Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

Comparative Analysis of the Preservation and Conservation Techniques of Selected Special and Academic Libraries in Nigeria

Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

Comparative Analysis of the Preservation and Conservation Techniques of Selected Special and Academic Libraries in Nigeria

Article excerpt

Background to the study

A library as a social institution is charged with the responsibility of disseminating knowledge to the people without any discrimination. The holdings of the libraries are the priceless heritage of mankind as they preserve facts, ideas, thoughts, accomplishments and evidences of human development in multifarious areas, ages and directions (Olatokun, 2008). According to Aina (2004), the library contains information required by different users and this information appears in a variety of formats such as books, serials, maps, compact discs etc. These formats are collectively called information carriers and can be classified into two types namely: print and non-print library materials.

An academic library as stated by Aina (2004) has a main purpose of supporting the objectives of an academic environment in the areas of learning, teaching, research and service. Academic libraries are libraries established in tertiary institutions. They include libraries in universities, colleges of education, and polytechnics (Emojorho and Nwalo, 2009). Yusuf and Iwu (2010) described the academic library as an indispensable instrument for intellectual development. A well-stocked academic library is a storehouse of information, or a record of human experience to which users may turn for data or information.

The term "special libraries" was only coined in 1908 when it was decided at a meeting of librarians to call the emerging libraries in America "special libraries". Despite the fact that these libraries have been around for many centuries, the concept has not yet been clearly defined and many opinions as to what exactly special libraries entail still prevail (Singh 2006). Special libraries are established to meet the specialized needs of professional and business groups. It may be the library of a corporation, government departments, or a research institute. It can be further explained as a library which is concerned exclusively with the literature of a particular subject or related groups of subjects. They are established to serve a particular group of readers and they have restricted users. Special libraries can serve particular population, such as the blind and physically handicapped, while others are dedicated to special collections, such as the Library of Congress (Aina, 2004).

Poll (2007) on the other hand points out that in most cases, definitions indicate what special libraries are not, rather than what they are. For example it is not a public, national, academic or school library. Adding to the confusion is the fact that these libraries cannot be typified by a single typology or specific set of characteristics because many types are included, such as news libraries, law libraries, libraries for the blind and deaf, museums, archives, corporate libraries and non-profit organization libraries. These libraries are also not identified by a common name, for they are also known as information centers, information analysis centers, documentation centers, information resource centers or knowledge management centers. Ownership of the libraries also varies and includes role players such as governments and their departments, non-governmental agencies, commercial firms and news agencies.

Poll (2007) further stated that the most significant characteristic which distinguishes the special library from other types of libraries, however, is that it is established to obtain and exploit specialized information for the private advantage of the organization which provides its financial support whether the parent organization is a government agency, business or industrial company or group of companies, a nonprofit organization, private society or institution, a research association, or a hospital.

However, irrespective of the type of library, library materials are vital sources of information and as such they are made to be used, read and studied. This requires that library materials be accessible to users, thus subjecting them to handling. …

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