An Assessment of the Impact of Book Aid International (BAI) on the Development of Libraries in Kano State, Nigeria

Article excerpt

Introduction

Book Aid International (BAI) is a British Non-Governmental Organization that collects books donated from libraries, publishers, educational institutions, and individuals in the United Kingdom (UK) and distributes them to developing countries to support education, training, and publishing (Sharples 1999). BAI was set up in 1954 by Hermione Countess of Ranfurly, and was then called "Ranfurly Library Service." Lady Ranfurly saw the shortage of books among children in the Bahamas when her husband served as Governor General there. She began gathering books from the UK and re-distributing them to schools and libraries in the Bahamas. After Lady Ranfurly and her husband returned to the UK, she expanded the book distribution to other developing countries.

BAI provides more than 750,000 books each year to more than forty of the poorest countries in the world. More than 85% of the books go to sub-Saharan African countries, including Nigeria (BAI 2001). BAI has established connections with other organizations with similar objectives, including the British Council (Dawakin Kudu 2002). In order for BAI to cover all parts of Nigeria, distribution committees were set up in Lagos and Eastern States. In 1996, Western and Northern states set up their programs (British Council 1997).

Dawakin Kudu (2002) discusses the objectives of BAI, including the advancement of education and literacy in developing countries:

* By distributing reading and information materials regardless of their medium to developing and other countries in need for educational purposes;

* By distributing consignments of such materials to Public libraries, Universities, Colleges. Schools, Hospital, Youth and Children's Centers and other NGOs; in according to local need and priorities;

* By engaging in activities designed to enhance the use of books, reading and other information materials in developing countries.

Dawakin Kudu further reveals that BAI has had the problem of a lack of feedback from the recipients, and a lack of up-to-date records of what was donated. Because of this, BAI was unable to justify itself or to address the problems of recipients effectively. Nassarawa (2003) stresses the need for BAI and its partners to work together strategically. He further argues that since BAI is working in rapidly changing situations, the programme must be able to demonstrate its impact to gain support for founders and other stakeholders.

Statement of the Problem

Bello and Augi (1993) discusses the primary significance of books in any library collection. They remain the central mode of preservation, promotion, and propagation of culture, and knowledge. Although libraries traditionally acquire books through direct purchases, loan, exchange, or donations, libraries in the developing nations have relied on donation as a major method of acquiring books. OjoIgbinoba (1997) discusses the deplorable state of library purchasing power, asserting that in developing counties such as Nigeria, economic conditions may create a situation in which donations are the primary way that material is acquired. It is this economic situation that has brought the intervention of donor agencies such as BAI.

It is in this context that the researcher seeks to determine whether the large numbers of books donated to libraries by BAI are relevant to the intellectual needs of the libraries and their users. The uncertainty of this question led the researcher to investigate empirically, and to offer suggestions on how to improve such services for the donor and the beneficiaries.

Purpose of the Study

The study was designed to assess the impact of BAI on the development of libraries in Kano State, Nigeria. The study examines:

* The presence of BAI

* The level of satisfaction

* The number of books received through the programme

* The relevancy of the books

Research Questions

* How effective is BAI in improving libraries in Kano state? …