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The public library is a social institution which is tied to the political and social realities of the communities where it is situated. As the name implies, this is a library that serves the public.
UNESCO (1966) defines public library as “Those which serve the population of the community or region free of change or for a nominal fee. It is a library designed to serve the generality of the people.
According to Oduagwu (2002) public libraries that serve the public are supported by government subvention, local rates or charges. He went further to explain that public library is often regarded as a poor man’s university. Its clientele is heterogeneous devoid of race, status, rank, bias as to who would avail of its services. It stocks every conceivable item that would add knowledge, education, research, information and cultural needs of the society. In Nigeria today, each of the 36 states kin the country including Abuja has a public library board established under the public library act as united kingdom (UK), but here in Nigeria, library board of states is established by edict or laws made by the states legislators.
Oparaku, Anyanwu, Madi, (2005) defined a public library as an institution that is set up by the government through enabling law, funded and mentioned are expected to meet the educational, informational and recreational needs of its community, public library funding refers to making money available for the day running of the library. Funding here deals with making money or funds available to public libraries.
Finance is the life wire of any establishment including land, labour, capitals and entrepreneur and information. The capital here refers to finance which can be used to procure other factors of production there by making it more important than others. Fund is obviously the major element in every establishment. It is equally the working capital of an establishment.
Public library funding generally means the various ways we derive the expected funds for capital and recurrent expenses. It involves the money available or allocation to library for running its day to day activities.
However, the funding and financial allocations to public libraries have remained poor decades. Public libraries needs adequate resources to run their services pay and hire personal provides current information, arrange, organize and monitor both human and materials resources. Nigeria is a developing country and its society is not a reading society. Nigeria do not appreciate the importance and needs of public libraries and the services it offers and this problem reflect in the level of funds allocated to it by the government. State government subventions which constitute about 80% of public library fund is grossly inadequate. This inadequacy is because of the political instability and bad economy of the country. Ulu (1997) for instance, the Imo state library was the first in he country to start services to handicap. But due to lack of fund to train staff and carry out services, there services have been on glow progression.
Late release of fund by the government is another problem, it means things can’t be done when required. All the plans of public library are hampsed by late release of fund. For instance, the public library’s plan is to establish community information services in Imo state did not take off due to late release of fund.
Another problem is the existing infrastructural facilities in most public libraries are inadequate. Their reference materials are too old. There are no separate rooms for music library and audio-visual materials, and no rooms for serious readers especially those carrying out research works.
Lack of appreciation by policy makers in government is one of the problems. This shows that the public libraries in the nation are not given due recognition they deserve and this is traceable not only to the non-quantifiable nature of library services but also the misconception given to libraries by government to get off these problems. There must be a re-orientation on the part of the policy makers in government to accord the public library the recognition it deserves.
According to Egbulonu (2002), he said that these problems have adversely affected the public library services and its operations. The result of the impending global economic situation on the other hand has drastically affected the attainment or achievements of basic standards in funding the libraries.
From the history of public libraries in Nigeria, the problem if funds has remained an intractable phenomenon. The Nigerian library association is worried by the poor funding of libraries generally but public libraries in particular. Therefore the Nigerian Library Association has organized several conferences that highlight the problems of poor funding of public libraries and need for improved funding. This conference suggested and recommended widering the sources of funding public libraries rather than depending on government funding only.
The 1st floor contains one reference, circulation and adult lending section. The library began its operation with a financial provision of form N564, 837-66 for the financial year 1976/77.
1.1 HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF IMO STATE LIBRARY BOARD, OWERRI.
Imo state library from the year 1976-2011. Imo state library board came out from eastern regional library board. It was later part of eastern central library. On 3rd February 1976, more state were created in Nigeria and Imo state was one of those states. It was carried out of the former eastern central state. As a result of this creation, the east central library board broke into Anambra and Imo state library board. However, it was only in September 976, that the indigenous Imo state staff in Enugu transferred to Owerri to establish the administrative headquarters of Imo state library board. The mobility was in part because printing binding and reprography staff was the last to move by the end of September, 1976 prior to the movement, the assets and liabilities of the former east central state library board were shared. The Anambra state library board retained the buildings and fixed assts whole fiscal cash and information resources were shared consequently, Owerri divisional library which was under completion was hurriedly finished and used as the headquarter.
The new library was opened to the public on the 12th of November, 1976 by the military governor commander Godwin Ndubuisi Kanu. The building was constructed to accommodate 85,000 volumes. The sum of 35,904.84 was said to be spent on the building at that time of its opening. The building is also designed to house on the ground floor the children’s library, the acquisition and cataloguing departments, the information consultancy unit, the staff reading room and the reprographic unit as well as the auditoria housing. There is also the handicap section which was opened by the military governor of Imo state commander Amadi Ibekweghe on 1st November, 1989 and the exhibition which was taken over by the NTA.
The 1st floor contains one references, circulation and adult lending section. The library began its operation with a financial provision of fome N564,837-66 for the financial year 1976/77.
The sum was made up of N246,832.66 being financial inheritance from the east central state library board and N360,000 as financial addition, a sum of 500,000 was to cover its capital expenditure for the year 1877. Anambra and Imo state shared a considerable quality of new book which had not been allocated prior to the creation of the state. Other materials shared include catalogue cabinets and catalogues card originally ordered for Owerri, library, some materials filing cabinets and a few type writers. The library started its operation with a total of 150 staff and a stock of 1,350 volumes. At present the total staff is 108 December, 2006 and June 2007, the staff strength is 112.
This history will be incomplete without mentioning the caring out of Abia state from Imo state, in September 1991. the resultant effect of this is emergence of Abia state library board. This led to the sharing of the assets and liabilities between the new Imo state library board and Abi state library board. This sharing was completed in November 1991. it is worthy of note that most of the divisional libraries and branch libraries want to Abia state out of 17 divisional and branch libraries, Imo state library board inherited only 7.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
In many public libraries, the budgetary allocation released as and when due, and this in turn delays the implementation of the programs of those libraries when funds are eventually released. There is inadequate funding of public libraries by the state government which provides about 80% of the funds required by the public libraries.
Shortage of funds has resulted in shortage relevant text books as currently being experienced by students and researcher who are in need of the materials. Inadequate provision of funds has prevented the provision of current materials needs by the staff and clientele in public libraries. Also poor appreciation of the service of the library by those at the helm of affairs, low societal rating of the libraries in the public libraries in the Nigeria pose problem to funding of public libraries.
1.3 OBEJCTIVE OF THE STUDY
The objectives of this study are as follows
I. To establish the state of funding in public libraries in Nigeria
II. To find the major source of funding public libraries in Nigeria
III. To find alternative source of funding public libraries in Nigeria.
IV. To highlight problems associated with inadequate funding of public libraries.
V. To make recommendation on how to over come inadequate funding of public libraries.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study will enable us to know the state to public libraries in Nigeria that is, the problems facing public libraries in Nigeria. It will also be of important to researcher or any other person who is interested in find out are the state of public libraries in Nigeria, especially Imo state library board Owerri. It will also help us to appreciate the public library as an agent of political, social and religious development of a community which can compel them into passing the right judgment and taking the right decision that affect their lives and existence. The study as expected will be an added literature in this branch of public librarianship.
1.5 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The scope and literature of the study will enable us to know the funding of public libraries in Nigeria, especially Imo state library board. The investigation is limited to Nigeria only one type of library which is the public libraries. Only the staff and users of Imo state library board and other public libraries are to be consulted in the course of this investigation limitation encountered in this course of this investigation include time constraints, financial constraints, restricted access to information, that is, some relevant materials on net were not accessible only their abstracts also some people refused to fill the questionnaire.
1.6 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1) What is the major source of fund for public library?
2) Are the public libraries facing any problem?
3) What are the problems faced by public libraries in Nigeria especially Imo state public library board Owerri?
4) What are the other source of funds are available to these public libraries.
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