LIBRARY USER EDUCATION IN TERTIARY INSTITUTIONS IN NIGERIA: A CASE
STUDY OF THE FEDERAL COLLEGE
OF EDUCATION (TECHNICAL)
1.1 Background of the study:
One of the fundamental laws of the library is that the resources (books and non-book) must be well consulted. The librarian has to acquire and provide access to information stocked in the library. The user is very important in the practice of librarianship, this is the library process revolves around the users.
The library provides user education in order to equip a user with enough knowledge on the use of library so as to enable them use the library resources effectively. The reason for the provision of user education in the library is that library processes could be so complex that an average user may not easily comprehend how to utilize the available resources. As a result of the era of information explosion in which we are, information is expending at a very fast rate and new resources are being introduced into the library (Aina, 2004). With the advent of information and communication technology (ICT), which has permeated all the activities of libraries, it is important to explain the working of a library to a new user in detail. The ultimate objective of any library is to enable users exploit its resources to the fullest.
Fjallbrant (1990), defines user education as: “the teaching of those skills that will enable students to locate and use materials effectively and feel confident in using the library.” Also, its aim is to acquaint users with the use of materials in the libraries. Similarly, Fleming (1990) defined user education as “various programmes of instruction, education and exploration provided by academic libraries to users to enable them to make effective, efficient and independent use of information sources and services to which these libraries provide access.”
Bello (2003) defined library user education as: “A device by the librarians to educate users on how to use the resources available in the library in a result oriented ways.” Thus its concerned with information retrieval, since the objectives of the user education in academic library according to Osagie (2003) are as follows:
· To enable users to know how to use the library catalogue independently in any library with particular reference to the author, title and subject catalogues.
· To enable users to understand the classification schemes in any library so as to be able to locate materials with little or no problem.
· To be able to see library catalogues as indexes to the entire collection and use them as such.
· To enable the users to see the library as a repository of knowledge that determines the success of the students academic programme because its not possible for an individual to have the collection of a library.
Students in Nigeria tertiary institutions are introduced to the use of library in one form or the other, in order that they might know what to consult in their quest for information. Today, most students in higher institute of learning find it difficult to explore the world of information sources in the library thus leading to poor appreciation of the library and its resources, which contributes to their inability to undergo meaningful researches or at best become poor library users. It is believed that a concerted effort to know and understand library more will eventually enable the individual to develop his/herself to the fullest potentials. This becomes very important as it will enable man to contribute effectively and positively to the development of the society at large.
BRIEF HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF THE CASE STUDY LIBRARY, UMUNZE
The federal college of education (Technical) Umunze in Anambra state is one of the eight (8) colleges of education [technical] established by decree No. 4 of 14th March, 1986. At its inception, the college moved to Umunze in November 1989, following a presidential directive. At Umunze, the institution inherited buildings of the former All saint Anglican secondary school. At present, the infrastructures inherited from the present, the infrastructures inherited from the school are being renovated and refashioned, as it were, to reflect the grandeaur and convenience of a technical teacher institution.
The college was initially cited at Lomu in the North-eastern out skirt of Umunze town along way leading to Ogbunka and Owere-Ezukala all in Orumba South local Government Area of Anambra State, Nigeria. In 1999/2000, the administration of Dr. C.V. Nnaka (Mrs) made a deliberate effort to move the college to her permanent site at Nsogwu in the south central part of Umunze town with the erection of a gigantic building to house the school of Agric and Home economics education which has been accomplished. Lectures have already started at the permanent site.
The main college library was recently re-named PROF. BEN NWABUEZE LIBRARY which housed their collections in a gigantic story building with another bungalow building at the back housing their virtual centre. Their library opening hours are as follows:
Ø Monday –Friday 8am – 6pm
Ø Saturday 9am – 4pm
Ø Sunday 2pm – 6pm
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM:
The aim of this enquiry is to provide information for solving an identified problem confronting the society.
Difficulties of users in locating materials easily on the shelf, poor use of library tools by the users, problems encountered in retrieving required materials and inability of users and staff interaction.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
1. To find out how user education is conducted in federal college of education (technical) Umunze library.
2. To identify the causes of poor use of the library tools by users.
3. To assertain the effectiveness of user education in the library.
4. To create a positive attitude to information searching which will stimulate the user to make use of the resource available in different libraries which is determine with the help of staff.
5. To verify the level of user and staff interaction in the library.
6. To find out the students satisfaction about the programme.
1.4 SCOPE OF STUDY:
The researcher’s range of the study was concentrated on Umunze, a community in Orumba South local Government area Anambra state. Only the federal college of education (Technical) Umunze library was studied by the researcher using some of library users and the staff.
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The library materials are not adequately utilize and most materials are lying dormant on the shelf which is as a result of library user not being able to use the library as required. The out come of this research work will leads to efficient, effective and continuous use of the library.
As regards to this project work, much time, money and energy will be duly employed for the successful outcome of this work.
1.6 RESEARCH QUESTIONS:
1. How often is user education conducted in federal college of education (technical) Umunze?
2. What are the causes of poor use of library tools by users?
3. How can the effectiveness of user education in the library be achieved?
4. To what extent can user education create a positive attitude to information searching in users?
5. How can the level of user and staff interaction in the library be determined?
6. To what extent can users satisfaction or user education programme be achieved?
1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS:
EDUCATION: This is a process of teaching, training and learning, especially in schools or colleges, to improve knowledge and develop skills.
INSTITUTION: This is a person who is in charge of or works in a library with a degree in librarianship.
LIBRARY: This is a building in which collections of books, CDs, newspapers, etc, are kept for people to read, study or borrow.
TERTIARY: Is a third in order, rank or important. It is a college that provides education for people aged 16 and older.
USER: This is a person who come to make use of library materials in other to satisfy their needs.