1.1 Background of the Study
Libraries were storehouses and quarries of knowledge, held in books (Akande, 2009). Human endeavour of many kinds, including education, research, invention, business and leisure, has always depended to some extent on access to information, or on what other people have known or said, and for many centuries books have been the containers for holding and transmitting these information. Books were created to be communication devices for texts, and libraries existed to store, organise and make them accessible in large quantities (Hoare, 2006). Those who have founded and funded libraries, or donated collections to them, have done so in the knowledge that they have been augmenting reservoirs of knowledge for which there is no substitute. The value of libraries has often been measured in terms of the size of their stock; more books means a greater reservoir, more comprehensiveness of coverage. There have been other sources of information but when looking for authoritative, cumulative and trustworthy places to find it and look after it, civilization has turned to libraries.
According to Rathinasabapathy (2005) the library is an important intellectual resource of the academic community, and helps them to fulfil the curriculum requirements and to promote studies and research. The library, however, includes the totality of human and organized materials resources available in both book and non-book format for providing and obtaining needed information (Ahuauzu, 2002).
Jubb and Green (2007) observe that academic libraries have for centuries played critically important roles in supporting research in all subjects and disciplines within their host universities or colleges. Opara (2001) posits that the library stands in the same relationship to the society as the memory of an individual by making available and accessible to its users information required for teaching and independent study. The main purpose of an academic library as stated by Aina (2004) is to support the objectives of an academic environment in the areas of learning, teaching, research, and service.
Oyesiku and Oduwole (2004) assert that in academic communities, libraries are indispensable. Guskin (1996) notes that the use of university libraries promotes active learning, thus contributing to students’ ability to think critically and work well independently or in group. An academic environment without a library is tantamount to a person without a brain.
The university library is set up to serve its parent institution and considered as an organ around which all academic activities revolve and therefore the library can aptly be described as the heart of the university. The role of a university library to the parent institutions could be seen as:
- Acquisition of materials to support learning and teaching process in the University.
- Provision of materials necessary for research and to meet the requirement of faculty.
- Cooperation with other university libraries with a view of developing a network of academic library materials which will be at the disposal of all students and teachers.
- Open the door to a wide range of materials that lie beyond the borders of one’s own field of specialization.
- To bring information resources to door step of student and scholars together under conditions which encourage reading for pleasure, self discovering, personal growth and sharpening of intellectual curiosity.
However for the schools educational objectives to be achieved through the library, the library materials and services must be made available to the students and teachers users readily on request.
Proper dissemination of these materials is only possible if the documents are in good and usable condition since information bearing materials will not last forever in their usable state demand for their proper usage. The use of library materials in this study refers to the utilisation of the materials and services in the library for the purpose of research, learning amongst others. It would be pertinent to discover whether academic libraries are indeed living up to their objectives. The effectiveness and efficiency of services provided in academic libraries are mainly determined by library users. In the works of Behling and Cudd (2007) assert that the library user is regarded as the most logical source to determine whether the library is playing its role satisfactorily or not in terms of services rendered. Therefore, carrying out regular surveys on user needs at regular intervals on various aspects of library usage will be an invaluable guide in determining the future directions of library developments. Students, lecturers and researchers in academic institutions rely on libraries to provide the information they need in support of teaching, learning, research and knowledge dissemination, which is a fundamental reason for the libraries’ existence.
The effectiveness of library resources and services can be measured in various ways. Nwalo (1997) citing Ene (1997) states, “libraries are judged by set objectives. [And] application of set standards to measure the quality of operations.” On the other hand, we can use both qualitative and quantitative techniques in determining the effectiveness of a library. Irrespective of whether the effectiveness is quantitative or qualitative, parameters are set to be judged by users, who are in the best position to evaluate the effectiveness of the library services and materials. Students, faculty members and researchers of academic institutions should have an interest in evaluating library materials since they are provided to satisfy their information needs. The effectiveness of a library is also gauged or assessed by its resources – human and material and the services it offers through these resources. There is therefore the need to regularly evaluate library services to find out if patrons’ needs are being met by the available materials. For this reason most university libraries have collection development policies which they adhere to. This is because a system of information is relevant only if it affords access to the right kind of documents. Similarly, Nwalo (1997) asserts that the library’s services effectiveness is measured in terms of the satisfaction expressed by its users. Libraries are one of the most important steps in the research process and with the right resources and services; academic librarians can give scholars a great advantage in terms of authentic information. Fabunmi (2004) described quality in library services as including information customized to meet individual needs. He further stated that qualitative library services are timely in delivery, meet their specific needs, are easy to understand/use, and are delivered by courteous and knowledgeable staff.
However, Ogunsheye (2012) re-emphasized that neither a good book nor a good library can make the individual educated. It is the successful use of the books and libraries that makes the well informed, stable and well adjusted learned individual. It has been observed that in most schools where library exists, emphasis is on physical features, collection and budgets and not on the effective utilization of the library materials and services. In order to ascertain the extent to which academic library has helped in academic achievement, it is therefore, imperative to evaluate the use of library materials and services provided.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The foremost objective of the university library is to bring information resources to the door step of students and scholars, to encourage reading for pleasure, self discovering, personal growth and sharpening of intellectual curiosity. However for the university educational objectives to be achieved through the library, the library resources and services must be made available to the students and teachers users readily on request. As a result of this, a university designs its program of study and provides the necessary infrastructure as to meet these goals. It is in light of this that facilities and services in the university becomes an integral part of the university system, the library is undoubtedly the most significant of them all.
It is pertinent to emphasized that neither a good book nor a good library can make the individual educated. It is the successful use of the books and libraries that makes the well informed, stable and well adjusted learned individual. It has been observed by the researcher that in most public institutions where library exists, emphasis is on physical features, collection and budgets and not on the effective utilization of the library materials and services. Little of such research has been carried out in private universities in Nigeria. In order to ascertain the extent to which academic library has helped in academic achievement, it is therefore, imperative to evaluate the use of library materials and services provided in Igbinedion University Library. This is a gap that this research intends to fill.
1.3 Objective of the Study
The main objective of this study is to assess the use of library resources by undergraduate Medicine students in Igbinedion University, Okada. The specific objectives of this study are:
- To determine the availability of information resource in the private university libraries
- To determine the extent of accessibility to library resources in private universities in Edo State.
- To explore extent of using the library information resources by undergraduate medicine students in university libraries under study.
- To determine the extent of user satisfaction towards the use of library information resources.
- To determine the impact of library resources in private universities have on the users.
1.4 Research Questions
In carrying out this study, the researcher intends to put forward the following questions, which will guide her in conducting the study. These include:
- Are there adequate information resource available to undergraduate medicine students in the private university libraries?
- What is the degree of accessibility to the library resources in private universities in Edo State?
- What is the extent of using library information resources provided by undergraduate medicine students by the university libraries under study?
- What is the level of satisfaction derived by users from using library information resources?
- What impact does library resources services in the private universities have on the users?
1.5 Scope Of The Study
This study covers only undergraduate medicine students in private universities in Edo State. The study will also cover areas of materials and services assessment with emphasis on print and non print materials in the libraries. The study will also look at the impact of the services rendered on the users who medicine students of Igbinedion university.
1.6 Significance of Study
This study, it is hoped will enhance performance in libraries by enlightening professional librarians and paraprofessional librarians on the importance of qualitative materials and effective service delivery. The study draws the attention of the librarians on what areas of collections needs urgent attention in respect to availability and usability. Also, it is hoped the findings, will help to reduce further redundancy in library services. The expected benefit of this study will lie mostly in the students whom often utilise library materials and services for learning and research. The study will help them get acquainted with the diverse services that could help them get the desired information needed.
1.7 Limitations of the Study
This study will be limited to undergraduates Medicine students of Igbinedion University, Okada. The study will not transcend the confines of assessment of library materials and services in the libraries of this institution. Since the study is limited to only one private university in Edo State, it cannot cover all the private universities in Nigeria therefore, generalising it to the entire private universities in Nigeria might not bring out the real situation of library services in the universities.
Finance is also a major limitation of this study. In other words, getting adequate materials for this research was an hectic task, thus, the researcher ensure that she does everything she could by modifying certain areas of the limited literature available regarding the subject under investigation. This was achieved by breaking the variables in the study and taking conscious effort at sourcing for related literatures linking to the study.
1.8 Operational Definition of Terms
Library: A facility housing resource materials of all human endeavour of many kinds, including education, research, invention, business and leisure.
Service: the task or duties offered by librarian for the benefit of the organization (institution) and users.
Service delivery: the quality of the job rendered by the librarian.
Academic library: This is an institution that collects and manages all book and non-book materials or resources and performs specialized services within the university system.
Materials: refers to all information bearing resources ranging from text books, newspapers, journals, maps etc.
User: as used in this study refer to those who utilize the library resources such as students, researchers, and public.
Private universities: are institutions of higher learning that are owned by individual(s) and fully funded by the individuals.
Archive: A non-circulating collection preserved for historical purposes.
Database – A collection of articles, or records, stored in electronic form.
Reserves – Books, articles, or other materials that an instructor has assigned for a class to read and therefore placed on reserve in the Library.