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Library Philosophy and Practice 2011

ISSN 1522-0222

Physical Facilities as Determinants of Undergraduate Students' Use of Federal University Libraries in Nigeria

Georgina Uchey Oyedum
I.B.B. Library
Federal University of Technology, Minna, Nigeria

Introduction

University libraries are those academic libraries established in the university environment to promote research, teaching and learning activities in the parent institutions. In other words, a university library is understood by everybody as a house of knowledge established in various universities where students are expected to visit and effectively make use of the resources to satisfy their information needs. For effective use of university libraries to be achieved, they should not only provide and preserve information materials for all categories of users but should endeavour to keep the reading environment inviting and attractive. Thus, the environmental factors such as good ventilation, noise-free reading areas and physical facilities such as furniture and lighting / illumination are necessary for adequate use of university libraries to be achieved.

Physical facilities as one of the environmental factors could influence the students' use of library. Students, for instance, who use the library resources in carrying out some research work or doing any type of class assignment such as writing of projects, term papers, seminar and workshop papers, and other practical assignments will be encouraged to do so if the physical facilities of the library are adequate. In other words, university libraries are expected to provide conducive reading chairs and tables as well as bright lighting system in order to encourage and enhance learning and research.

In Nigeria, some studies have revealed that the environmental factors like physical facilities in some federal university libraries are inadequate for effective learning. Nock (1998) observed in a similar study that about 53.17% of the respondents indicated that the reading areas of the library are inadequate while 46.33% of them disagreed with the statement. Similarly, Oyedum (2006) indicated that 81.4% of the respondents are dissatisfied with the reading areas of their university library, while 18.6% of them are satisfied with the reading areas of the library.

Furthermore, Oyedum (2006) revealed that 16.4% of the respondents indicated that the library seats are good for reading, while 83.6% of them indicated that the library seats are poor. Her study equally revealed that 21.4% of the respondents indicated that the library is bright for reading, while 78.6% of the respondents stated that the library is not bright for reading. Thus, the inadequacies of the physical facilities revealed in these studies negatively influence the use of the university libraries. Nock (1998), in a similar study reported that 65.77% of the respondents indicated that generally, the library is not comfortable for reading as against 34.23% that indicated that the library is comfortable for reading.

There is no doubt that inadequate number of physical facilities such as reading chairs and tables as well as lighting system could result in low level of use of the Nigerian university libraries by the undergraduate students. Therefore, the findings revealed on few Nigerian university libraries prompted the researcher to investigate more number of Nigerian university libraries in order to identify the effect of the physical facilities on undergraduate students' use of university libraries in Nigeria. In order words, in view of user's requirement for provision of conducive reading environments in university libraries in order to enhance learning and research in universities, it is therefore necessary to investigate the extent to which physical facilities influence the use of the university libraries by the undergraduate students in federal university libraries in Nigeria.

Literature Review

McVey (1971) as cited by Nock (1998) argued that the learning conditions such as light, temperature and sound if not properly incorporated into the school design may negatively affect human beings and deter learning. Therefore, according to Nock (1998) the learning environment must have a good lighting, temperature and humidity control necessary for the comfort of the users. Similarly, Lushington (1980) (in Nock, 1998) emphasized that:

"a welcoming staff, comfortable seat and place to talk, to meet people and enjoy a snack, colourful, well lighted displays that suggest what to read, look at, or listen to, control of sound, lighting that encourages behaviours suitable to a variety of activities, books that look attractive, and machines for use with other media that work, all enhance learning and even make it more enjoyable."

In the same vein, Metcalf (1970) (in Nock, 1998) observed that most readers come to academic libraries primarily to read and study, and expect a reasonable amount of visual and acoustics privacy. Harvey (1993) expressed that; enough and appropriate furniture and equipment should be provided to ensure that handling of library materials is as easily and comfortably carried out as possible. Also important are other furniture such as bookstands or lecterns to support rare books, large or sloping tables for large bound volumes and adequate lighting in reading rooms.

Pierce (1980) further revealed that, "it is important that study chairs be large enough for the comfort of today's users, many of whom are larger than their parents." Studies have shown that library users in study chairs shift their positions to some degree with great frequency. A chair that is large enough or that has design elements that encourage shifts in position will be more comfortable to users than a chair which does not permit many variations in seating posture. Arms on a study chair provide additional support elements that encourage position changes. Nearly everyone will find the support arms helpful in sitting, reading, or writing comfortably, even though it has its own drawbacks (Pierce, 1980). He equally pointed out that chairs of metals and plastics in various combinations of these two and other materials are presented for use as library study chairs. A few are of good quality and quite suitable for the purpose, while others are not at all satisfactory. Wood library study chairs according to Pierce (1980) are often specially designed for use in libraries and meet their needs very well. Most metal/plastic chairs are designed for mass production for other purposes and are not really suited for use as library study chairs.

Furthermore, adequate illumination for libraries according to Idachaba (1998) could be derived from two sources: power (electricity) and natural light (energy). Without adequate lighting, library cannot perform its functions- particularly when it opens into the night as in university libraries. It is good to consider the quality, intensity and cost for installing it and its constant future maintenance from the on-set. Fluorescents are more costly, last long and produce bright illumination. On the other hand, bulbs produce incandescent lighting and costly to maintain.

Apart from electricity, positioning of the library building so that sun- light can get as far inside the building as possible for most part of the day is equally important. This is particularly relevant because according to Idachaba (1998) in places like Nigeria, for example, light supply is so erratic that for a whole day, week, or even months there may not be light supply in an area. The only way to circumvent this, he maintained, is for the library to have a stand-by generator. Many do so, but its maintenance and running-cost give a cause to worry about. From the foregoing, it can be deduced that physical facilities can affect learning and an effort to always improve the level of physical facilities in every university library is necessary.

Objectives

The objectives of the study are to:

  • investigate the level of adequacy of physical facilities and the extent they influence the undergraduate students' use of federal university libraries in Nigeria and
  • identify ways of improving the level of physical facilities in federal university libraries in Nigeria.

Research Questions

The following research questions were answered in the study:

  • What is the effect of physical facilities on undergraduate students' use of federal university libraries in Nigeria?
  • What could be done to improve the level of physical facilities in federal university libraries in Nigeria?

Methodology

Descriptive survey research was adopted to collect data for the study. Purposive sampling technique was adopted to select the universities to be studied. The universities were stratified according to the period they were established. Thus, there are the first generation universities (established between 1948 and 1969), second generation universities (established between 1990s and 1979) and third generation universities (established between 1980s to date). Two universities were selected from each generation of universities for the study. Thus, six federal universities were selected for the study based on the first, second and third generation universities in Nigeria. These universities are University of Ibadan (UI), Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria (ABU) and University of Jos (UNIJOS). Others are University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID), University of Uyo (UNIUYO) and University of Abuja (UNIABUJA). Six faculties were selected for the study and two departments were selected from each of the faculties. These faculties include Arts, Education, Engineering, Law, Science and Social Science. Students were proportionately selected from the universities based on their areas of specialization and levels of study for adequate representation of the study population. The sample size for the six universities was: ABU- 199, UI -202, UNIJOS 342, UNIMAID-355, UNIUYO- 206 and UNIABUJA-149 giving a total of 1,453 respondents. Questionnaire, interview and observation were the instruments used to collect data for the study. Questions were asked to obtain information on the adequacy and effect of physical facilities to students' use of university libraries. The university librarians of the universities selected for the study were interviewed to find out the number of reading chairs and tables available in their libraries, the seating capacity of their libraries and whether they have any back-up for power supply as well as find out the level of illumination in their libraries. Observation technique was also adopted in the study in order to assess the level of physical facilities available in the university libraries studied.

Data Analysis and Discussion

In order to ascertain the level of physical facilities as well as to identify the extent the physical facilities in the university libraries influence the use of the libraries by the undergraduate students some statements were provided for the respondents to react to. The average of the frequency of SA(4) and A(3) options as well as that of D(2) and SD(1) options in each of the universities selected for the study were calculated and used to present the results. The results are presented in Tables I to VII

Table I: Undergraduates' responses on physical facilities in ABU

Statements

N

SA(4)

A(3)

Ave. of SA & A

D(2)

SD(1)

Ave.of D& SD

 

S.D.

The library chairs are adequate for reading because they are covered with foam.

199

72

(36. 2)

79

(39.7)

76

(38.0)

28

(14.1)

20

(10. 0)

24

(12..1)

1. 96

.94

The number of the library's reading chairs and tables are adequate for reading.

199

24

(12.1)

11

(5..5)

18

(8.8)

90

(45..2)

74

(37..2)

82

(41..2)

1.77

.86

The lighting system of the library is bright for reading.

199

12

(6.0)

51

(25.6)

32

(15.8)

72

(36.2)

64

(32.2)

68

(34..2)

2. 06

.90

The lighting system does not produce heat.

199

18

(9.1)

55

(27.6)

37

(18..4)

77

(38.7)

49

(24.6)

63

(31.7)

2. 22

.91

There is a library standby power supply system

199

55

(27.6)

63

(31.7)

59

(29. 7)

55

(27. 6)

26

(13.1)

41

(20.4)

2. 73

1.01

The reading chairs do not dirty users' dresses

199

9

(4.5)

29

(14.6)

19

(9. 6)

103

(51.8)

58

(29.1)

81

(40.5)

1. 94

.79

The reading chairs and tables are comfortable for reading purposes.

199

84

(42.2)

93

(46.7)

89

(44. 5)

15

(7.6)

7

(3.5)

11

(5..6)

1. 72

.75

The library is always well illuminated

199

16

(8.0)

97

(48.7)

57

(28.4)

66

(33.2)

20

(10.1)

43

(21.7)

2. 55

.78

Weighted mean

             

2. 11

 

Values in parentheses are percentages

The respondents of ABU were requested to indicate whether the library chairs are adequate for reading because they are covered with foam. To this, 76(38.0%) of the students agreed that the library's reading chairs are adequate for reading because they are covered with foam, while 24(12.1%) disagreed with the statement and this would positively affect the use of the university library by the undergraduate students. This is similar to Nock (1998) who revealed that 375 (66.23%) of the respondents maintained that the library seats are good as against 182 (33.66%) of them that indicated that the seats are poor.

The respondents were further requested to indicate whether the number of the library's reading chairs and tables are adequate for reading. Table I reveals that 18(8.8%) of the respondents agreed that the number of the library's reading chairs and tables are adequate for reading, while 82(41.2%) of them disagreed. From the findings majority of the respondents revealed that the number of the reading chairs and tables of ABU library are inadequate for reading and this no doubt would be discouraging the users from using the library.

The questionnaire also investigated to find out whether the lighting system of ABU library is bright for reading. Table I revealed that 32(15.8%) of the respondents agreed that the lighting system of the library is bright for reading, while 68(34.2%) did not agree with the statement. This would negatively affect the use of the library since majority of them disagreed with the statement. This is similar to Oyedum (2006) who revealed in her study that 150 (21.4%) of the respondents indicated that the library in general is bright for reading while 550 (78.6%) of them reported that it is not bright for reading.

On whether the lighting system of ABU library produces heat, 37(18.4%) of the respondents claimed that the lighting system does not produce heat, while 63(31.7%) of them indicated that it produces heat. The findings revealed that more of the respondents indicated that the lighting system of ABU library produces heat and this could affect the use of the library. In responding to the statement: there is a library standby power supply system, 59(29.7%) of them indicated that there is a library standby power supply system, while 41(20.4%) of them disagreed and this would be influencing the use of the library.

The data were further analyzed to know whether the reading chairs do not dirty users' dresses. Some 19(9.6%) of the students indicated that the library's reading chairs do not dirty users' dresses, while 81(40.5%) of them disagreed. This however, would always contribute to low level of use of the library. An attempt was further made to find out whether the reading chairs and tables are comfortable for reading purposes. To this, 89(44.5%) reported that the reading chairs and tables are comfortable for reading purposes, while 11(5.6%) of them disagreed. This would always affect the use of the library.

The respondents were equally requested to indicate whether ABU library is always well illuminated, 57(28.4%) of the respondents indicated that the library is always well illuminated, while 43(21.7%) of them did not agree with the statement and this would positively affect the use of the library.

Table II: Undergraduates' responses on physical facilities in UI

Statements

N

SA(4)

A(3)

Ave. of SA & A

D(2)

SD(1)

Ave. of D & SD

 

S.D.

The library chairs are adequate for reading because they are covered with foam.

202

14

(6..9)

147

(72. 8)

81

(39..9)

34

(16. 8)

7

(3..5)

21

(10..2)

1. 97

.61

The number of the library's reading chairs and tables are adequate for reading.

202

10

(5..0)

21 (10.4)

16

(7.7)

170

(84..2)

1

(0.5)

86

(42.4)

2.06

.41

The lighting system of the library is bright for reading.

202

1

(0.5)

53

(26.2)

27

(13..4)

140

(69.3)

8

(4.0)

74

(36.7)

2.23

.51

The lighting system does not produce heat.

202

2

(1.0)

14

(6.9)

8

(4..0)

145

(71.8)

41

(20.3)

93

(46.1)

1.88

.54

There is a library standby power supply system

202

58

(28..7)

121

(59..5)

90

(44. 3)

16

(7..9)

7

(3..5)

12

(5. 7)

1.86

.69

The reading chairs do not dirty users' dresses

202

4

(2.0)

12

(5.9)

8

(4. 0)

112

(55.4)

74

(36.6)

93

(46. 0)

1.73

.66

The reading chairs and tables are comfortable for reading purposes.

202

1

(0.5)

149

(73.8)

75

(37. 2)

45

(22.3)

7

(3.5)

26

(12. 9)

2.19

.48

The library is always well illuminated

202

2

(1.0)

170

(84.2)

86

(42. 6)

25

(12.4)

5

(2.5)

15

(7.5)

2.83

.45

Weighted mean

             

2.09

 

Values in parentheses are percentages

Analysis of the comment on whether the library reading chairs are adequate for reading because they are covered with foam, Table II revealed that, 81(39.9%) of UI undergraduate students indicated that the library chairs are adequate for reading because they are covered with foam, while 21(10.2%) of them disagreed with the statement. It is clear from the findings that majority of the respondents agreed with the statement, while few of them disagreed with it and this would positively affect the use of the university library by the undergraduate students. This finding corroborates that of Nock (1998).

"The number of library's reading chairs and tables are adequate for reading" is also one of the statements the students responded to in the study. Table II revealed that 16(7.7%) of the respondents agreed that the number of the library's reading chairs and tables are adequate for reading, while 86(42.4%) of them disagreed. From the findings majority of the respondents revealed that the number of the reading chairs and tables of UI library are inadequate for reading and this no doubt would be discouraging users from using the library.

The respondents were further requested to indicate whether the lighting system of UI library is bright for reading. Table II revealed that 27(13.4%) of them agreed that the lighting system of the library is bright for reading, while 74(36.7%) of them did not agree with the statement and this would negatively affect the use of the library. This finding corroborates that of Oyedum (2006). The questionnaire also investigated to find out whether the lighting system of UI library does not produce heat. Table II reveals that 8(4.0%) of the respondents claimed that the lighting system does not produce heat, while 93(46.1%) of them disagreed with the statement and this could affect the use of the library. The data were further analyzed to know whether there is a library standby power supply system in UI university library. Some 90(44.3%) of them indicated that there is a library standby power supply system, while 12(5.7%) of them disagreed and this would be influencing the use of the library.

An attempt was further made to find out whether the reading chairs do not dirty users' dresses. To this, 8(4.0%) of the students indicated that the library's reading chairs do not dirty user's dresses, while 93(46.0%) of them disagreed. This would always affect the use of the library. On whether the reading chairs and tables of UI library are comfortable for reading purposes, 75(37.2%) reported that the reading chairs and tables are comfortable for reading purposes, while 26(12.9%) disagreed and this could influence the use of the library. In responding to the statement: the library is always well illuminated revealed that, 86(42.6%) of the respondents indicated that the library is always well illuminated, while 15(7.5%) of them did not agree with the statement and this would positively affect the use of the library.

Table III: Undergraduates' responses on physical facilities in UNIJOS

Statements

N

SA(4)

A(3)

Ave.of SA & A

D(2)

SD(1)

Ave.of D & SD

 

S.D.

The library chairs are adequate for reading because they are covered with foam.

342

10

(2.9)

176

(51.5)

93

(27.2)

61

(17.8)

95

(27.8)

78

(22.8)

1.95

.75

The number of the library's reading chairs and tables are adequate for reading.

342

6

(1.8)

34

(9. 9)

20

(5..9)

197

(57.6)

105

(30. 7)

151

(44. 2)

1.82

.66

The lighting system of the library is bright for reading.

342

7

(2.0)

55

(16.1)

31

(9.05)

217

(63.5)

63

(18.4)

140

(41.0)

2.01

.65

The lighting system does not produce heat.

342

8

(2.3)

82

(24.0)

45

(13.2)

195

(57.0)

57

(16.7)

126

(36.9)

2.11

.69

There is a library standby power supply system

342

108

(31..6)

196

(57..3)

152

(44..5)

26

(7.6)

12

(3..5)

19

(5..6)

1.83

.71

The reading chairs do not dirty users' dresses

342

8

(2.3)

31

(9.1)

20

(5.7)

232

(67.8)

71

(20.8)

152

(44.3)

1.92

.62

The reading chairs and tables are comfortable for reading purposes.

342

29

(8..5)

226

(66.1)

128

(37.3)

77

(22..5)

10

(2..9)

44

(12..7)

1.91

.64

The library is always well illuminated

342

11

(3.2)

187

(54.7)

99

(29.0)

104

(30.4)

40

(11.7)

72

(21.1)

2.49

.74

Weighted mean

             

2.00

 

Values in parentheses are percentages

The respondents of UNIJOS were requested to indicate whether the library chairs are adequate for reading because they are covered with foam. To this, 93(27.2%) of UNIJOS undergraduate students indicated that the library chairs are adequate for reading because they are covered with foam, while 78(22.8%) disagreed with the statement. The findings would positively affect the use of the library. This finding corroborates that of Nock (1998).

Analysis of the comment on whether the number of the library's reading chairs and tables are adequate for reading revealed that 20(5.9%) of the respondents agreed that the number of the library's reading chairs and tables are adequate for reading, while151(44.2%) of them disagreed. Majority of the respondents admitted that the number of the library's reading chairs and tables are inadequate for reading and this no doubt would always discourage the students from using the library.

The question which sought to find out whether the lighting system of UNIJOS library is bright for reading revealed that 31(9.1%) of the respondents agreed that the lighting system of the library is bright for reading, while 140(41.0%) did not agree with the statement. This would negatively affect the use of the library. This finding corroborates that of Oyedum (2006). The questionnaire also investigated to know whether the lighting system does not produce heat. Table III revealed that 45 (13.2%) of the respondents claimed that the lighting system does not produce heat, while 126(36.9%) of them disagreed and this could affect the use of the library. The questionnaire further investigated to find out whether UNIJOS has a library standby power supply system. Table III showed that 152(44.5%) of the respondents indicated that there is a library standby power supply system, while19 (5.6%) of them disagreed and this would positively affect the use of the library.

An attempt was also made to find out whether the reading chairs do not dirty users' dresses. To this, 20(5.7%) of the students indicated that the library's reading chairs do not dirty users' dresses, while 152(44.3%) of them disagreed and this could affect the use of the library. On whether the reading chairs and tables are comfortable for reading purposes, 128(37.3%) of the respondents reported that the reading chairs and tables are comfortable for reading purposes, while 44(12.7%) of them disagreed. This would positively affect the use of the library.

The respondents were also requested to indicate whether the library is well illuminated. Table III showed that 99(29.0%) of the respondents indicated that the library is always well illuminated, while 72(21.1%) of them did not agree with the statement.

Table IV: Undergraduates' responses on physical facilities in UNIMAID

Statements

N

SA(4)

A(3)

Ave. of SA & A

D(2)

SD(1)

Ave. of D& SD

 

S.D.

The library chairs are adequate for reading because they are covered with foam.

355

55

(15.5)

200

(56.3)

128

(35..9)

93

(26.2)

7

(2.0)

50

(14.1)

1.97

.70

The number of the library's reading chairs and tables are adequate for reading.

355

9

(2. 5)

37

(10.4)

23

(6. 5)

223

(62.8)

86

(24. 2)

155

(43..5)

1.91

.66

The lighting system of the library is bright for reading.

355

14

(3.9)

26

(7.3)

20

(5. 6)

248

(69.8)

67

(18.9)

158

(44..4)

1.96

.64

The lighting system does not produce heat.

355

4

(1.1)

111

(31.3)

58

(16. 2)

181

(51.0)

59

(16.6)

120

(33. 8)

2.16

.70

There is a library standby power supply system

355

55

(15.5)

243

(68.5)

149

(42. 0)

36

(10.1)

21

(5.9)

29

(8.0)

2.93

.70

The reading chairs do not dirty users' dresses

355

17

(4.8)

32

(9.0)

25

(6. 9)

256

(72.1)

50

(14.1)

153

(43.1)

2.04

.64

The reading chairs and tables are comfortable for reading purposes.

355

9

(2.5)

244

(68.7)

127

(35. 6)

33

(9.3)

69

(19.4)

51

(14..4)

1.94

.62

The library is always well illuminated

355

11

(3.1)

265

(74.6)

138

(38. .9)

48

(13.5)

31

(8.7)

40

(11.1)

2.72

.66

Weighted mean

             

2.19

 

Values in parentheses are percentages

In UNIMAID the respondents were requested to indicate whether the library chairs are adequate for reading because they are covered with foam. To this, 128(35.9%) of the students agreed that the library's reading chairs are adequate for reading because they are covered with foam, while 50(14.1%) disagreed with the statement. This would positively affect the use of the university library by the undergraduate students. The respondents were further requested to indicate whether the number of library's reading chairs and tables are adequate for reading. Table IV reveals that 23(6.5%) of the respondents agreed that the number of the library's reading chairs and tables are adequate for reading, while 155(43.5%) of them disagreed. From the findings majority of the respondents revealed that the number of the reading chairs and tables of UNIMAID library are inadequate for reading and this no doubt would be discouraging the users from using the library.

The questionnaire also investigated to find out whether the lighting system of UNIMAID library is bright for reading. Table IV revealed that 20(5.6%) of the respondents agreed that the lighting system of the library is bright for reading, while 158(44.4%) did not agree with the statement and this would negatively affect the use of the library. On whether the lighting system of UNIMAID library produces heat, 58(16.2%) of the respondents claimed that the lighting system does not produce heat, while 120(33.8%) of them indicated that it produces heat. The findings revealed that majority of the respondents indicated that the lighting system of UNIMAID library produces heat and this could affect the use of the library. In responding to the statement: there is a library standby power supply system, 149(42.0%) of them indicated that there is a library standby power supply system, while 29(8.0%) of them disagreed with the statement and this would be influencing the use of the library.

The data were further analyzed to know whether the reading chairs do not dirty users' dresses. Some 25(6.9%) of the students indicated that the library's reading chairs do not dirty users' dresses, while 153(43.1%) of them disagreed. This however, would always contribute to low level of use of the library. An attempt was further made to find out whether the reading chairs and tables are comfortable for reading purposes. To this, 127(35.6%) of the respondents reported that the reading chairs and tables are comfortable for reading purposes, while 51(14.4%) of them disagreed. This would always affect the use of the library.

The respondents were equally requested to indicate whether UNIMAID library is always well illuminated, 138(38.9%) of the respondents indicated that the library is always well illuminated, while 40(11.1%) of them did not agree with the statement and this would positively affect the use of the library.

Table V: Undergraduates' responses on physical facilities in UNIUYO

Statements

N

SA(4)

A(3)

Ave. of SA & A

D(2)

SD(1)

Ave. of D & DS

 

S.D.

The library chairs are adequate for reading because they are covered with foam.

206

47

(22.8)

87

(42.2)

67

(32.5)

42

(20.4)

30

(14.6)

36

(17.5)

2.73

.97

The number of the library's reading chairs and tables are adequate for reading.

206

9

(4.4)

23

(11.2)

16

(7. 8)

131

(63. 6)

43

(20.9)

87

(42. 3)

1.99

.70

The lighting system of the library is bright for reading.

206

-

21

(10.2)

21

(10.2)

134

(65.0)

51

(24.8)

93

(44.9)

1.85

.57

The lighting system does not produce heat.

206

3

(1.5)

21

(10.2)

12

(5.9)

134

(65.0)

48

(23.3)

91

(44.2)

1.89

.62

There is a library standby power supply system

206

47

(22.8)

82

(39. 8)

65

(31..3)

51

(24. 8)

26

(12.6)

39

(18.7)

2.27

.95

The reading chairs do not dirty users' dresses

206

8

(3.9)

40

(19.4)

24

(11.7)

125

(60.7)

33

(16.0)

79

(38.4)

2.11

.70

The reading chairs and tables are comfortable for reading purposes.

206

9

(4.4)

132

(64.1)

71

(34.)

22

(10.7)

43

(20.9)

33

(15.8)

1.98

.70

The library is always well illuminated

206

6

(2.9)

110

(53.4)

58

(28.2)

65

(31.6)

25

(12.1)

45

(21.9)

2.25

.70

Weighted mean

             

2.13

 

Values in parentheses are percentages

In UNIUYO the data were further analyzed to find out whether the library reading chairs are adequate for reading because they are covered with foam. Table V revealed that 67(32.5%) of UNIUYO undergraduate students indicated that the library chairs are adequate for reading because they are covered with foam, while 36(17.5%) of them disagreed with the statement. This shows that majority of the respondents agreed that the reading chairs of UNIUYO library are adequate for reading because they are covered with foam and this would positively affect the use of the university library by the undergraduate students. It was also investigated to know whether the library's reading chairs and tables are adequate for reading. Table V revealed that 16(7.8%) of the respondents agreed that the number of the library's reading chairs and tables are adequate for reading, while 87(42.3%) of them disagreed. This, no doubt, would be discouraging the users from using the library.

"The lighting system of the library is bright for reading" is also one of the statements the students responded to in the study. Table V revealed that 21(10.2%) of them agreed that the lighting system of the library is bright for reading, while 93(44.9%) of them did not agree with the statement and this would negatively affect the use of the library.

The questionnaire further investigated to find out whether the lighting system of UNIUYO library does not produce heat. Table V reveals that 12(5.9%) of the respondents indicated that the lighting system does not produce heat, while 91(44.2%) of them disagreed with the statement and this could affect the use of the library. An attempt was equally made to know whether there is a library standby power supply system in UNIUYO university library. Some 65(31.3%) of them indicated that there is a library standby power supply system, while 39(18.7%) of them disagreed and this would be influencing the use of the library.

The questionnaire also investigated to find out whether the reading chairs do not dirty users' dresses. To this, 24(11.7%) of the students indicated that the library's reading chairs do not dirty users' dresses, while 79(38.4%) of them disagreed. This would always affect the use of the library. On whether the reading chairs and tables of UNIUYO library are comfortable for reading purposes, 71(34.3%) reported that the reading chairs and tables are comfortable for reading purposes, while 33(15.8%) of them disagreed and this could influence the use of the library.

In responding to the statement: the library is always well illuminated revealed that, 58(28.2%) of the respondents indicated that the library is always well illuminated, while 45(21.9%) of them did not agree with the statement and this would positively affect the use of the library.

Table VI: Undergraduates' responses on physical facilities in UNIABUJA

Statements

N

SA(4)

A(3)

Ave. of SA & A

D(2)

SD(1)

Ave. ofD & SD

 

S.D.

The library chairs are adequate for reading because they are covered with foam.

149

35

(23.4)

71

(47.7)

53

(35. 6)

25

(16. 8)

18

(12.1)

22

(14..5)

2.19

.93

The number of library's reading chairs and tables are adequate for reading.

149

29

(19. 4)

29 (19..5)

29

(19..5)

84

(56.4)

7

(4.7)

46

(30..1)

2.11

.77

The lighting system of the library is bright for reading.

149

8

(5.4)

20

(13.4)

14

(9.4)

77

(51.7)

44

(29.5)

61

(40.6)

1.96

.81

The lighting system does not produce heat.

149

10

(6.7)

29

(19.5)

20

(13.1)

78

(52.3)

32

(21.5)

55

(36. 9)

2.13

.83

There is a library standby power supply system

149

54

(36.2)

53

(35.6)

54

(35. 9)

33

(22.2)

9

(6.0)

21

(14.1)

3.00

.92

The reading chairs do not dirty users' dresses

149

11

(7.4)

27

(18.1)

19

(12.8)

72

(48.3)

39

(26.2)

56

(37. 3)

2.08

.87

The reading chairs and tables are comfortable for reading purposes.

149

12

(8.1)

85

(57.0)

49

(32..6)

11

(7.4)

41

(27.5)

26

(17.5)

1.98

.83

The library is always well illuminated

149

9

(6.0)

54

(36.2)

32

(21.1)

62

(41.6)

24

(16.2)

43

(28. 9)

2.33

.82

Weighted mean

             

2.22

 

Values in parentheses are percentages

In UNIABUJA the respondents were requested to indicate whether the library chairs are adequate for reading because they are covered with foam. To this, 53(35.6%) of the students agreed that the library's reading chairs are adequate for reading because they are covered with foam, while 22(14.5%) of them disagreed with the statement. The findings show that majority of the respondents agreed that the reading chairs of UNIABUJA library are adequate for reading because they are covered with foam and this would positively affect the use of the university library by the undergraduate students.

The respondents were further requested to indicate whether the number of the library's reading chairs and tables are adequate for reading. Table VI reveals that 29(19.5%) of the respondents agreed that the number of the library's reading chairs and tables are adequate for reading, while 46(30.1%) of them disagreed. From the findings majority of the respondents revealed that the number of the reading chairs and tables of UNIABUJA library are inadequate for reading and this no doubt would be discouraging the users from using the library.

The questionnaire also investigated to find out whether the lighting system of UNIABUJA library is bright for reading. Table VI revealed that 14(9.4%) of the respondents agreed that the lighting system of the library is bright for reading, while 61(40.6%) did not agree with the statement and this would negatively affect the use of the library. On whether the lighting system of UNIABUJA library produces heat, 20(13.1%) of the respondents revealed that the lighting system does not produce heat, while 55(36.9%) of them indicated that it produces heat and this could affect the use of the library. The questionnaire further investigated to find out whether there is a library standby power supply system. Some 54(35.9%) of the respondents indicated that there is a library standby power supply system, while 21(14.1%) of them disagreed with the statement and this would positively influence the use of the library.

The data were further analyzed to know whether the reading chairs do not dirty users' dresses. Some 19(12.8%) of the students indicated that the library's reading chairs do not dirty users' dresses, while 56(37.3%) of them disagreed. This however, would always contribute to low level of use of the library. An attempt was further made to find out whether the reading chairs and tables are comfortable for reading purposes. To this, 49(32.6%) of the respondents reported that the reading chairs and tables are comfortable for reading purposes, while 26(17.5%) of them disagreed with the statement. This would always affect the use of the library.

The respondents were equally requested to indicate whether UNIABUJA library is always well illuminated, 32(21.1%) of the respondents indicated that the library is always well illuminated, while 43(28.9%) of them did not agree with the statement and this would negatively affect the use of the library.

From the above findings it is obvious that physical facilities as one of the environmental factors in any university library is necessary for effective use of the library to be achieved. Thus, comfortable reading chairs and tables as well as adequate lighting system should always be in place to attract users to use the university libraries. The importance of physical facilities in university libraries can never be over- emphasized. No wonder, Pierce (1980) revealed that, "it is important that study chairs be large enough for the comfort of today's users, many of whom are larger than their parents."

In most of the Nigerian university libraries as the study revealed, the reading chairs and tables are comfortable for reading purposes but their number is inadequate because of the total number of students that make use of the university libraries at a time. Information from the oral interview with the university librarians of the libraries selected for the study showed that as at 2006 the seating capacity in all the sampled universities was 1,020 for UNIJOS, 750 for UNIMAID, 1,250 for UI, 2,000 for ABU Zaria, 520 for UNIUYO and 322 for UNIABUJA. The summation of these figures showed that a total of 5,862 seats were provided for 84,496 undergraduate students only, which gave an average seat to student ratio of 0.07 or 7 seats per 100 students. Eight-four thousand, four hundred and ninety six (84,496) as was revealed from the interview was the total number of all the undergraduate students (100-500 levels) in the universities selected for the study as at 2006.

The breakdown of 84,496 population is as follows: 28,588 for UNIMAID, 14,260 for UNIJOS, 14,128 for UNIUYO, 11,244 for UI, 10,539 for ABU and 5,737 for UNIABUJA. This figure excludes categories of the other students pursuing various degrees in these universities. One can therefore argue that average reader's seat to student ratio of 0.07 is poor and inadequate, as at least one quarter of the students' population should be provided for to give a ratio of about .25 which is ideal and expected to be provided by the university libraries. In a similar study Oyedum (2006) observed that 570 (81.4%) of the respondents in Federal University of Technology Minna are dissatisfied with the general reading areas of the library, while 130 (18.6%) of them are satisfied with the reading areas of the library.

Similarly, the researcher observed in the study as the respondents indicated that, the reading areas of most of these libraries investigated are not bright enough. It was observed that most of the fixtures are not functioning properly, either because they needed to be replaced completely or that the florescent tubes are bad and needed to be replaced. This situation, no doubt, has made most of the users not to use the libraries for their private readings and where they do, they keep on changing positions in order to have light shining directly on their books. Thus, it is mainly when the environmental factors such as physical facilities of the university library is conducive that reading in such a library would make meaning to any individual. This belief is corroborated with Nwalo (2001) who found that environmental factors such as lighting, ventilation, reading space, conveniences and user friendly policies have significant effect on library effectiveness. Therefore, anyone trying to measure library effectiveness needs to take into consideration the environmental factors which Nwalo has referred to as "Operational Climate."

Table VII: Suggestions on how to improve the physical facilities in Nigerian federal university libraries Universities and their responses

Statements

ABU

UI

UNIJOS

UNIMAID

UNIUYO

UNIABUJA

Provision of enough reading chairs and tables

59 (29.7)

70 (34.6)

96

(28.1)

97

(27.3)

58

(28.2)

40

(26.8)

Provision of bright lighting system

55 (27.6)

50 (24.8)

85

(24.8)

95

(26.8)

54

(26.2)

39

(26.2)

Provision of non-heat producing lighting system

49 (24.6)

42 (20.8)

84

(24.6)

88

(24.8)

53

(25.7)

37

(24.8)

Provision of non-dusty reading chairs and tables

36 (18.1)

40 (19.8)

77

(22.5)

75

(21.1)

41

(19.9)

33

(22.2)

Values in parentheses are percentages

The response to research question 2 which demanded the respondents to identify ways of improving the physical facilities in Nigerian university libraries revealed in Table VII that majority of the respondents suggested the need to provide enough reading chairs and tables as well as bright lighting system in the Nigerian university libraries. A good number of them suggested the need to provide lighting system that does not produce much heat and the need to ensure that the reading chairs and tables are always dusted for use.

Conclusion

In conclusion, one could argue that based on the findings of the study physical facilities could always influence the use of libraries in the universities. Thus, there is need for improvement of physical facilities in Nigerian university libraries for effective use of the libraries to be achieved. Without adequate number of seats and bright lighting systems users would always find it difficult to achieve any meaningful academic work in the university libraries. Therefore, additional library seats and tables as well as bright lighting systems that do not produce heat should be made available in the university libraries in order to boost the library usage of the Nigerian university libraries by the undergraduate students.

Recommendations

  • The library management in Nigerian universities should provide additional reading chairs and tables for users in order to encourage library patronage.
  • The library management of the university libraries should make the lighting system of the university libraries bright enough to satisfy the users' desires.
  • Apart from improving the lighting systems of the libraries, the dead bulbs should be replaced and some electric fixtures that needed to be replaced should be changed too. This would enable the library staff to check and prevent book theft and mutilation of library books by the users.
  • The library staff should be advised to always dust the reading chairs and tables properly in order to attract users to the library.

References

Harvey, R. (1993). Preservation in Libraries: principles, strategies and practices for librarians London: Bowker, pp. 56-58, 97-204

Idachaba, P.I.J. (1998). Planning factors for library buildings in the tropical areas: meeting the users and staff needs. Zaria Journal of Librarianship 2.1&2: 20-27

Lushington, W. (1980). Libraries designed for users: a planning handbook. New York: Library professional publications, p.283

Mcvey, G. F. (1971). What researchers say to the teacher sensory factors in the school learning environment. United States: National Education Association of the United States, pp.1-7

Metcalf, K.O. (1970). Library lighting. Washington D. C. The Association of Research libraries, p.140

Nock, G. I. (1998). Assessment of Physical Facilities and Readers' satisfaction in Kashim Ibrahim Library. Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. Library Focus 1.15 & 16: 1 11

Nwalo, K.I.. (2001). Measures of library effectiveness in Nigerian Polytechnic Libraries with emphasis on user satisfaction. Journal of Librarianship and Information Science in Africa, 1.1: 41-50.

Oyedum, G.U. (2006). Assessment of Physical Facilities and reader's satisfaction: a case study of Federal University of Technology, Minna Library. Borno Library, Archival and Information Science Journal 5.1: 67 75

Pierce, W.S. (1980). Furnishing the library interior.Ohio: CRC Press, pp52-53 Retrieved June 16, 2008, from http://www.books.google.com.ng/books?

Appendix

QUESTIONNAIRE FOR UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS ON PHYSICAL FACILITIES IN NIGERIAN FEDERAL UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES (QPF)

Dear Respondent,

This questionnaire is aimed at collecting information on undergraduate students' use of Library in Federal Universities in Nigeria. Kindly respond to the questions to enable the researcher successfully complete the research. All information provided will be used for educational purpose only and the anonymity of the respondent will be guaranteed.

Oyedum, G.U.

SECTION A: SOCIO-DEMOGRAPHIC DATA

Name of University: -----------------------------------------------------------------------

Gender: Male Female

Faculty/Department: ------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Academic Level: 100 200 300 400 500

SECTION B: PHYSICAL FACILITIES

S/A

Rate the physical facilities in your library with the following scales where SA=STRONGLY AGREED, A=AGREED,D=DISAGREED, SD= STRONGLY DISAGREED STATEMENTS

SA

A

D

SD

1.

The library chairs are adequate for reading because they are covered with foam.

       

2.

The number of library's reading chairs and tables are adequate for reading.

       

3.

The lighting system of the library is bright for reading.

       

4.

The lighting system does not produce heat.

       

5.

There is a library standby power supply system.

       

6.

The reading chairs do not dirty users' dresses.

       

7.

The reading chairs and tables are comfortable for reading purposes.

       

8.

The library is always well illuminated.

       

9

Please suggest ways of improving the level of physical facilities in Nigerian federal university libraries.