Effectiveness of Library Resources in the Libraries of Agricultural Research Institutes in Nigeria

Article excerpt

Introduction

Nigeria's agricultural research institutes in Nigeria were founded during the period of colonial administration (1861-1950). They passed through the periods of internal self-government (1951-1960), and have continued to develop and grow during the post-independence era. There are fourteen agricultural research institutes in Nigeria, which were founded in different circumstances at different times to satisfy different agricultural needs (Idachaba 1987). The purpose of these institutes is to conduct research in various areas of agriculture to enhance agricultural production. Research results are communicated to farmers through agricultural extension. Each institute's responsibilities call for specialized information collections to achieve their objectives and to function efficiently. The agricultural research library is responsible for supplying and organizing information that is relevant to the work of the institutes.

The agricultural research libraries face problems that may make them ineffective: poor funding, poor infrastructure, and lack of technology. These libraries cannot improve without evaluation of the present situation. This study assesses the level of user satisfaction with agricultural research institutes' library resources in order to identify impediments to effectiveness and offer research-based solutions.

Literature Review

Nigerian agricultural research institutes face rising demand for scientific data and information, which places more demand on the libraries. Fabunmi (2004) describes library effectiveness as including information customized to meet individual needs, stating that effective library systems are timely in delivery, meet their specific needs, are easy to understand/use, and are delivered by courteous and knowledgeable staff.

Effective research libraries provide ICTs that aid timely delivery of information in response to researchers' needs. ICTs are combined with standardized information delivery techniques. Librarians in administrative and management positions coordinate these things to provide an effective system. Nwalo (1997) advises that library effectiveness be measured in terms of the satisfaction expressed by library users.

The effectiveness of library resources and services can be measured in various ways. Nwalo (1997) citing Ene (1978) states, "libraries are judged by set objectives ... [And] application of set standards to measure the quantity of operations ... " Ifidon (1977) observes that library evaluation can use both qualitative and quantitative techniques. Irrespective of whether the evaluation is quantitative or qualitative, parameters are set to be judged by users, who are in the best position to evaluate the effectiveness of the library. Agricultural institute researchers should have the prerogative of evaluating the agricultural research institute libraries. Kellaher (2005) gives six reasons why library evaluation from user's perspective is very important.

* the place of initiative services;

* the quality of these services;

* the flexibility of these services;

* users ability to effect changes to services they receive;

* how initiative service can fit with mainstream services; [and]

* how the library might develop mechanisms for assuring quality in library resources and services.

The scope of this study covers facilities available in the libraries, serials collection, library services, and special services such as selective dissemination of information (SDI), current contents search, and reprography. Library adequacy variables in this study are internal to the library.

Methodology

This is social survey research that involves systematic collection of data about opinion, attitudes, feelings, and behaviors of people (Aina, 2002). The survey technique was chosen for this research, which involves evaluation of the information services of many research libraries and their diverse resources. …