Extent of Librarians’ Motivation in Public Libraries in South-East Nigeria

Extent of Librarians’ Motivation in Public Libraries in South-East Nigeria

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This study investigated the extent of librarians’ motivation in public libraries in South-east geopolitical zone of Nigeria, comprising Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, and Imo States. Five research questions guided the investigation. The descriptive survey design was adopted in the study. Structured questionnaire, interviews, and record examination and analysis were used to collect the data for the study. Three senior lecturers from the Department of Library and Information Science, University of Nigeria, at the request of the researcher subjected the instruments used for the study to face validation and confirmed their suitability for the study after making suggestions and modifications. The questionnaires were administered to respondents and collected on the same day. The data collected were collated, analyzed using descriptive statistics involving mean frequencies, standard deviation and percentages. The findings of the study showed that librarians’ motivation and productivity in the public libraries in the south-east geo-political zone of Nigeria was low. Furthermore, it was discovered that there is a chain reciprocal relationship between librarians’ motivation, productivity and conditions of service, funding, work environment, and training. The study also found out that motivational elements such as adequate funding, prompt payment of salaries and regular promotions were lacking in these libraries. Training opportunities where they existed were not exploited. Based on the findings, the researcher recommended, among others, that the governments of the states where these libraries are located should increase the yearly budgetary allocations of the libraries by at least 200%. Training opportunities should be funded by the governments as sponsoring agents and such opportunities should be well exploited by the librarians themselves. Salaries and other fringe benefits should be regularly and promptly paid. The limitations of the study, suggestions for further research and conclusion are also given.     




Background of the Study

          This study set out to investigate the extent of librarians’ motivation in the public libraries in south-east states of Nigeria. As part of its theoretical background, the researcher made attempts to discuss some of the key issues that gave the work its focus.

          This study set out to investigate the extent of librarians’ motivation in the public libraries in south-east states of Nigeria. As part of its theoretical background, the researcher made attempts to discuss some of the key issues that gave the work its focus.

          One of the critical issues examined in this regard is the meaning as well as the objectives of public libraries. The public library is an important organisation which has been developed for the promotion of informal and continuing education of the members of a society. perspectives about the meaning of public libraries often differ among scholars. According to Olanlokun and Salisu (1993), public libraries are libraries set up to provide free but traditional services to everyone. Adio and Olasino (2005) have also described public libraries as the people’s university in a democratic society operated for the people by the people. Adio and Olasino further argue that public libraries conserve and organise human knowledge in order to place it freely in the service of the community without reference to creed, social status, religion, or the ethnic background of the readers.

          Public libraries are in the main public organisations set up and funded by governments or communities to cater for the literacy and the educational needs of the members of the communities where they are located. According to IFLA/UNESCO 2004 manifestoes, a public library is an organisation established, supported, and funded by the community either through local, regional, or national governments or through other forms of community organization which provides access to knowledge, information and other works of imagination through a range of resources and services. A public library, the manifesto further states, is open to the general public irrespective of age, sex, social and religious status and language.

          Ajibero (1985) contends that it is therefore not out of tune to conceive of a public library as the traditional and basic community information center whose purpose for existence is to meet societal needs by accumulating information and storing knowledge, and by disseminating information and knowledge. This implies that public libraries are established with the objective of serving as schooling centers for the acquisition of knowledge and information as well as the civilization of the people. Ikegbune (1997) argues that the public library has now acquired wider and varied responsibilities in promoting individual development, commercial and technical progress, social and cultural advancement which demand both access to extensive, well maintained stocks of books, periodicals and other communication media as well as the services of experts and specialized staff. A major characteristic of the public library is that it provides its users the opportunity for self-education and helps them to acquire reading habits and culture which are critical for literacy.

          Any discussion about the public library that fails to account for the workforce and the professionals who manage the activities in such a library is far from being adequate. It will be difficult for a public library to exist and function without people who are skilled in librarianship and who possess cognate qualifications in library and information sciences. Such professionals are called librarians. Ikegbune (1997) cites Webster’s Third New International Dictionary as stating that a librarian is a specialist in the care and management of a library. By extension, and in the context of this study, a public librarian is a professional who cares for and manage the holdings of a public library for effective use by its clientele. Public librarians are information professionals who help to give meaning to the resources of such libraries by ensuring adequacy of stock, effective preservation and storage of materials and their accessibility to reader satisfaction and which in a way reflects their productivity.

          According to the 2004 UNESCO document, the function of public libraries include among others, providing opportunities for personal creative development, promoting individual education at all levels, stimulating the imagination and the creativity of children and young people, supporting oral traditions, creating and strengthening reading habits in children at an early age, facilitating the development of information and computer literacy skills. The extent to which public libraries perform these functions depends on the commitment of the librarians who serve in them. The human factor should command the special attention of any management in order to achieve organizational goals and objectives. It is in this regard that motivation becomes an important issue in this study.

          Different scholars see motivation in different ways. For example, Lindgren (1976:39) defined motivation as an aspect of inside forces that impel human thoughts, feelings and actions. The United Nations Educational and Scientific Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Manifesto (2004) further stipulates that the public library as a local centre of information requires adequate funding to meet its obligations and recommends proper and regular professional training of the librarians. Croome (1989) supports this view in that statement that training is an important factor that helps to determine and shape productivity in an organization. A trained staff because he has the know-how is an asset to the organization he serves.

          Other factors which any organization requires for efficiency and maximum output are capital, equipment, conducive work environment, good reward system in the form of promotions, salaries and wages, etc. Manpower or labour has been identified as the most significant factor since it is people that will organize the other resources to function as factors of production. In the context of the present study, the librarians are the people who make libraries resources function.

          Ugah (2008:2) cites Kreitner (1995) as stating that motivation is the psychological process that give behaviour purpose. He also quotes Buford, Bedeian and Lander (1995) as saying that motivation is a predisposition to behave in a purposive manner to achieve specific unmet needs. In the context of this study, motivation must be seen as the predisposition of librarians to give quality, maximum, and satisfactory services to the clientele all times. Elements and motivation must be seen in the work environment and in the conditions of service for this to happen. As Majelantle can play a role in reducing staff turn-over. Job satisfaction is a product of high level of motivation in the workforce brought about the presence of elements of motivation in the work environment.

          Mullins (1996) identifies these elements in three ways as economic rewards, intrinsic satisfaction, and social relationships. Motivation is often associated with four dominant characteristics; namely:

(i)                It is an individual phenomenon

(ii)             It is intentional

(iii)           It is multi-dimensional

(iv)           Its theories predict behaviour (Mitchell, 1982).

There are several theories of motivation. Skehan (1989:48) refers to what he has called the intrinsic hypothesis in which motivation is a function of the desire to work (as a librarian) because the work conditions and environmental situations are attractive. To this, he adds the resultative hypothesis in which people who work hard are rewarded: McKeachie-Doyle (1971:208) identifies achievement motivation as an expectancy of pleasure from accomplishing a task in a way that reaches some standard of excellence. This he argues is the kind of motivation that will be expected in a work force with high productivity. The present study notes that the motivation theories give support and relevance to our concerns. Other theories of motivation will be examined under our theoretical framework in the next chapter.

          Motivation is a critical element that can drive and sustain productivity in the public library. Luthans (1998) asserts that one way of stimulating people to work is the employ effective motivation which makes workers more satisfied with and committed to their jobs.

Motivation-related Factors

          Factors that are related to economic and social issues help to determine the extent of motivation among staff in an organization. Kaya (1995) found that librarians were dissatisfied with job recognition, job security promotion, social status, wages, social services authority and responsibility.

          Flecks (2002) includes training and salaries as factors which bring about the motivation of staff in an organisation. Banjoko (1996) sees compensation of employees as the totality of the financial and other non-financial rewards that an employee receives in return for his or her services. He also states that this basic pay and other numerous benefits and incentives in totality determine how well an employee lives in the society in which he is a part.

Public Libraries in South-East Nigeria

The history of public libraries in the South-eastern Nigeria which include Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo States could be traced back to 1955 when the Eastern Region Library Board was established by Eastern Nigeria Act to render library services to the people of the region. The Nigerian Civil War caused a split of the region. After that war, a part of the Eastern Region became the East Central State of Nigeria with an autonomous state government. The East Central State government by an Edict in 1973, set up the East Central State Library Board. This Board was charged with the duty of providing library services to the citizens. As further political reforms took place in Nigeria, five states were carved out of the former East Central State. The emerging states of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo built their own public libraries and inherited the 1973 Edict of the parent East Central State Library Board. The states were not created at the same time. As each emergent state appeared and a library board was formed for public libraries that will serve the citizens to be established, the state was split again and called another name. this situation has serious implications for librarians’ motivation in the public libraries in the zone. 

Statement of the Problem

Motivation is a catalyst or energizer in every human enterprise especially in service-oriented establishments such as the public library. But it is common knowledge today in Nigeria that most public institutions are being privatized. Those that cannot be privatized are suffering serious neglect by being starved of funds and infrastructure. This is the plight of most public libraries in Nigeria. Studies have shown that unsatisfactory work environment can have adverse effects on workers’ motivation (Chislity and Cloudhry, 1996; Gilhert and Walker, 2001).

          Most of the libraries in the South-east States of Nigeria had started in primary school buildings as temporary site and it is not certain whether the environmental conditions of these libraries have changed and whether they have relevant working facilities which can enhance their motivation in the face of the neglect which most public institutions suffer. Again, according to UNESCO document (2000) most of the staff in Nigerian public libraries lack training for efficiency service delivery. It is doubtful if the librarians in the south-east states enjoy regular payment of salaries and promotions such extrinsic factors that stimulate and enhance motivation.

          Regrettably, there is no study known to the present researcher which has investigated the extent of librarians’ motivation in the south-east states. Therefore, the issues raised above have led us to ask “what is extent of librarians’ motivation in the public libraries of south-east states. Carrying out such a study is not only necessary but compelling if these public libraries will play their roles in service delivery satisfactorily.  

Purpose of Study

The general purpose of the study is to identify the extent of librarians’ motivation in public libraries in South-Eastern Nigeria. Specifically, the study seeks to ascertain:

1.       If the librarians in the five public libraries in South Eastern States of Nigeria are adequately trained to enhance their productivity and are adequately motivated for better performance of their duties.

2.                 If the librarians are adequately remunerated for their hard work to enhance their motivation.

3.                 Whether there are strategies to enhance librarians’ motivation in

the five public libraries in the South-Eastern Nigeria.

4.              If the working environment of these public libraries on which

the study is carried out is conducive for high motivation and effective job performance.

5.                 If librarians’ promotions and remunerations were prompt and regular enough to enhance motivation and productivity.

Research Questions

          The following research questions are therefore raised to guide the study:  

1.      To what extent are librarians in public libraries in South-East Nigeria trained to achieve high productivity?

2.      What is the extent of motivation given to librarians in public libraries in South-Eastern Nigeria for better performance of their duties?

3.     What is the nature of the working environment of the public librarians of South-East Nigeria for the performance of their duties?

4.     How regularly are the librarians in the public libraries of South-Eastern Nigeria promoted to sustain motivation and productivity?

5.     What measures could be

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