Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

Library Use Education as a Correlate of Use of Library Resources in a Nigerian University

Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

Library Use Education as a Correlate of Use of Library Resources in a Nigerian University

Article excerpt


The user is very important in the practice of librarianship; library processes revolve around the users. Users must be constantly asked to assess the services and resources provided, as this will help the library to improve upon its services. No matter how large the stock of a library is, if the services and its resources are not fully used, such a library will be a white elephant. Ignoring user satisfaction is done at the library's peril.

The library provides library use education to equip users with knowledge. This will enable the user to use the library resources effectively and efficiently. Library processes may be so complex that the average user may not easily comprehend how to use available resources. As a result of the era of information explosion in which we are, information is expanding at a very fast rate and new resources are being introduced into the library (Aina, 2004). With the advent of Information Technology (IT), which has permeated almost all the activities of libraries, it is important to explain the working of a library to a new user in detail. The ultimate objective is to enable users exploit the resources of a library to the fullest. Fjallbrant (1990) defines the concept thus: "The teaching of those skills that will enable students to locate and use materials effectively, and feel confident in using the library. Also, its aim is to acquaint users with the use of materials in the libraries. Similarly, Fleming (1990) defined library use education "as various programmes of instruction, education and exploration provided by libraries to users to enable them to make effective, efficient and independent use of information sources and services to which these libraries provide access"

Bello (2003) corroborated the view of Fjallbrant, by stating that library use education is a device by the librarians to educate users on how to use the resources available in the library in a result oriented ways. Thus it is concerned with information retrieval, since the objectives of the library use education according to Osagie (2003) are as follows:

(1) to enable users to know how to use the library catalogues independently in any library with particular references to the Author/Title and subject catalogues.

(2) to enable users to understand the classification schemes in any library so as to be able to locate materials (books, journals, audio visual materials etc) with little or no problem;

(3) to be able to see library catalogues as indexes to the entire collection and use them as such, and

(4) to enable the users to see the library as a repository of knowledge that determines the success of the students academic programme because it is not possible for an individual to have the collection of a library.

Literature Review

Over the years, there have been various terms referring to teaching effective use of the library and its resources. These terms include "library use education" "reader instruction", "user instruction" "library orientation", and "library user education". All these terms refer to organized programmes practiced across various types of libraries to enable library user to acquire skills to allow them to use the library resources effectively (Lwehabura, 1999).

The instruction in the library use has roots as far back as library profession itself. The origin of library user education can be traced back more than 170 years ago. The earliest evidence of instruction was seen in a librarian lecturing to undergraduates was found at Harvard College in the 1820s. It was reported that most academic librarians were professors with part-time library appointments who taught the use of library for academic purposes. It was in early 1900s that William Warner Bishop and William Fredrick Pole espoused the concept of library instruction that are still valid today, with the aim of making students independent learners and to clarify the role of the library in the University. …

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