Background of the Study
Academic libraries are libraries established in institutions of higher learning. Uwaifo (2010) defines academic library as those libraries established and maintained by higher/tertiary institutions of learning such as universities, polytechnics, colleges of educations, school of nursing, school of health technologies, petroleum training institutes etc. Aina (2004) stated that, academic institutions are categorised mainly into two namely; university and non-university institutions such as, colleges of education, polytechnics, school of nursing, and others, other than secondary schools. Libraries in these institutions perform functions directly related to the mission of each institution they serve. Libraries of these institutions according to Dara (2005) are established to be the source of the procurement and supply of textbooks, journals, and adequate current valuable information to promote academic excellence. The central function of an academic library is to support the teaching, learning and research programmes of the institution by acquiring adequate print and non-print information resources and audio-visual materials, and make them available for use by students, faculty members and researchers in general.
These libraries are established in their various institutions in order to support all academic work, and achieve the objectives of academic libraries which are to provide adequate information resources for teaching, learning and researches for all users. This is in agreement with Omeje (2005) who noted that academic libraries worldwide may differ in size and sophistication, but they have one common objective: to provide information resources to facilitate teaching, learning, research and community services embarked upon by the parent institution. Academic libraries, according to Boakye (1994), are charged with the responsibility of providing adequate information materials to satisfy the needs of well defined specialized users, who are lecturers, researchers, administrators, or students of a particular academic institution. These materials to be provided should be varied enough, to meet the functions of teaching, research and development, publication and community services particularly, of the lecturers and students, and library users in general.
Edoka (2000) enumerated objectives of an academic library as follows: to provide information materials required for the academic programmes 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 these materials, co-operate with other libraries at appropriate level for improved information services, and to provide specialized information services to appropriate segments of the wider community. He further stressed that the prime obligation of an academic library is to provide appropriate information resources for study and research to the members of its own institution. Maidabino (2011) maintains that library collections constitute the bedrock of service provided to the community and serve as important assets to the library. The entire information resources or, library holdings are known as the library collection. Library collections are very important in meeting the academic libraries objectives of teaching, learning and research of a particular institution.
Ifidon (1999) defined library collection as information bearing materials which enable the library to fulfil its goal of meeting the information needs of its users. Cssel (1999) on his part asserted that library resources are information bearing materials, and that they are broadly classified according to their formats, these are printed and non printed resources. Printed resources are printed words which include textbooks in any form or documents in hard copies, while non printed resources are those materials that require the use of equipment to explore their contents such as video materials, audio materials, graphic materials etc. All these materials are acquired, processed, preserved and made available in the library to meet information needs of library users.
On this note, every institution needs an adequately stocked library if it must produce quality graduates that would be able to compete in the international arena. “The Nigerian educational system has been expanding at a rapid rate and as the system expands, so also with a corresponding need for increased information acquisition” (Erwat & Fabunmi, 2006). This increased information acquisition as a result of system expansion, will help to assemble all manners of information resources of whatever type for library users. Omagbemi (2003) defined collection development as a planned continuous, cost effective and preferential acquisition of qualitative, relevant materials to meet the needs of users and the objectives of the library. Song (2000) noted that information and document resources are the most essential condition for higher personnel training and scientific research in higher educational institution in China. This fact is true all over the world because high calibre professionals, technocrats, scientists and administrators everywhere are products of academic institutions in which academic libraries are the pillar. The extent, to which a library collection is utilized, depends upon the quality and relevance of the collection itself. The quality and value of library collection is the outcome of the collection development activity due to its critical function in any library since it determines to a large extent, the usability or otherwise of its collection.
The size, nature and contents of the library collection depend upon the objective of the institution and needs of the community it serves. Chukwu cited in Owolabi and Akintola 2010, observed that the major indicator of a good library is the quality and quantity of its collections. This is why it is necessary for libraries to acquire current and relevant information resources necessary for sustaining teaching, learning and research activities that academic libraries are known for from the beginning. According to Aina (2001), collection development is the aspect of the library and information work that is responsible for selecting and acquiring information resources that will enable library and information practitioners to perform their myriad functions to the users effectively. According to Eguavoen (2002), Ochai (2002), and Pryterch (2002), collection development is the process of planning a stock acquisition programme not simply to cater for immediate needs, but to build a coherent and reliable collection over a period of years, to meet the objectives of the institutions. Ozioko and Ekere (2011) are of the opinion that collection development is not only viewed from the angle of growth in volumes and titles, but in the quality of acquired materials in enhancing effective information delivery and the usage of such to reduce user frustration.
Collection development is one of the fundamental functions of any library. It is the process through which library professionals engage in developing and maintaining library resources. From the forgoing, collection development means the planned and systematic building of library collection. Collection building may involve a library that is starting an initial collection, or developing an already existing library collection. Ozioko and Ekere (2011) viewed collection development as either building a collection from the scratch, (ab-initio) or working on an already existing collection. Kolo (2010) opines that collection development is basic to librarianship and that it is the essence and corner-stone of librarianship. It is necessary for academic libraries in general, and North West, Nigeria in particular, to acquire current and relevant information resources necessary for sustaining the objectives that academic libraries are known for. Owolabi and Akintola (2010) noted that, “the major indicator of a good library is the quality and quantity of its collections”. In support of the above quotation, academic libraries are to maintain standards for selecting relevant information resources necessary for learning in their various institutions.
In order to achieve a balanced collection of information resources in all areas of the library`s specialization, a collection development policy is designed to guide the selection of library materials. Ozioko and Ekere (2011) asserted that collection development policy is a written document representing a plan of action and information during selection and acquisition of library materials and which proves very useful in pointing out subject areas that need emphasis. Evans (1987) describes a collection development policy as a library’s written plan, aimed at correcting the weakness of the collection and maintaining inherent strength. He sees the policy as a plan of action which guides the library personnel’s thinking and decision making. International Federation of Library Association (IFLA) cited in Adomi 2006 noted that a policy statement is a kind of framework and set of parameter within which library staff and users work. The American Library Association(ALA) cited also in Adomi 2006 describes collection development policy as the document which defines the scope of a library’s existing collections, plans for the continuing development of the resources, identifies collection strengths, and outlines the relationship between selection philosophy and the institution`s goals, general selection criteria, and intellectual freedom. In agreement with this statement, Van-Zijl (1998) states that a policy which gives clear but simple guidelines in the selection of material would clearly be of benefit to bibliographers and would lead to them making more consistent and informed decisions.
Collection development policy is very important to the library as it assists staff to build a balanced and healthy collection which can meet user`s information needs. No wonder, Adomi (2006), quoted Johnson (1994) that “libraries without collection development policies are like business without plan”. Writing on collection development policy, Ahmed (2005), and Olaojo and Akewukereke (2006), maintain that collection development policy is a formal document which establishes ground rules for planning, budgeting, selecting, and acquiring library materials, and that this document provides a framework for coordinated collection development programme throughout the libraries that uses it. They assent to the strategic importance of a collection development policy in improving and effecting a comprehensive and detailed library collection.
In view of the above, it can be said that collection development policies are needed in libraries as they perform planning functions to the librarians, and communication functions to all types of users. It can therefore be said that, a collection development policy is a document drawn up by a specific library to provide guidelines which develop the collection to meet the needs of library users. It may be written or unwritten policy. Collection development policy guides libraries on issues and processes in selecting information materials to satisfy needs of the users, as it spells out issues related to content and format of the collection, to the authorities responsible for selecting and acquiring library information resources. Due to the strategic importance of collection development in academic libraries, it is glaring that a policy document is expected, in order to guide the operations of the library activities and act as a buffer against unjust complaints from critics, as Ogbonna (2009) pointed out that, a collection development policy is the blue print that guides the library in its collection development. According to him, it may be written or unwritten, and usually consists of the following; introduction, philosophy and goals, selection policy, acquisition policy, special format, gifts, weeding, intellectual freedom, and revision. Ocho (2003) however explained that, policies are usually written to minimize misunderstanding; facilitate dissemination to all concerned; force implementers to focus more attention on the policy and thereby achieve further clarity and minimise arbitrary interpretation by policy implementers. In view of these, it can be said that genuine policies are official document that can be consulted, read and interpreted as the need arise. The documented written policy minimizes sudden, unreasonable variations in decisions and implementation that arise from serious diversion from the practices, necessitating explanation and justification as to why something is done.
Collection development policies (also known as collection development policy statements) are a written or unwritten statement of the plan to assess the strengths and weakness of a collection with an intention to correct the weaknesses and improve the strength of the collection. Policies have proven valuable tools to many collection development librarians in academic libraries, as these systematic documents provide a framework for co-ordinated collection development programme, as its proper application is an essential instrument in providing materials in academic libraries for the ever-increasing information resources. According to the American Library Association (ALA) standard for collection development policy, as discussed by Olaojo and Akewukereke (2006), the general overview of a collection development policy, shows an introduction to the policy, a description of the community the library serves, collection development efforts that defines and explains the operations to be covered. Some major topics covered by a policy include: purpose of the policy, its intended audience, a description of the institution and its clientele, and an overview of how the collection has developed. Also included in a policy are details on the types of programmes or patrons’ needs that are to be met by the collection. Furthermore, the general priorities and limitations of the collection are usually included in a policy. Normally the policy specifies who is responsible for selection, methods of selection, treatment of gifts and donations; weeding and collection assessment are also included in the overview of a collection development policy for a healthy effective and efficient collection for a proper attainment of the objectives of the library and its parent institution as well.
The need for the collection development policy in a library is closely related to the operation of a well established collection, as it supports the library’s role in providing resources to meet the learning, teaching and research needs of its intended users. Collection development policy is very important to the library as it assists staff to build a balanced and healthy collection which can meet user`s information needs. Today each library attempts to keep a balance between developing their own physical collections and providing remote access to information sources. Collection development policies give an indication of the scope of a library’s existing collection, plans for the continuing growth of collections as well as the type of resources the library aims to acquire. Academic libraries are developing collections primarily to support the current and anticipated research and service programs of their respective institutions. The central function of the collection development policy is to guide the systematic selection of the world’s recorded knowledge, and the important fact is that library collections must be viewed by those who develop them and those who use them as a total coordinated resource materials.
Perhaps, there seems to be no consensus among librarians in the application of a collection development policy, as different library scholars have expressed their views on the application of a policy in developing collections in libraries. Some scholars are of the view in support of the use of an approved standard policy in collection development in academic libraries; others see no need for a guide when developing a library collection. An observation of the libraries in institutions of higher learning in North West, Nigeria, suggested that most of the academic libraries in this geo-political zone lag a collection development policy. Commenting on this, Ifidon (1990) noted that most African university libraries do not have collection development policies, mainly because librarians think that the primary objectives of the libraries are quite clear and that they could be guided by such objectives; but a collection development policy is certainly more than that, this is why Johnson (1994) in a general but brief statement maintains that “libraries without collection development policies are like businesses without business plans”. This is because one has to understand what the business is/or is doing at the moment and where it is heading. Even though a collection development policy can be written or unwritten, without either, Librarians and collection developers are likely to go into excesses in some areas to the neglect of other areas. The implication is that such libraries may have numerous information materials, but cannot satisfy the information needs of the community they serve, and the aim of setting up such institution will be defeated.
According to National Universities Commission (NUC, 2013) website, there are one hundred and twenty nine Universities owned by Federal, States and Private government, out of which thirteen are located in North West, Nigeria. National Board for Technical Education (NBTE 2012) website, there are forty six Federal and State government polytechnics in the country and eight of them are located in North West, accordingly, National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE 2012) website, there are thirty three colleges of education owned by Federal, State and private organization and eleven of them are located in North West, Nigeria. There are therefore, thirty five academic institutional libraries in North West, Nigeria. National University Commission (NUC), National commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE), and National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) are the National bodies respectively in charge of these institutions in the country. Bayaro university Kano (BUK), Umaru Musa Yar’adua university, Katsina (UMYUK) and Usman Danfodio university sokoto (UDUS) Kebbi state university of science and technology (KBSUST), were established in 1975, 2006, 1975 and 1993 respectively, by Federal government of Nigeria except, Umaru Musa Yar’adua university and Kebbi state university of science and technology (KBSUST) that are owned by Katsina and Kebbi state governments respectively. These universities have the following members of professional staff that handle the services of their university libraries. BUK has forty two (42), UMYUK has ten (10), and UDUS has twenty nine (29), while KBSUST has six (6). These Universities are supervised by the National Universities Commission (NUC), while their libraries’ activities are monitored by the Committee of University Librarians of Nigerian universities (CULNU).
According to National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE) Website (2012), Federal colleges of education (FCEs) in Nigeria are owned by Federal government of Nigeria and are fund through Federal Ministry of Education, while Colleges of Education (COEs) are owned by State Governments and are fund through State Ministries of Education. By January 1990, National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE) was established and it became the supervisory agency. The libraries services in each college came into existence with the take-off of each of these colleges respectively at different year of its establishment. These libraries each have professional staff strength that manages the services rendered to each library users. FCE Katsina has eleven (11), FCE Zaria has twenty nine (29), and FCE (T) Gusau has seven (7) while COE Argungu has five (5). Information from the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE 2013) Website gives account of Polytechnics that they were established respectively by the Federal and state government of Nigeria, and that, the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) was established to supervise polytechnics in order to cater for technological training and development in the country. While Hussaini Adamu Federal Poytechnic Kazaure in Jigawa has five (5) professional staff, Nuhu Bamali Polytechnic Zaria, has twenty one (21) professional staff in their respective libraries.
With distinct information needed by these institutions to achieve their respective objectives, there is the need to have a laid down rules that will regulate the effectiveness and success of information required by these academic libraries. The general purpose of these academic libraries is virtually the same which is: teaching, learning, research and community services, and according to their respective parent institutions. Each of these libraries collect print, non print and all other kinds of information bearing materials that serve the information needs and support teaching, learning, and research in these libraries.
Statement of the Problem
Collection development policy is essential to guide the library professionals in collection development, as it measures the extent to which the collections meet the goals, needs and missions of the library and its parent organization. A policy supports libraries in providing collections to meet teaching, learning, and research needs of its students and staff. Collection development policy builds a collection which can directly support as high a proportion of the research, learning, teaching and other academic activities of the institutions as possible.
Academic libraries are under great pressure to ensure effectiveness and efficiency in the extent to which the collections are sufficient and efficient to meet the goals, needs and missions of the library and parent organizations. Librarians and collection developers are likely to go into excesses in some areas to the neglect of other areas, if no guiding policies are followed in the collection development process of a library. The implication of this is that such libraries have numerous information materials but cannot satisfy the information needs of the community they serve. It appears that many academic libraries in North West, Nigeria do not have collection development policies, and those that have them, may not be using them. On account of this, it can be said that any library without a functional collection development policy will not only be on the decline, but will also be unable to achieve the objectives for which such library was set up.
The challenge of this study is to determine the availability of collection development policies in these libraries, and finding out how compliant they are in its application on their collection in academic libraries in North West, Nigeria. No academic institution can progress without adequate provision of current, relevant information resources such as textbooks, reference materials, and academic journals in its libraries. It is against this background that the researcher deems it necessary to examine the extent to which academic libraries in North West Nigeria have collection development policies and make use of them in their collection development.
Purpose of the Study
The general purpose of the study is to examine the application of collection development policies in academic libraries in North West, Nigeria. Specifically, the study seeks to:
- Ascertain the availability of collection development policies in academic libraries in North West, Nigeria.
- Ascertain the content of collection development policies in academic libraries in North West, Nigeria.
- Determine the extent of application of collection development policies in these libraries.
- Ascertain the perceived benefits of the application of collection development policies in achieving the objectives of the libraries.
- Investigate the constraints to the application of collection development policies among the academic libraries of North West, Nigeria.
- Suggest strategies for enhancing the application of collection development Policies in academic libraries
This study is guided by the following research questions:
1) In which of the academic libraries in North West, Nigeria is collection development policy available?
2) What are the contents of the collection development policies in academic libraries in North West, Nigeria?
3) To what extent are collection development policies applied in academic libraries in North West, Nigeria?
4) What are the perceived benefits of the application of collection development policies on the achievement of the objectives of academic libraries in North West, Nigeria?
5) What are the constraints faced by academic libraries in North West, Nigeria in the application of collection development policies?
6) What are the strategies for enhancing the application of collection development policies in academic libraries in North West, Nigeria?
Significance of the Study
The findings of this research will hopefully be of immense benefit to the following; Library Management, Acquisition Librarians, Library Users and the Government.
Library management stands to gain from the findings of this study in a number of ways. First by establishing availability and extent of use of collection development policy in the academic libraries in the zone, the library management will be in a better position to re-assess those libraries that do not possess it, or do not make use of it with a view to enforce it and achieve the objectives which the academic libraries are established for. Secondly, the findings of the study will further educate library management on how best to adopt collection development policy for the benefit of their respective libraries, based on strategies suggested to enhance its application. Thirdly, the existence and application of a collection development policy will help the library management to make proper arrangement to stock libraries with adequate materials for learning, in order to achieve the objectives of the institutions it serves.
The findings of this research will help the acquisition librarians in working with greater consistency towards achieving the libraries’ goals by using collection development policy in developing healthy material resources to cater for all users, using limited funds at their disposal. Another significance of this research work to the library is that, it will add to the growing body of knowledge in the literature of library and information science, and also provide resources for students and researchers for their work too. The significance