Evaluation Of The Quality Assurance Practices Of Nigerian University Libraries
University libraries are libraries established in universities to promote scholarship and research in various fields of learning. University library as Yusuf and Iwu (2010) put it are the nerve centres or the hubs around which scholarship revolves in the university environment. They are established with the obligation of providing bibliographic or information services that are essential for the fulfillment of the mission of the universities. For university libraries to remain relevant and central to the mission of the universities, provision of quality services is critical. This is because quality services in the university library demonstrate ‘fitness for purpose’ of the library. Winkworth (2001) in support of this highlights that fitness for purpose entails effectiveness of the university libraries in achieving institution goals and objectives by ensuring high level of quality in their services.
Quality as defined by 1S0 11620 (1994) is the totality of features and characteristics of a product or service that bears on the ability to satisfy stated or implied needs. It is a measure of excellence or a state of being free from defects and deficiencies. The quest for quality in the university libraries which evolves into quality assurance provides the opportunity to examine all elements of the library:- its structures, systems, services, processes and people to identify defects and ascertain conformity to acceptable standards. Unfortunately, from face value, personal experience and observation of the Nigerian university libraries, one could see that quality has eluded the Nigerian university libraries as they are not measuring up to the expectations for which they are established.
This can be seen in the manner at which books are heaped at some corners of the libraries, abandoned or unattended to; inadequate library personnel comprising professional, para-professional and non- professional; lack of balanced collection; not meeting users’ service demand; non or partial application of Information Communication and Technology to service; inadequate space; inefficient reference services; lack of user education/orientation and poor relationship between staff and users. With this state of the Nigerian university libraries, one begins to wonder if these libraries can assure quality. This phenomenon is observed by Aina (2013) that “out of over 120 university libraries in Nigeria only five (5) can meet the scholarly standard of a university community”. It is at this premise that this research is set to examine the quality of the Nigerian university libraries and evaluate the quality assurance and practices of these libraries.
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