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DELINQUENT READERSHIP PROBLEMS IN LIBRARIES OF COLLEGES OF EDUCATION
Background of the Study
Education has been identified as the instrument par excellence for national development in Nigeria. Consequently, teacher education has to occupy a position of pre-eminence in the planning and organization of our modern society. This in turn demands that the Nigerian people and government make both teaching and teacher education a very attractive professional pursuit. It is based on this that the Nigeria Certificate in Education (NCE) programme is generally aimed at producing teachers with high personal and professional discipline and integrity, teachers who are dedicated, with appropriate skills and intellectual depth that would facilitate easy achievement of the national goals on education as stated in the National Policy on Education.
The following objectives have been enunciated to represent the mission of colleges of education by the National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE) (1996):
* Discuss intelligently the main ideas that have affected and still affecting the development and practice of education generally and Nigeria in particular.
* Examine the main psychological and socio-economic factors that may help or hinder a child’s educational performance.
* Discuss intelligently major issues affecting the teaching profession in Nigeria.
* Identify major problems of education in Nigeria.
* Completely carryout at least, a survey research on any educational problem in Nigeria.
* Study learners appropriately as to determine the most effective ways of relating to them to ensure their maximum learner-achievement.
* Select an effective use of appropriate teaching strategies and methods for maximum learner-achievement.
* Select and make effective use of appropriate instructional resources for maximum leaner-achievement.
* Broaden studies programme and demonstrate desirable levels of moral and character development.
The library is the intellectual power house of an institution of learning. It is the pivot on which all academic activities revolve. Batley, Carbo and Koenig (2007), define library as an organized collection of books and other materials. Such materials may include magazines, newspapers, maps, films, compact discs, computer systems, and other print, electronic and multimedia resources. Libraries play a vital role in the world’s systems of communication and education. The numerous resources and services that libraries provide help people carry out their work, studies and leisure-time activities. Libraries rank among society’s most important and useful cultural institutions. The libraries render these services to the society by creating knowledge, conserving it, retrieving it and disseminating it. By so doing, they play an active and invaluable role in research, training and education of the citizens and in the production of high level manpower in academic environments.
The libraries of the institutions of higher learning, such as colleges of education, polytechnics and universities, are committed to supporting and promoting the academic and research programmes of the parent institutions. For every college to achieve the above stated goals set by the National Commission for Colleges of Education, it must have a college library that will provide resources and services to the institution. College libraries, like other academic libraries, have the basic function of aiding the parent institutions in carrying out their objectives.
The objectives of the libraries include provision of information materials in support of the learning process, provision of materials to meet the requirements of faculty specialists and postgraduate students who are doing research, and provision of materials to assist the library user in his own personal self-development, (Ozioko, 1996).
The library contributes to the realization of these objectives and supports the total programme by acquiring and making available the books, materials and services, which are needed. The NCCE (1994) objectives of libraries in Colleges of Education as stated by Adamu (2001) include, to:
* Ensure that its collection and services are designed to meet the objectives and information requirement of colleges of education.
* Ensure that the resources and facilities provided are maximally used through proper organization and dissemination.
* Give qualitative reference and information services for study, teaching and research needs in the college community.
* Evaluate from time to time the success of the library in meeting the library and information needs of users.
In the light of the importance of books and other information materials to our academic environment, book abuse in the form of theft, mutilation, hiding of books and vandalism have been a matter of concern to all libraries. The menace of these delinquent acts in the libraries hindered the growth of the library collections and imposed substantial financial drain on limited budgets of the library.
The term “delinquent reader” according to Souter (1976) refers to a “user of the library who over-borrows to a high degree, retains books after they have been recalled or illegally borrows, steals or mutilates books.” User delinquencies according to Ebunuwele et al (2011) are actions that are illegal or immoral that users carry out during the process of consulting library books and other materials. Such actions include unruly behavious, receiving phone calls in the library while others are reading, mutilation of library materials, impersonation, theft, and misuse of OPAC (Online Public Access Catalogue) computer system. Alafiatayo (1983) is of the opinion that delinquent readers were not peculiar to academic libraries but are a problem to all types of libraries.
Delinquent readership can be in the forms of book theft, mutilation and other forms of criminal acts. Book theft is the act of stealing library books. Souter (1976) defines theft as an act of dishonestly appropriating property belonging to another with intent of permanently depriving the other of it. Mutilation is another form of delinquent readership. It is defined by Hornby (1995) as “damage to something very severely by breaking or tearing off a necessary part”. This damage may be done to a book or other library materials. Delinquent practices in the library can also occur in the form of over-borrowing, non-response to recall and illegal borrowing of books (Alafiatayo, 1993). Illegal borrowing according to him means any borrowing procedure outside the circulation desk. Eze (2005) also observed that delinquent readership behaviours in the library involve eating and drinking in the library, use of phone/telephone conversation, discussion, theft, mutilation and smoking inside the library. According to Jato as cited by Oyesiku Buraimo and Olusanya (2012) delinquent readership practices include scandalous behaviours such as theft and mutilation, hiding library materials, refusal to return overdue borrowed materials, drinking and eating in the library. He also stated that vandalism occurs when users knowingly tear, mark or otherwise damage or destroy materials. They cited Lorenzen (1996) who stated that this problem may not even be in form of theft or mutilation but some of these disruptive users may cause problem to the library staff which can hinder them from carrying out their duties effectively. According to Maidabino (2010), delinquent readership behaviours in the library can be in the form of theft and mutilation, vandalism, damages and disaster, over borrowing and purposefully displacing arrangement of materials.
Different factors have been cited as contributing to delinquent readership problems. Batagarawa and Bakori (2003) suggest the causes of delinquent readership problems as lack of sufficient library resources, lack of photocopying facilities, the high cost of photocopying materials, lack of fund, the problem of power failure and frequent breakdown of these copiers. Akinfolarin (1992) also suggests lack of orientation as another factor. This involves new intakes who are not properly guided on the rules and regulations governing the use of the library. Another factor is that some of the students are selfish or greedy. Yet another cause is defective security. Some security staff do not even know what they are expected to search for from the library users. Oyesiku Buraimo and Olusanya (2012) commenting on the reasons why library users engage in this criminal act stated that lack of security measures give users the opportunity to carry out the act, lack of library materials, lack of photocopying facilities and incessant power failure.
Ebunuwele et al (2011) observed that delinquent readership behaviours in the library was due to lack of photocopying facilities, inadequate security, lack of vigilance on the part of library staff, lack of proper shelving and shelf reading of library materials, lack of adequate library orientation to new library users and inadequate copies of popular library materials.
The implication of delinquent readership according to Batagarawa and Bakori (2003) is that it leads to ineffectiveness of library services, user dissatisfaction and even poor quality teaching and research. Oyesiku Buraimo and Olusanya (2012) citing Jato who identifies the effect of delinquent behavior on the users and the library. According to him, immoral behaviour among the users resulted in the following: it reduces the library stock, reduces the life span of the mutilated library materials, leads to replacement of the stolen and mutilated library materials, prevents students from locating needed materials, damages the image of the library, lead to low performance of students in examination and leads to frustration among users.
Maidabino (2010) was of the opinion that delinquent readership behavior make users to feel dissatisfaction with the services of the library and that it is a sign of lack of concern for the needs of others.
There are four colleges of education in Enugu and Ebonyi States. Enugu State has Enugu State College of Education Technical (ESCET) which is owned by the state government and Federal College of Education Eha-Amufu. Ebonyi State has two Colleges of Education which include Federal College of Agriculture Ishiagu which was established by the federal government and Ebonyi State College of Education Ikwo (EBSCE) owned by the state government.
The Federal College of Education Eha-Amufu was formally known as College of Education Eha-Amufu. The announcement for the establishment of this college was made on 20th December 1980 by the ex-governor of Anambra State Jim Ifeanyichukwu Nwobodo during the first convocation ceremony for the award of the Nigerian Certificate in Education of Anambra State College of Education Awka. On the 21st February 1981, the college was established but the college library could not take off until December the same year. The college later became Federal in the year 1993. The college runs three years programme. The student is expected to graduate within a minimum period of three years and maximum of five years. The college awards its students Nigerian Certificate in Education (NCE). The estimated population of the students is 4000. The library which started with seventy-three (73) books and a staff of four, has increased to 27,080 materials with the staff strength of sixteen.
The Enugu State College of Education (Technical) was established by the Enugu State government on 11th April 2006 under the leadership of Governor Chimaroke Nnamani. But before this, the State government had already directed the vacation of the campus II, Abakaliki Road premises of the Institute of Management and Technology (IMT) to house the new college and also directed the closure of the School of Science and Vocational Teacher Education (SSVTE) of the IMT and the transfer of all its staff and students to form the nucleus of the new college. The college inherited all the physical facilities in the former IMT campus II and one of them was the college library. The number of library staff then was ten including four professional librarians. The college library took off with 816 volumes of materials including the materials under vocational education which were handed over to the college library and they now have about 8,256 volumes.
The Enugu State College of Education technical runs Nigerian Certificate in Education (NCE) programme and degree programme. The NCE programme last for a minimum of three years and degree programme is four years. The Enugu State college of Education is technical which is different from the other two colleges of education because it runs courses in the field of applied and industrial science like industrial mathematics, chemistry and physics. Enugu State College of Education Technical awards Nigerian Certificate in Education (NCE) and Degree certificate. It has a population of 3,850. The Ebonyi State College of Education, Ikwo evolved from a College of Agriculture on 6th March 2001 under the leadership of Governor Sam Egwu, the then governor of Ebonyi State. The institution was meant for the training of teachers, as well as for research and studies in Education. The programme lasts for a period of three years. The college offers courses in the area of education, languages, sciences, vocational education and social sciences. The college awards the students Nigerian Certificate in Education (NCE). It has student population of 2,500 and library staff of 13. Some materials were handed over to the college library by the college of Agriculture, especially materials from the area of agriculture. The college library took off with the volume of 835 and increased to 6,013 by the year 2013. The college library was made up of three sections with different units.
Statement of the Problem
Library materials are very essential in education. They impart knowledge and enlightenment to library users. According to Sahoo (2012), these holdings of the library are the priceless heritage of mankind as they preserve facts, ideas, thoughts, accomplishment and evidence of human development in many different areas, ages and directions. Library materials play an essential role in enhancing curriculum and assisting in teaching and learning.
However, it has been observed that loss of library materials through theft, mutilation, vandalism, and other library abuses may seriously affect effective library services in these libraries. Delinquent readership problems like theft and mutilation threaten to reduce the number and value of information materials in the library. Moreover most of these valuable materials are already out of print, making the possibility of replacing them difficult. When these libraries fail to render effective and efficient services to their parent institutions, the institutions may fail in the achievement of their goals, thereby contributing to the production of low quality teachers.
Despite the importance, cost and danger of abuse of these library materials, it has been observed that there is prevalence of delinquent readership in many college libraries. Only one study has been carried out on this, which was on Federal College of Education Eha-Amufu, and carried out in 1996. A new research on delinquent readership problem will provide an update of the problem and proffer new solutions. It is a fact that despite all efforts to preserve library materials, users still make up tricks to fault strategies of library management. A fresh look into the problem will yield more and new strategies for library management to check recent tricks users employ in order to reduce to the barest minimum or eliminate entirely delinquent readership behavior in these institutions, hence this research work.
Therefore it becomes necessary to carry out research to determine whether the problem still exists in this and other college of education libraries, and the extent to which this has affected library services.
Purpose of the Study
The main aim of this study is to determine delinquent readership problems in three colleges of education libraries in Enugu and Ebonyi States. The specific objectives of the study are to:
- determine the types of delinquent readership behavior in College of Education libraries in Enugu and Ebonyi States.
- Ascertain the extent of prevalence of delinquent readership acts in the libraries.
- determine the factors contributing to delinquent readership problems among library users.
- ascertain the extent to which the problem has affected the services of these college libraries.
- make necessary suggestions on how delinquent readership problems will be minimized in College of Education libraries in Enugu and Ebonyi States.
The following research questions were formulated to guide the study:
- What are the types of delinquent readership behaviour in Enugu and Ebonyi State College of Education libraries?
- What is the extent of prevalence of delinquent readership acts in the libraries?
- What are the factors that contribute to delinquent readership behaviour in these Colleges of Education libraries?
- To what extent have these delinquent acts affected the services in these college libraries?
- What measures can be used to curb the problems of delinquent readership in College of Education libraries in Enugu and Ebonyi States?
Significance of the Study
It is expected that the result of this study will be useful to the management, parent institution, librarian/library staff, researchers and other users in the following ways. First, it will help the management to formulate policies that will prevent further delinquent practices towards the library materials. It will help the parent institution to know the extent of damage done to these library resources through these acts and the need to support the library financially to be able to institute better security measures. The outcome of this research will also help librarians to be aware of the cases of delinquent readership in their libraries. It will equally help them to know the damage it has already caused them and the effective measures to be taken to reduce the problems in their libraries.
It will also help library users and students to have the love for books and other library materials which they are meant to handle with care. The result of the study will also form the basis for further research in this field, especially those carrying out research on the security of library materials.
Scope of the Study
This work investigated the problem of delinquent readership in Enugu and Ebonyi States College of education libraries. The study considered the delinquent readership problems of book theft, mutilation, vandalism, over dues, hiding of library materials, over borrowing, illegal borrowing, non response to recall, noise making and smoking in the designated libraries. The study covers the college librarian, the library staff and students of these institutions.