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ASSESSMENT OF ACADEMIC LIBRARY COLLECTIONS AND ITS IMPLICATIONS TO THE ACHIEVEMENT OF THE MILLENIUM DEVELOPMENNT GOALS

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

 

Background to the study

 

Millennium Development Goals (MDG represent a global agreement to improve the quality of life of mankind throughout the world, especially the third world countries including Nigeria, by reducing extreme poverty and hunger and other forms of human deprivation by the year 2015 through collaborative efforts of the United Nations and her agencies.  It is the United Nations declaration as part of an effort aimed at achieving a qualitative transformation of a whole society and a shift to new ways of thinking, relationship and production. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) (2011), the Millennium Development Goals consist of eight goals and eighteen targets to be achieved by 2015. These were agreed upon by twenty- three international organizations and one hundred and ninety- two countries as a response to the alarming rate of human degradation manifested in the form of extreme poverty, hunger and disease, high infant and child Mortality, maternal ill health, etc. It is against this background, that Orji (2002) noted that the federal government of Nigeria has made frantic effort to embellish the life of her citizens before the declaration of the millennium goals in the year 2000. It was also observed that higher institutions of learning in Nigeria can have a significant effect on the achievement of MDGs in Nigeria by the year 2015 through teaching and research. He noted that through the teaching  and research activities, the universities and other higher institutions might help achieve the national objectives aimed at improving the life of Nigerian citizens which of late came under the MDGs such as eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, reduce child mortality and improve maternal health. However, it has been argued that these objectives cannot be achieved successfully without the support of the Academic library. On this view point, the Academic Library was established to help the higher institutions of learning achieve her educational objective which is geared towards facilitating the achievement of the MDGs in Nigeria. In relation to these also, Debate to Action (2006), stated that these challenges have constituted a menace to life existence in the developing countries including Nigeria, and so motivated the United Nations, government of different countries and NGOs to embark on several developmental efforts which include introduction of several health projects through her agencies like, WHO, UNICEF, Word Bank, FAO, NACA etc. it is also noted that  in 1992, in Rio de Janario, Brazil, in an earth submit, the world leaders pointed out that extreme poverty and hunger is a factor that expose human life to other health hazards. They however came up with an agenda 21 aimed at improving human condition by eradicating extreme poverty and hunger.

In 1996, the OECD pioneered a set of concrete developmental objectives including a global partnership effort. This culminated in an international consensus in 2000 with an inter Agency blue print titled “BETTER LIFE FOR ALL’’ and the adoption of Millennium Development Declaration of eight goals by the United Nations General Assembly in New York, U.S.A. These Millennium Development Goals (MDG) aim to:

  1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger.
  2. Achieve Universal primary education.
  3. Promote gender equality and empower women.
  4. Reduce child mortality.
  5. Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases.
  6. Ensure environmental sustainability.
  7. Promote global partnership for development.
  8. Improve maternal health.

Emphasis has been on combating the effects of some of these phenomena that have posed threat to lives of people in the developing countries like Nigeria.  These efforts are mirrored in the following goals of the millennium development declaration i.e.

  1. Goal one: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger.
  2. Goal four: Reduce child mortality
  3. Goal eight: Improve maternal health.

In Nigeria, extreme poverty and hunger appears to be one of the most pronounced challenges facing human survival and her institutions of which education and university library in particular is among. According to 2011 World Bank report on world poverty and hunger, extreme poverty and hunger make people, mainly women and children, vulnerable to diseases which lead to poor maternal health, child and infant mortality. This document defined poverty and hunger as the aggregate of uneasy or painful sensation caused by want of food, cravings, appetite and also the exhausted condition caused by want of food at world level. According to the report, hunger is a generic term referring to lack of some or all nutritional elements necessary for human health. Nigeria just like other developing countries is not exempted from the horrendous effect of extreme poverty and hunger.

According to FAO, October, 2010 report titled “2011 world hunger and poverty facts and statistics” published in World Bank PovcalNet, 925 million people are under nourished, this being 13.6% of the estimated world population of 6.8 billion people. Statistics have also shown that these people are mainly found in the third world countries. This suggests that one out of every seven persons is poor and hungry, with children being the most vulnerable. The report also indicated that malnutrition leads to 5 million deaths of children in Nigeria which are almost half of the total child mortality rate of 10.9 million each year. Under-nutrition magnifies the effect of diseases such as measles, diarrhea, malaria and pneumonia. In many cases, the plight of undernourished children began even before birth with a malnourished mother. Under-nutrition among pregnant women in developing countries like Nigeria leads to one out of six infants born with low weight and this could lead to blindness, neonatal death, mental retardation, poor heath, learning disability and premature death. Under-nutrition among pregnant women does not only cause high child mortality but also accounts for high maternal ill health and mortality.

Similarly the Daily Independence News paper of 10th March, 2010, citing WHO/UNICEF report of 1995, stated that Nigeria had the third highest number of maternal deaths in the world, numbering approximately 45,000 deaths in the year 2000. Despite several efforts by the UN and other agencies, including the Nigeria government, the maternal death rate was still on the high side; for instance, for every 100,000 live births, 800 women died in child-birth. Again, out of 27million Nigeria women of reproductive age, 2 million died either during child birth or pregnancy. In 2009, UNICEF reported that one out of nine global maternal deaths occurs in Nigeria. In 2010, it was posted that Nigeria had the second largest mortality rate in the world, with about 144 women and girls dying every day due to complications of child-birth. The high maternal mortality rate has been attributed to low quality education, poor  funding of  the University libraries and poor economic status of Nigerian citizens as lamented by the Director Gender and Development Action (GDA) Agina- Ude  (2005), in Daily Independence Newspaper. It is because of the above development that Nigeria government enunciated several developmental projects even before the millennium declaration in the year 2000. Part of this developmental project includes the establishment of university and other higher education in Nigeria.

However, to achieve the millennium development Goals tin Nigeria such as improve maternal health, reduce child mortality and eradicate extreme poverty and hunger by 2015, Orji (2002), asserts that higher education has a lot of role to play in facilitating the achievement of the MDGs in Nigeria through teaching and research activities of the institutions. The higher education in Nigeria is charged with the responsibility of training high level skilled manpower resources that can function as MDG facilitators, specialists and programme managers to help achieve the MDGs in Nigeria by the year 2015. This can be facilitated through consistent teaching, training and regular conduct of researches relevant to the MDGs thereby, making reasonable findings and recommendations which can be used in taking key decisions in areas like, eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, reduce child mortality and improve maternal health. According to Dike (2003), education in Nigeria which has the University at its peak has gone through series of transformations in its development. Part of these transformations includes emphasis on functional education which implies, making education resources-based. Resources-based education implies provision and organization of information resources for learners to interact with other than passing information from lecturer to students. It is part of this development that the academic library is positioned as a resource center to support teaching and research activities of the University to help achieve the MDGs. This makes the Academic Library an inevitable player in supporting the universities achieve her broad educational aims and objectives which are geared towards achievement of the MDGs in Nigeria through research, training and teaching.

In order to achieve these broad aims, the Academic Library according to Ifidon (1985), was established with a sole aim of supporting the University achieve her broad educational aims through her various types of collections. According to Iannuzzi (2005), academic library refers to libraries established in the Universities, Colleges, Monotechnics, Polytechnics and other higher institutions of learning. They provide materials to support the teaching, learning, research, and creative Endeavour of the parent institution. The strategic roles of the University library in supporting the university educational aims geared towards facilitating the achievement of the MDGs in Nigeria include:

  1. Build and provide access to information sources in all formats to help MDG facilitators, researchers and instructors access information in areas like, child mortality, maternal health, poverty and hunger etc.
  2. Be a comprehensive resource center for the documentation and investigation of the complex realities of the society and provide an international focal point for the study of issues affecting human health as part of MDG as a unique global phenomenon.
  3. Actively foster user-focused environment committed to identifying and delivering information resource and service that meet user and global expectation on the Millennium Development Goal (MDG).
  4. Establish a coherent, consistent library-wide external relations plan that focuses on new global phenomenon such as MDG’s.
  5. Plan and execute an evaluation plan for the libraries and use the findings to make strategic decisions.

Furthermore, the role of the library involves developing information sources that can meet up with the dynamism of knowledge in the face of continuing explosion of knowledge and emergence of new concepts and challenges like the Millennium Development Goal (MDG). University libraries are in constant transition wherein the process of information acquisition, navigation, synthesis, archiving, are increasingly focused on interactive and increasingly enabling the clientele to have access to information  on new ideas and issues such as the MDGs.

This has over the years engaged university librarians with the task of developing collections that will be relevant to these concepts and also meet the current needs of the society. In dealing with these challenges, the university and her library should be made relevant to the ever dynamic world by building collections that are relevant to the MDGs. Collection development therefore becomes imperative to the achievement of MDGs through some purposive and constructive activities involved in developing information sources that are relevant to the MDSs. They consist of six definable and dynamic processes which include:

  • Community Analysis.
  • Collection development policy.
  • Selection of information materials.
  • Acquisition of information materials.
  • Weeding of library collection and

Some of these elements of collection development are vital in determining the extent at which the academic library collections can be built to support the achievement of MDGs in Nigeria. Collection development practices such as community analysis help libraries to analyze the needs of the society, which may include the information needs, health status in areas like infant child mortality rate, maternal health, economic status, academic background etc, and then select information sources for acquisition that can reflect the identified needs. Most of these needs constitute primary issues the MDGs are set to achieve through the library collections in academic libraries in Enugu state.  However, it has been argued that, for academic library to support the University education effectively to help achieve the MDGs in Nigeria by 2015, the library collections have to be well utilized.

Dike (1993) identified these collections to consist of information materials of different forms and formats. These materials are relevant in assisting MDG educators, facilitators, programme managers, specialists and researchers in pursuance of the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). They include Audio-visual materials i.e. films, television and slides; Audio materials i.e. tapes, radio and cassettes, visual materials such as, maps, charts, photographs, posters, General non-fiction materials and non-fiction print media such as text-books, reference materials etc, and online resources are all relevant information sources which could be used in information dissemination, workshop, seminars, training etc on the MDGs such as child and maternal health care, poverty and hunger. These collections according to Ifidon (1985), has direct implication to the achievement of the MDGs in Nigeria. Presenting his argument, the scholar  viewed the role of the university library collection not only from the traditional point of view of supporting teaching, research, public service and conservation of knowledge  but rather conceptualized it from the point of view of the prevailing socio-economic situation in the African environment. In other to ensure the successful achievement of the MDGs in Nigeria by the year 2015, the general principle of the academic library obtainable in other parts of the world should be applied to the teaching and research into localized topics that reflect the global emphasis on areas like, medical sciences, humanities and social sciences. He is of the view that emphasis should be on the building of collections that affect community health and tropical diseases, culture, social values, norms and ideas of the people. In stressing the relevance of the academic library collections to the achievement of the MDGs in Nigeria, he noted that,

“The African universities must be committed to active participation in social transformation, economic modernization, training and upgrading of the total human recourses of the nation, not just small elite” Ifidon (1985:32).

 

This will have a positive impact in facilitating the achievement of MDGs such as eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, reduce child mortality and improve maternal health. But if the collections of the academic libraries in Nigeria are not developed to reflect these areas, it will be difficult to actualize the dreams of achieving the MDGs in Nigeria by 2015.

Considering these facts, the academic library collections need to be re-examined and redefined to ascertain their relevance to addressing the problems militating against human lives in Nigeria. According to Eze (2006), assessment of the library collection means to find out the extent the collections meet the  library’s objective; determine the scope, depth, usefulness of the collection, test the effectiveness, utility and the practical applicability of the collections to adequately support the achievement of the MDGs, and thereby highlight their weaknesses, suggest ways of rectifying them and reallocate resources so that areas that really reflect the  MDGs can receive greater attention during selection of information sources for acquisition in the university libraries.

According to Eze (2006), there are series of problems facing Academic librarians in building relevant collections that could help facilitate the achievement of the MDGs in Nigeria by 2015. These problems as observed by the scholar include,  in consistent subscription to MDG based professional organizations and this  has affected the availability of relevant journal articles, reports etc on the MDGS, poor funding, poor management of library vote, poor facilities to preserve  Audio-visual materials, inarticulate collection etc. if this problems are not addressed properly ,librarians  will find it extremely difficult to build collections that could be of great important to the achievement of MDGs in Nigeria by 2015.

Statement of the Problem

Millennium Development Goals is a world initiative and a response to address the enormous challenges threatening human life, especially in the third world countries including Nigeria. These challenges include reducing extreme poverty and hunger, child mortality and improving maternal health. To ensure the achievement of MDGs, the United Nations through her agencies like WHO, FAO, UNDP, OECD etc, has affected so many lives in the developing countries and Nigeria in particular through grants, free immunizations, health care services etc. Notwithstanding these efforts, reports have shown that much still needs to be done to facilitate the achievement of the MDGs, in Nigeria by the year 2015.  Areas that have continued to lag behind in progress include child mortality, maternal health, extreme poverty and hunger. If these areas are not properly addressed, it will be difficult to achieve a sustainable human development in Nigeria by the year 2015. The university libraries are critical in providing the information resources require to tackle these problems. Without adequate collection development in these areas, university libraries will be unable to contribute to the achievement of MDGs in Nigeria. This study is therefore motivated by this need of collections of Academic Libraries in Enugu State and how they can be used to facilitate the achievement of MDGs in Nigeria by 2015.

Several studies have  indicated that information resources may be lacking in some areas, for instance, concern has be expressed that there are no functional and well packaged national data sources of information on maternal health and child mortality that can adequately serve as a reference point for programme managers, health advocates, policy makers and other MDG specialists in Nigeria. This work however tends to explore possible means through which the University libraries in Enugu State can build collections that can help cover this gap.

Furthermore, several studies have been carried out by scholars like Ifidon (1985), Eze (2006), Iannzzi (2005) etc have carried out some studies on library collections yet, none of these studies covered the implication of  University library collections to the achievement of MDGs. The problem of this study therefore, posed as a question is: what can the Nigeria government, the University administrators and librarians do to ensure adequate provision of information resources relevant to the MDGs and its proper utilization to ensure that the collections contribute effectively to the achievement of the MDGs in Nigeria by year 2015.

Purpose of the Study

The general purpose of this study is to assess the different types of collections in the academic libraries in Enugu state and their implications to the achievement of MDGs such as Reduce extreme poverty and hunger, child motility and improve maternal health In Nigeria. The specific objectives of the study include the following:

  1. To examine different types of collections relevant to the MDGs in the academic libraries in Enugu state.
  2. To find out the extent to which such collections have been used for teaching and research to help achieve the MDG’s in Nigeria.
  3. To ascertain some problems encountered by librarians in these academic libraries in building collections that will facilitate the achievement of the MDG’s in Nigeria.
  4. To make necessary suggestions that could help solve the identified problems.

 

 

Research Questions

The study was guided by the following research questions:

1              What are the different types of collections relevant to the MDGs in academic libraries in Enugu State?

2              To what extents have these library collections been used for teaching and research to help achieve the MDGs?

  1. What are the major problems facing academic librarians in Enugu State in building collections that are relevant to the achievement of the MDGs in Nigeria?
  2. In what ways can these identified problems be solved to ensure the relevance of these collections in the academic libraries in Enugu State to the achievement of MDGs in Nigeria by the year 2015?

Significance of the Study

Millennium Development Goals (MDG) is a sensitive global agenda which requires every necessary tool to ensure its successful achievement in Nigeria by the year 2015. The achievement of the MDG’s in Nigeria is very beneficial to the entire world and Nigeria populace in particular in the sense that it will help address the problems of extreme poverty and hunger, child mortality and ill maternal health in Nigeria. It is therefore believed that the findings of  this study will benefit the general public, government, NGO’S, Researchers, library users, university community, MDG educators, facilitators, programme managers, specialists etc. in the following ways:

The study when completed will benefit academic librarians in that, it will suggest ways through which librarians can build collections to reflect the new dynamisms of knowledge, global ideas, and provide information in areas such as eradicate extreme poverty and hunger ,child mortality and improve maternal health. It will also establish a harnessed consistent library–wide external relation plan that is in conformity with building new collection to meet new ideas and global concepts such as the MDG’s.

Again, it will suggest ways through which the academic library administrators can position the academic library to become a comprehensive resource center for research, documentation of relative issues affecting the society and provide a platform for government, NGO’s and researchers for the study of issues affecting the achievement of MDG as a global concept by providing access to collections in all forms and formats that meet the research and information need of the society.

Furthermore, it is expected that the study when completed will avail the university librarians in Enugu State opportunity of acquiring knowledge on how to build collections that is user-focused, dedicated to identifying and offering information sources and services that meet global and user expectations on Millennium Development Goals.

The study will also help to expose the relevance of the academic library collections to the achievement of MDGs to government, philanthropists, and NGOs and will help motivate them to improve the funding the academic libraries.

Moreover, the study will help equip MDSG specialist, programme managers, educators, facilitators etc with the skill of using academic library tools like the audio-visual resources in dissemination of informations on the MDGs to urban and rural duelers.

Finally, it is expected that the findings of this study will add to the existing literature on library and information science and Millennium Development Goa

 

Scope of the Study

The study will cover the assessment of the university library collections in Enugu State and their implications to the achievement of Millennium Development Goals (MDG) in Nigeria. The aspects of MDG covered by the study include Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, Reduce child mortality and Improve maternal health. (Goal one, four and eight) Other areas the study is expected to cover include, nature of collections in the university libraries in Enugu state, collection development i.e. community analysis, selection, acquisition and evaluation of library collections, role of university library to the achievement of MDG’s in Nigeria etc. The study is also

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