Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

Reading Habits of Users as Determinants of the Utilisation of Library Information Resources of Two Public Libraries in South-West, Nigeria

Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

Reading Habits of Users as Determinants of the Utilisation of Library Information Resources of Two Public Libraries in South-West, Nigeria

Article excerpt

Introduction

Reading is a powerful means of communication that can form part of an individual to the extent that it becomes a habit which once developed, become very difficult to break. In the words of Igwe (2011), reading is one of the fundamental building blocks of learning, becoming a skilled and adaptable reader enhances the chances of success at school and beyond. Reading is not just for school, it is for life.

The definition of reading has gone through many changes. In the past, reading simply meant to extract visual information from any given codes or systems. However, thereafter, reading became much more complex and involved the understanding of a whole text composed of written signs. According to Toit (2001) "Reading is a process of thinking, recalling and relating concepts under the functioning of written words". Reading provides experience through which the individual may expand his horizons of knowledge, identify, extend and intensify his interest and gains deeper understanding of himself, of other human beings and of the world (Chettri and Rout (2013).

Reading is an action of a person who reads and habit is a product of this action or learning. Like all other habits, the habit or reading in an individual develops during the course of time (Thanuskodi, 2011). Jato, Ogunniyi and Olubiyo (2014) described habit as a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up. The reading habit influences the promotion of one's personal development in particular and social progress in general. Regular and systematic reading sharpens the intellect, refines the emotions, elevates tastes and provides perspectives for one's living; and thereby prepares a person for an effective participation in the social, religious, cultural and political life. Reading fires the imagination of the person. It adds new sight to eyes and new wisdom to mind. Reading loads the mind with new software (Satija, 2002).

The library is one of the information centres where a person can obtain information. It is also a place where a person can go to read or study. Libraries are places where the habit of reading books can be acquired. Libraries increase student success at school and they help them to acquire the educational knowledge necessary for adapting to changing and evolving circumstances (Curley, 1990; Kachel 1997). In the words of Ajidahun (2011) the library is unarguably and indubitably one of the intellectual wonders of life and one of the greatest and remarkable innovations and inventions that have proved, indisputably, man's creative audacity. He adjudged the library to also be a splendid educational masterpiece, a redemptive global phenomenon with robust capacity and ecumenical power and capability to bring the desired and the unimaginable transformation and positive changes to the society; the results which are immeasurably eternal.

The library, irrespective of its form, status, typology or classification has profound potency in bringing cultural, political and socio-economic empowerment to the society. Saleh and Lasisi (2011) opined that libraries in general and public libraries in particular, play an important role in all aspects of societal development especially when viewed against its users, which consist of all categories of people in the society. Of all the types of library, the public library is one that is recognized as playing an important role in societal development, albeit, in theory, as studies have shown that the school libraries and academic libraries do in fact play greater role in the development of individuals and in consequence, the society.

Public library has been defined variously. Many see it as a place built for the collection of books and other printed resources and the personnel to provide and interpret such resources as required to meet the information, research, educational, recreational, cultural and aesthetic needs of the varied users and it is usually financed with public funds. …

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