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This research work was intended to investigate the utilization of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) by students in the five federal university libraries in North-Central Zone of Nigeria. This is with aims of ascertaining their problems and strategies for improvement. Five research questions were formulated to guide the study. It sought to find out among other things the ICT facilities available to students in university libraries, ascertain the extent to which students utilize ICT facilities in university libraries, determine the level of ICTs skills of students of the various universities under studied, find out problems encountered by students using ICT facilities of these universities and identify the strategies that could solve the problems and enhance the effective utilization of ICTs in these universities. Descriptive survey design was employed for the study and the entire population of 150 comprising of students, five university librarians and ICT specialist/system analysts was used. The instrument used for data collection was questionnaire. The questionnaire, out of 150 copies of the questionnaire distributed to the respondents 140 copies were filled and returned representing 93.33% of the copies of questionnaire distributed. To analyze the data the following descriptive statistical measures were employed: frequency table, simple percentage and mean ( ). The  results obtained from the findings revealed that ICT facilities are available to the students but their utilization is at average level, that students possess a wide range of ICT related skills, that ICTs have great effects on the students’ academic output, that there are factors militating against the effective use of ICTs by students, ranging from inadequate funds, poor or erratic power supply, inadequate number of effective Internet Service Providers (ISP) to lack of policy framework on ICTs in the country. Based on the findings, it was recommended that efforts should be made to place a high premium/priority on application of ICTs in the services on university libraries, that students should be encouraged to utilize ICTs in the libraries to enhance their academic output as well as Government showing more commitment in the developing of ICTs base in the country by providing grants and aids more stable power supply and cyber cafes, generating of funds internally for ICT projects, adequate training and orientation on ICTs should be emphasized.



Background of the Study

          The University libraries are libraries established to cater for the academic and research needs of the university. They serve the reading and research interests of undergraduates, lecturers, researchers, and other users. University libraries are big repositories of information and knowledge from all fields of learning to the academic community of students and staff that they serve.  University libraries, which are academic libraries, provide support to members of an academic community, including students, researchers and lecturing staff.      

           Academic libraries are libraries established in Universities, Colleges of Education, Polytechnics and Monotechnics. Their collection is tailored towards achievement of the institution goals of teaching, learning and research. They serve the students, lecturers, administrative members of the academic community as well as others.  They are central to learning, research, and have always depended on relevant new technologies, which on the other hand are driven by emerging trends in education and research. The major function of University libraries is to provide resources to meet the needs of users. Their materials are diversified to support teaching and programmes that take place within them. Therefore, the University library has to build a strong collection of information resources in physical and digital formats to cater for the knowledge requirements of students, faculty members and research scholars of the institution. To remain relevant, libraries must fulfill some set of roles for serving their parent institutions.

           Akintunde (2006) submitted that, librarianship continues to hold a central place in higher education worldwide. It has remained the strength of the best traditions in academics worldwide. Nonetheless, significant progress will have to be made for Nigerian higher education libraries to be in the main stream of the digital revolution.  This is because library services today require more global networking in delivering services.

          According to Aguolu and Aguolu (2002), the University library is the university’s principal instrument in the conservation of knowledge through its rational, systematic and comprehensive acquisition of all types of human communication records, published and unpublished, written or oral in recorded form that embody the ideas of knowledge of the past.

As a store-house of information or a record of human experiences to which students, lecturers, and researchers may turn for data or information, the university library stands in the same relationship to the society  as the memory to an individual by making available and accessible to its users information resources needed for teaching and students’ independent study. To act on these noble core purposes in today’s academic environment, however, requires that libraries move beyond parameters of earlier times to pursue new modes of serving their institutions (Rathinasabapathy, 2005).

The need to have ready access to relevant information for improving knowledge is of strategic importance to society (Lakos, 2004). The Internet is expanding fast in response to this, and the amount of digital information available is increasing daily. The importance of information to the success of any academic institution cannot be over - emphasized. Akinade and Ogunyade (2002) ascertain that it is a valuable resource required in any society or an institution to meet its objective. Ready available information to students determines largely their success and future development. Aguolu and Aguolu, (2002) asserts that, the basic tripartite function of any university is to conserve the existing knowledge, to transmit knowledge through teaching, and to create new knowledge through research. There is no doubt that Information and Communication Technology (ICT) can be a major source of sharing knowledge and information, and they have come to complement physical library resources.

Information Technology (IT) is an omnibus term that combines computer and telecommunications technology; hence, it is sometimes called Information and Communication Technology (ICT). It is concerned with the technology used in handling, acquiring, processing, storing and disseminating information (Aina, 2004). Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) has revolutionized information transmission and storage and has brought the globe to the doorsteps of people. It is a new paradigm in all spheres of life, be it governance, civil service, health, business, education, and the like. Wole (2002) defined ICT as electronic technologies for creating, acquiring, storing, processing, communication and using information. It is a conglomeration of compatible hardware and software arranged to communicate information from one location to another through the inter-connectivity or a network of computers.

Information and communication technologies (ICTs) therefore consists of computers and other communication facilities like telephones, fax machines etc. that are used to process and communicate (disseminate) information. In line with this, Ukwugwu (2004) indicates that ICTs is used to describe a wide range of new technologies and their applications such as telephone, World Wide Web (WWW), e-mail etc.  Today information is available in a variety of forms like CD-ROMs, Online databases, e-journals etc. Inventions of devices like CD-ROMs and flash memory cards, which have huge storage capacities, have changed the outlook of libraries. 

The accelerating pace of information technology continuously raises the standards of users’ anticipations and expectations of new valued-added services. Information professionals have long sought to comprehend what factors are relevant in encouraging patrons to seek out information. Over the years, a particular focus of inquiring has been on those factors that play a role in deciding to use the library’s electronic resources to seek information as opposed to just surfing the internet. These inquiries assume an even greater importance in light of the fact that more people are using the internet to find information they need that is unmediated by the library, (Kibirge, 2000).

The current shift from the age – long conventional means of providing library services to technology driven approaches necessitated by advancements in computer technology, telecommunication systems and the integration of both have given rise to a new digital paradigm known as Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). In the educational sector, Information and Communication Technology (ICTs) is bridging the gap or rather blurring the boundaries between students and teachers, the research scholar and his users and library resources.  The application of technology to inform and make teaching, learning and research entertaining is almost limitless.

Prior to introduction of ICTs in service delivery, there are many activities and services performed and rendered in the library by the librarians, which were strenuous and time consuming. These activities were drudgery, grossly insufficient and inefficient, and at the same time has caused much frictions in inter personal relationship between librarians and the users as many librarians displayed impatience when pestered by an inquisitive users. This is because they were performed manually, and they ranged from manually processed acquisition to dissemination and retrieval of information as contained in the shelves. However, today, these activities can be carried out smoothly with the help of ICTs facilities with greater efficiency and effectiveness to reduce space and time. Advances in ICTs have facilitated the advancement of all professions. It is rapidly influencing the society and our lives, thereby bringing us more closely to happening around the wider world. Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) includes data, information systems, services (e.g. Web services), computers, telecommunication network, and associated assets (e.g. telephones, facsimiles, cell phones, laptops, digital cameras) radio, television etc. These resources are used for information processing tasks as observed by Musa (2005).

 The use of internet in higher institutions to access Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) is an exciting prospect, especially where there are significant impediments to obtaining relevant current information the print collections and CD-ROM databases available locally in the institutional libraries. Cornell (1999) opined that the use of Electronic Information Sources (EIS) in tertiary education has resulted in fundamental changes in teaching and learning, bringing new focus, which is considered by some to have provided a paradigm shift.    It is against this background that this study is been conducted to assess the utilization of ICTs by students in the federal university libraries in the North-Central zone of Nigeria.

Statement of the Problem

           University libraries provide resources and services for their users. Services to users constitute an important area of University library services. These services are designed for meeting the information needs of library users.  Studies have shown that many University libraries in Nigeria are finding it difficult to meet the information needs of their users; a number of challenges have compounded this ugly trend (Aguolu and Agulou, 2002).    However, from research dimension, many authors have tried to write about one aspect or another on the subject of information and communication technologies (ICTs) but little study has been carried out in the area of the utilization of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) by students in federal university libraries in North- Central zone of Nigeria.   Although, studies abound on the application and impact of ICTs on libraries and majority of the studies were based on personal experiences not on empirical research. Very insignificantly, where empirical study done, it was always a generalized study relating to the library and most cases were subjective. Thus, this study therefore is expected to fill some of these gaps in the literature.

However, previous studies and observations of some University libraries have revealed that ICTs is inadequately being used in library operations because many libraries still use manual method. Discussions with some librarians also confirmed the inadequate utilization of ICTs for the provision of library services and this has greatly affected the effectiveness of the services rendered in an information age for libraries under study. This method invariably creates delay and waste of precious time of the students and other users. Therefore, there is a gap in the immense imperative of the influence of ICTs on the students’ utilization of library resources.  Thus, the present study aims at filling this gap.

Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of this study is to examine the Utilization of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) by Students in Federal University Libraries in North-Central zone of Nigeria.

The specific objectives are to:

1.      Find out the ICT facilities available to students in the various Federal University Libraries in North-Central zone of Nigeria;

2.      Ascertain the extent to which students’ utilize ICT facilities in university libraries;

3.      Determine the level of ICTs skills of students of the various Universities under study;

4.      Find out problems encountered by students using ICT facilities of these Universities;

5.      Identify the strategies that could solve the problems and enhance the effective utilization of ICTs in these Universities.

Research Questions

The following research questions formed the major basis upon which this study was carried out. They are:

  1. Which of the following ICT facilities are available in the University libraries?
  2. What is the extent of students’ utilization of ICT facilities in the library?
  3. What are the various ICT skills possessed by students in the university?
  4. What are the problems militating against the use of ICTs by students in the University?

5.  How can these problems militating against the use of ICTs by students in the Universities be solved?

Significance of the Study

            The value of the study relates to the understanding of the utilization of information and communication technologies (ICTs) by students in federal university libraries in North-Central zone of Nigeria. It is expected that the findings of this research work will assist students to have access to the Internet in their respective libraries. Internet access is used for electronic mailing services, electronic on-line chats, and group activities.  It will also x-ray the problems associated with the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), and as such, the result of the findings of this study will contribute to the body of knowledge on the use Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). In addition, findings of this study are expected to be beneficial to librarians, lecturers, students and public interested in this area of study. The findings of this study are expected to be of benefit to students as it will reveal to them the various library resources that are been computerized to enable them carryout effective learning and research. The findings of this study will be of help to lecturers in diverse fields of knowledge by providing access to information related to the topics that would be beneficial to them; also, it will enhance their research outputs. The findings of this study will be of benefit to the public, as it will help widening their horizon in the knowledge of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) processes in the libraries.  

Scope of the Study

This research work is on Utilization of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) by Students in Federal University Libraries in North-Central zone of Nigeria.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  They include University of Abuja Library, Abuja; Federal University of Agriculture Library, Makurdi; Federal University of Technology Library, Minna; University of Jos Library, Jos and University of Ilorin Library, Ilorin.

The study also coverde all the Federal University Libraries. The study will focus on Utilization of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) by Students in Federal University Libraries in North-Central zone of Nigeria.

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