The broad objective of this study is to examine ICT-Based Information Resources and services utilization in private university libraries using Enugu State, Nigeria as case study.Survey research design was adopted for the study and with the aid of convenient sampling method, the researcher selected One hundred and fifty (150) participant from three (3) privates university in Enugu State as the respondent of the study. Well structured questionnaire was issued to the respondent of which total of 141 responses were retrieved and validated for the study. Data was analyzed in frequencies and tables using simple percentage, mean and standard deviation. The findings revealed that a number of ICT facilities are at different levels of availability in the federal university libraries under study. It also shows that ICT tools such as e-mails, subject gateways, e-journals, e-books are extensively used to provide reference services, in terms of bibliographic tools; the CD-ROMs and online databases are widely used. It further shows that users’ perception is that ICT utilization is beneficial, as it aids in enhancing research. Various problems ranging from inadequate budget for ICT facilities, inadequate infrastructure, lack of up-graded ICT skill level of users, inadequate qualified staff in libraries, software and hardware problems are shown to hinder ICT utilization. The study made the following recommendations: adequate infrastructure, funding, training of library staff on ICT use for research, provision of adequate electricity with back-up power plant, institutional subscription, as solutions in addressing the problems of ICT utilization in federal university libraries in South East Nigeria.
- Background of the study
Library is a fast growing organization, the ancient methods of maintaining it are no longer dynamic and efficient for expeditions, retrieval and dissemination of information and better service for the students; application of modern techniques has become absolutely indispensable. A properly computerized library will help its students with quick and prompt services. A digital library is an automated or electronic library where activities like accessing; with the help of a computer does resource sharing and storing. The university library is that kind of library situated in higher institution of learning, more specifically a university institution. Madu (2004) defined the university library as “one attached to an institution of higher learning of the status of a university and that it serves primarily students, staff and others who need its services. Because the university library is established to support the objectives of the university which is to promote teaching, learning and research, it is imperative that it serves the undergraduate, postgraduate, lecturers and other members of the university community. For undergraduate students, the library is expected to provide information materials and services specially structured for their academic pursuit. For postgraduate students, teaching staff and research fellows, the university library is strategic in providing information resources and services of depth quality. That is why Agboola (2005) posit that university libraries are very important components of university institutions. He further argued that no university can lay claim to academic excellence without a good library to back up its teaching, research and public service mandates. Similarly, the quality of a university is measured largely by the quality of its library. Thus, because of the strategic place the library occupies in the university system, no university can function effectively without it.
Importantly, Libraries cannot exist as a single entity and technology to link their resources, the collections of these digital libraries are not limited to surrogate development but extend further to digital artifacts that cannot be represented or distributed in printed formats. Digital libraries are a shift in electronic content; this enables libraries to apply a growing range of information technology to the management of collection of print information. The emergence of the World Wide Web is perhaps the great symbol to this shift with all applications for scholarly communication, raise of the computationally science, the new role of databases. The term “e-library” refers to information accessed through the Internet. Unlike traditional libraries, e-libraries are not limited by location or time. Libraries have changed with the emergence and application of IT. They have assumed the role of educators, teaching users to find, evaluate, and use information both in the library and over electronic networks. As the use of e-library continues to soar, users are expected to develop information literacy skills. These skills, as Julien (2002) observes, will enable users to make efficient and effective use of information sources. Therefore, Information literacy is increasingly important (especially amongst students).
Meanwhile, the adoption of information and communications technology and its utilization as an enabling tool was more slowly introduced into Nigerian university libraries as they are seen then as primarily storehouses for books, despite the clamour for “virtual libraries”. The development and implementation of information technology in the university libraries of Nigeria is still a work in progress, this is because Nigeria is severely challenged by lack of basic infrastructures which have prevented development in most areas.
- Statement of the problem
Information and communication technology (ICT) utilization has become an indispensable part of many university libraries around the world. It is being used to search for journal articles, to access reference materials, to conduct research and to send e-mail (Aina, 2010). When effectively utilized, it translate into efficient user service delivery, which in turn lead to improved access to information; enhanced educational development; improvement in the status of Nigerian libraries; digitization of local content and conservation of library space. However, when ICT is not utilized or inefficiently utilized, it will lead to inefficient and poor user service delivery; it will also affect the role of university libraries as sources of learning, education; innovation and research for social development, as well as vehicle of communication. Users on the other hand will also suffer continuous frustrations as result of lack of ICT utilization, even when utilized; students who are not familiar with the routine of its utilization will be frustrated and anxious as well as exhibit avoidance behaviour (Okiy, 2010). University library users will further be discouraged from seeking assistance in the library for their academic needs. The implication is that students and other researchers would miss utilizing important information that could have made them better scholars. While others may abandon the library to patronize the cyber café in other to access information on the internet through other available websites for current academic resources.
Despite these benefits and the dangers of poor ICT utilization for user services in university libraries, to the best of the researcher’s knowledge, it appear that university libraries in Nigeria, specifically, Private university libraries in Enugu State Nigeria are still at a minimal level of utilizing ICT in providing user services. Although several scholars have written on the utilization of ICT in university library services, none have specifically directed their study to federal university libraries in South Eastern region of Nigeria. This research therefore is directed at determining the utilization of ICT in users services of federal university libraries in South Eastern Nigeria, with specific focus on the examination of the availability of ICT facilities; extent of ICT utilization, users perception of benefits derived; problems associated with ICT utilization and strategies in containing the problems associated with ICT utilization in users services of university libraries
- Objective of the study
The broad objective of this study is to examine ICT-Based Information Resources and services utilization in private university libraries in Enugu State, Nigeria. Specifically the study seeks:
- Examine the ICT facilities available for providing user services in private university libraries in Enugu State.
- Examine the extent of ICT utilization in user services of private university libraries in Enugu State.
- Determine users’ perception of benefits derived from ICT utilization in user services of private university libraries in Enugu State,.
- Examine the problems associated with the utilization of ICT in user services of private university libraries in Enugu State.
1.4 Research Question
The following research questions will be used to guide the study.
- What are the ICT facilities available in providing user services in private university libraries in Enugu State?
- To what extent are ICT facilities utilized in user services of private university libraries in Enugu State?
- What are users perception of the benefits derived from ICT utilization in user services of private university libraries in Enugu State,?
- What are the problems associated with ICT utilization in user services of private university libraries in Enugu State?
1.5 Significance of the study
Findings of this study would be useful to the following groups of people: university authorities, university librarians, other library staff, students, faculty members, educational research institutes, information technology researchers etc. University librarians will as a result of these findings identify relevant aspects of library services that are defective and which improvement is needed. It will further aid them to cut cost, save time and resources in providing services to clientele using ICT. Academic librarians will by this study appreciate the usefulness of adopting ICT in providing users services in university libraries. Other library staff (Para-professionals) will have the practical functional knowledge and understanding of the importance of ICT in achieving access to information. Students and faculty members will as a result of this finding develop more confidence in the ability of the library to meet their research and academic needs. Finally, the study will contribute to the existing literature and serve as a reference material to both student and scholars who wishes to conduct further studies in related topic.
1.6 Scope of the study
The scope of this study covers only private university libraries in Enugu State, while, the scope of the subject is limited to the study of ICT utilization in user services, excluding other sections of the university library such as cataloguing and classification sections, acquisition etc. and this is with specific focus on the examination of the availability of ICT facilities; extent of ICT utilization, users perception of benefits derived; problems associated with ICT utilization and strategies in containing the problems associated with ICT utilization in users services of private university libraries in Enugu State.
1.7 Limitation of the study
As every human endeavor is once faced with a constraint, the same was tenable during the period of this study. In the course of carrying out this study, the researcher experienced some constraints, which included time constraints, financial constraints, and the attitude of the respondents. In addition, there was the element of researcher bias. Here, the researcher possessed some biases that may have been reflected in the way the data was collected, the type of people interviewed or sampled, and how the data gathered was interpreted thereafter. The potential for all this to influence the findings and conclusions could not be downplayed. More so, the findings of this study are limited to the sample population (Librarian, Library Staff and Student) in the study area (Private Universities Enugu State), hence the result of the study may not be suitable for use in comparison to other schools, local governments, States, and other countries in the world.