Security Management for Prevention of Book Thefts in University Libraries. a Case Study of Benue State University Library, Nigeria

By Akor, Philip Usman | Library Philosophy and Practice, October 1, 2013 | Go to article overview

Security Management for Prevention of Book Thefts in University Libraries. a Case Study of Benue State University Library, Nigeria


Akor, Philip Usman, Library Philosophy and Practice


INTRODUCTION

In medicine, prevention is better than cure, and also in libraries good preventive measures particularly of storage and security should be on alert so as to prevent damages and missing of books. The art of prevention is as old as human civilization. Since the innovation of writing, mankind has been faced with the problem of prevention. Documents have been existed in one form or the other and it is natural for man to attempt to securing, managing and preventing them from deterioration. Edoka (2000), say that "library emerged when the need arose to safeguard, exploit and utilize records of civilization".

Libraries have been seen as one of the pillars of civilization. No nation can function effectively without the use of a library. The term "library" means a collection of educational materials organized for use. The word is derived from the Latin word "Liber" which means a book. This is a good reason to believe that the root concept of Library is deeply embedded in our ways of thinking about the world and coping with its constraints. In its primary role as guardian of the social memory, there are many parallels with the ways in which the human memory orders, stores and retrieves the information necessary for survival. Broadhead (2002) asserted that the "study of library history and its related disciplines bear witness that the instinct to preserve, the zeal to collect and the desire to manage have been dominant influences in the genesis and growth of the library idea in the history of civilization".

Alokun (2003) affirm that "libraries are essentially established to cater for the information needs of different categories of users which covers different aspects of life, such as political, economical, social and cultural aspects". In order to achieve its purposes libraries have to put their best in securing, managing and preventing libraries collections from theft and mutilation to meet the demand of its heterogeneous clientele. Aina (2004), opines that a "library is concerned with the collection, processing, storage and dissemination of recorded information for the purpose of reading, study and consultation". Library services can only be achieved through the availability of library collections. This implies that inadequate library collections will bring about inaccurate library services.

Udensi and Sadiku (2005) define academic libraries as "library attached to institution of higher learning or tertiary institution such as universities, colleges of education, polytechnics and colleges of technologies". An academic library, being a complex institution must have large quantities of materials to meet the demands of the numerous students, lecturers and faculty officers; therefore, there is the need to protect the materials in the library from factors such as theft, mutilation, and deterioration. The threat to intellectual property through theft, mutilation and other forms of abuse has been posed tremendous challenge to the library profession worldwide. According to Jackson (1991) "incidents of theft, non-return of materials and mutilation of library stock are on the increase. These unwanted acts need a serious tackle in academic libraries in order to protect library resources".

Anunobi and Okoye (2008) contributed that, "academic libraries are faced with crossbreed challenges in order to acquire the necessary skills". One challenge is the issue of security management for prevention of theft of print and non-print resources in the academic libraries. There is a need for academic libraries to ensure accessibility and effective use to make an effective program of collection security necessary. This programme must include assessment of collection security management for prevention of incessant book thefts and the measures use in curbing security infringement.

Oyewusi and Oyeboade (2009) discussed the importance of access to collections in supporting the mission of the university. The researchers view the importance of good collections as a pointer to the need for safety and security for those collections. …

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