Topic Description



Background of the Study:

The academic library is one of the many types of libraries charged with the responsibility of satisfying the instructive and research needs of the students and the faculty. It is an indispensable instrument for intellectual development which a user of a particular higher institution can go into at will unrestricted to help him or her to the whole field of knowledge.  Academic  library, according  to  Reitz(2004)  is  “a  library  that  is  an  integral  part  of  the  College,  University,  or  other  institutions of  post  secondary  education  and  administered  to  meet  the  information  and  research  needs  of  its  students,  faculty  and  staff”.  The  academic  library  is  fundamentally  established  to  render  services  to  the  community  in  a  disciplined  and  responsible  manner  and  to  teach  the  users  how  to  use  the  library  to  enjoy  the  utilization  of  the  services  available.

Every  academic  library  usually  receives  the  mandate  of  its  parent  institution  to  carry  out  the  functions  which  are  reflective  of  their  objectives  which are  guides  by  which  it’s  proper  assessment  can  be  carried  out.  Edoka (2000)  has  given  the  functions  of  the  academic  library  as  follow, to:  provide  information  materials  required  for  the  academic  programmed of  the  parent  institution,   provide  research  information  resources  in  consonance with  the  needs  of  faculty  and  research  students,   provide  information  resources  for  recreation  and  for  personal  self-development  of  users,  provide  study  accommodation  in  a  useful  variety  of  locations,   provide  protection  and  security  for  the  materials,  cooperate  with  other  libraries  at  appropriate  levels  for  improved  information  services, provide  specialized  information  services  to  appropriate  segments  of  the  wider  community.

The  role  of  academic  library    is  to  support  teaching, learning,  and  research   by  maintaining  relevant  materials  and  creating  enabling  environment  for  the  users  to  achieve  their  respective  aims  of  using  it.  It  plays  the  role  of  information  provider  for  the  successful  completion  of  the  users’  courses.  An  academic  library  that  does  not  carry  out  these  functions  faces  the  danger  of  criticism  by  the  users,  and  even  non-users  of  such  library.  The  lecturers,  the  students,  and  the  researchers  are  usually  affected  in  their  zeal  to  excel  in  whatever  their  academic  desires  are  if  the  functions  which  dictate  their  role  are  not  performed.  This  is  because  their  success  depends  to  a  large  extent  on  how  well  the  library  carries its functions..

For  high  performance  by  the  users,  the  library  is  expected  to  stock  proper  information  resources.  And  in  order  to  qualify  to  be  regarded  as  a  store  house  of  record  of  human  experience  which  the  academic  community  can  depend  upon  for  information,  assorted  information  resources are provided. These include Yearbooks,  Almanacs,  Directories,  Handbooks,  Manuals,  Dictionaries,  Encyclopedias,  Periodicals  such  as  Newspapers,  Magazines,  and  Journals,  Films,  Filmstrips,  Slides,  CDROMS,  Photographs,  Maps,  Atlases,  Gazettes,  Gazetteers,  Tapes  and Cassettes,  Projectors,  Computers,  Indexes,  Abstracts,  Bibliographies, Government documents  etc..  These materials should be current and adequate in quantity and be consistently made available. The  resources  can  be  provided  on  site  from  remote  storage  locations  through  Information  and  Communication  Technology (ICT).

It  must  be  seen  clearly,  to  support the  programmes  and  the  courses  offered  by  the institution.  This  support  must  be  visible  in  the  hours  the  library  maintains  for  its  users.  The  longer  the  hours  the  better,  to  enable  the  students  have  ample  opportunities  to  make  use  of  the  library  resources  after  the  hectic   lecture  hours  that  last  from  morning  to  evening in  most  of  the  days  of  the  week.  This  is  one  of  the  problems  of  library  services  in  Nigeria  because  it  affects  greatly  the  students’  utilization  of  the  resources  therein by reducing the number of hours the users make use of the library. Observations   show  that  most  of  the  students  use  library  a  few  hours  per  day.  Shorter  opening  and  closing  hour  deprive  the  users  the  privilege  they  are  entitled  to  make  use  of  the  library.

Information  is  the  principal  factor  for  the  establishment  of  any  tertiary  institution  library.  The  academic  library  exists  to  gather  and  organize  information  in  different  formats  to  satisfy  the  inquisitive  minds  of  the  users. The New Webster’s dictionary of the English language (1992) defines information as knowledge obtained by search, study, etc. It  is  an  important  ingredient  to  development  in  all  aspects  of  life.  No fundamental development or achievement can take place without it.  Every development hinges on adequate and timely information. Realistically,  an  individual  or  society  that  is  starved  of  information  is  stationary  in  growth  economically,  scientifically,  technologically  and  otherwise.

Libraries are expected to be providers of information.  The  students  desire  to  be  availed  assorted  information  resources  in  all  the  areas  of  their  courses  of  study.  To  be  able  to  serve  them  effectively,  the  librarians  in  the  academic  institutions  are expected  to  be  experts  in  identifying  relevant  information  and  making  them  available  to  the  users. Libraries usually develop mechanisms for the timely and adequate provision for their learning readers through different kinds of library services.

Library and information  service  is  provided  in  the  academic  community  to  ensure  that  the  users  in  the  community  are  served  optimally.  The  word  service  is  defined  by   Encarta  Dictionary  as  “Work  done  for  somebody,  a  job,  duty,  punishment  or  favour”. As  a  unit  that  exists  to support  the  academic  programmes  of  its  parent  institution, the academic library is expected to provide  quality  services  to  satisfy  the  users’  needs  to  actually  facilitate  the  users  success  and  encourage  life-long  learning.  Every library service therefore has the following objectives to: implement the provision of the library, meet the information needs of the entire community,  provide  a  high  standard  of  service  and  assistance  to  readers, provide adequate facilities for viewing. Provision  of  information  services  is  known  to  promote  library  usage  in  the  academic  library  by  the  users.  In  the  words  of  Oni-Orisan (1973)  “service  concept  implies  all  the  librarian  does to  make a  reader  feel  welcome  and  comfortable  in  his  library  and  to   enable  him  get  materials  he  requires  with  minimum  efforts  either  by  himself  or  through  the  assistance  of  a  librarian”. Library and Information  service   consists  of  finding  specific  facts,  interpreting  the  information  sources,  translating,  indexing,  abstracting,  literature  searching. Information  services  are  carried  out  with  certain  objectives  such  as  assisting  users to  gain  quick  access  to  information,  creating  awareness  of  information  that  is  available.

They  are  provided  by  the  library  to  the  readers  to  receive  the  required  attention  to  enable  them  enjoy  their  usage  of  the  library.  Information  services  can  be  rendered  to  a  group  or  individually  to  enable  them   get  as  much  as  possible  the  information that  is  necessary  for  the  completion  of  their  academic  pursuit.  Failure  to  render  this   service  will  definitely  affect  the  performance  of  the  student  and  amount  of  information  the  lecturers can  dole out  to   the  students.  Users  of  the  academic  libraries  are  assisted  in  finding  the  right  books  that  contain  answers  to  questions  they  have  in  mind. Every  information  service  rendered  should  be  directly  related  to  the  needs  of  the  users  and  can  be  grouped  into  the  following  categories  as  revealed   by  Weisman(1972)  Documentation,  Dissemination,  Inquiry,  and  Special  activities. As a result of the critical nature of information services provision, there is a need to regularly assess whether these services are adequately provided in academic libraries

Equally, the academic  libraries  in  whatever  type  of  institutions  should not lose sight of  general  reference  service,  routing  of  current  periodicals  to  the  lecturers  and   research  fellows, preparing  library  bulletin and engaging in selective  dissemination  of  information.  In  order  to   enjoy  fuller  exploration  of  the  libraries,  the  academic  libraries  equally  provide  the  following  services:  registration  of  readers  to  issue  borrowing  tickets  to  enable  them   borrow  books  and  use  the  library outside  at their  convenient  time,  photocopying  pages  of  highly  needed  book,  preparing  of  bibliographies  in  certain  subject  areas,  interlibrary  loan  to  enable  them  have  access  to  the  materials  that  are  not  available  in  their  own   library,  since  no  single  library  can  provide  enough  information  sources  for  its  readers,  book  exhibition,  cataloguing,  classification,  and  shelf management. All these help in no small measure to  utilize  library .

The   library  service  that  is  most  appreciated  is  that  which  takes  into   consideration  the  disadvantaged  users  in  the  academic  community.  The  academic  library  should  therefore  adopt   all-embracing  service  which  considers  the  blind,  or  the  visually  impaired  users,  the  lame  and  the  hearing  impaired .Their  own  materials  must  be  provided  and  they  should  enjoy  friendliness  from  the  staff  whenever  they  need  help.  Even  the  normal  readers  deserve  to  be  given  friendly  treatment  in  order  to  utilize  the  library  fully.

The  users  of  the  academic  library  are  the  students  who  form  the  larger  percentage,  the  lecturers,  the  senior  and  junior  non-academic  staff. The users  have  diverse  areas  of  interest  and  different  levels  of  needs  as to their disciplines and years of study.   The  needs  of  the  First  year,  second,  third,  fourth  or  fifth  year  students  differ.  There  are  also  post  graduate students whose  needs  differ  from  the  other  levels  or  categories  of  readers.  By  implication,  each  student  has  special  needs  which  must  be  satisfactorily  met  with  diverse  and  special  services.  This  means  that  special  information  service  facilities  must  be  put  in  place  if all  the  users  will  gain  from  using  the  library The services rendered by  the academic library should be able to establish,  promote,  maintain  and  increase  the  users’  desire  to  seek  more  information.  This  kind  of  services  involve  making available  varied  authoritative  and  current  resources  that  support  the  mission  of  the  library  and  the  goals  of  the  parent  institution.  The  students  particularly  should  be   taught  so  that   they  can  recognize  when  an  information  is  needed  and why the  information  is   needed. In  order  to  achieve  this,  the  academic  library  must  conserve,  transmit  and  create  knowledge.

The  beauty  of  the academic  library does  not  lie  so  much  on  the  facilities  available but  on  how  satisfied the users are on the services rendered to them. The information materials provided to the readers are aimed at satisfying the information needs.  While  it  is  good  for  the  library  to  select  and  acquire  materials  of  general  interests  in  large  quantities,  there  is  the  need  to  make sure they are  highly  useful so that they can be made  accessible and satisfactorily used. The  users,  both  the  students  and  the  lecturers  become  fascinated  about  the  collection  that  may  be  available  in  a  library  in  several  volumes  which  is  an  indication  of  how  good  or  bad  it  is,  but  if  the materials do not meet their needs, they will be dissatisfied over them. The  quality  of  collection  of  the  academic  library  is  one  of  the  principal  indicators  of  the  quality  of  services  which  it’s  readers  enjoy.  It is the satisfaction the users enjoy that explains of the library derives   the  honour  of  being  regarded  as  the  ‘heart’  of  the  institution.  If  the  relevant  materials  are  conveniently  made  available  and  they  are  actually  used,  the  outstanding  performance  of  the  students  will  be  witnessed.

A  supplemented  and  well  stocked  library  that  is  not  used  is  as  useless  as  a  library  without  adequate  collection.  Reasons  abound  why  very  relevant  collection  may  not  be  used  in  an  academic  library.  Such reasons are summarized by Aguolu and Aguolu (2002) as follow: the  users  do  not  know  precisely  what  they  want,  they  cannot  articulate  their  needs  accurately  to  the  library  staff. Equally, the  bibliographic  or  intellectual  access  to  the  content  of  the  library  is  inadequate,  owing  to  the  poor  indexing  system  of  the  library catalogue  or  of  the  library  collection  itself., Loan  and  circulation policy  of  the  library  is  inefficient,  shelving   methods  inadvertent  and  guides  to  library  arrangements  lacking., un-necessary  physical  and  administrative  barriers  are  imposed  upon  the  use  of  library  materials  by  the  library  management. The materials are expected to be borrowed.  The  borrowing  shows  how  the  library  is  patronized  or  how  relevant  the  materials  are.  It  is  expected  that  the  level  of  borrowing  should  be  high.  If it is low, it can be an indication of their irrelevance. The  low  patronage  may  be  due  to  the  fact  that  the  students  are  not  properly  taught  how  to  use  the  library

There  is  the need  to  create  effective  retrieval  tools  so  that  the  readers  can  find  the  materials  they  want  for  their  assignments  and  research  work.  One  of  such  tools  is the  catalogue  through  which  the  reader  mirrors  the  total  collection  of  library  and  knows  where  each  material  desirable  is  located.  The students need to  be  taught  to

Use the catalogue  because  of  its  technicality.  A  reader  who  knows  how  to  use  the  catalogue  can  explore  the  library  to  the  fullest.  Other  of  such  tools  are  the  indexes  and  abstracts  which  mirror  what  is  contained  in  some  newspapers  and  magazines  in  the  serials  section  of  the  same  library  or  somewhere  else.  The  abstracts  in  addition  to  assisting  in  retrieval,  contain  summaries  of  intellectual  contents  of  works.  The  readers  need  these  tools  to  be  thorough  in their  searches  for  relevant  information  and  to  save  their  time  which  is  hardly  enough  in  any  particular  day  because  of  lectures,  assignments  and  research  activities.

Utilizing the  academic  library service has  been  enhanced  by  the  new  computer  technology  which  is  greatly  changing  its  environment.  The Information Communication Technology   has  come  into  the  library  and  is  slowly  overtaking  the  traditional  method  of  information  provision and  creating  wonderful  accessibility  to even the  traditional  resources  of  the  library. Utilization of the services that are provided by the library is enjoying a boost .This is because it is highly cherished by the readers.  It has brought new learning opportunities. Because  of  the  important  impact  this  is  making  on  the  education  process, every academic  library  should  make it a  responsibility  to  teach  the  users  how  to  operate  computer  in  order  to  enjoy  full  utilization through access to immeasurable  information  resources  in  the  internet.  If  possible,  each  reading  carrel  should  have  a  computer  placed  on  it  for  readers  to  use  when  in   the  library.

Assessment  is  a  word  that  is  used  synonymously  with  evaluation  which   Oxford  Advance  Learner’s  Dictionary (2005) defines as  “an  opinion  or  a  judgment  about  somebody  or  something  that  has  been  thought  about  very  carefully.”Assessment  is  one  scientific  way  by  which an academic library  can  be  known  to  be  really  serving  the  users  adequately  or  inadequately. The Librarians  regard  assessment  as  an  opportunity  to  improve  the  quality  of  their  (own)  work.

Assessment in any academic library usually points certain problems besieging it. Such problems may include as Okiy (2010) has stated: poor computer facilities, poor level of awareness, poor level of ICT literacy. Akobundu (2007) gave such problems as: lack of space, provision of 24 hours service. Others may include irrelevant and un-current materials.

For  a  proper  assessment  to  be  done,  there  has  to  be  written  qualitative  standards  other  than  the  general  articles  found  in  library  and  information  science  literature.  The  standards  are  meant  to  give  higher  institution  libraries  a  readable,  carefully  reasoned  document  that  they  can    present  to  their  authorities  and  to  the  academic  community  leaders  when  they  want  to  give  them  a  better  understanding  of  the  place  the  library  should  occupy  in  the  modern  time  and  to  plead  with  their  administrators  for  more  vigorous  financial  support.  Equally, it helps libraries to assess themselves internally.

The  issues  of  standards  have  always  been  considered  important  to  the  librarian  in  all  categories  of  libraries when carrying out assessment.  It  receives  encouraging  attention  from  every  quarter,  and is  welcomed  particularly  from  the  librarians  because  it  aims  at  establishing  professionalism  in  each  library.  Standards provide  principles  by  which  perfect  assessment can  be  achieved.  If  there  are  no  standards,  the  assessor will  be  lost  in  the  cause  of  assessing  any  academic library.  Examples of standards are: Guidelines for Running Libraries in Colleges of Education in Nigeria (1994) by NCCE, Association of Colleges and Research Libraries (ACRL) 2004, Guidelines for University Library Services for Undergraduate Students (2004).These standards provide comprehensive outlines to methodically examine and analyse all library operations, services and outcomes in the context of accreditation.  They are all designed for libraries in higher education to guide academic libraries in advancing and sustaining their role as partners in educating students, achieving their institutions’ missions, and positioning libraries as leaders in assessment and continuous improvement on their campuses.

Though,  it  is  a  fact  that  no  guideline has been prepared conjunctively by   the monitoring bodies of higher institutions in Nigeria which  could  apply  uniformly  to  all  categories  of  academic  libraries  in  Nigerian higher institutions,(National Universities Commission, National Board for Technical Education, and National Commission for Colleges of Education);  existing  standards  mentioned  earlier  that  are  generic  and  applicable  to  all  academic  libraries  all  over  the  world can be used  since  the  underlying  objectives  of  the  academic  libraries  and  the   principles  of  assessment  remain  the  same. Lack of guideline prepared by a monitoring body can pose a problem to academic libraries. As a result of this problem in Nigeria, according to Igben (1992) polytechnic libraries currently existing have adopted the standards set for universities. This problem needs to be looked into because universities and polytechnics are not the same.

  1. D. Gomwalk library was established by the statue establishing the College of Education Akwanga earlier known as Advanced Teachers’ college at its temporary site in Jos in January 1977.

College librarian who organized the library into five sections namely, Administration, Technical, Readers Services, Acquisition, and Serials/s/reference.. Then in 1990 the present library was built, commissioned and occupied. It can sit about four hundred readers at a time from the one thousand, four  hundred and eighty registered readers which are made of one thousand, four hundred and thirty students and fifty staff. The library is at its last lap of its automation process. It has over twenty five computer units and has purchased wires for interconnectivity. The collection and the staff strengths of the college library stand at twenty five thousand, nine hundred and seventy eight volumes and twenty nine staff respectively.

            COA library, Lafia came into existence in 1988 in a temporary building .In 1990; the present library building was completed and occupied. Though, the library is not organized in order of units, it renders services appropriately like any other library with distinct units,

The library has a computer (PC) which was purchased in 2007, though mostly used for clerical work. It has eleven staff comprising two professionals and nine non-professionals. It has a total of three hundred and twenty registered readers which is made of three hundred students and twenty staff. At the moment, the collection of the library stands at seven thousand and eighty three books, and can sit ninety readers at a time.

NSUK library, Keffi took off in 2002 in a temporary building. It is divided into five service units. The library at the moment has about one thousand one hundred and sixty   registered students and two hundred and sixty registered staff.  It can sit eight hundred readers at a time. The library has a total collection of twenty six thousand, five hundred and eighty eight books. The move to computerize the library started in 2003. At the moment, it has about twenty computer units which have been connected to the internet since 2004.

            The school of Nursing and midwifery Lafia was established in 1999 with the aim of training nurses. The school has a total student population of one hundred and ninety nine and

the staff population of sixty which is made up of thirty three academic and thirty nonacademic staff. The library has only one library assistant who is assisted by one or two other library attendants. The library has a few collections of books which are not registered and it can sit about ten readers at a time. However it has only six registered readers with no categorization.

            The Nasarawa State polytechnic library, Lafia was established in February, 2001, a few months after the establishment of the polytechnic, Lafia on the 15th August 2000.. In May, 2003, the library benefited from the collections of the reformed College of Arts and Science Technology (CAST) Keffi.

The library has since then undergone significant expansion in its physical building, staff and stock. Its collection of books at the moment sands at five thousand volumes and about one hundred titles of periodicals. However the total number of registered readers is five hundred and forty which are made of five hundred and ten students and thirty staff. It has the staff strength of 29 which is made of 3 professionals, para-professionals and 17 non-paraprofessionals.


Statement of the Problem

Academic libraries exist in higher institutions to provide the users relevant information materials for the fulfillment of their academic desires and the mission of the organization. They are to fully provide and sustain high quality services to maintain and improve their relevance in their environments. They render information services to satisfy their readers in order to engender increased patronage, promote improved academic performance of the students and teaching capability of the lecturers. The libraries play a significant role to contribute to the speedy development of community; implant ideas, open up minds, fire imagination, release the break of ignorance and reinforce the dynamics of progress.

Despite all the apparent benefits accruable, quality services are observed not to be offered by most academic libraries in Nasarawa State. It is equally observed that students for whom services are supposed to be rendered appear not keen at utilizing those services. Ajayi (1993) carried out a study on poor usage of library and laments that students visit the library only to read for examination. Aguolu & Aguolu (2002) have lamented that “the fundamental problem in provision of information services in Nigeria is that the potential user of some type of information does not try to obtain or seek it. This may be due to the fact that they are not aware of the existence of the services. These are great problems that need o be investigated because scholarship can only flourish with the quality and sufficiency of available information to the users through the services rendered and the utilization of the services. These situations, if are not taken care of, will have negative effects on the users in relation to their academic performance.

Furthermore, a look at the existing literature on information services in academic library show that a lot have been written, but there are a few publications covering academic libraries in Nasarawa State; this means there is a yawning gap to be filled which is the principal problem the researcher has undertaken the study to fill.

Because these problems are capable of causing draw back on the academic performance of the users, the researcher has chosen this work to address particularly, the problem of providing efficient library and information services in academic libraries in Nasarawa State.





Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of this study is to assess the library and information services to users of academic libraries in the state owned institutions in Nasarawa state. Specifically, the study is intended to:

  1. Identify the library and information services that are rendered to users of academic libraries in Nasarawa state.
  2. Identify information resources employed in the provision of information services to the users.
  3. Find out the level of satisfaction of the users with these services.
  4. Determine the extent of utilization of library and information services by users of these libraries.
  5. Determine the problems associated with the utilization of library and information services to users.
  6. Determine the strategies for the enhancement of the utilization of the library and information services in the academic libraries in Nasarawa State.









Research Questions

In order to carry out an investigation into the research problem, the following research questions are drawn to serve as guides to collect relevant data:

  1. What are the library and information services rendered by academic libraries in Nasarawa State?
  2. What are the information resources employed in the provision of library and information services to the users?
  3. What is the level of satisfaction of the users on these services?
  4. What is the extent of utilization of library and information services by users of these libraries?
  5. What are the problems associated with the utilization of library and information services to users?
  6. What are the strategies the academic libraries can adopt to enhance the utilization of the library and information services in academic libraries in Nasarawa state?


Significance of the Study

Library and information services play significant role in meeting the needs of the users. As a result, the study seeks to know the services that are rendered in academic libraries and how well they are rendered and actually utilized by the users. Therefore the findings of this research will be useful or beneficial to the following: Library managements, users, students, and researchers.

The management of the academic libraries covered by the study shall make use of available data to assist them in formulating library and information services policies. The findings will be of enormous importance to the management also by helping them to improve on the factors that positively influence

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