective information at a fixed of predictable cost. As a result of introduction of the use of CD-ROM databases, libraries have reported an increase in the use of journal collections, inter-library loan services, and microfiche collection as reported by Salanje, (1995).
Fidzani, (1995) stated that the use of on-line public access catalogue (OPAC) and internets source had become a major electronic sources used by libraries especially in Southern Africa.
Students in Nigerian tertiary institutions are introduced to the use of library in one form or the other, in order that the users might know what to consult in their quest for information. Today, most students in higher institute of learning finds it difficult to explore the world of information sources thus leading to poor appreciation of the library and its resources, which contributed to their inability to undergo meaningful researches or at best become poor library users. It is believed that a concerted effort to know and understand library more will eventually enable the individual to develop his/her self to the fullest potentials. This becomes very important as it will enable man to contribute effectively and positively to the development of the society at large.
To this ends, the study is expected to identify the effects which library use education is having on students’ use of various section of the library and the resources thereof. This study also sought to know how materials in the library are handled by the students of the affected institution in order that the life span of those materials could be elongated and preserved for the use of generations, this becomes a very critical focus for us as a result of the problems of under-funding that has confronted the libraries over the years. This study also proposed to know how the knowledge derived from the library use education has enhanced the good interpersonal relationship that is expected to exist between the students (user of the library) and the library personnel-(professional and non professional staff).
With the advent of Information Technology (IT), the study is aimed at knowing how easier the students can access information on-line as a result of the knowledge derived from the library use education received and how the library could improve on its resources and services.
Population of the study
This study was carried out at the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso, Oyo State. The population of this study was drawn from the Faculty of Environmental Sciences, which comprises Departments of Architecture, Fine and Applied Art and Urban and Regional Planning respectively.
Shows the population and sample size of the study
The population of the study excluded both 100 and 200 level students because at 100 level, students are just introduced to the Use of Library and they might not have adequate knowledge of what was under study. In the case of 200 level students, LAUTECH policy considers them as eligible users of Library materials only in the second semester at the level but they can borrow the materials for use. Consequently, they were considered as inappropriate for this study and so exempted. So the need for the 300 level and above to take part in the study is obvious because they are mature to use library resources.
Sample and Sampling Procedure
The random sampling was used in selecting the population of the study. Table 1 above shows the determination of the sample size for this study. 50% of the total population was sampled. The use of well-structured questionnaire was adopted. A random sampling of two hundred and eighty-two undergraduates was carried out during the study.
The instrument used for the study was questionnaire which was developed by the researcher. The questionnaire was used to collect the data necessary for the study. The questionnaire was designed to obtain information on the profile of the respondents, relevance of user education, the extent of student’s use of library resources, the level of user/staff interaction in the library and the student’s assessment of the course ‘Library 101’.
The data collected in this study was through the use of questionnaire that was designed for the purpose. It was administered on the respondents by the researchers personally. A direct observation was also employed to aid the data collected through questionnaire.
The response rate was very encouraging. Two hundreds and eighty-two (282) questionnaires were administered, out of which two hundreds and forty-three (243) were returned. The response rate was 86% percent of the total sample.
Method of Data Analysis
The data collected was analysed using SPSS package, i.e. Statistical Package for Social Sciences. Specifically regression model, cross tabulation and Pearson chi-square was used to test the research questions postulated for this research. Frequencies and percentages including other descriptive method were employed in presenting the result for this study in a systematic way.
Presentation of Results and Discussion
Table 2.1: Gender
The above table 2.1 shows that 169 respondents which represent 69.5% of the total sampled were male, while 74 respondents that represent 30.5% of the responses received are female. The implication of this result is that greater numbers of library users (undergraduates) in LAUTECH are male when compared with their female counterpart.
Table 2.2: The level of use of the respondent
Table 2.2 reveals that out of the sampled population, 82 respondents were 300 level students, while 107 respondents, which represent 44.0%, were 400 level students. 54 of the sampled population belong to 500 level students of the institution. This implies that 400 level students use the library than the other two levels (300 and 500) considered in this study.
Table 2.3: Percentage distribution of the respondents’ access to the library before their admission.
Table 2.3 reveals the library experience of the respondents before they were admitted into the University. 62 respondents that represented 25.5% of the sampled population attested to it that they had use library before they got admitted into the University. 153 respondents, which represented 63% of the sampled population said, they have never been to the library before, while 28 respondents which represented 11.5% of the sampled population are not sure either they had used library before or not.
The finding above showed that greater percentages of the students in the higher institution are just being introduced to the library for the first time. This could account for why students do not take the use of library serious. The result of this finding should also challenge the handler of library use education to work harder, and stop assuming that the students understand all they are teaching them.
Table 2.4: Percentage distribution of how often the respondents visit the Library
As indicated in table 2.4 above, 47 respondents affirmed to the fact that they visit library daily and they represented 19.3%of the sampled population. 63 respondents which represented 25.9% go to the library once a week. 12 respondents that represented 4.9% enter library once in a month. Only 4 respondents represented 1.6% of the sampled population visit the library once in a semester, while 2 respondents that represented 0.8% enter the library once in a session. Those who visit the library on a rare occasion are 58 and they represented 23.9% of the sampled population while those who chose others: which includes during examination period or when looking for a friend in the library are 57 respondents, they represented 23.5% of the sampled population.
The implication of the above finding is those students don’t go to library as expected. This investigation showed that students go to the library only when they are in the examination period, this is not supposed to be when we consider huge amount of money expended on the procurement of library facilities and resources. This also shows why the performance of student academically today is retrogressing because students no longer go to the library again. Only few go to the library to read, while some of those who even go to the library are there either to see a friend or to discuss issues.
Table 2.5: Relevance of Library 101
Table 2.5 above shows the respondents perception to the relevance of the ‘library 101’. 159 (65.5%) opined that library 101 is relevant to them. 56 (23.0%) considered the course to be slightly relevant, while 28 (11.6%) are saying that library 101 is either not relevant or not sure of its relevancy. The result above shows that library 101 is relevant to the respondents’ course of study.
Research Question 1
Research question 1 To what extent do the students use the resources available in the library? Chi-square (X2) was used to test the validity of research question 1.
Table 3.1: The extent of use of library resources.
Research question 1 attempts at looking at students’ use of the resources available in the library. Chi-square result above shows that student’s use of library resources varies significantly. The X2-critical value of 43.7 was less than the X2 calculated value of 1198.252 at the 0.005 significant levels. This implies that while students use some resources, like books, newspaper, dictionaries etc., they don’t use others which included bibliographies, gazettes, thesis and dissertations etc. The reason why some materials are not consulted in the library, while the few available ones are put under closed or restricted accessibility.
Table 3.2 Use of Library Resources
The result of the above table 3.2 (which is a cross tabulation of use of library resources) revealed that of all the library resources examined, books were the most widely consulted. 89.3% of the sampled population used books, this is contrary to the finding of Ajala (1997) which saw journals as the most consulted library information resources. Average of the population sampled used Encyclopedias and Dictionaries with 47.8% and 52.3% respectively. Almost every other resources examined revealed that they were not being used by the students except Newspaper which recorded result of use on the average level of 56.4%. This result shows glaringly why most undergraduate perform low in the writing of meaningful research. Thesis, Dissertation, Abstract and Indexes recorded a very low percentages of use with the following percentages: 20.1%, 16.4%, 24.7%, and 24.2% respectively. The findings was in line with the stance of Ajala (1997) where information resources like Thesis, Dissertations, Abstracts and Indexes were not maximally used by the University of Ibadan post-graduate students.
Table 3.3 Perception of Usefulness of Library Resource
Table 3.3 which is cross tabulation of the perceived services provided in the library and their benefits shows 67.9% of the respondents agreed that Reference Services are of immense benefit to them, 19.3% disagreed with this stand and 22.6% of the respondents were undecided. Library Instruction Services and Reservation Services were also perceived to have benefit to the respondents with 62.1% and 51.0% respectively. The result also showed that others services examined were perceived not to have high benefit to the respondents. The perception of students on inter-library loan showed that 64.2% does not perceived the benefit of this service to their study. This finding affirmed the earlier finding of Osagie (2003).
Table 3.4: Use of IT Search Tools
From table 3.4, it is obvious that very few students make use of IT tools in the library. Only 13.2% respondents’ use CD-ROM, 7.5% use OPACs, 30.4% use internet, 8.7% use facsimile transmission (fax), 11.1% uses electronic mail, while 0.4% uses others which are not specified. This may probably be due to inability of the students to have access to IT tools or they are not readily available.
Table 3.5: Regression Model Summary
a. Predictors: (Constant), METHOD OF LOCATING BOOKS/JOURNALS
Table 3.6: ANOVAb
a. Predictors: (Constant), METHOD OF LOCATING BOOKS/JOURNALS
b. Dependent Variable: ASSESSMENT OF THE COURSE
The analysis on the assessment of the course was taken further by using regression model. The regression model result shows that methods of locating books/journal contribute significantly to respondents’ assessment of the course. The coefficient of multiple correlations (R) is 0.306 while coefficient of multiple determinations (R2) is 0.94, which implies that methods of locating books/journal can explain 9.4% of the assessment of the library 101 by respondent if R2 is multiplied by 100. However this shows that the student assessment of the course is weak. Our analysis so far has shown that though library 101 is useful as a course to undergraduate students but effectiveness of the course needed to be enhanced.
This section summarizes and concludes the major finding of the appraisal of the effect of library 101 as a course of study on the library patronage by the undergraduates of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso. It also gave some recommendations. It was discovered from the finding that although the students are introduced to the use of library to enable them to make a meaningful research that will benefit not only Nigeria as a country but the whole Universe, it effect on the student is very minimal. Good number of respondents affirmed that library use education is relevant to their course of study, and their perception for the need for library use education is equally high, yet the result showed that few library resources are being consulted by the students. There is also need for the contents of the library use education to be reviewed.
The assessment of the use of library instructional manual by the students showed that it was useful, while the result of Information Technology (Computer) search tools used by the students negates the usefulness of the library 101 as a course of study to the student, therefore the way the course was being handed by both students and the instructors of the course should be improved upon greatly.
Based on the findings of this result, the following recommendations are hereby suggested for the improvement of user education in academic libraries in Nigeria:
(1) Government should formulate a workable policy that will see to it that students
are introduced to the use of library right from the Nursery and Primary and Secondary school levels. If students have been introduced to library use education from the Nursery School level, the knowledge of the library and its resources would have been part of them before they get to Tertiary education level.
(2) Adequate accessibility should be given to students in order for them to consult reference resources in the library. On the other hand, controlled accessibility should be provided in case of library resources that are not available so as to preserve the little one available in the library.
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