The Effect of Library Use Education as a Course on Library Patronage: A Case Study of LAUTECH Library, Ogbomoso, Nigeria
One of the fundamental laws of the library is that the resources-books and non-book must be well consulted. The librarian has to acquire and provide access to the information stocked in the libraries. The user is very important in the practice of librarianship; this is because library process revolves around the users. The user is very critical to the services of a library, hence the user of a library 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 utilized, such a library will end up a white elephant. It is worthy to note however that any attempt on the part of the library to ignore the satisfaction of its users will be done at the library’s peril.
The library provides library use education in order to equip a user with enough knowledge on the use of the library. This will enable the user to use the library resources effectively and efficiently. The reason is that library processes could be so complex that an average user may not easily comprehend how to utilize the 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:
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.
Ladoke Akintola University of Technology Library
The Ladoke Akintola University of Technology library was established in July 1990, as one of the academic departments in the university. Up to date, it has been performing its academic responsibilities to support learning, teaching and research. At inception, academic library staff or professional staffs were five (5) while both junior and senior staffs were fifteen (15) in number. All the staff always sat in a common and open room without reading tables, books and other library facilities. The library was later partitioned and equipped with eighty-two (82) seats in 1992.
The library today has witnessed lots of growth in term of size of building, library collection, library equipments and in staff capacity with the central library staff numbering fifty-four (54) and professional staff numbering fourteen (14) respectively.
From July, 1990 till January 1999, the University library occupied a small space in the building presently occupied by the University bookshop, but in February, 1999, the library was moved to the present and permanent site in the campus. The library presently can conveniently seated three thousands user at a time.
The library opening hours are as follows:
Monday to Friday– 8am – 6pm
Saturday 9am – 2pm
This opening hours is applicable to library operations during the semester and as well as in the vacation period.
Objectives of the Study
The broad objective of this study is to appraise the effect of library use education as a compulsory University course on the library patronage.
The specific objectives of the study are to:
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 the 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 Arthur, young. (1974) that library instruction movement as we know it today and the controversies which surround it came to maturity in 1960s.
Categories of Library Use Education Programmes
There are various methods of imparting the skill on the use of a library. Aina (2004) asserted that it could be one-to-one sessions, library orientation/tours or classroom instruction. Speaking further on one-to-one sessions approach by Aina, he opined that the reference librarian takes a new user round the various sections of the library where the librarian will explain the activities that go on in the different sections of the library without necessarily distracting the staff of the various sections. During the session, the user is exposed to the basic services of a library, e.g. how to use the catalogue to search for documents of interest, location of shelves holding books on subject of interest and arrangement of books on the shelves e.t.c. Akande (2002) explained that library orientation involves taking fresh undergraduates on a guided tour of the library. Citing University of Ibadan as a case study, the authors explained that the programme normally last for 3 – 4 days and it features events like Talk, Exhibition, Demonstration and Guided Tour. An important aspect of the programme is the Talk which is always given by the University Librarian or his representative. The third category is the class instruction. It is a formal instruction for library users. In some academic institutions, it is a non credit learning course as the case of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology Ogbomoso, while for others it is a credit-earning course as the case with University of Lagos library. Ojo (1994).
Information Goals of the Academics Library
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:
Overview of Library Use Education Programme in LAUTECH Library
The use of library by students in tertiary institutions is very paramount to academic performance because library is the heart of academic excellence. User education programme in the academic setting is a useful approach to guide all users of the library the way to use library resources. History was made in Ladoke Akintola University of Technology during 1998/99 Harmattan semester when the curriculum on the use of library was approved by the senate. This brought about the introduction of the course ‘termed’ library 101 (Use of library which started in 1999 by the library Academic/professional staff. (Adio and Ajala, ed. 2006)
As at the time of introduction of the course ‘Library 101’, it was a unit credit course, which was later changed to zero unit course in the year 2001. Though, a zero unit course, it is a compulsory course that all undergraduate fresh students must pass before their graduation from the institution. It was the attitudes of the user to the use of library materials that led to the introduction of the course as a University requirement to the situation of misuse, mishandling and general abuse of library materials. The contents are divided into five main chapters. Definition, registration and regulation guiding the library; library information guides; Information Technologies (computers) in libraries; library cataloguing and classification. All these topics give significant correlation to one another, though written separately.
At the onset, the guide prepare for the student was a pamphlet of about ten pages. It is to be noted however that the material used as a course guide in teaching this course has improved tremendously into a book form called ‘library use manual’ with the latest edition i.e. 2006 edition containing 93 pages respectively.
The instrument used for this study was questionnaire. The questionnaire was designed to obtain information on the profile of the respondents, relevance of user education, the extent of student’s utilization of library resources, the level of user/staff interaction in the library and the student’s assessment of the course ‘Library 101’. The use of statistical method of analysis, - Chi-Square, ANOVA, Regression Model Summary, Descriptive Statistics among others were adopted for the analysis of this study.
Data Analysis and Discussion
This is the analysis of data based on the responses received from the respondents through the use of questionnaires. The result shows that there is a need to enhance the effectiveness of Library 101 as a course of study. Below is a comprehensive analysis of the data of the findings consisting tables, raw figures and simple percentages.
Table1: Percentage distribution of the respondents’ access to the library before their admission.
Table1: reveals the library experience of the respondents before they were admitted into the University. 62 respondents that represented 25.5% of the respondents revealed that they had used library before they got admitted into the University. The study showed that 153 (63%) respondents had never been to the library before, while 28 (11.5%) respondents were not sure if 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 was in line with the view of Busayo (2003) that majority of the students in the Nigerian tertiary institutions do not have access to the library before their being admitted into the University. This could account for why students do not take the use of library serious. The result of this finding should also challenge the handlers of library use education to work harder, and stop assuming that the students understand all they are teaching them.
Table 2: Shows the relevance of ‘Library 101’ the use of library
Table 2: 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%) indicated 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. The above result thus established the stance of Bello (2003) and Osagie (2003) that the use of library as a course is helpful to the student academic work and class assignment.
Discussion of Research Questions
Attempt at empirical investigation requests postulation of research questions, which can be translated into hypothesis and verified for sound scientific claim. For this study attempts are made at answering research questions posed at the onset of this study.
RESEARCH QUESTION 1
Research question 1 states that; what is the relevance of library use education as a course to library patronage by the undergraduates?
Table 3.1: Regression Model Summary
a. Predictors: (Constant), WHAT IS YOUR PERCEPTION OF THE NEED FOR THE LIBRARY 101? HOW WOULD YOU RATE THE RELEVANCE OF LIBRARY 101?
Table 3.2: ANOVAb
a. Predictors: (Constant), WHAT IS YOUR PERCEPTION OF THE NEED FOR THE LIBRARY 101? HOW WOULD YOU RATE THE RELEVANCE OF LIBRARY 101?
b. Dependent Variable: Use of Library Resources and Services
Table 3.1 above is the regression model summary of the test for validity of research question one. The dependent variable is utilization of library resources, while the predictors (independent variables) are what is your perception of the need for the Library 101 and rate of relevance of Library 101. The regression result gives coefficient of multiple correlation (R) to be 0.242 while coefficient of multiple determination (R2) 0.058. The R2 shows that there is joint effect of relevance of library 101 and perception of the need for the library 101 on utilization of library resources. This is because if R2 is multiplied by 100, i.e.(0.058 x 100) it therefore implies that the predictors contribute 5.8% to the utilization of library resources. The ANOVA result from the table above F (7.449) shows the significant level of the above result. The F is significant at 0.001% which is <0.005 critical limit. This implies that the result is significant. However the contribution is minimal which implies that there are other factors that may account for utilization of library resources or the students rarely make use of the library resources.
Research Question 2.
Research question 2; To what extent do the students utilize the resources available in the library? Chi-square (X2) was used to test the validity of research question 2.
Table 3.3: The extent of utilization of library resources.
Research question 2 attempts at looking at variation in students’ utilization 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, newspapers, dictionaries etc, they use not others which included bibliographies, gazettes, thesis and dissertations etc. The reason why some materials are not consulted in the library as expressed by the respondents was that most resources are not available in the library, while the few available ones are put under closed or restricted accessibility.
Research Question 3
Research question 3; What is the level of user and staff interaction in the library?
Table 3.4: User/Staff Interaction
University students are not expected to rely on library staff if actually they’ve grasped the rudiments and techniques involved in library use, which is part of Library 101 curriculum. Table 3.4 above shows both cross tabulation of data on staff/user interaction and chi-square result of the analysis. The result shows that there is no significant interaction as regards the locations of library resources. 76.5% of respondents stated that they are not always in need of library staff to locate materials in the library. The X2 tabulated or X2-critical of 16.9 is greater than X2 calculated of 16.419 at 0.059 significant levels, which shows that there is no relationship between user/staff as regard locating library resources. This finding revealed that the users know how to locate the library resources in the library and that they only needed minimum assistance from the library staff. The above result was contrary to the findings of Ajala (1997) that users of the academic library always rely on the library staff to locate the resources in the library.
Research Question 4
Research question 4; What is the student’s assessment of the method and content of instruction manual for library use? This question is aimed at discovering the necessity of upgrading the manual or maintains the status quo.
Table 3.5: DESCRIPTIVE STATISTICS SHOWING THE ASSESSMENT OF THE COURSE
Table 3.5 shows respondents assessment of Library 101. The course consists seven sections. Instructions on user’s guidance in section 1, shows that 76.1% of respondents see the instruction as being useful, while the rest do not see the usefulness or are undecided. For lectures on library rules and regulations, about 81.8% of the students assessed the course to be useful, while the rest do not see its usefulness. The respondents also revealed that the explanations on how to access information in the library is useful, about 71.6% of the respondents attested to this. The same is applicable to all other sections with the exception of instructions on information technology (computers) in the library, which only 47.4% respondents revealed that they utilize. In other words, average students do not see reasons for instructions on information technology probably because they might have been computer literate before they were admitted into the University or that they do not understand the concept really.
It was asserted that if students really access the course as useful, it should reflect in the level of usage of IT search tool in the library and method of locating books and journals. Therefore the practical aspect of the Library 101 is hereby suggested in order for the computer (IT use) aspect of the library instruction to be made more meaningful and result oriented to the students. Also, problem of limited accessibility discovered on the utilization of library resources will be out of the way.
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 further analyzed by using regression model. The regression model result shows that methods of locating books/journals 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 students assessment of the course is weak. The above finding corroborated the view of Opaleke (1998) that much has not been achieved in the realization of the objectives of user education in academic libraries. The analysis in this section so far has shown that though Library 101 as a course is useful to undergraduate students. A closer attention by the management will be required to enhance the effectiveness of the programme.
Conclusion and Recommendations
A thorough appraisal of the library use education as a course in this study revealed that though the students make use of the library to support their learning and research work, the impact of the course is not well felt on the utilizations of the resources in the library. The problem of lack of early accessibility to the library by the students from their early school life in primary and secondary school levels accounted for why the attitudes of the students to the library 101 is not encouraging. This was reflected in how the respondents visit the library where the larger percentages of the library users visits the library once a week and during the examination time only.
This study also revealed that the course library 101 is very relevant to their course of study but the output therein from the study showed that the resources and services of the library does not create any impact to the course of their study. For example the use of information technology in the library were not used by the students for lack of skill and so needed to be improved upon.
The result of the findings from the research questions affirmed it that several library resources that ought to have been very useful to the students academic work are either not available in the library or that they are under restricted accessibility. It was also discovered that there is minimum interaction between the staff and the users of the library, which implies that the user could locate the library resources themselves.
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 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) Practical aspect of the user education should be introduced to enhance what is being taught theoretically.
(3) For the library use education to be taken seriously by the users of the library, its status must change from zero unit which it is presently in some Nigerian Universities to at least two or three unit course.
(4) As was the case of other course of study in the University, it is recommended that the course Library 101 from henceforth be taught on either faculty or departmental level, if the lecture room is not crowdy, the retention and assimilation level of the student will be high.
(5) Instruction on Information Technology (computer) in the library should be improved upon.
(6) 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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