Selection And Acquisition Of Legal Materials

Project and Seminar Material for Library and Information Science

Selection And Acquisition Of Legal Materials


This research work examined the selection and acquisition of legal materials with Imo State Judiciary library as a case study. It use a survey research method with questionnaire as the instrument for data collection.
Conclusions 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 factor affecting effective selection of legal materials.

The work is divided into five chapters for easy understanding. Chapter one centres on background of the study, with chapter two and three emphasing 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.

Chapter One

1.0 Introduction

1.1 Overview

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 procured. Therefore, selection of reading materials is both an art and a science. (las, C and Kumar K: 2005).

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 otherward, 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 assure 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.

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.

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 organisation. He further asserts that the selection polices of special libraries are carefully worded to ensure that the books and publications relating to the research preoccupation of the povent 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 heterogenous. He believes that selection department should be performed in a systematic way.

Anyanwu, Zander and Amadi (2006), sees acquisition as the process of obtaining library materials to satisfy the needs of the users. To them, 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 of literature explosion publication of many library materials as no library can purchase all the materials needed.

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that an apparently applicable case has not been oversuned by a higher court, or that a statue has not been amended, repealed or found to be unconstitutional.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

In 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 is 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 Many 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 Haward 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 inreteenth century to the university from the law office, where aspiring lawyers and read the law under the tritelage of established practioners, few law libraries (other than Harwards) compared in size and breadth of collection with Bar Association libraries or membership libraries developed to meet the needs of the practicing bar. However, the major concern in this piece of work is the selection and acquisition of legal materials in law libraries with particular reference to Owerri Judiciary (system) library.

1.2 Background Information Of The Owerri Judiciary System Library

The judiciary central library was established in 1976 at the creation of Imo State. The library started with few books inherited from the former High Court, Owerri Division of the then east central State of Nigeria.

The Judicial central Library is situated within the High Court Premises, Judiciary Headquarters along Orlu Road Owerri, about one kilometre (1km) from the main post office, Owerri. Judicial central library is a special library and one of the indispensable arms of the judiciary.

The library is the workshop of judges, magistrates, legal practioners, law students, etc. it has collection of laws and statutes, law reports, encyclopaedias and dictionaries, official gazettes, penodicals, 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 Aboh – Mbaise, Mbano / Etiti and Oguta.

Judicaial central library has a professional libraries, four paras-professionals, two library Assistants and other supporting staff.

Judicial central library when it started was housed in a (12.2 x 12.2) room before it was re-located to a library well 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 fulfil the requirement of obtaining the Higher National Diploma (HND) certificate. It is also the belief of the writers, that this work will be useful to researcher who may wish 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 follow:

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

1.5 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. Are legal materials selected and acquired in your library%
  2. What types of legal materials are being acquired by your library?
  3. What are the tools used for selection of legal materials?
  4. What are the channels for acquisition of legal materials?
  5. What are the criteria used in selection and acquisition of legal materials?
  6. Who are the people involved in selection of legal materials?
  7. What are the problems facing selection and acquisition of legal materials?

1.6 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 elevance of selection and acquisition of legal materials in law libraries as a unique function. Above all, the research will serve as a reference document for both theoretical and applied study in selection and acquisition of library materials.

1.7 Scope / Limitation Of The Study

This research work is centred on “selection and acquisition of legal materials with special emphasis to Imo state Judiciary.

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 I need to travel often to be able to generate the facts needed to back – up this study.

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