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Library Philosophy and Practice 2012

ISSN 1522-0222

Disruptive Readers in Academic Libraries: A Study of Olabisi Onabanjo University Library

F.A. Oyesiku
University Librarian
Olabisi Onabanjo University
Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State, Nigeria

O. Buraimo
Data-Base Unit
Olabisi Onabanjo University
Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State, Nigeria

O.F. Olusanya
Multimedia Unit
Olabisi Onabanjo University
Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State, Nigeria

Introduction

Academic libraries have a pivotal role in the transmission of information and knowledge in higher educational institutions. They are to facilitate the teaching, learning and research functions of their respective institutions. Academic libraries managers they are expected to acquire, preserve and disseminate information resources that would satisfy the needs of both present and future users (Maidabino 2010). Aside from theft, mutilation, hiding and other disruptive measures, borrowing privileges is an important means of giving access to library collections for personal, educational, and socio-economic advancement. Gelfand (2005) in Maidabino (2010), calls the library, "the only centralized location where new and emerging information technologies can be combined with knowledge resources in a user-focused, services-rich environment that supports today's social and educational patterns of learning, teaching and research." Library services can only be achieved through the availability of library collections. Anunobi and Okoye (2008) state that, "academic libraries are faced with hybrid challenges of managing resources and are challenged to acquire the necessary skills." One challenge is the issue of disruptive behaviour for print and non-print resources. Oyewusi and Oyeboade (2009) discuss the importance of access to collections in supporting the mission of the university. The researchers view the importance of good collections as a pointer to the need for safety and security for those collections.

The rate at which materials disappeared in the university libraries can not be overemphasized. According to Jato (2005), scandalous behaviours such as theft and mutilation, hiding library materials, refuse to return over due borrowed materials, drinking and eating in the library, among others have become a common occurrence in academic library,if this is not checked, it will lead to serious drought of information materials in the library . Most of the academic library in the developing nations including Nigeria, lack security measures which encourages users the opportunity to perform such immoral act. Aside this, library materials are not available in large quantity in some libraries . Moreso, most libraries do not have photocopy facilities for users in case of any need. In some case, when available, incessant change in power supply do not give room for users to make copies of urgent materials needed. This among others tempt the users to engage in such disruptive act.

According to Momodu (2002), academic libraries have been faced with varying degrees of criminal behavior in the use of their resources especially materials and to some extent manpower. The extent of this problem varies from one library to another. In some cases the dimension of the problem is so restricted that it seems non-existent, in some others the dimension is so immense that it causes for serious concern. The findings of a study conducted by Momodu (2002) on the delinquent readership in selected urban libraries in Nigeria, revealed that, every library has delinquent client problem and that there is no direct correlation between the type of library and the extent of the problem. The problem seems to be universal. A number of studies (Lorenzen, 1996; Momodu, 2002; Ajegbomogun, 2004) acknowledged that, some individual users of academic libraries display disruptive or criminal behavior within the library surroundings and this can cause security problems in the library. The problem may not necessarily be in form of mutilation or stealing of the collection alone but disruptive users may cause problem to the library staffs which can hindered their performance and other necessary duties or functions related to the library collections, as indicated by (Lorenzen, 1996).

One issues that need to be addressed as regard destructive behaviour in academic libraries is collection security. Ugah (2007), considers collection security violation as formidable obstacles to information access and use. Such acts are serious problems that can result in user dissatisfaction. He identifies major security issues in libraries to include: theft and mutilation; vandalism; damages and disaster; over borrowing or delinquent borrowers; and purposefully displacing arrangement of materials. According to Bello (1993), book theft is a major security issue in libraries, particularly in academic libraries, with special collections being the most targeted materials. A study conducted by Olorunsola (1987) on academic library security discovered a relationship between high rates of security problems and the growth of the university. Not all thefts are committed by clients. Some library staff take materials from the library without checking them out. This kind of theft, according to Lorenzen (1996), is one of the hardest to prevent, since library employees know how to defeat the security system. Ewing (1994) describes theft as only one type of collection security breach. Others include non-return of items by borrowers, vandalism, and stock destruction.

Bello (1998) conducted a study on theft and mutilation in technological university libraries in Nigeria, revealing that there is a lack of security in university libraries. Users resorted to delinquent behavior because demand outstripped the supply of library material. This results in competition for resources, which invariably tempts users to steal, mutilate, or engage in illegal borrowing. Mutilation is the defacement or damage of library materials. Mutilation of academic library collections has been reported by many researchers (Bello 1998; Lorenzen 1996). Mutilation or vandalism occurs when users knowingly tear, mark, or otherwise damage or destroy materials. Lorenzen (1996), observes that collection mutilation takes many forms, ranging from underlining and highlighting text, tearing and or removing pages, and tampering with the content. Lorenzen identifies several causes for theft and mutilation, including:

  • Students' dissatisfaction or unfamiliarity with library services
  • A lack of knowledge of replacement costs and time
  • A lack of concern for the needs of others
  • Few students think of library mutilation and theft as a crime.

Jato (2005) identifies the effect of delinquent behaviour on the users and the library. According to him, immoral behaviours among the users resulted to the following:

  • It reduces the library stock
  • It reduces the life span of the mutilated library materials
  • It leads to extra cost, time, and personnel needed to replace the stolen and mutilated library materials
  • It prevents serious from locating needed materials
  • It damages the image of the library
  • It can lead to low performance of students in examinations
  • It leads to frustration among users

Study Area

Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU) formerly Ogun State University was founded in 1983 and was renamed in 2001, to immortalize the name of its founder, the first civilian Governor of the State late Chief Olabisi Onabanjo. The library consists of the main library and six branch libraries spread across the four geopolitical zones in the State and as well as a research library. The branch libraries serve the following disciplines: Law, Management sciences, Arts, Education, Social sciences, Medicine, Agricultural Sciences and Engineering. The research library was donated to the university by the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo. The main library serve the entire discipline but major in science discipline such as Chemical science, Computer science, Biological Science, and Earth Science. The library has vast materials on law, politics, history and economics and the sciences. In the last 25 years the library collections have grown to over 76,000 volumes excluding journals and the collection housed in the research library. The library operates a loan policy of two books per undergraduate students and three books for postgraduates students and lecturers for two weeks. The university has a student population of about 40,000 offering both full and part time courses as at 2010.

Objective of the Study

The purpose of the study is to examine the causes of disruptive readers among users of Olabisi Onabanjo University Library.

The specific objectives includes

  1. To find out the various forms of disruptive behaviours among users of academic libraries,
  2. To examine the reasons for users exhibiting such identified disruptive behaviours,
  3. To identify possible solution to disruptive behaviours among users of academic libraries.

Research Questions

In line with the purpose of the study above, the following question will be proffer solution to:

  1. What are the various forms of disruptive behaviours among users of academic libraries?
  2. What are the reasons for users exhibiting such identified disruptive behaviours?
  3. What are the possible solutions to disruptive behaviours among users of academic libraries?

Research Methodology

This study employed a case study method on destructive behaviour among users of Olabisi Onabanjo University Library, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State, Nigeria. A structured questionnaire was designed to gathered information based on the research objectives. The questionnaire was divided into parts, section A, and B.

Section A consists of structured questioned on the various form of disruptive behaviours among uses which was responded to by “Yes” or “No”. Section B, was also structured on the reasons for users exhibiting such disruptive behaviours and this was responded to by “Yes” or “No” as well. 500 questionnaire was distributed to the users of the library on probability based of simple random sampling techniques. Out the 500 distributed only 427 were adequately returned. Data collected were analysed using simple percentage.

Results and Discussion

This presents the result of the analysis in line with the research questions postulate for the study in order to make a valid conclusion based on the stated problem for the study.

Table 1: Distribution by forms of disruptive behaviours among users of academic libraries (N =427)

Statement

Yes

No

Freq

%

Freq

%

Stealing/Removal of parts of library materials

400

93.7

27

6.3

Hiding of materials on different location

299

70.0

128

30.0

Noise Making

305

71.43

122

28.57

Unnecessary holding of over due borrowed materials

275

64.40

152

35.6

Using fake library card to enter the library

112

26.23

315

73.7

Eaten in the library

158

37.0

269

63.0

The table above presents the distribution of respondents on the forms of disruptive behaviour among users of Olabisi Onabanjo university library. The result of the analysis shows that there are various forms of disruptive behaviour as identified by users, this includes: Stealing/Removal of parts of library materials, Hiding of materials on different location, Noise making in the library, Unnecessary holding of over due borrowed materials as indicated by 93.7%, 70.0%, 71.43%, and 64.4% respectively.

Minority of the users perceive using fake library card to enter the library and eating in the library as disruptive behaviour as indicated by 26.23% and 37% respectively.

Table 2: Distribution by reasons for stealing/removing parts of library materials (N =427)

Reasons

Yes

No

Freq

%

Freq

%

Limited / scarcity of materials

346

81.0

81

19.0

Selfish interest of users

341

79.9

86

20.1

Ignorant

200

46.8

227

53.2

Financial constraint

180

42.2

247

57.8

Lack of photocopy machine

393

92.0

34

8.0

Lack of understanding between staff of the library and the users

250

58.55

177

41.45

Responding to the reasons why users steal/removing parts of library materials, 81% were in support of limited/scarcity of materials, 79.9% were in support of selfish interest, 46.8% were in support of ignorant, 42.2% were in support of financial constraint and 92% embrace lack of photocopy facilities in the library while 58.55% were in support of lack of understanding between the users and the library staffs.

Table 3: Distribution by reasons for hiding library materials (N =427)

Reasons

Yes

No

Freq

%

Freq

%

Selfish interest

409

95.8

18

4.2

Books were not arranged according to class mark

274

64.2

153

35.7

Author integrity

413

96.7

14

3.3

Limited copies available

407

95.3

20

4.7

The table above present the distribution of respondents on the reasons why library users hide library materials away from its original location . the results of the analysis indicated that 95.8% of the users agree with the fact that some users were selfish, 64.2% also agree with the fact that library materials were not arrange in order and 96.7% were in support of the authors integrity while 95.3% support the fact that limited copies of books is a factors to be considered.

Table 4: Distribution by reasons for making noise in the library (N =427)

Reasons

Yes

No

Freq

%

Freq

%

Lack of orientation

383

89.7

44

10.3

Indiscipline

301

70.5

126

29.5

Ignorance

313

73.3

114

26.7

Group discussion

336

78.7

91

21.3

From the table above it can be seen clearly that users make noise in the library as a results of the following: lack of orientation, lack of discipline, ignorance and group discussion as indicated by 89.7%, 70.5%, 73.3% and 78.7% respectively.

Table 5: Distribution by reasons for unnecessary holding of over due materials (N =427)

Reasons

Yes

No

Freq

%

Freq

%

Materials may not be easily located when needed

709

95.8

18

4.2

Ill health

249

58.3

178

41.7

Strike action

411

96.3

16

37.7

Lost of library card

300

70.3

127

29.7

Time to renew may not be available due to tight schedule of lectures

366

85.7

61

14.5

Analysis of table 5 above shows that users hold overdue materials as a result of the fact that materials may not be easily located when needed, due to users ill health as at the due time, strike action, lost of library card and time to renew/return of materials may not be available as a result of tight schedule of lecture, the above was justified by the following percentage respectively, 95.8, 58.3, 96.3,70.3 and 85.7

Table 6: Distribution by reasons for using fake library card (N =427)

Reasons

Yes

No

Freq

%

Freq

%

High registration fees

315

73.8

112

26.2

Lost of original card

336

78.7

91

21.3

The above table shows that 73.8% of the users highly in support of high registration fees as a criteria for using fake library card while 78.7 % as well were in support of the loss of original library card as another factors to be recon with.

Table 7: Distribution by reasons for eating in the library (N =427)

Reasons

Yes

No

Freq

%

Freq

%

To restore lost of energy as a result of fatigue

283

66.3

144

33.7

To avoid unnecessary sleeping during reading

275

64.4

152

35.6

Indiscipline

308

72.1

119

27.9

Table 7 above presents the reasons while library users eat in the library . According to the result, 66.3% indicated that users eat in the library so as to restored lost of energy due to fatigue and 64.4% were in support of the fact that it will not allow them to sleep while reading. Moreso, 72.1% agreed that lack of discipline can as well encourage eating in the library.

Summary of Findings

The following were deduced from the findings:

  1. Disruptive behaviour is a common phenomenon among users of academic libraries
  2. Limited materials, selfish interest and lack of photocopy facilities aid stealing and unlawful removal of parts of books and other materials
  3. Self-interest among users, author's, integrity and limited/scarcity of materials enable users to hide library materials
  4. Lack of orientation, lack of discipline, ignorance, and group discussion give room for users distortion in the library.
  5. Library materials may not be easily located when needed, and strike actions among others make users to hold overdue materials
  6. High registration fees and lost of original card were the reasons for using fake library card .
  7. Users eat in the library due to lack of discipline, fatigue, and to avoid sleeping during reading exercise.

Conclusion

Disruptive behaviour in academic libraries had been identified to have negative impact on the users and the library (Jato, 2005). Therefore, such act should be discouraged within the library through different security measure and policies. When adequate measures were not taken, both the librarian, security personnel, paraprofessional librarians and the supporting staffs will be failing in their responsibility in the library. Most importantly, the roles of librarian as information manager will not be congregate.

Recommendations

Based on the aforementioned, the following recommendation were made.

  1. Detective barcode machine should be provided in the library to aid security job
  2. Proper shelving and shelve reading should be encourage
  3. Print materials should be arrange according to the class no
  4. Proper utilization of catalogue index box should be encouraged in the library
  5. Photocopy machine should be provided at affordable price
  6. Detailed library guide should be pasted at the conspicuous location in the library
  7. Orientation of users and staff should be done at least twice a year
  8. Group study rooms should be provided which should be sound proof
  9. Policy formulation that will guide against every form of disruptive behaviour should be provided
  10. Bulletin board in which information about library use were contained should be made available.

References

Ajegbomogun, F.O. (2004). Users' assessment of library security: A Nigerian university case study. Library Management 25 (8/9):386-390.

Anunobi, C.B., & Okoye, I.B. (2008). The role of academic libraries in universal access to print and electronic resources in developing countries. Library Philosophy and Practice. Available: http://unllib.unl.edu/LPP/anunobi-okoye.htm

Bello, M.A. (1998). Library security: Material theft and mutilation in technological university libraries in Nigeria. Library Management 19 (6): 378-383.

Ewing, D. (1994). Library security in the UK: Are our libraries of today used or abused? Library Management 15 (2): 18-26.

Jato, M. (2005). Causes and effects of delinquent behaviour in academic libraries (Kenneth Dike Library as a case study). Owena Journal of Library and Information Science 2(1): 25-34

Lorenzen, M. (1996). Security issues of academic libraries: A seminar paper presented to the faculty of the College of Education, Ohio University. ERIC: IR055938.

Maidabino, A.A. (2010). Collection security issues in Malaysian academic libraries: An exploratory survey. Unpublished Masters Thesis, Faculty of Computer Science and Information Technology, University of Malaya, Malaysia.

Momodu, M.A. (2002). Delinquent readership in selected urban libraries in Nigeria. Library Review 51 (9): 469-473.

Olorunsola, R. (1987). Crimes in academic libraries: University of Ilorin library Experience. Library Scientist 14 (29): 29-43.

Oyewusi, F.O., & Oyeboade, S.A. (2009). An empirical study of accessibility and use of library resources by undergraduates in a Nigerian state university of technology. Library Philosophy and Practice. http://unllib.unl.edu/LPP/oyewusi-oyeboade.htm

Ugah, A.D. (2007). Obstacles to information access and use in developing countries. Library Philosophy and Practice. Available: http://unllib.unl.edu/LPP/ugah3.htm .