EVALUATION OF TECHNICAL SERVICES
IN ABIA STATE CENTRAL LIBRARY
1.1 INTRODUCTION/BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Evaluation according to BBC English Dictionary is decision about significant or valuable something is, based on a careful study of its good and bad features. Evaluation of technical services means to appraise or analyze the processes a library material should undergo right from acquisition until the material finally appear on the shelf for use.
This project evaluates the technical services of technical service division of Abia state library board. Before delving into the actual project, it is important to explain with library is. According to Okorie (1964:101)
Libraries are usually those, whether municipal, country, regional or national, which are supported by public funds and open to the general library board.
According to Uba (1973:163) the term “technical services” in library parlance appears to have tow connotations. Viewed from the stand point of reference services which industries and technical libraries offers to their users, on the other hand, it mans the other work of the technical processing department of libraries-that is, cataloguing and classification and allied processes. Technical services therefore, refer to all the activities and processes concern with selecting, obtaining, organizing and processing of acquired library materials in the library. It is to achieve this end in the economic way that technical processing which according to him, is a means to an end service because cataloguing and classification provide the tools without which information services is impossible. In libraries, the handling of technical services is always the sole responsibility of the technical department. According to Harrod  technical services is a department of a library where the function of a book acquisition, cataloguing, classification and processing are carried out.
Technical services department in any library is usually referred to as “behind the screen” department because most of their activities are carried out of sight of regular users of the library. Usually, the department is made up of the cataloguing section, acquisition section, serial section and bindery section. The cataloguing section’s function is to organize the total library resources by it clientele.
The traditional means for accomplishing this goal are descriptive cataloguing, subject cataloguing and classification.
This assignment required effective records preparation with all reasonable economy.
The acquisition section’s function is to purchase expedition and from the most advantageous vendors the material chosen or selected, to process materials pre-cataloguing] otherwise procured, and to forward promptly and to the proper places all materials acquired. This large business operation must be forwarded economically. The economy involves the selection of agents, methods purchasing, treatment of return, and sale of discards. Although, foremost is budget expense control. Technical services activities require the effort of a large potion of library staff and budget, and it is the “life wire” of any library.
The serial section’s function is subscribing various journals for the use of the clientele. The various journals subscribed to the library are selected, ordered, received and processed by the serial section.
The function of bindery section is to provide suitable protection for each item added to the collection and to take action, and also to per-serve it for the use of the future generation.
Harrod [1971:524] also defined it as “A library provided wholly or partly from public funds, and the user of which is not restricted to any class of person in the community but it freely available to all.
Libraries are usually established by either the local, state or federal government to serve the information needs of the community in which it located by providing materials both books and non-book materials. However, the library does not exist for formal education alone. It exist and must cater for the class of people who are general readers and those who go to the library for recreation. Unfortunately, in Africa, Nigeria to be3 precise, public libraries are not properly funded and are under used. In the wards of Oyedeji [1975:159]. The libraries that exist are for the moment, mostly glorified classrooms and reading shelters for exam-hungry school boys and girls who pay little attention, which some of the libraries offer. It is the basic of this laxity in the use of the library that the researcher decided to carry this research to find out the reasons why libraries are under used. The researcher however, chooses the technical services aspects of the problem with the Abia state library as her case study, while she leaves the other aspect of the problems for others to conduct future research on them. As earlier said in this topic, the library is establish to provide both book and non-book materials, and services that will in the present and in the future contribute to the aims and objectives of the library.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Abia as a state has some problems to consider economic bedrock, one of the most populated industrialized and civilized state in Nigeria. According to Smith (978: 2) the researcher trends some of its development, it thus become of interest to her especially of the technical services of the Abia State Library Board in the organization of its resources for effective dissemination of information to meet the varied need of its numerous clientele.
However, the researcher before going into the research envisaged some outstanding that may be glaring, ad these problems are:
i. Inadequate acquisition of materials.
ii. Lack of adequate budgeting allocation
iii. Lack of qualified cataloguers
iv. Lack of the correct number and types of staff to achieved its set objectives.
v. Lack of library co-operation in technical processes.
vi. Poor/lack of binding services.
vii. Lack of well written selection policy
viii. Lack of effective user education/orientation on the use of the catalogue.
ix. Technical services department are policy equipped tools.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The objectives of this study have summarized under the following.
1. To evaluate the technical services of Abia State Library Board
2. To survey the organization of the technical department of the Abia State Library.
3. To find out the problems that hinder the effective technical services of the Abia State Library Board and to offer suggestions on how best to arrest the situation.
4. To highlight the roles expected of a technical services department of a standard library.
5. To find out the general staffing position of the technical services of library.
6. To evaluate specifically the importance of the catalogue, its adequacy as a finding tool to the patrons and its users.
1.4 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This project is limited to the study of technical services of Abia State Library Board.
There are some aspect of the problem facing technical services in a public library, which the researcher would have cared to investigate and finding possible solution to them, but acting director was first appointed the acting director of Abia State Library services following the recommendation of the Board, members to the ministry of education. On assumption of office, he immediately recalled to the headquarters the only cataloguer of the library in the person of Mr. James E. Nwosu from one of our out station libraries where he served for effectiveness of the technical services department of the library.
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The researcher discovered that organization of resources in libraries is regrettably too inadequate. To this end, the significance of the study is to bring to awareness, some of these lapses in technical services using in Abia State Library Board as a case study since this is the most challenging aspect of librarianship and library services to the people, and suggesting ways to correcting these lapses and finally contribute to the frontiers of knowledge in this field.
Students of librarianship as well as professional libraries and library staff will definitely find this work valuable for both professional and organization efficiency even the general public.
1.6 A) RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. How adequate is the budgetary allocation of the technical services department?
2. Does the technical services department process books and non-book materials acquired by the library?
3. Do you have enough professional cataloguers in the technical services?
4. Does the library keep a written selection policy?
5. What are the effects of inadequate supply of library materials?
6. What level cataloguing description does your library use?
1.6 B) STATEMENT OF HYPOTHESIS
i. The technical section of the library is not in good condition because of inadequate financial investment on the section.
ii. The technical section do not make use of classification scheme due to lack of fund.
1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Let us therefore define the following operational terms so that they will mean the same thing to different people at different times.
Evaluation: This is decision about how significant or valuable something is, based on a careful study of its good and bad.
Library Material: The term is used to refer to a collection of books and other materials keep reading, studying and consultation.
Technical Services: An umbrella term which takes care of all the process a library material should undergo right from acquisition until the material finally appear on the shelf for use.
Library: It is a place where books, journals, microfilms, audio and visual materials and computer data and terminals are kept and organized to support the cultural, information, recreational and educational needs of the general public or specific groups of users.