University Library And The Challenges Of Globalization

Project and Seminar Material for Library and Information Science

University Library And The Challenges Of Globalization


Abstract


The purpose of this work was to examine the extent of challenges of globalization in services in University libraries in Nigeria. Six research questions and three null hypotheses were formulated to guide the study. Descriptive survey was the research design adopted for the study. The population of the study comprised all the librarians and reference library users in all the university libraries in Nigeria. Major findings showed that ICT facilities were available in university libraries, that the ICT facilities were utilized for library information service but that they were not utilized reference operations like inter – library loans, resource sharing, networking and chat services. The utilization of ICT facilities in library information service has made reference operations faster, easier and interesting. The constraints facing the globalization in library information service included poor funding, irregular power supply, lack of reference librarians and lack of ICT information policy in the country. The researcher also found out strategies that could be used to enhance the globalization in library information service: adequate funding, training and retraining of librarians through seminars, workshops and conferences. The National Universities Commission (NUC) should mandate all universities to automate their libraries within a stipulated period. There should be regular supply of power and maintenance of the ICT facilities.


Chapter One


Introduction

Background of the Study

The history of university library development in Nigeria dates back to pre-independence time when the University of Ibadan and its library were established in 1948. As pointed out by Aguolu (1996), since independence in 1960, there has been unrelenting upsurge in the establishment of educational institutions at all levels especially university education. Successive Nigerian governments have continued to invest strongly in education. It must be realized that university libraries, being integral academic parts of the universities generally emerged simultaneously with their parent institutions. Hence, there are as many university libraries as there are universities.

The proliferation of universities, despite the economic recession in the country since the 1980s, has increased the problems of the universities and their libraries so much that now their future seems uncertain. Added to these problems are the problems of ICTs in Nigerian universities as related to library development. Ever since the problem of literature explosion became noticeable in the 70s, the developed world has devised various systems to facilitate the flow of information both within and across the countries, and developing countries are invited to take advantage of these devices. However, this invitation is not often readily accepted by the developing nations like Nigeria because of some militating factors. These include the human factors, fear, and the level of development-cum infrastructure of the nation and so on. The case of application of modern technology in the library should start with the acceptance of the new technology as vital to the effective performance of the functions of the library.

Perhaps in any discussion of application of modern technology in the library as revealed by Ukoh (1984), the first thing that comes to mind is the computer. One advancement that has been archived in the area of application of technology is that, unlike previously, the librarian does not have to be literate in the various technologies before employing them. In other words, he does not have to be a technical expert before using any form of technology, or a programmer before using a computer. However he still requires some technological knowledge, albeit at an abstract and intellectual level. Whatever we choose to call it, the computer has made such a tremendous impact on the organization, management and dissemi- nation of information that it readily commends itself to any library ready to accept it. The computer has become such a household word in the developed world that university libraries should see it as a great opportunity, which should be taken up as soon as possible, but sooner than later. For the library several systems have been developed for our various house-keeping chores and more still are being designed and refined, thanks to the technology of large-scale inte- gration. These are known as mini or micro computers designed to handle any of the library processes, be it acquisitions, cataloguing, serials or circulation control. The use of communication tools such as e-mail, fax, computer, and video- conferencing overcomes barriers of space and time, and opens new possibilities for learning.

The use of such technology is increasing, and it is now possible to deliver training to a widely dispersed audience by means of of-demand two way video over terrestrial broadband networks. Many students and lecturers can gain experience of communications through e-mail and electronic conferencing systems that run over the telephone network. College and university libraries should continue to make increasing use of the Internet They should be using the Internet both to access materials, people and resources, and to display their own Web pages created by teachers and students. These developments are not only giving learners access to vast libraries and multimedia resources, but give access to tutors and natural phenomena throughout the world; hence the whole world is regarded as global village. The boundaries between one institution and other and between institutions and the outside world will become less important. Crucially, technology will remove the barriers between school and home. Many nations have used audio-visual devices to transmit educational materials over large distances.
The objective of this paper is to examine the implications and opportunities of ICT, which is one of the forces behind the concept of globalization for higher education as a panacea for the poor state of academic libraries in Nigeria. The paper attempts to sensitize the Nigerian universities to the need of globalization of information for their educational development and the fact that Nigeria cannot afford to stand aloof.


Statement of the Problem

The reference section of the university library gives face- to- face services and provides materials for the users and also helps in accomplishing the institution’s objectives in the production of citizens. Traditionally, reference functions were carried out manually, but these methods are no longer sufficient due to such challenges as user expectations and high cost of print materials. Library information service have become more complex and are unable to provide the increasing variety and quantity of information needed by patrons with traditional methods.
Federal universities have introduced ICT into library information service as a way of meeting these challenges. However, in spite of the many benefits derived from the globalization in library operations, including library information service, literature indicates that university libraries are yet to benefit from its utilization. This could be as a result of logistic problems connected with the cost of acquiring ICT facilities, dearth of ICT technology support facilities in the country, lack of ICT policy in the country, lack of commitment on the part of the stakeholders and lack of appropriate skills by librarians and its potential users. If these problems are not addressed urgently, the goals of reference section of university library such as satisfying users’ information needs and quality research work cannot be achieved.

A number of articles (Ibegbulam, 2000, Asamoah-Hassan, 2002, Ajidihun, 2004 and Anunobi, 2005) on the availability and globalization in library services, did not find ICT being much used in library information service in Nigerian libraries. The above studies failed to indicate the extent to which the ICT facilities were functional and the influence of their utilization on library information service. Moreover, the studies did not indicate whether the university libraries that are utilizing ICT in their library information service have experienced positive influence of ICT in their reference operations as expected or whether the situation has changed significantly over this last decade. There is therefore the need for an in-depth study of this kind to ascertain the current situation regarding the use of ICT for library information service and factors that may still be preventing its full utilization in university libraries in Nigeria.


Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of this study is on the globalization in library information service in university libraries in Nigeria.

Specifically, the study seeks to:

  1. Identify the ICT resources available for library information service of the university libraries,
  2. Examine the purposes for which ICT facilities are utilized in library information service.
  3. Determine the extent of globalization in library information service in the university libraries,
  4. Ascertain the perceived benefits on ICT utilization in library information service,
  5. Find out the problems relating to globalization in library information service in university libraries, and
  6. Ascertain strategies for enhancing the globalization in library information service in the university libraries.

Research Questions

In line with the set purpose of this study, the following research questions were formulated to guide the study:

  1. What are the ICT resources available for library information service in the university libraries?
  2. For what purposes are ICT facilities utilized in library information service in he university libraries.
  3. To what extent are those ICT facilities utilized in library information service in the university libraries?
  4. What are the perceived benefits of the use of ICT on library information service in the university libraries under study?
  5. What are the perceived problems militating against the utilization of ICT facilities in library information service in the university libraries?
  6. What are the strategies for enhancing the utilization of ICT facilities in library information service of the university libraries under study?

Hypotheses

The study was further guided by the following hypotheses.

Ho1: There is no significant difference in the mean responses of librarians of the university libraries in the six geo-political zones on the extent of globalization in library information service.

Ho2: There is no significant difference in the mean responses of librarians of the university libraries in the six geo-political zones on the problems militating against the globalization in library information service.

Ho3: There is no significant difference in the mean responses of library users of the university libraries in the six geo-political zones on benefits of globalization in library information service.


Significance of the Study

It is hoped that the findings of this study will be of benefit to a number of people – university management, reference librarians, library users, university librarians, education planners, researchers and stakeholders. The outcome of the study is expected to be useful to university management in its efforts to improve the standard of library information service of the Nigerian university libraries. The findings of the study are expected to help the university management pay more attention to the funding of the libraries, provision of ICT facilities and employment of qualified ICT staff, knowing fully well that the introduction of ICT into library information service of the university libraries will enhance effective teaching, learning and research. The results of this study will be useful to the reference librarians, because (apart from consequent training on the job in line with the changes of the time) it will expose them to the requirements and the need to use ICT in library information service as against the traditional method. This will enhance their efficiency and effectiveness on their job especially in rendering services to the outside users.

Library users will benefit from the findings of this study because the reference librarians, having been exposed to new methods of library information service through ICT, will help them more to know how to meet up the users’ information needs in the digital era promptly.

The library managers (university librarians) will from the results of this study become aware of the problems inhibiting the globalization in library information service. This will thereby sensitize them on the various ways of improving library information service through ICT. The education planners will benefit from the results of this study because it will help them know what should be included in the library students’ curriculum in this era of information explosion. This will enable them to integrate courses that will help produce future ICT literate librarians who are prepared for electronic library services.

The results of this study will also serve as a reference material to library users, librarians, researchers, university managers, education planners and students who may want to explore further into this area of study, since the improvement of library information service in the university libraries should be a continuous process. The study will provide an addition to knowledge and update in the literature of the library and information science.

Finally, the results of this study will be useful to all the stakeholders of the university in that the attainment of the university goals and objectives is significantly dependent on the quality of the university library and the collective action of the stakeholders.


Scope of the Study

This study covered the the university libraries of Nigeria. As at 2009, there were twenty-seven federal universities in Nigeria (NUC 2009). The university libraries have been chosen for the study because studies have shown that many of them have introduced ICT in their library services, (Asamoah – Hassan, 2002). The study also covered the problems that impede the application of ICT in library information service and the strategies to promote the globalization in library information service of the university libraries under study. The ICT facilities used for the library information service that this study covered included – computers, printers, scanners, internet, e-resources fax machines. The twenty-seven university libraries as at that time included – University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, University of Jos, Jos, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Univrsity, Bauchi, University of Ilorin, Ilorin, University of Lagos, Akoka, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, University of Benin, Benin City, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, University of Abuja, Gwagwalada, Bayero University Kano, University of Technology, Akure, University of Technology, Yola, University of Technology Minna, University of Technology, Owerri, University of Calabar, Calabar, University of Maiduguri, Maiduguri, University of Agriculture, Makurdi, Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, University of Port Harcourt, Port Harcourt, Usmandanfodiyo University, Sokoto, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, National Open University of Nigeria, Lagos, Nigerian Deference Academy, Kaduna, and University of Petroleum Resources, Effurun.


Chapter Five


Conclusion and Recommendations

Conclusion

The need for the use of ICT facilities in library information service of the various university libraries cannot be overemphasized. This study shows that there has been appreciable improvement in the utilization of ICT facilities in library information service of university libraries in Nigeria currently considering the results of earlier studies in this area as reported above.

However the usage of ICT in library information service to a very high extent as expected of universities is yet to be achieved. This large room for improvement may be as result of the numerous problems facing the utilization of ICT facilities in library information service in these university libraries as reported in this study. It is therefore hoped that with the implementation of the recommendations contained herein both the librarians and users will enjoy better services.


Recommendations

Based on the findings of this study, the researcher made the following recommendations that will help promote the utilization of ICT facilities in library information service in university libraries.

  1. Federal universities should embark on capacity building designed to produce the much needed computer literate librarians through training and retraining in computer skills, seminars, in service courses, conferences and workshops.
  2. Patrons should also be computer literate so as to eliminate the difficulty they encounter in accessing information materials from the internet.
  3. The university libraries should be adequately funded by the university management by their regular provision of the library’s monthly imprest, to enable them cope with the huge expenditure embedded in computerization.
  4. The university libraries should procure generator sets and also make provision for constant fuelling of the generators that could be used in the library in case of irregular supply of power.
  5. The government should develop consortium linkages for sectional, regional and national information infrastructure to improve the use of ICT for networking and resource sharing among the libraries within the geo- political zones.
  6. University libraries should solicit assistance from foreign and local donor agencies for e- reference sources.
  7. The universities should embark on the maintenance culture, so that the ICT facilities should be maintained to avoid dilapidation.

Limitations of the Study

Due to the vast land mass of the country, the researcher could not cover all the universities in the country. The study was limited to some sampled university libraries. It is advisable that such study should be carried out in state and private universities in the country so that one can have room for better comparison of the services rendered using ICT facilities. It was difficult to recover some copies of the questionnaire from the respondents due to their unwillingness to complete the questionnaire at the stipulated time.

Furthermore, the insecurity problems in the country affected the return rate of the questionnaires, especially from those universities in the northern part of the country where the menace of Boko Haram disturbed the respondents.


Suggestions for Further Research

  1. The utilization of ICT facilities in library information service in state and private university libraries in Nigeria. This is necessary considering the high benefits of ICT use in reference service.
  2. Strategies for enhancing ICT facilities utilization in state university libraries.
  3. Also, further studies could be carried out on capacity building to enhance effective utilization of ICT facilities in Nigerian universities.

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