Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

User Education Programs in Academic Libraries: The Experience of the International Islamic University Malaysia Students

Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

User Education Programs in Academic Libraries: The Experience of the International Islamic University Malaysia Students

Article excerpt

Introduction

The library supports the reading and research needs of its user for that particular institution. It is the library's responsibility to provide better services to its clients to make sure that information sources, services and resources are well utilized for users' benefits. Hence user education program is very crucial for library user's achievements.

Gorman, (2006) states that, Libraries are concerned primarily with the messages that constitute the human record and only secondarily with the medium by means of which messages are transmitted. Library is a part of the general context of the societal institutions that promote education, research, learning, social cohesion, and the higher aspirations of humankind.

Fleming, (1990) defined user education "as various programs of instruction, education and exploration provided by libraries to users to enable them to make more effective, efficient and independent use of information sources and services to which these libraries provide access.

Mellon, (1988) mentioned that, Students enter college with little or no any knowledge of basic library tools, procedures or terminology". Basic to this statement Clarke, 1999 emphasize the justification for mounting programs for user education in university libraries. (Clarke 1999) writes, "Third World countries, in the majority of cases, lack adequate public libraries that could meaningfully serve as a necessary addition to the teaching and learning process in secondary schools. Even where they live such public libraries do not appear to have user instruction for new users, at least, not a large scale."

Thus majority of new students entering universities are seriously facing problems that stresses independent of though and action. They don't know how to deal with new environment, they need carefully and special guides which help them to deal with various sources of information independently.

According to Liu, (1993) among the problems faced by this group of students are those related to information provision and library services. These students come from a variety of cultures and have different experiences with libraries in their own countries. Many of them are unfamiliar with the open stacks in libraries, the system, and reference material. Song, (2004) add that some of them have no prior experience with electronic resources in their home countries.

Following this, International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) Library makes user education programs compulsory for students in every semester. According to Nur' Aini (2011) with the development of technology and the vast information resource available IIUM Library feels the increasing need to educate its library customers in locating, evaluating and the using of the library resources effectively.

There are several modules that are created based on the standards as set in the "Information Literacy Competency Standards for higher Education" by the American Library Association. The courses are designed to fulfill the following groups: New Students, Undergraduates, Postgraduates, and Academic staff.

Problem Statement

Most of IIUM students come from Developing countries with different backgrounds some of which possess better skills to utilize library materials, while others have not enough skill for utilizing library materials such as computer, use of internet, and library catalogue. The IIUM Library conducts user education programs in every semester but still there are some students who face difficulties in accessing and use library materials. They take long time to ask and go around the levels and shelves for searching a particular object. This situation made researcher to embark on this study, with the hope of finding why these students are not responding positively to the training given to them. Do they really understand the training exercise? Is the training program relevant to the needs of library users? …

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