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This research work was designed to examine the utilization of library resources by lecturers in University of Agriculture, Makurdi. The specific objectives of the study is to find out the level of availability of library materials in the university, and determine the extent of use of the materials by lecturers. It is also to find out the factors that impede lecturers use of the library and make recommendations for improvement of library use. Six research questions guided this study. A descriptive survey research design was used for the study. The population of this study comprises all lecturers in University of Agriculture Library, Makurdi whose number is put at 480. Out of this population 192 representing 40% of the population was sampled. Out of the 192 questionnaire administered 153 were filled and returned representing 80% response rate. Statistical tools used for the analysis were frequency counts and mean scores. The major finding of the study is that there are many library resources such as books, journals, bulletin, transactions and proceedings, research monographs, research reports patents, technical bulletin, price lists, data sheets, dissertations, indexes/abstracts, biographies, gazetteers, dictionaries, and encyclopedias amongst others, in the University of Agriculture, Makurdi and that lecturers use the library mainly for consultation of books and reference materials. They also use it for research purpose and borrowing of books. A major findings was also that lecturers utilized books more than any other source of information. A number of recommendations were put forward for improvement of library use but the most prominent suggestion was that more up to date and relevant information sources should be acquired for the library, and that the library should be properly funded.
Background of the Study
The main purpose of the University Library is to support the objectives of the University, which is to promote teaching, learning and research. The university library is meant to serve the undergraduates, post-graduates, lecturers and other members of the university community. The quality of a university is measured largely by the quality of its library because of its unique role in the university system. There can never be the existence of a university without a library since the university is meant to teach and carry out research. For the teaching staff and research fellows, the university library is supposed to provide information resources and services of sufficient quality and diversity.
The university library is supposed to provide a variety of services. It is also supposed to “serve” all the areas of knowledge taught in the university. Consequently, university libraries are sometimes decentralized with a main library co-ordinating departmental and faculty libraries. This is the situation in University of Agriculture, Makurdi Library where departmental libraries are co-ordinated by the main library. For a university library such as the University of Agriculture, Makurdi Library to perform its several functions, its collection must not only include books but other materials such as general and specialized reference collections, made up of journals, newspapers, manuscripts, historical maps, government publications, clippings, letters, thesis and audio-visual materials.
Utilization of library resources simply means using of library resources. A person or thing that uses something somewhere or someplace to achieve his or her purposes is a utiliser or user. In the same context, one can state that those who make use of the library materials for their benefits are library users or utilisers. Also, those who enter the library and find such library materials useful are library users. Whittaker (1993) also defined a user as “a person who uses one or more of library services at least once a year. Hence, people who go either to the public, private, special school or academic libraries for some genuine reasons, requiring the attention of the library staff, are known as the library users or utilisers. Library users in the universities can be divided up administratively into external and internal users. The internal users consist of undergraduates, post-graduates, lecturers, research fellows and other members of the tertiary institutions, while the external users are those who are not members of the institution, but are also served by the libraries but under certain specific official arrangement.
Users of academic libraries are mostly made up of subject readers who concentrate their use of library materials on subject fields, they are working in or are studying. Students belong to these subgroups of subjects readers. Subject specialists or academic staff are also part of these subgroups, with the students obviously forming a high proportion of the users of academic libraries.
Lecturers need library resources because they are repositories of knowledge that provide the vital underpinning for national development. The Federal Government of Nigeria, through the Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi Decree No 28 of 1992, established the Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi (U.A.M Calenda 1996/1997 – 1990/2000).
The general objectives of University of Agriculture, in Nigeria including that University of Agriculture, Makurdi were founded with a philosophy and objective of creating opportunities for progress, production and profit in agriculture by developing manpower for it (Ibekwe 1989). She went on to say that with these philosophies and objectives the conventional universities with Agricultural faculties were purely geared towards the production of graduates in Agriculture to man government ministries and research institutions, without actually embarking on agricultural training, research and extension with a view to enhancing high agricultural product, of the farming majority.
But more specifically, with the establishment of the Federal Universities of Agriculture in the country, the integration of agriculture education, research and extension, the service broad ecological zones of the country has probably resulted into the enhancement of agricultural production. Adedipe (1988) summed up the task and objectives of Nigerian Universities of Agriculture thus: the acceleration of the pace of agricultural production for attainment of self sufficiency in food production and improvement of human development and personal wellbeing of Nigerians through rural development.
Indachaba (1988) stressed that central to the essence of new Universities of Agriculture is the introduction of innovative approaches to research, training and extension. These include development of a strong disciplinary core with heavy practical training in crop production and husbandry, animal production and agricultural engineering technology. Development of training facilities and communication technologies for imparting new skills. There is also the need for cultural or research linkages between the agricultural research institute and outreach programmes of the universities. These are the challenges of Universities of Agriculture generally in Nigeria.
Surmounting the challenges above require information by the lecturers amongst other stakeholders in these institutions to address. The information they need is provided by the library. This is achieved by effectively providing materials for the required agricultural information dissemination to the lecturers and other stakeholders. By so doing, it enables the parent institution to discharge her teaching and research functions.
The functions of any academic library are summarized in the promotion of teaching, learning and research. These roles are prosecuted through balanced acquisition, proper processing, storage, interpretation and dissemination of relevant information. Anything on the contrary renders the institution impotent in achieving its mission.
The University of Agriculture, Makurdi Library like any academic Library is important because it is a storehouse of information or record of human experience to which students, lecturers and researcher can turn for information. The Library makes available and accessible to its clientele information resources needed for teaching and learning. By offering instruction in the use of Library and bibliographical resources, the Library participates in the transition of knowledge.
The library of the University of Agriculture, Makurdi started in 1981. It inherited the facilities of the defunct Makurdi campus of the University of Jos, which in turn inherited the faculties of the defunct Federal University of Technology, Makurdi. The library which had a capacity for 150 (one hundred and fifty) readers and about 5000 volumes of book started offering skeletal services to the University academic staff earlier than the formal opening of the Library to the University community. This was to enable the faculties prepare their lectures before the arrival of the pioneering students. The Library of the University of Agriculture, Makurdi had gone through several processes of merger and de-merger giving birth to the new University of Agriculture, Makurdi Library in January, 1988.
The Library started operations and services in the new library building named Francis Idachaba Library on the 20th March, 1995. At that time the library contained approximately 30,000 volumes of books and 3891 volumes of journals. The library is presently headed by a librarian Mr. Sugh Loho. It also has a total of about fifty-two staff made up of ten professionals and forty-two para-professionals. It has a reading capacity to accommodate 500 readers at a time. There has been no study on utilization of Library resources by lecturers at University of Agriculture, Makurdi and it is for this reason that the present study was undertaken. The choice of University of Agriculture Library, Makurdi lies in the fact that it is a new University with Agricultural bias and its investigation will enable us know the extent of library use by lecturers, and the impediments of library use by them.
Statement of the Problem
It is generally expected that academic libraries should be fully utilized in order to enhance teaching and learning. When an academic library is regularly used, by lecturers they are able to up-date their knowledge in their fields of specialization and become more effective in the discharge of their duties. Above all the quality of graduates produced by the University will be high while lecturers can compete favourably with their counter parts elsewhere.
The likely consequence of this scenario is that most lecturers will not be up to date in their knowledge in their fields of specialization and may likely not give out their best to students. Lecturers may also not be in a position to compete favourably with their counterparts in other Universities when it comes to presentation of papers and seminars. Also the inadequate use of University library’s collection, will not justify the large sum of money spent on acquisition of materials, and staff salaries, and it will likely affect the quality of teaching and learning in the institution. It may likely result to production of half baked graduates. fidon (1999) stressed the fact that it is important to know the extent of library use because one’s impression of library use may be entirely different with what is on the ground. It is also true that such factors like number of hours a library is open and the library’s programme of instruction amongst many other factors may influence library use and it is only by an investigation that the true cause may be established.
The investigation of the library of University of Agriculture, Makurdi, will enable us know the extent of Library use. It will also enable us know the number of hours the library is open, and the library’s programme of instruction as it affects the use of the library. We shall also know the impediments of library use by lecturers of University of Agriculture, Makurdi.
From personal observations the library of the University of Agriculture, Makurdi is most likely not adequately used by lecturers. This is the problem which the researcher feels that only an investigation will un-ravel the mystery and once problems are discovered and a solution found, lecturers will begin heavy patronage of the library.
Purpose of the Study
The general purpose of this study is utilization of library resources by lecturers in University of Agriculture, Makurdi. The specific objectives of the study are as follows:
1. To find out the level of availability of library materials in University of Agriculture, Makurdi.
2. To find out the kind of library resources that are available for use by lecturers in University of Agriculture, Makurdi.
3. To find out lecturers purpose of use of University of Agriculture, Makurdi library.
4. To determine the extent of use of library resources by lecturers of University of Agriculture, Makurdi.
5. To find out the factors that impede/hinder the use of the library by lecturers in University of Agriculture, Makurdi.
6. To find out the strategies that could be adopted to improve the use of University of Agriculture, Makurdi Library as recommended by lecturers.
This study is guided by the following questions.
1. What is the level of availability of library materials in University of Agriculture, Makurdi?
2. What kind of library resources do lecturers consult most?
3. What is the purpose of the use of library resources by Lecturers of University of Agriculture, Makurdi?
4. What is the extent of use of library resources by lecturers in University of Agriculture, Makurdi?
5. What factors impede/hinder the use of library of University of Agriculture, Makurdi by lecturers?
6. What strategies could be adopted to improve the use of University of Agriculture, Makurdi library by lecturers?
Significance of the Study
The findings of the study will hopefully benefit the University of Agriculture, Makurdi management, the University Library, the lecturers of the University, the students and the general university community. The university management will know the problems of the library, that is whether the staff of the library are adequate or not. Whether the library resources are available in good quantity or not, whether the information sources are current and up to date or not. Whether the collections in the library have taken adequate care of the core-Agricultural subjects or not. They will also know the problems that hinder proper patronage of the library by lecturers. They will also know whether the funds they have been approving for the library are adequate or not.
The library management will also benefit from this study. They will be in a position to know whether lecturers have easy access to information sources and if not re-examine their classification and cataloguing systems. They will know whether or not lecturers benefit maximally from the library instruction programme. They will know whether or not library staff effectively serve lecturers by enabling them have easy access to information sources. The study will reveal feeling of lecturers regarding the appropriateness of information service delivery to enable the library management in providing what is appropriate. The study will also reveal the problems hindering effective provision of information service delivery to the library management.
The lecturers themselves will benefit from this study. The library resources which they indicated are not available may be acquired. The recommendations of lecturers on how they can effectively use the library may be implemented for their good. The study will serve a guide to other librarians who would want to conduct similar research. In t he same vein, it will serve as a guide to other students of library science who may be interested in carrying out similar research on utilization of library resources in other academic institutions. It will reveal typical information sources that should be present in University Libraries. Also, the basic information sources that should be present in Agricultural University Libraries will be identified, this will enable Agricultural University Libraries to formulate policies in respect to its provision in the library.
Also the various information delivery methods through which information can be delivered will be exposed, thereby enabling university librarians to know the specific ones they can demand for. The study will also add to the existing literature in the field of librarianship especially in the area of utilization of University Library resources.
Scope of the Study
The study will cover resource availability and use of the collections of the library by lecturers in University of Agriculture, Makurdi. Makurdi is the capital of Benue state. Benue state is located in the north central zone of the Nigeria.
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