Use Of Public Library Services For The Promotion Of Literacy Level Of Users In Kenneth Dike E-Center Library Awka Anambra State

Project and Seminar Material for Library and Information Science

Use Of Public Library Services For The Promotion Of Literacy Level Of Users In Kenneth Dike E-Center Library Awka Anambra State


Abstract


Public libraries are now acknowledged to be an indispensable part of community life as promoters of literacy, providers of a wide range of reading for all ages, and centers for community information services. The main purpose of the study is to determine the use of public library services for the promotion of literacy level of users in Kenneth Dike E-center library Awka, Anambra State. The study adopted a survey research design and randomly enrolled participants in the study. A total of 259 responses were validated from the enrolled respondents where all respondent were the users of Kenneth Diksey E- center library. The findings of this study will be useful to the library in the sense that management of this public library and other public libraries apply standards of reference services as part of the services rendered by public libraries to serve its users.


Chapter One


Introduction

Background of the Study

The library in a community provides a unique service that should be accessible to everybody. Library is an institution that acquires, organizes, processes and disseminates information materials in all disciplines to those that need them with little or no expense on their part. A public library is a library established under state enabling laws or regulations to serve community, district or region. Public libraries provide an organized collection of printed or other library materials or a combination, pay staff, establish schedule in which services of the staff are available to the public. Of all types of libraries, public library has the most heterogeneous clients to serve. The public library must aim to support the general interest of the community it serves so as to contribute to the quality of life and add to the totality of man’s happiness and awareness of himself, others and his environment.

The UNESCO public library manifesto issued in 1949, revised in 1972 and 1994 declares: The public library is the local center of information, making all kinds of knowledge and information readily available to its users. Achebe (2005) notes that the study of ancient and medieval library leaves no one in doubt about the value of public libraries in education. She listed some protagonists of public library services such as Edward Edwards of Britain, Melvin Dewey of America and Antonio Pannizi of Italy who at various times in the history of libraries worked tirelessly to establish their public libraries for the purpose of bringing education and knowledge to the doorsteps of their people thereby encouraging these people to read without necessarily going to school, enhancing their literacy level.

The objectives of public libraries are thus: providing information needs of the community, support their educational efforts [both formal and informal], encourage purposeful use of leisure, encourage and promote reading habit especially among children. Public libraries are now acknowledged to be an indispensable part of community life as promoters of literacy, providers of a wide range of reading for all ages, and centers for community information services.

Public libraries now provide well-stocked reference libraries and wide-ranging loan services based on systems of branch libraries. They are further supplemented by traveling libraries, which serve outlying districts. Special facilities may be provided for the old, the blind, the hearing-impaired, and others, and in many cases library services are organized for local schools, hospitals, and jails. In the case of very large municipalities, library provision may be on a grand scale, including a reference library, which has many of the features associated with large research libraries. In many cases public libraries build up collections that relate to local interests, often providing information for local industry and commerce. It is becoming more usual for public libraries to lend music scores, phonograph records, compact discs, and, in some countries. Not all countries provide public library services of an equally high standard, but there has been a tendency to recognize their value and to improve services where they exist or to introduce them where they do not.

Public librarians work strenuously, through such organizations as the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA), for such developments. There is need for public library to provide services and resources that will effectively meet the information needs of their users.

The services of the public library are provided on the basis of equality of access to all regardless of age, sex, race, religion, nationality, language or social status. They are directed at everyone including literate, non- literate, students, teachers, farmers, industrialists, doctors, bankers, civil servants, businessmen, poor, wealthy, able, and disabled peoples etc. Specific services and materials must be provided for those users who cannot for whatever reason use the regular services and materials for example, linguistic minority, peoples with disabilities or people in hospital or prison. Public library services are as follows:- creating and strengthening reading habits in children from an early age, supporting both individual and self-conducted education as well as formal education at all level, providing opportunities for personal creative development, stimulating the imagination and creativity of children and young people, creating awareness of cultural heritage, appreciating the arts/scientific achievements and innovations,, providing access to cultural expression of all performing arts, fostering inter-cultural dialogue and favoring cultural diversity, supporting the tradition, ensuring access for citizens to all sorts of community information, providing adequate information services to local enterprises/associations and interest groups, facilitating the development of information and computer literacy skills, and also supporting and participating in literacy activities and programs for all age groups, and initiating such activities if necessary, (Edoka, 2000).
Patrons in public libraries are wildly diverse: adults, young adults, seniors, teens, tweens, children and preschoolers; new residents, early readers, people with disabilities, and more. Public library exits to satisfy users. In this context, users’ satisfaction refers to how users judge the services of public libraries. Indeed, it refers to whether users of public libraries get the desired information resources, facilities and services expected to be provided by the public libraries. Hence, in recent times, evaluating users’ satisfaction with the information resources, facilities and services of public libraries has become a major concern and an integral part of library and information science practitioners (Ogunsola, 2004). This is because the ultimate aim of all libraries as a service-oriented organization is to satisfy the needs of its clients. Thus, users’ satisfaction with the information resources, facilities and services provided by libraries whether public or academic has become the melting pot of the present-day librarianship and information science (Saliu, 2002).

People in all works of life use the public library resources, facilities and services. These users include pupils, students, teachers, scholars, scientists, business executives, government officials and even dropouts. Large numbers of people also turn to public libraries to satisfy their desire for knowledge or to obtain materials for some kind of leisure-time activities. A library may meet user’s information needs by acquiring, organizing and making available relevant information resources backed by appropriate facilities and delivered by means best known to them, which could be manual or through Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). The profile of public library users is similar to that of internet users. Those who visited libraries in the past year tend to be younger adults, with higher incomes, who have attended college. There are no significant differences in library usage by race and ethnicity.
Literacy rate is defined by the percentage of the population of a given age group that can read and write. The five stages of literacy development include emergent literacy, alphabetic fluency, words and patterns, intermediate reading, and advanced reading. Public libraries contribute significantly to the educational development and literacy level of any community. They are often considered as an essential part of having an educated and literate population. Thus, a public library is the information storehouse and the custodian of knowledge for posterity in its community of operation. It is not just the clearing-house for all informational, educational and recreational needs of a community; it is more importantly, a source of power. This power derives essentially from the backdrop of the fact that as storehouses of knowledge and repositories of human heritage, public libraries are primarily saddled with responsibilities bordering on conservation, preservation and of course, transmission of the peoples culture As such, they are not only significant as instrument of social and political changes, but indeed, as the principal guardians of freedom of thought.

Public libraries assist people to contribute to the growth of knowledge, make much use of leisure as well as promote personal and social well-being, develop their creative and spiritual capacities capable in their daily occupation, discharge political and social obligation to become better members of home and community, keep pace with progress in all fields and educate themselves continuously. In order to support education, culture and mental relaxation, public libraries make available materials in both print (books format) and non-print (electronic format) to enlighten and broad the scope of the users. This underscores the basic functions of public libraries in providing public enlightenment in areas directly attracting the attention of the community. This also means aiding to eradicate the high illiteracy rate within an’ human society as a step towards the attainment of growth and development.

Considering the overwhelming advantages of public libraries therefore, when a society lacks adequate public library services, its future is in doom. This is because; the illiteracy rate in such society is always very high to the detriment of societal growth and development. A society that is not informed is deformed. The present case of public libraries in Nigerian society is worrisome as major and important services to be provided to the societies by these libraries are lacking and inadequate.

Promoting literacy can begin from the earliest stages of children’s development. Activities that build children’s language skills, that boost their understanding of the immediate world around them, and that add to their store of knowledge all contribute in a big way to laying the foundation for children’s ability to read. Such activities enable children to connect language to concrete objects or events, express their own ideas, and make sense of the written word.


Statement of the Problem

For the promotion of literacy, one needs adequate skills to participate, function efficiently and also contribute to his community. Promoting literacy can begin from the earliest stages of children’s development. Activities that build children’s language skills, that boost their understanding of the immediate world around them, and that add to their store of knowledge all contribute in a big way to laying the foundation for children’s ability to read. Such activities enable children to connect language to concrete objects or events, express their own ideas, and make sense of the written word. Literacy thus refers to the ability to read for knowledge, write coherently and think critically about the written word.

Used strategically, public libraries have the potential to play a key role in promoting national literacy efforts, as they are trusted by people in the communities they serve and are in a good position to provide a wide variety of literacy opportunities. These Libraries provide literacy resources for children, youth and adults at all proficiency levels, thereby making an enormous contribution to supporting a reading culture and the creation of a literate society. They are also an ideal community space for facilitating intergenerational and family learning.

General observation in the use of public library services is that, the literacy level of users is not encouraging at all and it has been established that users do not often make use of the public library facilities. This may be partly responsible for the poor standard of education in Nigeria or as a result of non-availability of desired resources, and poor facilities. Only if the government could adequately fund these libraries so they can be able to make available all the required materials for their users. Having a strong public library contributes to the development of human capital and the social infrastructure of the community. Such a presence means that there is more reading by all levels of society, more access to information and more participation in cultural and social programs. All of this makes for a vibrant and informed population and community.

It is important to note that no study has been carried out on the topic; Use of public library services for the promotion of literacy level of users in Kenneth Dike E-center library, Awka Anambra State. This justifies the need in this study.


Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of the study is to determine the use of public library services for the promotion of literacy level of users in Kenneth Dike E-center library Awka, Anambra State. Specifically, the objectives of the study include to;

  1. Identify public library services provided for promotion of literacy level of users.
  2. Identify areas of promotion of literacy level of users in the libraries.
  3. Determine the extent of use of public library service for promotion of literacy level of users in the library.
  4. Determine the extent of which the use of public library services contribute to promotion of literacy level of users in the library.
  5. Identify challenges associated with the use of public library services for the promotion of literacy level of users in Kenneth Dike E-center library.
  6. Determine strategies for enhancing the use of public library services for promotion of literacy level of users in Kenneth Dike E-center library Awka, Anambra State.

Research Questions

The following research questions were formulated to guide this study.

  1. What are the public library services provided for promotion of literacy level in the library?
  2. What are the areas of promotion of literacy level o f users in the library?
  3. What is the extent of use of public libraries for promotion of literacy level of users in the library?
  4. What is the extent to which the use of public library services contributes to promotion of literacy level of users in the library?
  5. What are the challenges associated with the use of public library services for the promotion of literacy level of users in the library?
  6. What are the strategies for enhancing the use of public library services for the promotion of literacy level of users in the library?

Significance of the Study

The findings and outcome of this study are expected to be of great benefit to the Following: Library administrators, researchers, unemployed qualified librarians, staff and users of the library etc. It is hoped that the findings of the study will be useful to the library in the sense that management of this public library and other public libraries apply standards of reference services as part of the services rendered by public libraries to serve its users. This will enable them provide the required materials which they will use to improve the services provided to the users, specifically in the area of promoting literacy levels.

Result of this study will help researchers [students and teachers] in the field of librarianship by providing information they need for their own researches.

The study is also significant, as it will provide avenues for employment because the management will now understand better how the services of the public libraries could benefit all in promoting literacy. Finally, it is hoped that the result of this study will encourage the library board to provide adequate budget to the public libraries for improvement of services and promotion of literacy levels among users.


Scope of the Study

The study conducted in Kenneth Dike E-center library Awka, Anambra State. The content of the study will be limited to the use of public library services for the promotion of literacy level of users in Kenneth Dike E-center library Awka, Anambra State. The respondents of this research work are the users of Kenneth Dike E-center library Awka, Anambra State.


Limitation of the Study

Like in every human endeavour, the researcher encountered slight constraints while carrying out the study. Insufficient funds tend to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature, or information and in the process of data collection, which is why the researcher resorted to a limited choice of sample size. More so, the researcher simultaneously engaged in this study with other academic work. As a result, the amount of time spent on research will be reduced.


Definition of Terms

Public Library:

Is a library that is accessible by the general public and is usually funded from public sources, such as taxes. It is operated by librarians and library paraprofessionals, who are also civil servants.

Public Library Service:

Refers to the services offered by the public library reading books, consulting reference material, using the internet and study areas, and printing and photocopy documents without being a member. However, one will need to join the library if one wants to borrow books or other items, access online magazine and newspaper subscriptions or take online courses among others.

Literacy Level:

The literacy rate is defined by the percentage of the population of a given age group that can read and write. The five stages of literacy development include emergent literacy, alphabetic fluency, words and patterns, intermediate reading, and advanced reading.


Organisation of the Study

This study is organized into five chapters. Chapter one included the background of the study, research problem, research objectives and questions as well as limitation of the study. Chapter two contains the literature review. Chapter three includes the methodology and study area. Chapter Four contains the results and discussion of key findings of the study. Chapter Five finally looks at the summary, conclusions, and recommendations based on the findings.


Chapter Five


Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations:

5.1 Introduction

This chapter summarizes the findings on the use of public library services for the promotion of literacy level of users in Kenneth Dike E-center library Awka, Anambra State. The chapter consists of summary of the study, conclusions, and recommendations.


5.2 Summary of the Study

In this study, our focus was on the use of public library services for the promotion of literacy level of users in Kenneth Dike E-center library Awka, Anambra State.The study is was specifically set to identify public library services provided for promotion of literacy level of users, identify areas of promotion of literacy level of users in the libraries, determine the extent of use of public library service for promotion of literacy level of users in the library, determine the extent of which the use of public library services contribute to promotion of literacy level of users in the library, identify challenges associated with the use of public library services for the promotion of literacy level of users in Kenneth Dike E-center library, and determine strategies for enhancing the use of public library services for promotion of literacy level of users in Kenneth Dike E-center library Awka, Anambra State.

The study adopted the survey research design and randomly enrolled participants in the study. A total of 259 responses were validated from the enrolled participants where all respondent were the users of Kenneth Dike E-center library Awka, Anambra State.


5.3 Conclusions

In the light of the analysis carried out, the following conclusions were drawn.

  1. Most of the public library services provided for promotion of literacy level in the library such as reprographics/photocopy services,internet services,recreation/leisure, current awareness services, advisory services, children’s library services, and space for reading own books are not adequate.
  2. The areas of promotion of literacy level of users in the library include; seminars, library displays, workshop, focus groups, access to library resources, promotion of reading culture, computer application and usage, and information technology.
  3. On identifying the extent of use of public libraries for promotion of literacy level of users in the library, it was discovered that most of services such as reprographics/photocopy services,internet services,recreation/leisure, current awareness services, advisory services, children’s library services, and space for reading own books are not adequately provided in the library.
  4. The extent the public library services are utilized contributes to promotion of literacy level of users in the library. However some of the services are not well utilized.
  5. The challenges associated with the use of public library services for the promotion of literacy level of users in the library include; Library is crowded, Library materials are outdated, Library staff are not friendly, Library does not have materials I need or like to read, difficulty in locating materials, the library is not conducive, the library has no ICT facilities like the internet, the location of the library is very far, and the staff waste much time while rendering services.
  6. The strategies for enhancing the use of public library services for the promotion of literacy level of users in the library include; reducing the population of the library users, updating the library materials, library staff should be more friendly, library staff should endeavor to assist the users, ICT materials should be made available in the library, library management should create canteens in the library for refreshments, adult literacy services should be organized in the library, shows and talks on business should be organized, and the library building should be expanded.

5.4 Recommendation

The following recommendations were proffered with respect to the findings of the study;

  1. There should be awareness creation on the services which the public libraries provide to their users.
  2. Recognizing the vital role played by public libraries in the area of information, education, economics, politics, culture, health and other social activities, the government should have total commitment in the provision of infrastructure, recruitment of competent librarians and improved welfare packages for effective public libraries service delivery in the state. Therefore, the government of should make library development a top priority.
  3. There should be internet connectivity to help the public libraries staff and users to join millions of the world population in the global village.
  4. Efforts of the public library should be geared towards the satisfaction of users. Also, mobile library services should be revitalized to ensure effective service delivery.
  5. Government should give libraries priority in their planning. And also, public libraries should not depend wholly on government subvention. Other sources of funding can be explored so as to provide adequate information resources for the users.

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