1.1 Background to the Study
Education is an instrument par excellence for national development. It involves the development of the whole person intellectually, psychologically, socially, vocationally, religiously or morally. This is the reason why education is seen as an integral part of national development. Education is a process through which people are formally and informally trained to acquire knowledge and skills. The formal training comes from established schools from the basic level to the tertiary level.
Through this process of education, people are expected to obtain knowledge and skills and hence specialize in specific fields of study. It is this knowledge that allows people to contribute meaningfully to national development (Umar, 2004). National development involves economic growth, modernization, equitable distribution of income and national resources and socio-economic transformation for improved living standards of people through the use of a country’s human, natural and institutional resources (Aboyade, 1984; Brooks, 1990; Mohammed, 1996).
The greatest resource for development is the human resource hence no nation can develop in isolation of her human resources. The level and quality of occupational participation and productivity of a populace are important contributory factors to the level of economic and overall development of any nation. It is therefore important that at all levels of education, high calibre people be graduated so that they can give quality contributions to national development in all spheres of life. The library is central to the provision of the right type of information resources that empowers the educational institutions to produce highly resourceful people to impact positively on national development.
A library is an organized collection of sources of information and similar resources, made accessible to a defined community for reference or borrowing. It provides physical or digital access to materials, and may be a physical building or room, or a virtual space, or both. Ifidon, (2012), citing United Nations, (2003) stated that the role of libraries in learning is only the tip of an iceberg when compared to their overall uses for societal and national development, scholarship, serving as catalyst for economic development, fostering social inclusion and cohesions, promoting concepts of civic centres and community services, encouraging working relationships among democratic institution and advancement of cooperation and understanding.
Libraries have an historic mission of fostering literacy and learning. Prior to the present era in Nigeria, the public library was the place of last resort for relevant and current academic materials (books, journals, proceedings etc) Ebiwolate (2010). The relegation of these vital institutions in recent decades is indeed a matter of great concern because Libraries, learning and reading can and do change lives and do have a role to play in determining the future of our society. Libraries are vital to education, and research has shown that the current lower levels of proficiency in reading and learning are due to underfunding of libraries and their services (Dibu, 2012).
To Albert, (2007) libraries are the cornerstone of civil society, of the liberal democracy we have come to cherish. We must not allow them to crumble into disuse. When we talk about public libraries, we are referring to the ‘’people’s universities’’. The term represents broad-based educational, informational, cultural and recreational support resource centres. It also represents democratic government or non-government established institutions where the poor can have their talents developed for active participation in nation building. The public library is a social institution which is tied to the political and social realities of the communities where it is situated. As the name implies, this is a library that serves the public.
According to Oduagwu (2002) public libraries that serve the public are supported by government subvention, local rates or charges. He went further to explain that public library is often regarded as a poor man’s university. Its clientele is heterogeneous devoid of race, status, rank, bias as to who would avail of its services. It stocks every conceivable item that would add knowledge, education, research, information and cultural needs of the society. In Nigeria today, each of the 36 states in the country including Abuja has a public library board established under the public library act as United Kingdom (UK), but here in Nigeria, library board of states is established by edict or laws made by the states legislators.
Oparaku, Anyanwuand and Madi, (2005) defined a public library as an institution that is set up by the government through enabling law, funded and expected to meet the educational, informational and recreational needs of its community, public library funding refers to making money available for the day to day running of the library. Finance is the life wire of any establishment including land, labour, capitals and entrepreneur and information. The capital here refers to finance which can be used to procure other factors of production there by making it more important than others. Fund is obviously the major element in every establishment. It is equally the working capital of an establishment.
Public Library funding generally means the various ways expected funds are derived for capital and recurrent expenses. It involves the money available or allocation to library for running its day to day activities. However, the funding and financial allocations to public libraries have remained poor since decades. Public libraries needs adequate resources to enhance its services, pay and hire personal, provides current information, arrange, organize and monitor both human and materials resources.
State government subventions which constitute about 80% of public library fund is grossly inadequate. This inadequacy is because of the political instability and bad economy of the country. Ulu (1997) for instance, the Imo state library was the first in the country to start services to the handicap. But due to lack of fund to train staff and carry out services, there services have been on slow progression.
Another problem is that the existing infrastructural facilities in most public libraries are inadequate. Their reference materials are too old. There are no separate rooms for music library and audio-visual materials, and no rooms for serious readers especially those carrying out research works. Lack of appreciation by policy makers in government is one of the problems. This shows that the public libraries in the nation Nigeria are not given due recognition and this is traceable not only to the non-quantifiable nature of library services but also the misconception given to libraries by government to get off these problems. There must be a re-orientation on the part of the policy makers in government to accord the public libraries in the country the recognition they truly deserves.
According to Egbulonu (2002), these problems have adversely affected the public library services and its operations. The result of the global economic situation has drastically affected the attainment or achievements of basic standards in funding the libraries.
From the history of public libraries in Nigeria, the problem of funds has remained an intractable phenomenon. The Nigerian Library Association is worried by the poor funding of libraries generally but public libraries in particular. Therefore the Nigerian Library Association has organized several conferences that highlight the problems of poor funding of Public Libraries and need for improved funding.
1.2 Statement of Problem
It is observed that in many Public Libraries, the budgetary allocation are not released as at when due, and this in turn delays the implementation of the programmes of those libraries when funds are eventually released. There is inadequate funding of public libraries by the state government which provides about 80% of the funds required by the public libraries.
Shortage of funds has resulted in shortage of relevant text books as currently being experienced by students and researchers who are in need of the materials. Inadequate provision of funds has prevented the provision of current materials needed by the staff and clientele in public libraries. Also poor appreciation of the service of the library by those at the helm of affairs, low societal rating of the libraries in the public libraries in the Nigeria pose problem to funding of public libraries. Therefore, it is imperative to investigate effect of funding on service delivery in public libraries in Nigeria.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The objectives of this study are as follows:
- To find out the major source of funding public libraries in Nigeria
- To find alternative sources of funding public libraries in Nigeria.
- To examine problems associated with inadequate funding of public libraries.
- To identify ways to improve public library service and utilization.
1.4 Research Questions
- What is the major source of fund for Edo State public libraries?
- What are the other sources of funds that are available to public libraries in Edo State?
- What are the problems faced by public libraries in Edo State?
- In what ways can public library services delivery been improved through proper funding?
1.5 Scope of the Study
This study is designed to look into the effect of funding on service delivery in Public Libraries in Nigeria using Edo State Library Benin City as a point of call.
1.6 Significance of the Study
The result of this study will benefit the general populace in the following ways:
- Enable effective service delivery of informal education opportunities for the citizens in the community.
- Enrich the knowledge of individuals in various subject disciplines where they undertake formal education.
- Provide avenues to meet the information needs of people.
- Helps us to appreciate the Public Libraries as an agent of political, social and religious development of a community.
- It will also compel the relevant authority to deem it fit to release funds as when due.
1.7 Limitation of Study
Financial constraint– the most important aspect of this study limitation is in the area of finance. This limited the researcher in getting more literature work from other sources.
Time constraint– The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work, thus causing a cut down on the time devoted for the research work
1.8 Operational Definition of Terms
Delivery: The act of taking goods, services etc to the people they have been sent to
Effect: A change that somebody or something cause in something else.
Effective: Providing the result that is wanted or intended
Funding: The act of providing money for a particular purpose
Public Libraries: A social institution which is tied to the political and social realities of the communities where it is situated.
Service: A system that provides something that the public needs, organized by the government or a private company.
Source of Funds: A place or thing that you get money from
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