AN EVALUATION OF THE ACQUISITION PRACTICES IN THE ACADEMIC LIBRARY IN NIGERIA
Over the years, libraries have been faced with the problem of inadequate and outdated collections. Providing the information materials a user wants regardless of its format or location is the main reason for the existence of libraries and librarians. Various efforts are being made by Academic libraries in Nigeria to acquire information materials that will meet the desired needs of users in terms of adequacy, currency and availability.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF STUDY
An academic library is a library that is attached to an institution of learning, a major function of which is research and the advancement of knowledge in a wide variety of subjects. It is a central service or unit of operation set up to provide location ,materials and facilities for study, teaching and research carried out in the institution.
The main function of an academic library is to serve as an auxiliary to the parent institution in carrying out its objectives. The Library is an important intellectual resource of the academic community, and helps them fulfill the curriculum requirements and to promote studies and research (Rajendran and Rathinasabapathy, 2005). The library caters for the information needs of the community, through the provision of reading materials for the various programmes of the institution (Igbinosa and Idiodi, 2002).
According to Danton (1963), the major obligation of the academic library with respect to its book selection and book collection is to provide the materials which will now and in the future best contribute to the fulfillment of these closely related functions of teaching, conservation and research. Ajibero (1995) opined that the academic library is the heart of the institution.
He contends that what all academic libraries have in common, virtually regardless of country or history is their basic position, roles, aims and objectives. The reputation of these libraries depends highly on the library facilities it offers its clientele in terms of information resources. As information and research resources become more varied, it places a challenge on academic libraries. Hazen (2000) argued that the changes in the nature of information, in research strategies, and in the structure of higher education are affecting academic libraries. These changes define much of the shifting context within which academic libraries must operate.
It is absolutely essential for a library to possess the resources that will enable it meet its goals. Beautiful buildings, well trained staff and modern information storage and retrieval system can only be appreciated if excellent services are given to users. These services cannot be given without a collection of information materials.
The objective of any academic library is to support the teaching, learning and research activities of the parent institution. It is an objective which is achieved through a systematic acquisition and organization of all forms of recorded and undocumented information in all fields pertinent to the goals of the institution. This can be realized by making such information available to the members of the academic community and other scholars engaged in research and study (Ekere, 1992).
Collection development is one of the fundamental functions of the library and information profession. Magrill (1989) described it to include all planning for the systematic and rational building of a collection. In one sense, collection development includes assessing user needs, evaluating the present collection, determining selection policy, coordinating selection of items, re-evaluating and storing parts of the collection and planning for resources sharing.
However, in a broader sense, collection development is not a single activity, or a group of activities; it is a planning and decision-making process. In order to play these vital roles effectively, academic libraries are supposed to be adequately funded by their parent institutions to procure adequate information resources. A library?s collection development efforts cannot be effective unless its acquisition efforts are efficient. This practice that is responsible for selecting and acquiring information specialist to perform their myriad function to the users effectively (Aina, 2004).
Academic librarians must strive to remain competent navigators of acquisition and collection building in order to assist library users? .In addition, acquisition practices includes a policy on the conservation and preservation of information materials as well as the weeding of information materials. The policy is to provide guidance to staff when selecting and deselecting resources for the local collection.
Furthermore, collection evaluation is concerned with how good a collection is in terms of kinds of materials in it and value of each item in relation to the community being served, and to the library potential users. The complexities of operating effective and efficient libraries require greater knowledge about measuring the processes and evaluating how they influence library?s decision making and planning. Collection evaluation is a broadly encompassing activity. It can be as simple as the assessment of size of dollar worth of a collection and it can be as complex as measuring its value to a given community. The process is an excellent situation for communication among units in the library.
Generally speaking, all the Libraries under study are involved with collection development and evaluation. In one sense, the issue of policies guiding the process and constant evaluation of collection is yet to be fully actualized. Adequate information resources that meet the needs of users are slightly above minimal level. This situation might be as a result of some problems such as insufficient staff/manpower to carry out the practice, inadequate funds to acquire relevant materials and then the issue of nonexistent or minimal demand from students, academics, departments and faculties for up to date or topical materials relating to current curriculum.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Over the years, libraries have been faced with the problem of inadequate and outdated collections. Providing the information materials a user wants regardless of its format or location is the main reason for the existence of libraries and librarians. Various efforts are being made by Academic libraries in Nigeria to acquire information materials that will meet the desired needs of users in terms of adequacy, currency and availability. The consistent review of library materials is necessary for maintaining an active library collection of current interest to users. Evaluation will be made to determine whether the collection is meeting its objectives, how well it is serving its users, in which way it is deficient and what remains to be done to develop the collection. This is why the acquisitions department of any library is essentially a service unit for the public service department and staff as customers to be satisfied. Unfortunately, most academics libraries are facing some challenges in providing, preserving and replacing damaged and worn out materials.
1.3 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The general purpose of the study is to evaluate the acquisition practices in Academic libraries using the Ibarapa Academic, Eruwa academic library. The specific objectives are as follows:
1. To examine the adequacy of the collection of the Ibarapa polytechnic academic library under study.
2. To evaluate the methods of acquisition of the information resources by the Ibarapa polytechnic academic library.
3. To evaluate the currency of their information resources.
4. To examine the collection development policies available in the Ibarapa polytechnic academic library.
5. To evaluate those problems encountered in the development of their collections.
6. To examine the strategies that could enhance the acquisition practices in the Library under study.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The study will be guided by the following research questions:
1. How adequate are the collections of the academic library understudy?
2. What are the methods of acquisition of their information resources?
3. How current are the collections of the academic library understudy?
4. What are the Collection development policies available in the library?
5. What are those problems encountered in developing collections of the academic library understudy?
6. What are the strategies that could enhance the acquisition practices of the library under study?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The findings of this study would be useful to Librarians, students, lecturers, researchers and the Government in the following ways: As libraries deteriorate in terms of collection evaluation, users suffer. Hence, the study of this nature is needed to determine the magnitude of the problems affecting collection development/evaluation and strategies adopted in handling them. For Librarians, the result of the findings will assist librarians to create avenues of contending with the problems in the area of collection development evaluation.
This study is also aimed at alerting librarians on the need for proper collection development, policies and constant evaluation of collection in order to frequently satisfy the needs of users, of polytechnic Libraries and other academic libraries. The recommendations will help in giving the librarians an insight of information on evaluation of materials so as to adopt better ones.
For students, lecturers and researchers, the findings will provide them with basic and factual information at their disposal. It will help to determine the extent to which the aims and objectives of libraries in terms of evaluation of collection has helped students and researchers and organizational bodies of institutions.
Likewise the Government will benefit from the study as they will realize their budgeting inadequacies for library collection development. This will enable them counter these inadequacies.
Finally, the study will be useful for other academic purposes by providing the data base from which information could be obtained for future research in related areas of study.
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study of collection development strategies in academic libraries is limited to the Ibarapa polytechnic library. Furthermore, the study will be delimited to: adequacy of collections, methods of acquisition, currency of collections, availability of collection development policies, problems and strategies for enhancing acquisition practices.
1.7 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
1. Network interconnectivity to enhance elaborate research ?
2. High level of illiteracy
3. Organization operational huddles.
4. Time and cost constraints due to cause of scarcity in gasoline to go about the research
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