Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

Public Library Information Resources, Facilities, and Services: User Satisfaction with the Edo State Central Library, Benin-City, Nigeria

Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

Public Library Information Resources, Facilities, and Services: User Satisfaction with the Edo State Central Library, Benin-City, Nigeria

Article excerpt

Introduction

In library and information science research, information can be seen as a consumable product that can only be consumed together with certain information delivery systems and/or services. The satisfaction of library users is a function of the quality of information product(s) received, the quality of information system and library services provided to access the information product. Therefore, satisfaction is a function of three main sources--quality of the information product, the information system and the services that make the information product available. These three levels of measure of satisfaction are defined by the information resources, facilities and services in this study. These sources of satisfaction, when properly harnessed may contribute to users' overall satisfaction. The accuracy, completeness, precision, and relevance of the information materials obtained from public library by a user are measures of the product performance.

The public library is established to provide materials, which communicate experience and ideas from one person to another and make them easily and freely available to all people. The public library is a local centre of information that makes all kinds of knowledge and information readily available to its users. It is established, supported and funded by the community, either through local, regional or national government or through some other form of community organizations. It provides access to knowledge, information and works of imagination through a range of resources and services. It is equally available to all members of the community regardless of race, nationality, age, gender, religion, language, disability, employment status and educational attainment (Aboyade, 1984).

People in all works of life use the public library resources, facilities and services. These users include pupils, students, teachers, scholars, scientists, business executives, government officials and even dropouts. Large numbers of people also turn to public libraries to satisfy their desire for knowledge or to obtain materials for some kind of leisure-time activities. A library may meet user's information needs by acquiring, organising and making available relevant information resources backed by appropriate facilities and delivered by means best known to them, which could be manual or through Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). For any public library to perform well and meet the needs of the users on this modern time, it is necessary for the public library to embrace the use of information and communication technology. The role of ICT in the effective utilization of libraries has been stressed in literature, particularly in academic libraries. In a survey conducted by Ojo and Akande (2005), it was gathered that students use internet sources and e-mail more than other sources. Other electronic information resources used by students in the order of importance include CD-ROM, e-Journal, etc.

A lot of academic information can be received using electronic resources both inside and outside the library. This may be the reason why they are more popular compared to other resources. However, lack of computer and IT skills, time consuming, limited access to computer terminal and too much information retrieval, using electronic resources, often detracts from doing work (Ojo & Akande, 2005). These challenges among users may deter them from using electronic information sources. To this Omekwu (2001) stated that the success of online searching depends on the ability of the user or the information scientist to perform the search in the best possible way.

However, the performance of libraries has been hindered by:

i Lack of infrastructure.

ii Lack of adequate finance. Danuta (1996) asserted that finance is a major resource for organizational effectiveness and without it nothing meaningful will be achieved. It should be borne in mind right from the onset that computerization of library operations like acquisition and circulation control is an expensive venture, and a time consuming process. …

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