Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

Methods, Effect and Challenges of Library Instruction in Academic Libraries

Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

Methods, Effect and Challenges of Library Instruction in Academic Libraries

Article excerpt


The primary purpose of the academic libraries is to support its parent institution through acquisition of relevant information materials, processing, organizing, and disseminating them to the library users to enhance learning, teaching and research activities of the university community. Considering the continuous growth in library collections and technological advancement in information handling, retrieval and use, there is the need to give adequate library instruction to the library users. The users of academic libraries are made up of students, staff, and researchers who may not have any skill or knowledge to utilize library materials. Without library instruction, it may be difficult for the users to access, identify, retrieve and effectively use information from the library shelves and catalogue that will aid their learning, teaching, and research. According to Mahammadi, Moghaddan and Yeganeh (2008) teaching and research depend upon the library, and achievements in teaching and research are not possible without the library. Thus there is the need for the library to instruct its users to acquire information literacy skill in order to achieve academic excellence.

Library instruction also referred to as user education, library orientation or information literacy is a process of making library patrons understand how to make effective and efficient use of library resources and information through the acquisition of skills to identify, locate, search, retrieve and exploit information in the library (Igbena, 1990). Spenser (2003) noted that library instruction enable the users to have the ability to identify, locate, evaluate, organize, and effectively create, use and communicate information to address issues or problems at hand. The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) in June 2016 defined information literacy as a set of abilities requiring individuals to recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information. This definition is relevant in this study hence it involves various activities which are aftermath of user education. The framework for information literacy for higher education as developed by ACRL is useful in guiding information users to effectively utilize information resources for their academic activities.

According to Madukoma, Onuoha, Omeluzor and Ogbuiyi (2013), library instruction was introduced in academic institutions to ensure that students have the intellectual ability and skill to access and retrieve information as well as construct a framework for learning. The effect of library instruction goes beyond the number of years that students spent in universities. It traverses all learning and research activities of students, staff, and faculty of any university. It has a life-long effect on library users and enables them to acquire library skill to be able to identify, access, retrieve and use library materials with ease. It is a process of educating the users to use information that is available in the library to their advantage.

Although, the method of application of library instruction differ from library to library, but, the main purpose is to enable users to become independent and skilful in accessing and utilizing library resources. The American Library Association developed a guideline for instruction programs in academic libraries which were adopted by ACRL in 2011. The programs include the identification of content of instruction, identification of modes of instruction, program structures, and evaluation of assessment.

In order to advance user education, the Multimedia Educational Resource Learning Online Teaching (MERLOT) adopted the use of information and communication technology (ICT) for information literacy program. The program was aimed at providing a systematic approach to incorporating ICT literacy into education to ensure that students become ICT literate at the end of the program. …

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