Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

Qualitative Engagement of Nigerian Students and Librarians in the Analysis of Deviance in Library Utilization

Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

Qualitative Engagement of Nigerian Students and Librarians in the Analysis of Deviance in Library Utilization

Article excerpt

Introduction

The main aim of every university library is to provide access to both print and non-print collections. Accessibility therefore calls for proper planning and conduct between library staff and patrons. Going by the important role libraries played in modern day learning, the relevance to universities cannot be overemphasized (Wu and Liu, 2001). However there are quite a number of challenges facing libraries across the world and most especially in Africa where a lot of archival materials are either missing or stolen from the shelves. These among others are some of the deviant and criminal activities entangling libraries over the years (Nwalo, 2000). A number of studies have examined cases of criminal and deviant activities in the library from the perspective of the Librarians neglecting the users (mostly students) perspectives and the implication on library utilization in recent times. This has created a gap in knowledge in knowing the dynamics of deviant activities from a more holistic perspective. Though, generalizing about academic libraries, and more specifically about usage, is problematic, this study is limited to some selected Libraries in Nigeria. In Nigeria academic libraries serve widely diverse constituencies that encompass the university community, research institutions, and colleges, technical schools to private and public users. Some are small and large, rich and poor located in rural and urban environs but most fall somewhere in between-small-to-medium-size and moderately funded (Unagha, 2009). The diversity of purpose makes it difficult for characterization. Similarly trends in library usage may differ not only in terms of available materials, services provided but also in terms of security and behavioural components of the staff and users, overtly and covertly. These factors may be more pronounced for large research libraries than for smaller ones. By implication behavioural trends will have the tendencies to impact on library personnel as well as the frequency of patronage on library space, but each of the trends applies to a whole realm of academic libraries in varying degrees.

Globally, library design and usage have become a dynamic and ever-growing enterprise that requires more strategic, constant and dynamic management skills (Worpole, 2004). Inadequate financing and the increasing number of students in Nigerian universities have also put much pressure on state owned libraries (Ogunsola, 2004). With the increasing number of students gaining admission into higher institutions in Nigerian, libraries are likely to be faced with a number of problems. One of which is the increasing number of deviant activities occurring in the library. This implies that most libraries in the country are behind in the modern trend of library operation, utilization, security, and continuous restructuring of library space. Lorenzen (1996) and Holt (2007) like most scholars on library abuse described the most common forms of deviance relating to theft of physical materials; theft or alteration of data; and theft of money. In earlier research, Ewing (1994), identified other deviant behaviours to include breaches such as non-return of items by borrowers, theft of library equipment, personal theft (from staff and users), verbal and physical abuse against staff and users, and vandalism against library buildings, equipment and stock destruction, all of which can directly or indirectly affect library services. Similarly studies have shown that most libraries in Nigeria are also aging and need expansion, insufficiently equipped with poor arrangement of books, shelves and information technology (Ajayi, 2000; Ogunsola, 2004). These are also considered among the top threats to the success of higher education in Africa (Nwalo, 2000; Goldstein, 2006, Emmanuel and Sife, 2008).

Specifically in Nigeria a number of research have investigated significant changes in academic library facilities planning in terms of differentiation of storage and user space, dispersal of special formats and equipment, and accommodation of nonlibrary functions, retention of existing facilities, tighter programming, increased security cum protection of rare and special collections (Abifarin, 1997; Bello, 1998; Momodu, 2002; Ajegbomogun, 2007; Maidabino and Zainab, 2011). …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.