Problems Of Selection And Acquisition Of Legal Materials

Project and Seminar Material for Library and Information Science

Problems Of Selection And Acquisition Of Legal Materials


This research work examined the “PROBLEM OF SELECTION AND ACQUISITION OF LEGAL MATERIALS BY LAR LIBRARIES IN NIBGERIA. With Imo state Judiciary library as a case study. It uses a survey research method with questionnaire as the instrument for data collection, conclusion and recommendations were made based on the findings of the study. The findings confined the existence of legal materials in the library under study as well as the problems effecting effective selection and acquisition of legal materials by the law libraries.

The work is divided into five chapters for easy understanding. Chapter one centres on background of the study, with chapter two and three emphasizing on the literature review and research methodology respectively. While the data analysis was presented in chapter four with the summary of findings conclusion as well as recommendation in chapter five with the bibliography and appendix.

Chapter One

1.1 Introduction

A good collection of books is the main activity of each library. In order to develop a good collection, documents of various types and in different physical forms are to be produced. Therefore, selection and acquisition of legal materials are two different functions/activities being carried out in order to improve the quantity and quality of materials available in the law library. Selection of materials involves deciding which materials are to be acquired for a library. Anieke (2004) quoting spiller (1991) opines that selection means “evaluating and choosing materials to add to the library stock” in other word, it involves deciding what books and non-book materials to be purchased. However, Eze and Eze (2006) in an attempt to differentiate selection from acquisition rightly observe that many persons assume that selection and acquisition work are one and the same process. They posite that even though they are related, that acquisition is the process by which the library physically secures (through bringing gifts or exchange) the items that selection personnel has identified as desirable additions to the collection.

Apparently, the law library belongs to the category of special libraries. And Nnadozie (2007:86) observed that the collection of the special library reflects the subject interest of the sponsoring organization. He further asserts that the selection policies of special libraries are careful worded to ensure that the books and publications relating to the research preoccupation of the parent body are acquired.

According to Oduagwu (2002:70) selection must precede acquisition. He explains that what to select depends on the type of library since each library is interested in serving primarily its clientele which could be homogenous or heterogeneous. The believed that selection as the most important function of the acquisition department should be performed in a systematic ways.

Anyanwu, Zandet and Amadi (2006), sees acquisition as the process of obtaining library materials to satisfy the needs of the users. To the acquisition work as a means by which book and non-book materials are added to the library. They further explain that selection of library materials is important because literature explosion publication of many library materials as no library can purchase all the materials needed.

Because the legal researcher usually need to have the most up-to date version of the law, as well as to be certain that an approved applicable case has not been overused by a higher court, or that a status has not been amended, repealed or found to be unconstitutional. Selections of legal materials or publications becomes a necessity and rely on variety of means for regular supplementation and up-dating.

In selecting and acquiring of legal materials problems like poor communication service, poor management of the library vote, poor quality of locally published book, inarticulate collection development policy. etc. are encounters acquisition of legal materials, both primary source materials such as court reports, volumes of statutes, journals etc. and secondary sources of materials needs to be effectively and efficiently selected by qualified law librarians before procurement takes place.

Historically, the law libraries are closely tied to the history of the judiciary system as well as to the history of the development of formal legal education. In the United States, the college of William and Mary lays claim to founding of the first professorship in law and the beginnings of a small collection of law books within the confines of the college library in 1779. The Harvard law library, now the largest law library in the United State, was established in 1817. Yet, until the primary focus for legal education moved in the late nineteenth century to the university from the law office, where aspiring lawyers and read the law under the tritelage of established practitioners, few law libraries (other than Harwards) compare in size and breadth of collection with Bar Association libraries of collection with rare developed to meet the needs of the practicing bar. However, the major concern in this piece of work is the problems of selection and acquisition of legal materials by law libraries in Nigeria with particular reference to Imo state Judiciary library (system) Owerri.

1.2 Background Information of the Imo State Judiciary Library

The Imo state judiciary library was established in 1916 at the creation of Imo state. The library stared with few books inherited from the former high court, Owerri, Division of the then east central state of Nigeria.

The judiciary library is situated within the High Court premises, judiciary headquarters along Orlu Road Owerri, about Onekilometre (1km) from the main post office, Owerri. Judiciary library is a special and one of the indispensable arms of the judiciary. The library is the workshop of judges, magistrates, legal practitioners, law students etc. it has collection of laws and statutes, law reports, encyclopedia and dictionaries official gazettes, periodical, law texts, newspapers, magazines etc.

At present and in addition to the judicial central library, Owerri, there are two zonal libraries at Okigwe and Orlu, three directional libraries at Abon-Mbaise Mbano/Etiti and Oguta.

Judicial library has a professional librarian, four Para-professionals, two library Assistants and other supporting staff.

Judicial library when it started was housed in a (12.2×12.2) room before it was re-located to a library hall now in use. The library has a complete set of computers.

1.3 Purpose of the Study

The primary aim of the study is to fulfill the requirement of obtaining the ordinary National Diploma (OND) certificate. It is also the belief of the writers, that this work will be useful to researcher who may which to carry out further research in the area. Besides, it will serve as a reference source in law libraries where selection and acquisition are not properly carried out.

1.4 Objective of the Study

The specific objectives of the study are as follows:

  1. To find out the problems encountered in selection and acquisition of legal materials by law libraries in Nigeria.
  2. To ascertain if legal materials are selected and acquired in the library under study
  3. To find out the type of legal materials being acquired.
  4. To identify the channels of acquisition of legal materials
  5. To find out the criteria’s used in selection and acquisition of legal materials
  6. To ascertain those involved in selection of legal materials.

1.5 Significance of the Study

The study will be of great value to researcher conducting their studies on selection and acquisition of legal materials in law libraries or on other closely related subjects.

The study therefore is meant to provide the right perception of the relevance of selection and acquisition of legal materials in law libraries as a unique function. Above all, the research will serve as a reference documents for both theoretical and applied study is selection and acquisition of library materials.

1.6 Research Questions

In other to achieve the specified objectives of the study the research formulated the following research questions to serve as a guide in adhering to the focus of the study.

  1. What are the problems facing selection and acquisition of legal materials by law libraries in Nigeria?
  2. Are legal materials selected and acquired in your library?
  3. What types of legal materials are being acquired by your library?
  4. What are the tools used for selection and acquisition of legal materials?
  5. What are the channels for acquisition and acquisition of legal materials?
  6. What are the critical used in selection and acquisition of legal material?
  7. Who are people involved in selection of legal materials?

1.7 Scope of the Study

This research work is centred on “The problems of selection and acquisition of legal materials by law libraries in Nigeria with special emphasis to Imo state judiciary library. However, the limitation of the study is that of time and finance.

The time frame is not enough to allow for the generation of much data. Another is finance which is a major constraints as needed to travel often to be able to generate the facts needs to back up this study.

Chapter Five

5.0 Summary of Findings, Conclusion and Recommendation

This chapter presents the summary of findings, conclusions and recommendations of the study of “problems of selection and acquisition of legal materials by law libraries in Nigeria.

5.1 Summary of Findings

The summary of the findings are as follows:

  1. Findings show that law books selected and acquired in the library under study.
  2. That the library under study does acquire the following types of materials. Reference books, journals, law reports etc.
  3. That the channels for acquiring raw materials includes bookshop, gift, exchange etc.
  4. Findings also reveal that the criterion for selecting the law materials the library wants to acquire includes:
  5. The findings shows that the head librarian had of acquisition and judges are involved in the selection and acquisition of law materials.
  6. Based on the finding, it was discovered that the problem facing selection and acquisition of legal materials in the law library under study includes; Inadequate of findings, high cost of importation of foreign text.
  7. The solutions to the identified problems includes: provision of adequate funds, reduction of high cost of importation and encouragement of indigenous author.

5.3 Conclusion

Selection of legal materials irrespective of the nature of the materials is an important tast. These responsible for it should have an indepth to having a sound mind of judgment and necessary experience to assess significant publications which shall be acquired to meet reader’s demand.

Although, book selection is part of the librarian’s, it is a joint action between the librarian and the judges and possible law librarians working in the judiciary library. It is worthy to state that the law materials to be selected and acquiring are the aims of assisting the judiciary in discharging their responsibilities effectively and efficiently.

There should be any reasonable demand which may be upon the library’s resources. Conclusively, the success or failure of the library is in part, a function of the ability of its managers to identify and select suitable books and other information materials required by the use of that library. The fact that the core functions of the library are built around the book underscores the importance of book selection.

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