Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

Knowledge, Perception, and Attitudes of Library Personnel towards Preservation of Information Resources in Nigerian Federal University Libraries

Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

Knowledge, Perception, and Attitudes of Library Personnel towards Preservation of Information Resources in Nigerian Federal University Libraries

Article excerpt

Introduction

Preservation of deteriorating information resources in libraries has become a global phenomenon to which libraries must aggressively respond if their mission of providing information needs of their patrons would be met. According to Harvey (1993), the deterioration is on a massive scale; affecting such an immense volume of material in libraries throughout the world that to suggest it will become the professional concern of the coming decades is no exaggeration. Preservation issues have long been relegated to the background even though, its effects are very manifest in our libraries. Just recently, Girdano (2006) reported that despite increase of conceptual perception of long term preservation issues, there seems to be a gap between perception, policy and practices. The physical deterioration of information resources, especially of paper-based materials has been attributed to factors such as: level of usage, inherent chemical instability, external environmental factors, human agents, chemical agents, biological agents; natural agents (Unormah, 1985; Clement, 1987; Feather, 1996; Popoola, 2003; Akussah, 2006; Alegbeleye, 2008).

The lack of commitment to preservation of information resources in libraries has been hinged on many factors. Akussah (2006) cited in Darling (1981) asserts that "financial constraints are serious and will become more so; but until the preservation field researches the point at which most people know what ought to be done, the lack of money to do it on a scale appropriate to the need is not terribly significant". This submission attests to the fact that knowledge plays a key role in preservation practices. In the same vein, Ngulube (2005) is of the view that the real impediment to having viable preservation programmes is not entirely resources-based, but lack of preservation knowledge.

Lyall (1994) has long identified preservation knowledge as a significant factor in preservation endeavor by his assertion that "the level of knowledge in a country is one of the four major factors that determine the ability of any country to develop a satisfactory preservation programme for information resources. Alegbeleye (1999) also observed that ignorance of librarians of the agents of deterioration serves as a major constraint to the preservation and conservation of library and archival materials in Africa.

Preservation of information resources in Nigerian federal university libraries is an integral library operation that can make the libraries useful. It prepares the materials for access as long as they are wanted. Since university libraries exist to support the teaching and learning activities through provision of current, up-to-date information, preservation must be given adequate attention. Feuder (1996) pointed out that preservation is indeed a central issue in modern librarianship, and one which will continue to be of concern to the end of this century and beyond. The question to now ask is: how do the library personnel in Nigerian federal university libraries perceive the position of preservation in their mandate? And to what extent has their perception affect their attitude towards the preservation of their information resources?

Perception has to do with understanding issues. It is the psychological ability to process or use information received through the sense organs. Perception is the cognitive impression that is formed of "reality" which in turn influences the individual's actions and behavior towards that object (http://www.marketingnews. co.in/glossary/4). The preservation problem is clearly evident for all to perceive on the library shelves and storage areas. The library mission which is a derivative of the university's vision, clearly written for all to read and perceive, is supposed to be the driven force for our service delivery move. It is therefore implied from the definitions of perception that library personnel's actions and behavior towards preservation of information resources (object) would be premised on their perceptive ability. …

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