PUBLIC LIBRARY INFORMATION SERVICES TO RURAL COMMUNITIES IN KOGI STATE

PUBLIC LIBRARY INFORMATION SERVICES TO RURAL COMMUNITIES IN KOGI STATE

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ABSTRACT

            This study centered on the public library information services to rural communities in Kogi State. The study specially sought to identify the characteristics of rural information needs of Kogi State, identify the type of information services provided by public libraries, the methods used by public libraries in the provision of information services to rural communities, the problems militating against the effective provision of information services and finally, measures were suggested that would improve the information services. The study was guided by six research questions directly drawn from research objectives. A stratified random sampling technique, with a total population of 392 respondents which comprises of both staff and users of the nine public libraries in Kogi State was used. The instrument for data collection was library staff research questionnaire on public library information services (PLISQS)” Other instrument for data collection was observation. The instruments developed by the researcher were face validated by the researcher’s supervisor. The researcher personally distributed the 392 questionnaires to respondents which comprises both staff and users of nine public libraries in Kogi state. Furthermore, mean score was used to analyze the six research questions. Some major findings made include:- the major characteristics of rural communities which are:- poor information communications network, poor current awareness services, limited number of educational institutions, poor public library services, and unorganized information centers. The respondents also accepted some information services such as educational services, book reservation services, referral services, career information services, lending services, agricultural extension services as some of the information services provided by public libraries. Such methods like exhibition, library instruction, film show, indexing and abstracting, library display, reprography and selective dissemination of information were accepted by the respondents; such problems as poor management, theft and mutilation, poor condition of services of library staff and poor library acquisition policy were also accepted as factors affecting the performance of public library information services. As a result of these problems some useful solutions were proffered which include proper library management, training and retraining of staff, proper funding, strong security measures, proper collection development policy, improved staff condition of service, good knowledge of users seeking behaviors, and recruitment of skilled personnel. The implications of the findings were stated. They include: public libraries would be able to create proper public awareness, proper management as new methods of public library practices are adopted. The Librarians would be able to provide affective services as expected of them. This mean proper access to information resources will be made possible for rural communities. This is based on regular staff training and increase in budget allocation to these public libraries. Suggestions for further studies on the public library information services were also made.     

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background of the Study

            A public library is a service oriented library with set goals made available to by the parent institution usually the government. It provides the information, education, cultural and recreational needs of the community. It improves the intellectual, moral and spiritual capabilities of its patrons through the provision of both print and non print materials.

            Edoka (2000), states that, the materials acquired in the public library are to meet the general requirements of every profession and activities in the community, so, it is referred to as the “mind of the society”. According to Munchen (2001), public libraries are store house for dissemination of information to the community and are widely used for political awareness, culture, research, information and educational purpose. Public library is an avenue through which the overall informational resources are made available to all. Ugwoke (2004), asserted that, public libraries provide access to knowledge, information and other works of imagination through a range of resources and services they provide to the community. Public libraries are real centers of culture and propagation of human knowledge.

A public library, according to IFLA/UNESCO (2004) is a library where information items are stored, organized and disseminated to the users without bias on the basis of religions, race, language, ethnicity, status, culture and educational attainment. It is an institution established, supported and funded by the community either through local state and federal government or through other forms of community organization

Kaniki (1994), defined information services as the provision of resources in the variety of media such as books, journals, newspapers, films, slides, video, video cassettes etc and also equipment such as recorders, cassettes, cameras and computers are arranged and made accessible in a proper manner for human consumption. Utor (1994), stated that information can be understood in the form of books, journals, magazine, public and private sector documents of all kind, whether published for mass circulation or unpublished and of restricted or confidential in nature. Aina (2004), noted that information service is a store which stocks all kinds of knowledge that are meant to be consulted and used by readers. He strengthened that information services provided by public libraries could be categorized as follows: lending, reservation, current awareness; exhibition, user education, literacy programmed, selective dissemination of information, retrieval, cultural and extension services.

Olayide (2000), narrated that over 70 percent of the population in many developing countries lived in the rural communities, they are mostly engaged in primary production, providing the bulk of the food, raw materials and cash crops which generate exchange earnings. He suggested that structural transformation of rural communities is very pertinent, through the provision of rural education, adequate information, library education, adult education programmes and provision of social amenities. While Ikotun (2002), identifies the major characteristics of a typical rural community as been characterized with low population density, subsistence economic activities like farming, hunting, fishing, production of food crops and fibers are always identified with low precision. Rural communities are non-industrialized society with poor information system. He noted that rural communities are marked with high traditional values, believes, kingship and rituals.

(KOSEEDS 2004), stated that public libraries started as reading rooms as far back as early nineteenth century. The colonialist encouraged the development of public library in the

state most public libraries at local government headquarters were been financed by the then northern regional government, thought the Native Authorities

            According to Achebe (2005), the first public library in the country was established in Lagos as a municipal library with some grants (six thousand dollars) from Carnegie 

Co-operation of New York and operated as a subscription library with branches based in Kaduna, Ibadan and Enugu. Other relevant libraries were the British council library in Lagos and in other part of the country. These were followed by the Nigerian government public relations office library located in Lagos with numerous reading rooms located in the then Eastern, Western and Northern Nigeria.

 In the late 60’s, the then northern government extended the service of public libraries to local government headquarters and were operating as subscription library. The libraries in the state were founded between 1967 and 1968, these were the public libraries that were in existence in the then Kwara and Benue states before the creation of Kogi state in 1991 these are Idah, Ankpa, Dekina, Okene , Kabba public libraries while Bassa, Adavi, Yagba and Ijumu public libraries were established after the creation of Kogi State in 1991. Thereafter, there are tremendous changes in Kogi state public libraries. These changes are in the area of recruitment of qualified personnel, acquisition of books and non-book materials.

Statement of the Problem

            The place of public libraries in the overall development of rural communities cannot be overemphasized. Modern public libraries collect, store and organize information and knowledge even in digital form. Public libraries also promote the economic, educational, and

efficient delivery of information to all sections of the society and encourage comparative efforts among the rural communities. As public library manifestoes (1994) in Edoka (2002), stated that public libraries are local centre of information, making all kinds of knowledge and information readily available to its users. He asserted that, public libraries are the avenues through which the overall information resources are made freely available to all. Also Edem (2004) and Edwin (2008), noted that public libraries are agents of social awareness,

Innovations and centre of knowledge that is responsible for keeping rural communities informed of any government activities in their areas.

            It is observed, however, that there is a dearth of information services and communication technology in rural communities. The observation is not unconnected with the problem of location, poor accessibility and relative absence of infrastructures in the communities, including poor network communication in the societies. The situation is particularly serious on the consequences of acquisition and organization of public libraries materials. These could also affect the overall services of public libraries in Kogi state.

            Considering the enormous importance of public library information services to rural communities and consequences of providing inadequate services, it has become necessary to investigate how public libraries offer services to rural communities in Kogi State, hence the need for this study, as not much has been done on the public library services to rural communities in Kogi state. Specifically, there is no effective research study on the ways public libraries offers services to rural communities in the state. This study, therefore, seeks to fill this gap.

Purpose of the Study

            Generally, the study seeks to examine the public libraries information services to rural communities in Kogi state. Specifically, the study seeks to.

1.         Identify, the characteristics of rural communities in Kogi Sate

2.         Identify, the information characteristics of rural communities in Kogi State

3.         Identify, the type of services provided to rural communities in Kogi State.

4.         Identify, methods used in the provision of these services to rural communities in the  

State

5.         Determine, the obstacles militating against the provision of effective services to rural

communities in Kogi State

6.         Finally, to recommend measure to be adopted in order to improve the quality of

public library services in Kogi State.

Research Questions

This study will be guided by the following research questions.

1.         What are the characteristics of rural communities?

2.         What are the information characteristics of rural communities in Kogi State?

3.         What are the types of services provided to rural communities in Kogi State?

4.         What is the method used in the provision of these services to rural communities in the

State?

5.         What are the obstacles militating against the provision of effective services to rural

communities in Kogi state?

6.         What are the measures to be adopted in order to improve the quality of public library

Services in Kogi State?

Significance of the Study

            The findings of this study will help government functionaries especially, Kogi state library board to plan better and formulate policies that will enhance better funding and management of public libraries, in order to meet the information needs of rural in Kogi state. The findings of the study will also help the rural dwellers to be aware of what is available for them, and perhaps make effective use of available information for an enhanced productivity in the rural communities.

            It is also hoped that the knowledge acquired will aid the librarians and public library administrators to plan and formulate policies that will improve public library services in the state.

            Lastly, it is equally, hoped that the findings of this research work will add to the already existing literatures on the subject. Therefore, it will be of tremendous importance to                                         other researchers and students of library and information science, as it will help to assist      them in their research works.

Scope of the Study

            The choice of this project topic becomes necessary due to life pattern to rural communities in Kogi state. Is covers public libraries in Kogi state. These are; Dekina, Bassa, Idah, Okene,, Ankpa, Kabba, and Lokoja public libraries. This research work will cover public library information services to rural communities in Kogi state. It also cover the method used, the characteristics of rural communities, obstacles faced in rendering the services and solutions to these obstacles.




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