The Impact Of Public Library Services To The People Of Cross River State (A Case Study Of Cross River State Library Board, Cross River)
1.1 Background to the Study
The Chambers Universal Learners Dictionary define a library as a building or room containing a collection of books or some other collection, for example, gramophone records.
Shair (1963) also defines a library as an organization of one or more trained people who use carefully selected or organized books, periodicals and other similar materials as a means of giving to those who may appropriately use it to the fullest extent of their need or desires the information, enrichment or delight which is to be heard from the written word.
The library can be defined as an institution that is mostly concerned with the methods, skills, and system for acquisition, storage, preservation and dissemination of recorded and non-recorded materials. The library is generally grouped into six (6) which are national, academic, school, private, special and public libraries.
The public library is a library which carters for the informational needs of everybody in the society. It is not restricted to anybody or a particular group of people. The implication of the word ‘PUBLIC’ is that the library is expected to serve everybody in the community in which it is situated; hence it is also called “The People’s University”.
According to Gates (1976), the public library can be defined as a library authorized by state law, supported from general public funds or special taxes voted for the purpose and administered for the benefits of the citizens of the country, town, city or region which maintains it on the basis of equal access to all. Ikokoh (2003) defines public library as a library provided wholly or partly from public funds and the use of which is not restricted to any class or person in the community, but is freely available to all.
The public library primarily exists to serve the entire members of its locality referred to as the general public. Nuhu (1994) observed that the public library has the same universal objective of serving the general public towards the educational upliftment and awareness of rural and urban persons, to enhance and develop their potentialities. The public library has the traditional role of acquiring books and audio-visual materials, and making them available to patrons regardless to citizenship, age, educational level, economic and social status or any qualification or condition. It must therefore be a depository of a variety of books and other informative materials and provide needed services for the members of the immediate community it serves. The public library has proved to be of the best means of providing books and non-books materials and making them available and accessible for its diverse users.
Public libraries are now acknowledged to be an indispensable part of community wide range of reading materials for all ages and centres for community information services. The public library that provides services to the general public, is also responsible for serving special categories of the public, such as children, members of the armed forces, hospital, patients, prisoners, workers and employees. In other words, it is a library established by the state to provide wide service and supervised by either a ministry or a library board.
The public library first started in the early 19th Century in Europe and America. In England for instance, industrial cities like Manchester, Russia and Detroit in the United States had public libraries so as to meet the informational needs of the industries. Boman (1989) in addition said that the growth of education and printing encouraged the use of books. For that reasons, the first public library Act in England was promulgated in 1850. It empowered that any town council with a population of 10, 000 (later 5, 000) people was entitled to one public library.
Emmanuel (2006) asserts that public libraries in Nigeria were modeled after the Bristish. They started about fifty years before independence with the establishment of libraries in Lagos. The Modern public library movement in Nigeria can be said to have started from the foundation in 1910 and 1920 with the Tom Jones Library in Lagos. He further added that the Tom Jones Library had acquired the character of a public subscription library in which the public can subscribe to membership and get books for a particular period of time. The Lagos Library which was established in 1932 was also on public subscription.
Baba (2007) also added that the Lagos book club established its rules of operation at a general meeting on 3rd June, 1932 with Sir Allan Burns, the Chief Secretary of Nigeria being largely responsible for the establishment of the Lagos book club. He was also one of the foundation members of that library. He prepared a forward to the rule that will guide the use of the library at that time. He further said that the genesis of the present day public library services in Nigeria, is traceable to reading rooms which were established by British Colonial administration between 1938-1945. The functions of the reading rooms were merely to disseminate information that were tailored to solicit the support of the British inhabitant. The reading rooms were very instrumental in propagating the British Interest during the Second World War. These reading rooms were spread in many crannies of Nigerian and acted as catalyst of the colonial masters.
After the collapse of the reading rooms, it was decided that each region should have its own independent library services. This was one of the resolutions of the Ibadan seminar on the development of public library in Africa which was held in 1953. This seminar was organized jointly by the Nigerian Government and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The resolution further recommended that the regional libraries be run by library boards beginning with Eastern Nigeria.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The role of libraries cannot be overemphasized in a developing country like Nigeria. The public library especially is an agency for continuing education for the young and the old. The improved social status of an individual or the community obviously depends largely upon knowledge and hence reading is one of the most important means for the acquisition of knowledge. To this end, therefore, the public library is the only ‘free’ agency that provides a variety of reading services for every individual no matter his status, educational background and age.
A close examination of the public libraries in Cross river State has revealed that the services provided to the users are poor and inadequate, most of the collections found in these libraries are outdated and inadequate. In other words, they are not actually serving the entire information needs of the people. Access to information post to be a big problem. Therefore, one tends to ponder if these inadequacies are due to lack of sufficient funds to purchase current materials for its vast users, or poor services due to insufficient staff, or because of the reading habit of the users etc.
These questions and more are intended to be answered by oral interviews of staff and patrons of the public libraries in Cross river state through the use of questionnaire, observation and personal experience. The answer given could be useful in the improvement of public library services in Cross river State and could also serve as a contribution to knowledge.
1.3 Research Questions
The study seeks to provide answers to the following questions.
- Who are the users of the public libraries in Cross river State?
- Why do they use these libraries?
- What are the services rendered in the Public libraries in Cross river State?
- Are the services adequate for the information needs of users?
1.4 Objectives of the Study
The main objectives of the study is:
- To appraise the use of the public library.
- To apprise the services in the public libraries in Cross river State.
- The study is also to examine the impact of these library services on the educational and political development of the people of the state.
1.5 Significance of the Study
The research work has been designed to establish the effectiveness and efficiency of the public library services in Cross river State. It will also reveal the justification for the establishment of these libraries.
The recommendations made in this work will be helpful to the state government in improving the services of the public libraries in the state.
1.6 Scope and Limitations
The study covered the public libraries supretended by Cross river State Library Board. Their services were also appraised.
The limitations encountered during this research work included funding and time constraints. Due to lack of funds, I was unable to cover the situations in other state public libraries.
The time given for this study was short to get data from users of all the public libraries in the state.
1.7 Definition of Terms
These are libraries established by the state and local governments for the entire members of their communities.
These are services offered by the libraries to their patrons, for example, reference services, current awareness services, circulation services etc.
It is an autonomous statutory body that is responsible for the overseeing of public libraries in a state.
This is a strong effect or impression on users of the libraries.
Summary, Conclusion and Recommendations
5.1 Summary of Findings
The purpose of this study is to examine the role of locust of control on the start-up intention of higher institution students in Nigeria. Hypotheses were formulated (generated) to guide the researcher.
- H0: Ability to take risks with money does not influence entrepreneurial intention
- H1: Ability to take risks with money do influence entrepreneurial intention
- H0: Self confidence does not influence entrepreneurial intention
- H1: Self confidence influence entrepreneurial intention
The objectives of the study are;
- To identify the predictors of entrepreneurial intentions among undergraduate students in the selected Private Universities
- To examine the degree at which each variables influence entrepreneurial intentions of these undergraduates
- To systematize the predictors of entrepreneurial intentions for an informed educational policy engineering of entrepreneurship development in Nigeria among the undergraduate students
The study, covering Nigeria as a whole, has shown that lack of awareness of services that are available, as well as the lack of access to many of the services that users would have liked to have access to, have a major impact on the utilisation of these services. As the study has not looked at how services are marketed to the public, it would be worthwhile to investigate whether a lack of effective marketing has contributed to the low awareness of what services are available, resulting in low patterns of usage among users and non-users alike. However, even if awareness could be raised, the issue of inappropriate available reading and informational material would need to be addressed before users could be expected to be satisfied with what is available to them.
User satisfaction is closely related to the issues of sufficient funding to buy what is required, and a proper needs analysis to establish what the public expect from the services rendered to them is needed. The study found that, though most of the respondents were students who use the facilities for a variety of reasons, users from a wide range of occupations and educational levels were found to be using the library, and therefore their needs should be established and reflected in the library collections and services. Of concern was that the study found that those who frequent the libraries were mainly educated males, an indication that a large group of potential users are not aware that, based on the UDHR and IFLA public library service guidelines, public libraries should provide relevant services to all community members regardless of their literacy levels, gender or cultural orientation. Evaluated against the IFLA public library service guidelines (Koontz & Gubbin 2010), Nigerian public libraries seem still to be struggling to provide efficient services to the general public.
As there is a strong correlation between government support and proper funding, and the use of services offered, it might therefore be in the best interest of all stakeholders to start interacting with each other by way of constructive dialogue and organised meetings, both at government and grassroots level, to find common ground on user expectations and government responsibilities in terms of service delivery. Should this not happen, public libraries in Nigeria could be doomed to become unused relics, serving no purpose or function. Based on the principles of the UDHR, public libraries are seen and used as vehicles for providing communities with crucial information for their development, empowerment and entertainment. It is imperative that the Nigerian public library services be rejuvenated and adapted to the specific needs of the population, especially those in rural areas, so that both the country and the individuals living in it can grow and prosper
Based on the findings from the analyzed data, the researcher recommended the following:
- Since most of the services provided in the public libraries studied were seemingly irrelevant, not current, or needed maintenance or upgrading, the libraries should embark on finding innovative ways to improve their services to become more relevant to the needs of the community. Community involvement is of paramount importance as members could have suggestions or practical skills that could be used to assist the libraries. The borrowing of materials is a service that should be reintroduced as a core function of public libraries so as to
- Allow members to use library materials at their leisure and in their own time for information or leisure purposes. Awareness strategies need to be developed through advertising in the media, library orientation weeks, community
- Forums, town hall meetings and any other innovative means that can be employed to create awareness of the library as an institution, but also of the services and information sources it offers.
- Libraries should provide information literacy training so that their material can be more accessible to library users.
- Libraries need to become aware of people with special needs within their communities in order to provide adequately for them.
- Each section of a library should have computers with internet access, both for administrative functions and for the library users.
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