Library Philosophy and Practice 2011

ISSN 1522-0222

Sources of Funds in Academic Libraries in Delta State, Nigeria

Janet Onomeh Ubogu
Assistant librarian
Cataloguing and Classification Unit
Delta State University Library, Abraka

Rose B. Okiy, Ph.D
University Librarian
Delta State University Library, Abraka


Academic libraries are those attached to universities, polytechnics, college of education and other similar institutions of higher learning. The importance of funding in providing quality library service cannot be overemphasized. It is the glue that holds the building, collection and staff together and allows the library to attain its goals. As such, money can be considered the soul of the library. Inadequate funds impede the effectiveness of any library (Anafulu, 1997).

It is absolutely essential for a library to posses the resources that will enable it meet its goals. Beautiful building, well trained staff and modern information storage and retrieval systems can only be appreciated if excellent services are rendered to users. These services cannot be provided without adequate finance. The American Library Association (2006) notes that libraries of all kinds need money. The amount of funding that a library receives directly influences the quality of its services. While the majority of funds for libraries comes from state and local sources, federal funding provides critical assistance, giving libraries across the country the financial support they need to serve their communities.

Like water and air, libraries have become an integral part of human existence. Often called the memory of human race, libraries are supposed to have on their shelves the records of almost everything which man has thought, dreamt of and invented. All these demand that, academic libraries should be adequately funded to be able to carryout these functions (Ifidon, 1992).

Libraries are organic. This is to say that they grow or shrink with time depending on how much life is infused into them. Fund is needed to provide the information needs of the academic library. The academic library is a social service organization that is capital intensive. Money is needed for building, physical facilities, books, journals, electronic resources, personnel, etc. (Ehigiator, 1997).

The library is invariably a part of a wider organization – an arm of government, university, school, research institute or business concern as the case may be. Its budget, therefore is negotiated with its parent organization. The parent body is therefore the proprietor that takes full responsibility for its funding. Academic libraries are financed from the budgets of their parent institutions. These funds usually cover only the current expenditure. But sometimes, libraries are supported by government ministries particularly Ministry of Education (Akporhonor, 2005).

According to Emojorho (2004), Nigerian government owned university libraries derive funds from government allocations, endowment funds, library fees, gifts and other miscellaneous sources such as the sale of duplicate materials, fines and photocopying; that the bursar integrates and collates the various estimates from the various departments. The estimates are then channeled through and defended, at the following six levels:

1 Library committee: the librarian presents and explains his budget estimate.

2 Development and Estimate committee, the librarian defends his budget estimate.

3 Finance and general purposes committee.

4 The university council.

5 The National University commission/commission of higher Education.

6 Ministry of finance and education Development- through the ministry of education.

In academic libraries, the budgetary procedure starts with the bursar who sends out a notice to the librarian asking for preliminary budgets estimates. When the librarian receives this notice, he and the various sectional heads of the library meet and draw up the budget estimate which is then sent to the bursar. Funds for library and information services are traditionally derived from the library’s proprietor. The extent of such revenue varies from fixed fraction of received grant to ad-hoc arrangement (Edoka, 1992).

Hisle (2002) pointed out that: academic libraries in developing countries depend mainly on government funding and they do not show any interest or experience in well organized fundraising for several reasons:

1 Citizens used to give donations to other types of libraries, mainly public libraries.

2 Lack of flexible administrative systems.

3 No clear responsibility for organizing fundraising campaign is assigned, either to librarians or university administrators. Library funds are accumulated from a mixture of local, state, federal, and other sources.

Funding models for academic libraries vary greatly, depending on whether the institution is private or public, a particular state’s budgetary regulations and funding formulas for higher education and the overall budgetary situation of each university. American Library Association (2006) stated that academic library budgets are allocated by the central university administration based on historic formulas or outdated needs, and libraries follow their institutional policies and mandates regarding budgets. Occasionally, an institution provides funding for its library through individual colleges and departments instead of centrally setting the library budget. In that case, each department or university unit decides whether or not to fund the library each year based on satisfactory library service as well as need. In most cases, academic library budgets are not allocated separately from the university budgets. For some libraries, budget is allocated partially for acquisition, while other aspects such as staff and furniture is part of the university budget. This arrangement does not meet the library needs (Hisle, 2002).

Nigerian academic and research libraries derive the major part of their financial support from the government. Ifidon (1990) found that university libraries derive the greatest part of their funds from their universities, whose major sources of financial support is the government. Of all the different types of libraries in Nigeria, only university libraries have a clearly- defined policy on funding. They are allocated 10 percent of the recurring annual budget of their parent universities, a result of the Federal Government and Academic Staff Union of Universities agreement of 1992 (Okiy, 2005). Funds for library and information services are traditionally derived from the library proprietor. The extent of such revenue varies from fixed fraction of received grant to ad-hoc arrangement (Edoka, 1992).

According to Anafulu (1997) the university library is only one of numerous units in a university. By its centrality and role in the endeavours of the university-teaching, research and extension work - it is a major unit and a vital one at that. Notwithstanding these considerations, however, the fact remains that the university library does not generate its own income and does not receive grants directly from the proprietor. The general financial environment of the university is such that allocations are made to the library, but apart from small imprest accounts, no money is held in the library. Omotayo (1997) opined that libraries derived their funds from the host university. Therefore as university financial situation dwindled, so also the allocation to the library.

Objectives of the Study

The study set out to:

i. Find out the main sources of funding for academic libraries in Delta State.

ii. Determine the adequacy of funding to the academic libraries under study.

iii. Find out the percentage of institutions’ yearly subvention to academic libraries.

iv. Explore the alternative sources of funding.

Problems of funding in academic libraries.


The study employed expost facto design to investigate the sources of funds in academic libraries in Delta State. The population of this study consisted of the heads of libraries of higher institutions in Delta State - ten (10) librarians in all. The libraries are Delta State University Library, Abraka, Federal College of Education (Technical) Library, Asaba, College of Education Library, Warri, Delta State School of Health Technology Library, Ufuoma Ughelli, Delta State Polytechnic Library, Ogwashi-Uku, Delta State Polytechnic Library, Otefe Oghara, Delta State Polytechnic Library, Ozoro, Petroleum Training Institute Library, Effurun, College of Education Library, Agbor, College of Physical Education Library, Mosogar.

The instrument used for data collection was the questionnaire. The questionnaire was used because it would enable the researcher to collect data from people over a short period and it would give the respondents enough time to think and provide appropriate answers. Copies of the questionnaire were administered and collected personally from the 10 heads of libraries. The data collected were analysed by using frequency counts and percentages.

Findings and Discussion

Table 1: The main source of funds for academic libraries







Table I shows that the main source of funding in the libraries is government subvention. This agrees with Ifidon (1997) who stated that university libraries in Africa derive the greatest part of their funds from their universities whose major sources of financial support is the government.

Table 2: Percentage of institution’s yearly subvention to library.

Yearly subvention to the libraries



5%- 9%



No idea






Table 2 reveals that only 01 (10.00%) of the respondents (the university librarian) indicated that 5% of institution’s yearly subvention is allocated to their library. It was also discovered that 09(90%) of them have no idea of the yearly subvention allocated to their library. It is whatever money the parent institution gives to them that is regarded as the money allocated to libraries. It is possible that in some cases management of these institutions buy and send books to the library instead of releasing the money to the librarians–in-charge.

Table 3: Adequacy of the main source of funds for academic libraries













Table 3 shows that 8(80.00%) of the respondents indicated that the main source of funds for academic libraries is not adequate. Only a few 2(20.00)% of the respondents indicated that it is adequate. Histle (2002) noted that shrinking budgets are a fact in all developing countries. When funds are inadequate, it will be difficult for librarians to procure needed information resources. It will not also be possible to provide adequate service to users.

Table 4: Alternative Sources of funding

Alternative Sources

Yes (%)

No (%)

Fee-based services



Endowment & launching



Education Tax Fund



Local Government Councils






Gift and donations



Resource sharing



Partial recovery of academic cost



Miscellaneous fees



Table 4 reveals that apart from gift and donations and partial recovery of academic cost which had 10(100%) respondents each, endowment and launching and miscellaneous fees came second in that order with 8(80%) responses each. The table reveals that the heads of librarians derive some funds from some alternative sources of funds for running of their libraries. This finding agrees with Okiy (1997) who observed that there are many other sources, such as gifts and donations, education tax fund, fee-based services, partnership, local government councils, levies and excess fund from library development fund, to support the academic libraries.

Table 5: Problems of alternative sourcing of funds





Librarians attitude




Inadequate philanthropic culture of Nigeria citizens




Inadequate structures for effective and efficient accountability and transparency




Uncooperative attitude of those involved in the fundraising process




Inadequate time to plan due to head librarians tenure in office




Table 5 reveals that “inadequate philanthropic culture of Nigerian citizens attracted 10(100%) affirmative responses, while “uncooperative attitude of those involved in the fundraising process” attracted 3(30%) agreed, 5(50%) disagreed and 2(20%) undecided responses. It had earlier been noted by Rosenberg (1997) that libraries suffer severe financial constraints.


The main source of funding in the libraries in this study is government subvention. Only one head of library indicated that 5% of institution’s yearly subvention is allocated to her library but the remaining 9 librarians had no idea of the yearly subvention allocated to their libraries. In addition to funding received from the government, the libraries derive funds from alternative sources such as gift and donations, partial recovery of academic cost, endowment and launching and miscellaneous fees, while the major problems of alternative fundraising process are inadequate, philanthropic culture of Nigerian citizens as well as inadequate structures for effective and efficient accountability and transparency. Since the major source of funding for the libraries is subvention from the government, Government should increase the amount allocated to libraries to enable them provide adequate resources and services. The libraries should continue to explore alternative avenues for funding for their management.


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