Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

Users' Perceptions of the Use of Academic Libraries and Online Facilities for Research Purposes in Nigeria

Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

Users' Perceptions of the Use of Academic Libraries and Online Facilities for Research Purposes in Nigeria

Article excerpt

Learning in the Modern World

In each society there are facilities other than classrooms that can contribute in no small measure to the teaching and learning process. For learning to take place, learners must have access to necessary materials, information and resources. They have to interact with tangible and intangible resources and institutions to ensure some level of performance (Obanewa, 2002). Dewy (1983) posited that, "libraries are schools and the librarian in the highest sense a teacher." Oyedeji (1980) describes a library as having "a machinery" for the use of the collection. In the modem world, a wide range of information is disseminated through the printed word, yet it is impossible to have access to all forms of information and knowledge through wide reading alone. Other facilities and agencies thus exist that emphasize audio-visual learning. They include electronic media such as radio, television, cable satellite, the Internet. These media give wide publicity to events, objects, discoveries, scientific findings, new products, and new services.

The Use of Modern Libraries

Libraries developed as a result of the need to preserve valuable records of events. These records might be in the form of written scrolls, papyrus kept in jars, written clay tablets, manuscripts kept in monasteries, and printed materials such books, letters, statutes, and laws. Only a few people, such as kings, nobles, renowned scholars, and ecclesiastical orders had access to these libraries. Modern libraries have taken on additional new roles because of changing demands and new technology. They are currently regarded as agents for educational, social, economic, and political change, and their doors are open to all. The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO 1976) views the library as "an organised collection of published books and periodicals and of other reading and audio-visual materials and the services of staffs able to provide and interpret such materials as are required to meet the information, research, educational or recreational needs of users." The UNESCO definition touches on every aspect of what a library in the modern sense stands for.

Computerization in Nigerian Libraries

Nigerian libraries, documentation and information centers are yet to fully adopt modern information technology for information handling. Studies have examined the advantages of the use and application of computers to organizational work (Brown, 1975; Akinyotu, 1977; Edoka, 1983). The benefits of computers for library operations cannot be overemphasized. Their value includes speed, storage capacity, links resources, and accuracy of record management. Computer literacy has become part of many public curricula; however, not all people receive their computer training in public schools. In recent years there has been increasing emphasis on adult computer training, often through community education programs or in-service training (Rogers, 2005). Other adults receive their initial computer experience as part of their post-secondary education, which in most cases is mandatory. This includes undergraduates in Nigerian Polytechnics, Colleges of Education, and universities. Introductory computer courses are a mandatory part of the General Studies requirements for graduating.

Old and New Technologies

At its inception, new technology seems to pose a threat to the survival of older ones. It is very rare at such points to appreciate the complementary roles and constructive interplay that can result from the co-existence of old and new ways of doing things. The revolution in Information and Communications Technology is threatening the very existence of a number of highly regarded institutions such as publishing, scientific societies, and academic libraries. In the same vein, print media faces challenges as digital and online services such as the Internet, MP3 players, cell phones, and online versions of newspapers have led news consumers to rely increasingly on information from online and digital sources. …

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