The Impact of Public Library Services to the People
Objectives of the Study
The main objectives of the study is:
- To appraise the use of the public library.
- To apprise the services in the public libraries in Kaduna State.
- The study is also to examine the impact of these library services on the educational and political development of the people of the state.
REVIEWED OF RELATED LITERATURE
Precisely, public libraries are said to have existed between 28 & 39BC in ancient Rome. They are established with the main mission of providing access to materials and services to meet with the present and future needs of the community they serve. Ogbonyomi (2007) says that public library should provide for the intellectual, cultural, occupational and religious information needed of all Nigerian society irrespective of their race, culture and occupation in their society. Public libraries in under-developed countries should be regarded as an agency among others that promote education and eliminate illiteracy among people. In the same vein, Onwubiko (2004) suggests that public library provide materials in wide range of subjects to cater for all levels of demand. These materials range from reference, continuing education down to recreation, however, they provide materials for specialized reference and research, co-ordinate programs for continuing education and sponsor cultural and recreational events. In addition, Ode and Omokoro (2007) agreed that public libraries assist at developing learning skills among the children, youths and adults, as they play a part in encouraging positive use of the leisure and providing materials for change and relaxations. Badawi (2007) reveals that the fact that public libraries are agents for social development, to back this up, Onyenachi (2012) says that through public libraries, people can discover knowledge and learn new skills, get informed about personal health and well-being, find out about government and local authority service and seek information about employment and business development. The tremendous role of the public library can never be over-emphasized. It enhances the productivity of individuals and organizations through the following functions – educational, informational, economic and cultural – which bring about social development. Library resources are stocks of recorded information (print and non-print materials). Organized for use and made available to users. Examples of print materials are booking monographs, reference materials, periodicals/serials (magazines and newspapers) while non-print are audio visuals, multi-media, microfiche, films, slides and microforms etc. According to Halsey (2006), library resources should not only include traditional print-on-paper media like books, journals, newspapers etc, but also audio visual materials like records, audio cassettes, projectors, art reproductions, maps, photographs, microfiches, and Electronic Information resources (EIR) like CD-ROM, computer software, online databases, internet, e books, e-journals and other media. Ifidon (2006), opines that services in a library could be said to be excellent and appreciative if only there books and other library resources available in that library. Public libraries are making frantic efforts to provide services to its clientele. In other words, services expected to be provided by the public libraries have become a major concern of library and information science practitioners. No wonder Okiy (2004) opines that mobile library service was launched in order to extend library services to everyone in the state, irrespective of location. Other mobile services provided by the state library board include prison and hospital trolley services. These services provided by libraries have become the melting point of the present day librarianship and information science. IFLA (2001) opines that the services provided by the public library include community information services, recreational activities, reference services, loan services, storytelling, reading, career information, customer care, adult literacy education etc. To remain relevant and keep up with the many needs and expectations of their users, Public library must be proactive, vibrant, and abreast of the latest developments in information dissemination as they play a crucial role in the advancement of knowledge. The services provided by public libraries could be summarized as; mobile library services, information and referral services, outreach programmes, current awareness programmes, library services to children, Selective Dissemination of Information (SDI), internet services, photocopy services and book depot. Public libraries are used by different categories of human beings such as students, teachers, lecturers, lawyers, civil servants, architects, businessmen, engineers etc. According to IFLA/UNESCO (2001) users of public libraries include children, young adults, adults, people with special needs such as those who have hearing problems and even the blind and the visually impaired. Others are prisoners, the aged, nursing mothers, organisations and people in government. Emphasis is however placed on meeting the needs of the less privileged in the society, e.g. they provide braille materials for the blind users. Achebe (2005) emphasizes that public libraries are also referred to as centres for acquisition of knowledge and information. They satisfy people’s quest for education and specific information as a solution to problems since all age group must find materials relevant to their needs. Vital as the role of public libraries are, it is a thing of surprise that after many years of public library existence in Nigeria, most of its objectives are yet to be achieved due to several problems militating against them. Some of these prevalent problems according to Nwokeocha (1998) is the government neglect of the role of the public library to the society. To this effect, they are faced with a lot of challenges and obstacles. Oyedum (2005) states that there is lack of recognition of the state librarians by the government decision makers. One can confidently say that public library system in Nigeria today is characterized by poor status in collection, facilities, human resources, modern information facilities like information computer technology (ICT) and poor quality services followed by poor ICT skills among staff. Most, if not all of these problems emanated from the mother of them all – poor funding. Nwokeocha (1998) observed that lack of funds. Inadequate funding is hindering the development of public libraries in Nigeria. At present, many public libraries have inadequate numbers of staff and others have staff that are seriously under-educated. If libraries in Nigeria are to survive, they must invest in the intellectual capital of their employees. Technology used to access information, can be a way to educate library staff, to provide resources and services required to bridge the information gap between developed and under-developed nations. Bhattachajee (2007) informs that many of the public libraries do not have their own buildings; some are located in small thatched huts while some share a room and time with their institutions. The quality and quantity of public library services and the changes they can create in the society depends on its human resources. The staff of the public library is not motivated adequately to boast their morale. Opara (2005) notes that it is as a result of inadequate attention given to these workers and their institutions. Furthermore, the number of the professional librarian is so small to compare to the nonprofessionals who are always large in number. According to Oyedum (2005) this is contrary to the International Federation of Library Association (IFLA, 2001) suggestion that at least 33% of the total staff strength should be qualified librarians in any established library. Where this is lacking, there is no doubt that poor library services would always be provided to the users; secondly, library development would also be slow and this would attract little or no users. Therefore, Ebiwolate (2010) suggests that public library services are facing a number of problems which could be highlighted as bad roads, lack of funds, insufficient library materials, irrelevant or outdated materials.
In this chapter, we described the research procedure for this study. A research methodology is a research process adopted or employed to systematically and scientifically present the results of a study to the research audience viz. a vis, the study beneficiaries.
Research designs are perceived to be an overall strategy adopted by the researcher whereby different components of the study are integrated in a logical manner to effectively address a research problem. In this study, the researcher employed the survey research design. This is due to the nature of the study whereby the opinion and views of people are sampled. According to Singleton & Straits, (2009), Survey research can use quantitative research strategies (e.g., using questionnaires with numerically rated items), qualitative research strategies (e.g., using open-ended questions), or both strategies (i.e., mixed methods). As it is often used to describe and explore human behaviour, surveys are therefore frequently used in social and psychological research.
POPULATION OF THE STUDY
According to Udoyen (2019), a study population is a group of elements or individuals as the case may be, who share similar characteristics. These similar features can include location, gender, age, sex or specific interest. The emphasis on study population is that it constitutes of individuals or elements that are homogeneous in description.
This study was carried to examine The Impact of Public Library Services To The People.. Public library in Kaduna state form the population of the study.
DATA PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS
This chapter presents the analysis of data derived through the questionnaire and key informant interview administered on the respondents in the study area. The analysis and interpretation were derived from the findings of the study. The data analysis depicts the simple frequency and percentage of the respondents as well as interpretation of the information gathered. A total of eighty (80) questionnaires were administered to respondents of which only seventy-seven (77) were returned and validated. This was due to irregular, incomplete and inappropriate responses to some questionnaire. For this study a total of 77 was validated for the analysis.
SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION
It is important to ascertain that the objective of this study was to ascertain The Impact of Public Library Services to The People. .In the preceding chapter, the relevant data collected for this study were presented, critically analyzed and appropriate interpretation given. In this chapter, certain recommendations made which in the opinion of the researcher will be of benefits in addressing The Impact of Public Library Services to The People.
This study was on the Impact of Public Library Services to The People. Three objectives were raised which included: To appraise the use of the public library, to apprise the services in the public libraries in Kaduna State and the study is also to examine the impact of these library services on the educational and political development of the people of the state. A total of 77 responses were received and validated from the enrolled participants where all respondents were drawn from public library in Kaduna state. Hypothesis was tested using Chi-Square statistical tool (SPSS).
In conclusion, this study has shed light on the significant impact of public library services on the lives of people. Through an extensive analysis of various aspects, including educational, cultural, social, and economic dimensions, it becomes evident that public libraries play a vital role in enhancing the well-being and development of communities.
Firstly, public library services have a profound impact on education. They provide access to a wide range of resources, including books, e-books, academic journals, and databases, enabling individuals to expand their knowledge and acquire new skills. Public libraries also serve as important learning spaces, offering programs and workshops for people of all ages, from early literacy initiatives to adult education classes. These resources and programs contribute to the overall educational attainment and lifelong learning of individuals, fostering intellectual growth and personal development.
Furthermore, public libraries act as crucial cultural hubs within communities. They promote cultural diversity and inclusivity by offering materials in various languages, catering to the needs of diverse populations. Public libraries frequently host events, exhibitions, and lectures, showcasing local art, literature, and history. These activities not only preserve and celebrate community heritage but also encourage cultural exchange and mutual understanding among residents.
In addition to education and culture, public libraries have a notable social impact. They serve as community gathering spaces, where individuals from different backgrounds can come together, interact, and form connections. Public libraries often organize social programs, such as book clubs, storytelling sessions, and discussion forums, fostering social engagement and building social capital within neighborhoods. Moreover, libraries play a vital role in addressing social inequalities by providing free access to information and resources to all, irrespective of socio-economic status.
Finally, the study highlights the economic benefits of public library services. Libraries serve as catalysts for economic development by offering resources and support for entrepreneurship, job searching, and career development. They provide access to business databases, business planning tools, and guidance for aspiring entrepreneurs, contributing to the growth of small businesses and local economies. Moreover, public libraries often serve as venues for community meetings and events, attracting visitors and generating foot traffic that benefits local businesses.
Based on the findings of this study, several recommendations emerge to further enhance the impact of public library services on the people:
- Funding and Resources: Governments and policymakers should prioritize adequate funding and allocation of resources for public libraries. Sustained financial support will enable libraries to expand their collections, update technology, and provide innovative programs and services to meet the evolving needs of their communities.
- Accessibility and Outreach: Efforts should be made to ensure that public libraries are easily accessible to all members of the community, including individuals with disabilities and those residing in underserved areas. Libraries should actively engage in outreach initiatives, collaborating with community organizations and schools to reach marginalized populations and promote library services.
- Digital Literacy: Given the increasing reliance on digital resources and technology, public libraries should prioritize digital literacy programs. These programs should provide training and support to individuals of all ages, empowering them with the necessary skills to navigate and utilize digital resources effectively.
- Partnerships and Collaboration: Public libraries should actively seek partnerships and collaborations with local organizations, educational institutions, businesses, and government agencies. Collaborative efforts can help expand the range of services offered, facilitate resource sharing, and strengthen the overall impact of public library services within the community.
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