This research work was carried out on security measures and challenges in information resources in Federal University of Technology, Owerri library in Imo State. Five purposes of study and corresponding research questions were posed to guide the study. The survey design was adopted in this study and the population was the 54 professional and para-professionals who were also used as the sample. The data collected were analysed using frequency table and simple percentages. The revealed that theft, mutilation and defacement are the major crimes committed in the library, textbooks and reference materials are prone to security challenges, security measures adopted by the library are installation of security cameras, stamping of library materials, searching of library users among others. The researcher recommended that the library management should acquire more information materials to prevent theft and mutilation, more sophisticated security devices such as CCTV should be employed and skilled security personnel should be employed.




Background to the Study

An academic library is a library attached to an institution, built to support teaching, learning and research development, innovation and information dissemination which works towards actualizing the aims and objectives of the parent institution. Ahiauzu (2002) states that the academic library exists to facilitate the educational goals of their parent institutions, to help students and staff from each department to be able to satisfy their information needs. The aims and objectives of the academics cannot be achieved without the library.

Academic library acquires information materials in both print and non print format. To ensure that library materials are kept to meet the needs of the users, they need to be secured. Security of library materials helps in the growth and development of academic libraries by preventing loss of past knowledge on which future generations can benefit therein. realizing the goals of the library cannot be effective without considering the security and protection of the library materials This can be achieved through two processes; the mitigation of risks and protection  of library materials against disaster which causes destruction or damage which is the major concern of this study, as a result of these threats it is therefore very necessary that academic libraries must have security policies that stipulates guidelines on such issued as searching of employees and visitors, personnel vetting before employment, management involvement, security duties, protection of library  and theft control. The management of academic libraries has a lot to do towards the formulation of security policies, They must have idea of what to do and how to enforce the policies, The advantage of library security policy is that the library would become more effective in securing its materials, Such policy serves as deterrent to opportunities and those who  might be tempted to tamper with library materials, It encourages honest people to report discrepancies, It provides safety in taking actions when incident occurs or being reported, The need for security of library materials is recommended so as to prolong the storage of information resources in library, This will also enable the academic library to save fund.

Academic libraries face a number of security challenges in their collections (both print and non print). The security challenges of the academic libraries result to: book theft, non return of information resources, tearing pages using someone’s identity to borrow, books attacked by insects or worms, witting on or in books and purposeful mis-shelving, The security challenges of academic libraries include; lack of security system such as alarm and surveillance cameras, poor manual security approach such as monitoring users, a the circulation desk, lack of security personnel.

The issue of collection security is a growing concern for libraries. Collection   security   breach   is   formidable obstacles to information access and use and such acts are serious problems that result in users’ dissatisfaction. Security issues in libraries include: theft and vandalism, mutilation, damages and disaster,  over  borrowing  or delinquent borrowers; and purposefully displacing arrangement of materials (Ugah, 2007).

According to Holt (2007), the application of some security guards, checking of user’s identity card before they are allowed to access the library and manual security approach such as monitoring the security challenges of the academic libraries. Another factor is the human aspect of library security. This involves creating the right atmosphere for greater security awareness amongst library staff, users and academic community at large. Omoniyi (2001) finds out that both students and staff were involved in collection theft. He further stated that this can be reduced by frequent enlightenment of both the users and the library staff. This study therefore intends to investigate the security measures or tools used in the preservation of information resources in academic libraries namely; Federal University of Technology, Owerri, the nature of crimes committed by students and challenges with a view of finding solutions to those problems.

Statement of the Problem

Academic libraries acquire various information materials to satisfy the needs clientele. These materials are however prone to attack by destructive/harmful users. Libraries are faced with various degrees of delinquency in the use of their resources, these delinquency range from theft, mutilation etc. The extent of this problem varies from one library to another.  The effective use of library materials is hindered by these menaces (theft and mutilation. These crimes, which are committed by some users, have deprived many others from fully satisfying their information needs.

Universities need to put up measures to secure this information dwindling book votes. This study is carried out to discover how to secure information materials in Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO) library and measures that will ensure the security of these information materials.

Scope of the Study

This study is on the security of academic library information materials. The focus is Federal University of Technology, Owerri library. It highlighted the importance of securing information resources in the academic libraries including the effects of insecurity in the academic library. The study also covered both the challenges and security of books and non-book information resources in the library.

Purposes of the Study

The general objective of this study is to ascertain the security of academic library information materials. Specifically, it seeks to:

  1. identify the types of crimes committed by library users of Federal University of Technology, Owerri;
  2. ascertain the types of library materials that are prone to security challenges;
  • identify the various security measures used in securing these materials;
  1. determine the importance of providing security of library materials; and
  2. identify the problems encountered in the application of security measures in the library.


Significance of the Study

The findings of the study will be of immense value to the library management, researchers, librarians and other library and information science practitioners.

The findings will provide a framework for improving the security situations in both university libraries and other types of library. This study will be significant to both the university library staff and other staff of the university by providing them with knowledge on the importance of securing library materials.

This study would also be significant to policy makers of the university library by providing them with knowledge on how to ensure the implementation or requirement of policies that will guarantee the library staff and users, It would also serve as a valuable referral to people who are making research on related course or area and add to existing literature on this topic.

Through this study, other stakeholders in the information industry, such as state librarians, polytechnic librarians, college librarians and librarians in special library will be in the position to know the best approach to adopt in curbing the menace of security breaches. The significance of this study lies in the fact that it is expected to provide empirical evidence on the security practices adopted in the libraries studied.

Worthy of note is that this study will contribute to increase in the existing literature on the subject matter of theft and mutilation, above all, future researchers interested in related subject matter will find the work worthwhile.


Research Questions

The following research questions are posed to guide this study:

  1. What types of crimes are committed by library users of Federal University of Technology, Owerri?
  2. What types of library materials are prone to security challenges?
  • What are the security measures adopted in securing these materials?
  1. What is the importance of providing security to library materials?
  2. What are the problems encountered in the application of security measures in the library?