This study is an investigation of the role of the agricultural research institutes' libraries in Nigeria in the expeditious achievement of the overall goals and objectives of the parent institutions. The purpose of these institutes is to conduct research in various areas of agriculture to enhance agricultural production. Research results are published and also communicated to farmers through agricultural Extension. The research library is responsible for acquiring, organizing and disseminating information relevant to the mandate of the research institutes. Unfortunately, very few researchers patronize the library.
There is need for periodic performance evaluation of the libraries so as to determine how well they are meeting the objectives for which they were established.
The most popular way to achieve this is by performance assessment of the research libraries by user approach.
The research library is the bedrock of any research institute. Every research starts and ends up in the research institute's library. In fact, the library is so important to the success of the research institute that it has been technically referred to as "the greatest essential to discovery ..." (Adegbola, 1997).
To ensure the expeditious attainment of the objectives of the research institute, the research library has the responsibility for providing adequate information resources and services in meeting the user needs. It is only when the research library meets the user needs for research and publication that it can be said to be effective.
According to Lancaster (1978), an evaluation of effectiveness is an evaluation of user satisfaction. Such an evaluation should determine how well an information service satisfies the needs of its users. Jimba, (200). Observes that for a library to be sure that it is carrying out its mandate to its users, "totality of features and characteristics of its resources and services must be able to satisfy all users stated or implied needs".
To evaluate how well the library has performed in this regard, the management has several options, including user approach or user satisfaction (Kellaher, 2005). It is generally believed that users are in the best position to evaluate the effectiveness of any library.
There is no doubt that if the research library is effective, it follows that the users are satisfied with the totality of its resources and services. And when the users are thus satisfied, it implies that they have the necessary literature support and other library services that would enhance their productivity in terms of research and publications. Therefore, there is a strong relationship between user satisfaction with library resources and services and publication output. According to Talero and Gaudette (1995), growths and development in research activities of the developed world have largely been linked to the phenomenal developments in the application of IT to library operations.
If the research institutes in Nigeria are not living up to expectation in terms of breakthroughs in research and publication for solution to societal developmental problems, the fault could be traced to the ineffectiveness of their libraries.
The problem of low publications output among agricultural researchers could be attributed to lack of effective library services (Verma, 1988).
Igbeka (1995), in a study, found out that agricultural research libraries and university libraries in Nigeria lack adequate resources for the researchers in agriculture
The strong relationship between user satisfaction with the resources and services of the research library and publications output creates the compelling need to embark on the present research in order to create an empirical basis for enhancing library effectiveness in research institutes and by inference, researchers' publications output. …