Library user Education Service: A Synthesis of Federal Colleges of Education Kano and Zaria, Nigeria
Library user education service is important. While this vital program of the academic library remains significant, students use of the library have proven poor to some extent, for example, ineffective use of library resources which is directly linked to vain library user education students receive. Therefore, the objective of this study was to study the effectiveness of library user education services in increasing library usage in FCE Kano and FCE Zaria, specifically, finding out if there exist variation in schemes of library user education practice in the two institutions. The professional library staffs of the colleges were used as sample of the study, wherein, a questionnaire was designed to collect data from them. Data collected were analyzed in descriptive and inferential statistics of frequency/percentage and non-parametric test of Mann Whitney. Findings of the study indicated that, a type of library user education service adopted by the academic libraries of FCE Kano and FCE Zaria was a ‘traditional user education service’, embracing in common ‘library orientation for first year students’, and ‘subject oriented instruction’. One of the recommendations made included, inculcation of ‘Literature searching for final year student’ as a crucial library user education scheme for both FCE Kano and FCE Zaria.
Keywords: academic library, college, library user education, nigeria, professional library staff.
Author: College Library, Federal College of Education Zaria. firstname.lastname@example.org, +2347061636169
The usefulness of library user education in higher institutions of learning cannot be over emphasized, although some scholars were against the user education program. For example, Bessler (1990) believes ‘the libraries that concentrate their resources on collections and services that patrons want will be more successful than those that focus their energy on instructing the patrons, and that perhaps users do know what id for them and that is service, not instruction’; Eadie (1990) supported her assertion that ‘user education came into being not because users asked for it but because librarians thought it would be good for them’. But this perception of the two authors is not true to majority in the library profession. Aina (2004) is one of those views that user education is a literacy service which emphasis that users are to acquire skills that will enable them search for information independently on any aspect of knowledge using traditional and electronic means. Prytherch (2005) refers to user education as ‘a program of information provided by libraries to users, to enable them to make more efficient, independent use of the library's stock and services, and program of user education might include tours, lectures, workshops and the provision of support materials. All the same, Ogunmodede and Emeahara (2010) viewed user education as ‘a library provision service in order to equip a user with enough knowledge on the use of the library which enables the user to use the library resources effectively and efficiently’. Credit to these authors definitions, in other words, user education is an instruction given by librarians one-on-one or in group to users for the purpose of self-dependent and excellent usage of library resources and or services, especially provided by academic libraries.
- ACADEMIC LIBRARIES
Aina (2004) explained academic libraries as follows: ‘academic libraries are libraries that are attached to post-secondary institutions’. There- fore, the academic library is a library by type established in institutions of higher learning, such as colleges of education, polytechnics and universities. Holton, Vaden, and Williams, J. (2006) observed the academic library as an entity in a post-secondary institution that provides all of the following: an organized collection of printed or other materials, or a combination thereof; a staff trained to provide and interpret such materials as required to meet the informational, cultural, recreational, or educational needs of clientele; an established schedule in which services of the staff are available to clientele; and the physical facilities necessary to support such a collection, staff, and schedule. This later definition encompasses broad general role of the academic library. However, if the library collections, staff, and schedules in academic libraries are readily available and not used effectively, academic libraries hence become nothing but like the adage “a donkey with loaded books”. In order to achieve its sole objectives, academic libraries therefore found it very useful to inculcate as part of its services to educate the patrons on how to effectively use the library through what they call library user education.
- STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
Library users’ needs with the academic library differs, as some go to the library to read their manuals, sit to relax, perform class assignments, others utilize the library resources, etc. Since the primary source for establishing academic libraries is to facilitate the teaching and learning process of students. For this reason, no student should withhold self from using the library resources unless if the students are ignorant of how to use the library resources, which may eventually happen as a result of lack of effective scheme in library-user-education they receive.
To this juncture, the researchers agreed that majority of the students in Federal College of Education (FCE) Kano and FCE Zaria often limited themselves using the library to read their personal manuals, to relax, and to do their home-away class exercises. This is not bad to say, but their lack of usage of the library resources is one problem that can be attached to ineffective library user education program.
- OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The overall objective is to study the effectiveness of library user education services in increasing library usage in FCE Kano and FCE Zaria. Therefore, the specific objectives are as follows:
- To find out if there exist variation in schemes of library user education practice by the academic libraries of FCE Kano and FCE Zaria
4.1 Significance of the study
Findings of the study will specifically provide the institutions under study with the necessary information on the current state of library user education practices in their environs. And at large, each of the studied libraries provides one another with a picture of the other, so that they may checkmate indoors activities on library user education for improvement. Finally, the study will also contribute to the existing literature on library user education services provided by academic libraries in Nigeria.
Previous studies conducted on library user education services in and outside Nigeria
- Rathore (1992) cited in Ahenkorah-Marfo, M. and Teye, V. (2010) explained a scheduled user education program in an academic library setting. The scholar identified three levels of user education, namely: (1) At the beginning of every academic year or semester (library instruction course) should be applicable to all those who are using the library for the first time, such as library orientation and library tour, (2) Subject oriented instruction for undergraduates at a stage when they are admitted to a special branch or subject of their choice or at the time of project work, and (3) Literature search training, provided at the beginning of student research work’. It means that, in students’ year one program, first semester specifically, libraries organize library orientation and or excursion for students to visit the library in order to know the importance of the library, and to see what the library looks like. Subsequently, class sessions are organized. Then, literature search training on how to write project is organized when the students are in their final year of study.
- Samadani (1998) investigated on some selected school libraries in Pakistan, and survey method was used for the purpose. The study found that lack of proper grounding from schools leads to deficiency at more advanced levels which resulted in the enormous majority of students lacking significant information literacy skills, and attributed this to lack of user education program at all levels.
- Mohammad (2003) surveyed the roles of Egyptian public libraries in environmental information literacy with the overall objective of increasing the library users’ information awareness. The study findings indicated that the public libraries offered literacy services in display films format to increase library use.
- Azmi (2006) surveyed teaching information literacy skills in Qatar University and observed that the volume and complexity of the available information are increasing significantly, which requires the basic knowledge and skills to deal effectively with this information (whether in traditional or electronic form, is very crucial). Therefore, the author recommended the need for an instruction course to be offered within students’ first academic year in the university.
- Esievo (2007) in a study examined measures to curb library user delinquency in academic libraries of Kaduna State in Nigeria, which indicates poor usage of the libraries. The author used survey method, alongside interview, personal observation, and a questionnaire for data collection. 15 out of 20 academic libraries that offer diploma and degree courses in Kaduna state were randomly taken as sample, including their head of libraries (librarians) as subjects. Findings of the study showed 100% of the libraries conducting user orientation which is a very useful method in controlling user delinquency for especially new students into the library. In another result, some of the libraries used an informal user education procedure that is, talking personally to users on how to handle library materials. Perhaps libraries that do not talk to users informally feel satisfied with formal instructions.
- John (2008) reported about the Ventura College library, and observed a major portion of 31% increase in student usage statistics was as a result of the increase in library orientations which promoted usage of the library's resources and services. This significantly shows the value of library orientation in attracting library users to the library.
- Renditiso (2011) in a survey examined the state of the art in the field of information literacy services in Italian academic libraries. An information literacy service is a used term by the libraries to mean usual user education services provided by libraries. So the study reviewed 95 university websites and found some that presented on their library pages information about user education, tells how far libraries have gone in online library instruction services which must be seen as a good and welcome development for libraries.
- Ibrahim (2012) examined the relevance of library user education and the best methods to the use of academic libraries by students of tertiary institutions in Niger state north-west Nigeria. To achieve this, survey research design was adopted in a population consisting of students of two universities. 190 students were randomly selected. The result of the study revealed that library user education has really affected the usage of library tools and resources. The user education methods employed included library orientation among others.
- Okoye (2013) studied the trends and developments of user education in south-east Nigerian federal university libraries using descriptive survey method. The main aim was to investigate how user education is organized, coordinated and implemented, among a sample of 26 academic librarians and coordinators. 26 questionnaires were retrieved from the subjects. Results of the study showed that all the university libraries studied offered library user education as a General Studies Program. Moreover, an overall statement on the study as indicated by the author points that, library usage by the students remained mainly traditional.
- Moyane, Dube and Hoskins (2015) using survey design conducted a study on the effectiveness of user education programs for postgraduate students in the School of Management, Information Technology and Governance at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) South Africa. The study employed the use of quantitative and qualitative research methods from a sampled population of 291 postgraduate students, 6 academic coordinators, and 3 subject librarians. The use of questionnaire instrument gained 70% response rate on postgraduate students, and interview solicited data from both the academic coordinators and subject librarian of 83% and 100% response rate accordingly. Findings in the study revealed that, the postgraduate students at UKZN were quite aware of user education program offered by the university library via UKZN library orientation week and UKZN library website, though at a low rate.
- Abdallah and Bilal (2015) assessed the nature and effectiveness of library services and information resources provided in four university libraries in Lebanon from the users’ perspectives, where 1100 students were surveyed. The authors found that across the four universities, nearly 28% of the students mentioned receiving one-on-one assistance from library staff.
- Michigan State University main library and its satellite libraries is a famous academic library in the United States of America. It provides an online library tour that helps one in navigating through its wide range of resources and in locating major service points for additional assistance. The institution’s online library tour platform for example provides a visual scene of the university library building. Therefore, library tour does not necessarily mean organizing students on a walk around the library to see its holdings and or services.
Descriptive survey method was adopted, that is, surveying and analyzing the existing state of affairs concerning library user education services in Federal colleges of Education Kano and Zaria. The population of this study comprises of the colleges library staff. Based on the three categories of library staff (professional, para-professional and non-professional staff), purposive sampling was used in selecting all the professional library staff, 13 staff from FCE Kano and 18 staff from FCE Zaria, since they are the only ones that participates in library user education service in the libraries. According to Patton (2002), purposive sampling is used to describe the strategic and purposeful selection of information rich users, with the goal of making sure that the selected sample provides the necessary depth’ (data required). A close ended structured questionnaire was used for the purpose of data collection, while frequency/percentage and non-parametric test of Mann Whitney in SPSS was convenient for data analysis.
- DESCRIPTIVE RESULT
The findings of this study reveal the following descriptive analysis:
6.1 Do you perform library user education program in your library?
This question seeks to testify library user education was performed by the libraries of FCE Kano and FCE Zaria. All the sampled respondents in both colleges, represented by 100% scores each, replied ‘yes’ that library user education was practiced by their libraries.
6.2 What library user education service does your library provide?
This question tries to find out whether the libraries under study provided traditional user education service, online user education service, or a combination thereof. Both respondents in each of the colleges affirmed that their libraries only provided traditional user education service.
6.3 Which of the following schemes in user education is embraced by your library?
Responses obtained indicated that, a total of 13 or 100% of the participants in FCE Kano confirmed ‘library orientation for first year students’ as one of the schemes in library user education, just the same way all the 18 or 100 % staffs in FCE Zaria acknowledged too. Also, 13 or 100% staffs in FCE Kano stated embracing ‘subject oriented instruction for students’, as against 16 or 88.9% from FCE Zaria that hold ‘subject oriented instruction a scheme’ – the rest 2 or 11.1% disagreed. The use of ‘literature searching for final year students’ was not embraced by FCE Kano, as against only 2 or 11.1% from FCE Zaria who believe it was present in their library, but the rest majority 16 or 88.9% disagreed and said this scheme is not being embraced by their college library.
- INFERENTIAL RESULT
The Findings of this study reveals the following inferential analysis:
Man Whitney nonparametric test difference between FCE Kano and FCE Zaria respondents on scheme of library user education adopted in the academic libraries of FCE Kano and FCE Zaria.
Sum of Ranks
Scheme of Library User Education
Outcome of the non-parametric test of Man Whitney in the table above showed that, there is no significant difference between FCE Kano and FCE Zaria library staff on the scheme of user education adopted by the academic libraries in FCE Kano and FCE Zaria. This was because the calculated p value of 0.711 is higher than the slated 0.05 alpha level of significance. The computed Mean rank scores were 16.77 and 16.06 by FCE Kano and FCE Zaria. In the same vein their computed Mean Sum of ranks are 273.10 and 273.00 by FCE Kano and FCE Zaria accordingly. This shows that the type of user education adopted by the academic libraries in FCE Kano and FCE Zaria was not significantly different.
This study was a synthesis of library user education services between FCE Kano and FCE Zaria. And it was ideal a problem that students inability to utilize library resources could possibly be due to ineffective library user education system. Thus, the objective of the study was to study the effectiveness of the program (library user education), particularly, schemes of library user education practices among the academic libraries of FCE Kano and FCE Zaria. However, the study concluded on the note that, library user education adopted by the academic libraries in FCE Kano and FCE Zaria included a traditional user education service, embracing in common ‘library orientation for first year students’, and ‘subject oriented instruction’.
Based on the study findings, the following recommendations are drawn:
- Online user education services should be implemented instead of only traditional user education service as it affects the two libraries under study.
- Literature searching for final year student is a pivotal library user education scheme which needs to be introduced by both FCE Kano and FCE Zaria. In fact, ‘literature searching for final year students’ is important in addressing research skills of students.
Is there anything new here?
Perhaps, nothing seems new in the area of studies on library user education service in academic libraries conducted across Nigeria. But to study variations among groups of academic libraries found in Nigeria higher institutions of learning, be it universities, polytechnics, and or colleges of education, no doubt there is paucity or vacuum area of studies.
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