Assessment of Library Users Education Programmes in Abia State University and Federal University of Technology, Owerri

ABSTRACT

A survey research method was adopted to assess the influence of user education programmes on the acquisition of library skills by students of Abia State University, Uturu (ABSU) and Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO). The population of 18,807 registered student library users was studied. A proportionate sampling technique was used to select a sample size of 393 made up of 246 from ABSU and 147 from FUTO. In addition, the entire population of the facilitators amounting to 12 was also studied. A questionnaire for facilitators and a validated skill test for users were used to collect data for the study. The research answered seven research questions and tested one null hypothesis. Descriptive analysis was used to answer the research questions while ANOVA was used to test the hypothesis. Findings showed that ABSU programme is for a full academic session of two semesters while that of FUTO is taught for only four hours in the first semester. It was also revealed that students of ABSU consistently showed higher mean performance scores than their FUTO counterparts in most of the five areas in which they were tested – borrowing of library materials, utilization of library catalogues, citation of reference materials, location of library materials and library practices/ethics. This implies that user education programmes are very crucial in the acquisition of basic skills needed for effective library use. The results of the hypotheses tested showed that ABSU students possessed higher mean performance scores than FUTO students in the five core areas of library use tested which is attributable to the nature of the user education programme. The study recommends a detailed and uniform user education programme for all Nigerian universities as a distinct general studies course.

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background to the Study

Universities are often referred to as the citadel of learning and represent the apex institution for the acquisition of knowledge. Based on this perception, Ifidon (1998) holds that universities are established for four related purposes of teaching, learning, research and community/public service. The university library is indispensable in the actualization of all four, as none of them can effectively take place in the absence of a functional library. According to the National Universities Commission (NUC, (2007), the library is central to the academic activities of universities. In line with this assertion the commission therefore insists that “the university library should be funded at a level that provides effective reading services to students and staff”. Libraries are also expected to provide current journals, textbooks, reference materials, conducive reading rooms, e-mail and Internet services. The NUC also encourages university libraries to provide instruction on use of university libraries in order to equip students with the effective use of library materials.

Fidzani (1995) and Ajibero (1998) agree with NUC and argue that the primary function of university libraries is to support the teaching-learning process and research activities of the faculty and students. They however argue that for any library to meet the expectations of users, it must establish an effective user education programme as well as automate the library and employ the help of Information and Communication Technology (ICT). The two are related because, according to Lorenzen (2004), the development of academic libraries has been dramatically influenced in the last two decades by the emergence of new information technologies. The advent of the Internet and the World Wide Web (WWW) has required librarians to take the lead in teaching what the Internet does and what it cannot do.

It is the responsibility of the university library to provide information resources and assist the patrons in the acquisition of library skills to ensure effective utilization of library resources. Library resources are many as well as varied and by the same token, their utilization is determined by the appropriateness of the resources. Utilization of resources results from a felt need for certain pieces of information. According to Uhegbu (2007) this is predicated on a number of factors including the goal of the library, availability and accessibility of library resources, format of presentation of information, and user’s knowledge and awareness of available library resources. University libraries are expected to make available resources accessible to their patrons through the provision of readers’ services and user instruction. (NUC, 2007)

People who use the resources provided by university libraries are known by several names that mean the same thing. According to Okoro (2000) and Nwosu (2000) a university library user is any person who makes use of the library collection or services. According to them, there is no unanimity as to what a library user should be called and that is why library users are variously referred to as readers, client, clientele or patrons.

The library user is at the centre of all the materials and services provided by the library. Onalapo-Akinbode (2002) maintains that all the services provided by the Readers’ Services Department always have the library user as the greatest beneficiary. Edoka (2000) highlights this when he states that opening hours, adequate staffing, seating and study carrels, circulation, registration of users, lending, reservation, information services, guides and notices, extension services and user education programmes are all services packaged for library users. The user is therefore the character for whom the library exists, collects, organizes packages and disseminates materials and information. The user is usually expected to visit the library with a hunger for information and library service, which ought to be satisfied. He must therefore be equipped with the knowledge of how to make use of the various and existing resources in the library. This knowledge and skill on the use of library resources is better acquired through appropriate user education programme.

User education refers to a well-planned programme of training and educating patrons on the skills and techniques of locating and retrieving library materials. User education in the context of this study refers to students’ participation in use of the library course. Two levels of user education programmes have been identified in Nigerian university libraries according to Ajibero (1998). They are orientation for new student users of libraries and/or information centres and a course in information retrieval (or use of library) for undergraduate students.

User education according to Oyesola (1984) is fashioned to increase users’ ability to locate the materials they need, extend their knowledge of useful library tools in searching for materials, encourage them to make effective use of library resources and teach users the various rules and regulations of the library. Feather and Sturges (1997) maintain that user education consists of a comprehensive service and process of making the user self-reliant in the act of locating, sorting and repackaging information. They argue that user education prepares the user to be able to evaluate information through the acquisition of library skills. Balogun (1990) in his own contribution, recognizes library instruction to be of great importance to students in several ways, especially to fresh students using the library for the first time and students carrying out research projects during their final year. It is also important in sustaining the interest of students in library use after university education. In the opinion of Chanlin and Chang (2003), the Internet has significantly increased the speed of library education activities and greater exchange of information. According to them, it is now possible to develop and implement a web-based library instruction with the aim of educating students to become information literate.

Library skills are the outcome of user education programmes. They have to do with the possession of the ability to effectively make use of the information materials in the library with very minimal assistance from the staff. These library skills are not inherent but acquired through a process of teaching and learning often known as user education. According to Behrens (1990), library skills tend to focus on the ways of locating information or the instrumental aspects of retrieval. In a note prepared for users of the Internet Joch (2009), argues that library skills require a library user to know the materials and services available in order to take advantage of available resources and develop a reasonable level of self-reliance; master the use of the catalogue and how to interpret the information found in them, to be able to locate materials by author, title, subject, keyword or call number in the library; to know how to use electronic databases and how to interpret their contents in order to navigate through electronic databases and acquire knowledge of computer operation to be able to use the computer to access the library catalogue, electronic databases and the Internet.

User education or library instruction has become a central theme in library and information science discourse as well as in research generally. This is expected as many experts, including Akibode (1996), Adeniyi (2000) and Onalapo-Akinbode (2002), are worried over the inability of users to conveniently make use of libraries without staff assistance. They express the fear that this may become worse with the introduction of advanced information technology in library operations. There is therefore the need to educate the patrons on how to use Information and Communication Technology (ICT) tools for the location and retrieval of information in the library.

The success or failure of user education programme in any university in Nigeria depends on a number of variables or factors. These include the curriculum, the bio-data of facilitators, the methods of implementation, the materials available and the purpose of the programme. The curriculum will stipulate the library skills acquired by students through user education programmes which are intended to make students better users of the library. Such library skills are in the areas of borrowing of library materials, location of library materials, citation of references, utilization of library catalogues, literature search strategy and compilation of bibliographies. The bio-data of facilitators will cover qualifications, experience and rank of facilitators. Lectures, demonstrations, tours, exhibitions and orientation could be some of the methods employed during user education exercises.

Assessment according to West’s Encyclopedia of American Law (2010) is a process of gathering and documenting information about the achievement, skills, abilities, and personality variables of an individual. The choice of an assessment tool depends on the purpose or goal of the assessment. Assessments can be used to establish rankings among individual students, to determine the amount of information students have retained, to provide feedback to students on their levels of achievement, to motivate students by recognizing and rewarding good performances, to assess the need for remedial education, and to evaluate students understanding of the operations of the library. The goal of the assessment should be understood by all stakeholders in the process: students, parents, teachers, counselors, and outside experts. An assessment tool that is appropriate for one goal is often inappropriate for another, leading to misuse of data.

Herman and Knuth (1991) write that assessment is often equated and confused with evaluation, but the two concepts are different. Assessment is used to determine what a student knows or can do, while evaluation is used to determine the worth or value of a course or program. Assessment data effects student advancement, placement, and grades, as well as decisions about instructional strategies and curriculum. According to them, it is common for evaluations to utilize assessment data along with other resources to make decisions about revising, adopting, or rejecting a course or program. Therefore, assessment can be employed to examine the suitability and effectiveness of a library user education programme. This assessment may be conducted through an examination administered on the student beneficiaries in order to determine their understanding and ability to apply the lesson of the programme in day to day use of the library.

This research intends to assess the library user education programmes of Abia State University, Uturu and Federal University of Technology, Owerri. This would help to assess the place of user education programmes in relations to the acquisition of library skills by students.

The present Abia State University began as Imo State University in September 1981. In 1987, the University moved to its permanent and present site at Uturu. Following the August 27, 1992 State creation, when Abia was carved out of Imo State, the University was ceded to the new state and changed its name from Imo State University, Okigwe to Abia State University, Uturu in January 1995.

User education in ABSU is the responsibility of both the university library and the Department of Library and Information Science. The Library has a tradition of organizing library orientation programmes for fresh students at the commencement of every academic year. The programme takes the form of lectures on the different sections and services of the library. In addition, students are taken on guided tours of the library, as part of a programme of user education.

The Department of Library and Information Science has the responsibility of teaching Use of Library as part of the user education programme to first year students of the University. The course, which is offered in both first and second semesters, is facilitated by selected lecturers in the Department.

Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO) was established in 1980 as part of the Federal Government of Nigeria’s initiative to pursue vigorously the objective of industrializing the nation through the development of science and technology. The FUTO Library was established on the policy and objective that make the library the cornerstone of academic activities. This is accomplished through the provision of readers’ services, user instruction as part of the Use of English course and a tour of the library included in the students orientation programme among others (University Calendar, 2000). The members of staff therefore combine their duties as librarians with that of teaching FUTO students the rudiments of using the library.

Statement of the problem

Universities in Nigeria adopt various ways of equipping their clientele with skills and knowledge of library use. The purpose is to assist their patrons become better users of the library. Unfortunately many students in universities in Nigeria are generally believed to exhibit poor use of library skills notwithstanding the user education programmes in Nigerian universities. This situation is worrisome in view of the fact that library user education programme has grown to be an emphasized and regular course in these universities. One therefore wonders the effectiveness and use of the programmes in view of all these reports on students’ ineffectiveness and incompetence in library use.

In the light of the above, the researcher embarked on the assessment of user education programmes in two Nigerian universities so as to relate it to the acquisition of library skills by students. This situation leaves the researcher reflecting on the existing library user education programmes especially in the areas of curricula, methods, personnel and overall effectiveness.

It therefore becomes imperative for a study to explore the prevailing situation in universities especially those with similar background with a view to critically examine the situation and at the same time proffer credible remedies. Hence this study attempts to assess the impact of library user education programme in the acquisition of library skills in Abia State University, Uturu and Federal University of Technology, Owerri.

Purpose of the Study

The general purpose of this study was to assess the influence of the library user education programmes on students’ acquisition of library skills in ABSU and FUTO. Specifically the research sought to comparatively assess:

  1. the curricula of user education programmes in ABSU and FUTO.
  2. the types of materials/resources employed in the provision of user education in the two universities studied.
  3. the methods used in teaching user education in ABSU and FUTO.
  4. the qualifications and experience of facilitators of user education programmes in ABSU and FUTO.
  5. the type of library use skills acquired by students of ABSU and FUTO after user education programme.
  6. the problems associated with user education programmes in ABSU and FUTO.
  7. the ways of ameliorating identified problems.

Research Questions

The following research questions were formulated to guide the study:

  1. What are the contents of the curricula of the user education programmes of both ABSU and FUTO?
  2. What types of materials/resources are employed in the provision user education in the two universities studied?
  3. What methods are used in the teaching of user education in ABSU and FUTO?
  4. What are the qualifications and experience of facilitators of two programmes studied?
  5. What are the library use skills acquired by students of ABSU and FUTO after user education programme?
  6. What problems are associated with user education programmes in ABSU and FUTO?
  7. What are the ways of ameliorating identified problems?

Scope of the Study

This study assessed the influence of two user education programmes on the acquisition of library skills by students of Abia State University Uturu (ABSU) and Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO). It is limited to undergraduate students who are expected to have offered the Use of Library course. It covered the use of the different library services by undergraduates and how they are influenced by the user education programmes of the two universities.

The study is based on the curricula of both ABSU which is the only programme that is fully independent of Use of English and FUTO which is the only one that operates without a library school. The areas covered included knowledge of library catalogue utilization, borrowing of library materials, techniques for locating information materials, reference citation and library practices/ethics.

Significance of the Study

The results of this research would be relevant to the activities of both individuals and corporate bodies, especially university libraries, users of university libraries, librarians, lecturers, government and the society at large. The university library as an entity would benefit from this research since it would afford the university library administrators the opportunity of reassessing their user education programme for effective services. The outcome of the research would provide an insight into the level of effectiveness of user education among the students. Basically, ABSU and FUTO would be in a good position to compare the effectiveness of each of their programmes towards their students thereby providing opportunity for modifications and improvement.

The significance of this result would also be felt by librarians and lecturers in universities involved in the administration and teaching of user education. The strengths and weaknesses highlighted in both ABSU and FUTO in this study would serve as a reference point to librarians and lecturers engaged in the facilitation or teaching of user education programmes not only in ABSU and FUTO but also in other universities. The study would provide an insight in fashioning out new ways of impacting user education to patrons especially if the methods in ABSU and FUTO have some shortcomings. This would ultimately make the job of teaching user education a lot easier especially if it alerts them on the uses of information and communication technology (ICT)

Users of university libraries are among those that would benefit from the outcome of this research. This would be achieved if as expected, facilitators of user education programmes take advantage of the findings of the research and go ahead to improve the quality of their programmes in their various universities. This would therefore translate to a quality user education programme that provides a greater opportunity for undergraduate students to acquire relevant library skills for better library uses.

The government and the society at large would also be positively affected by the result of this study. This is possible as users are able to make better use of university library resources, thereby leading to the enhancement of research in all fields. This would ultimately lead to new discoveries in arts and science as well as enhance reading culture of Nigerians.

Hypotheses

One hypothesis was framed to guide the research. It was tested at .05 level of significance.

  1. There is no significant difference in the mean scores of students exposed to two user education programmes in respect of acquisition of library skills.

 

CHAPTER TWO

REVIEW OF LITERATURE

This chapter highlights the various contributions and publications of experts, authorities, specialists and authors on user-education, resources utilization, academic libraries and related areas. The review of literature is carried out under the following headings:

Conceptual Framework

  • The concept of user education
  • Characteristics and purpose of user education
  • University libraries and user education programmes
  • Library user education and information technology
  • Information literacy skills and user education
  • Problems of library user education

Theoretical Framework

  • Active learning as a learning theory
  • Constructivist as a learning theory
  • Ranganathan’s five laws of library science

Review of Related Empirical Studies

Summary of Literature Review

 

Conceptual Framework

The concept: user education is a very difficult term to define. In line with that Luwehabwa (1999) pointed out the confusing nature which makes it possible to include reader instruction, reader education, library use education, user instruction, library orientation, bibliographic instruction and information literacy.

Therefore, in order to have a good focus of the concept, it is pertinent to see how it has been defined by experts at the different stages of its development. According to Aguolu and Aguolu (2002) user education programmes can be traced back to the establishment of libraries. Nevertheless, the concept then had a narrow connotation as it merely meant orientation in the library layout, routines and simple retrieval devices.

In 1883, as reported by Luban (1974), user education was seen as an addition to the orientation programme when the Colombian president suggested that a little systematic instruction would prefere the students for life by expedient library usage. Consequently, in 1909 and 1919 Colombia and Maryland universities started the course in library instruction respectively. With this development, in addition to the routine orientation, a pedagogical dimension was added to the concept of user education. In college libraries, the sophisitication in information management thus resulted in the utilization of better methods of user education practices such as the use of audiovisual resources (Kirk, 2003). He also pointed that because of the significant changes in college libraries over the past 30 years, there had been prominent works on user education especially of Earlham college of between 1970 and 1995.

In addition to this build up, another concept: “information literacy” was introduced. According to Aina (2004) and Kirk (2005), user education is conceived as a holistic programme that emphasizes the need of users to acquire life-long skills that will enable them search for information independently on any aspect of knowledge using both traditional and electronic methods of accessing information. To portray the shift in the semantics and conceptual dimensions over the course of the twentieth century, Kirk (2003) explained that the terms: orientation, library instruction, bibliographic instruction and information literacy had been used in succession each closing to be more encompassing and better framed.

In all, it should be held that whatever the change in nomenclature and the aim of the concept, user education, at any point in time refers to organized programmes to enable users use the library more effectively. On the rationale for user education programme or library skills in academic libraries, Dike (1988) in Ugwuanyi (1997), Aguolu and Aguolu (2002), Aina (2004) and Eze (2004) are in agreement that the wide range of information sources and the ever-incresing changes in the methods of information storage and retrieval through ICTs have increased the complexity of information access and use to users. Therefore, it is important that library users are educated in the process and practice of searching and mastering every information source that suits their needs.

It should be observed from reliable library statistics that from the unprecedented explosion in admission figures of tertiary institutions and colleges of education, the individual assistance to library users becomes difficult of not impossible. To overcome this problem, Aguolu and Aguolu (2002) strongly recommends the need to educate the users by mounting user education programmes in order to make these users cultivate and imbibe the independent use of library resources. User education programmes also becomes necessary in view of the fact that most of the entreats into higher institution especially in Africa are reportedly lacking in good reading habits and library skills thereby necessitating the use of library user education programmes by academic libraries in order to make the users more user-friendly (Mchombu (1991); Aguolu & Aguolu 2002). It is therefore important to infer that from available literature, it is deduced that the main essence of user education programmes in academic libraries is to make library users more receptive and thus increase their competencies in independent library usage for academic excellence.

The concept of user education is one that has over the years attracted the attention of librarians, educationists and information scientists among other experts. Muoglim (1986) defines user-education as the programme designed by libraries to assist library users to acquire the skills of effective utilization of library resources. According to Nwosu (2000) and Ugwuanyi (1997), library resources are those varieties of materials in book, non-book form and other informationbearing materials in the library. These include, books (e.g. encyclopedias, dictionaries etc), audio-visuals (e.g. films, tapes, slides, maps, computers etc), Alegbeleye (1987) defines resources utilization as the putting into appropriate use the various books and information bearing materials provided in the library.

Characteristics and purpose of library user education

Eadie (1990) observes that user education is characterized by four main components as follows: offering bibliographic tours of the library, giving bibliographic workshops on library resources, providing audio-visual or videotaped instruction in library resources and publication programme. According to Vasanthi (2001), the major aim of user education is to widen the use of the varying library resources which will enable lecturers to improve their teaching and research while the students learn more in order to achieve better results in their work.

Taher (1997) and Igbena (1990) argue that the term user-education is used inter-changeably with other terms such as “library orientation and library instruction”. In their separate contributions, user education is characterized by the act of training and instruction on the best ways of using the library. They are of the opinion that user education should be a continuous process because of some of the characteristics of the library system such as the use of jargon.

Azubuike (2001) maintains that user education is known by a number of names including library instruction, introduction to the use of the library and library orientation. According to him, whatever it is called, it deals with helping library users to learn how to effectively and efficiently make use of the resources in the library. Similarly, Nna-Etuk (2003) has highlighted various methods of teaching effective use of the library and its resources. These terms according to him include “reader instruction”, “library use education” and “bibliographic instruction”. He argues that though these terms are sometimes used interchangeably as they all refer to organized programmes practiced in various types of libraries to assist library users to acquire skills on how to use the library resources most effectively.

In the view of Uhegbu (2001), each of the terms related to user education contains certain ingredients capable of creating the necessary awareness and acquaint users with ideas of how knowledge is organized in the library. Harold’s Glossary for librarians (2000) also describes user education as a programme of information provided by librarians to enable users to make more efficient and independent use of the library’s resources and services. The failure of the individual to use the library skillfully and profitably according to Affia (1983) is a waste of library resources. It is also a waste of the time of professionals of the library as well as the teaching staff. It therefore implies that it is rather more cost effective for libraries to invest in user-education to ensure proper and effective utilization of their resources by patrons. Tiefel (1995) observes that user-education teaches how to make the effective use of the library and other information systems including all other activities embarked upon to assist students become efficient information users.

According to McElroy and Bate (1982), the purpose of user education can be viewed from two categories of short and long term aims and objectives. The first category is concerned with the aim of helping students through their course and familiarizing them with finding information within a particular library. The second category (long-term objective) aims at providing students with an awareness and understanding in diverse areas including the principles and practices of learned communication, the structure of learned and specialist literature as well as internal and external information source. Fleming (1986) observes that the main purpose of library instruction programme is in proper guidance of library users towards a meaningful and purposeful use of resources. According to him to achieve this, libraries often embark on demonstration projects, case studies and establishment of cooperation with publishers, booksellers and suppliers of electronic products.

University libraries and library user education programmes

The introduction of user education or library instruction came as a felt need by most university libraries around the globe as a way of assisting their patrons to make effective use of library materials. At the end of his description of how academic library instructional programmes became a standard service offered by many Nigerian universities, Ajibero (1998) concludes that library patrons would continue to expect and desire a continuation of these programmes in future. According to Middleton (2002), Oregon State University Library, engages in three types of library instructional programmes, which include general library orientation by request, subject specific instruction by request and credit classes in the Departments of Agriculture, Chemistry and English.

Robertson (1992) in a study of Scottish programmes that dealt with international students conducted a research survey that discovered that many international students trying to use Scottish academic libraries usually encounter many problems. He therefore offered a number of suggestions to remedy the situation such as offering more library instruction for foreign or international students from Africa or Asia and less to those from North America and Europe. The probable reason for the difficulty faced by foreign users is the disparity in the library collection between Africa and North America and Europe and the fact that user education programmes are only tailored towards the existing library collection and services. Unfortunately this is usually inadequate to enable most African users to make effective use of developed libraries.

In the opinion of Ajibero (1998), when service techniques and information storage formats become complex, users will surely require some assistance by way of user-education programmes. Organized user education he argues sharpens the appetite of the users to avail themselves of the facilities in the library. Unfortunately though, many academic staff and students are incapable of retrieving information from the library on their own without assistance. It is therefore highly necessary that university libraries should have a User Education Unit, for the purpose of training users in the full exploration of library resources. He goes further to ague that it has become fashionable and practical to go beyond oral instruction and to publish or print manuals or brochures that describe library resources and their uses explaining that these resources can be exploited for the benefit of users. There should always be a laid down .procedure of alerting users about new and other sources of information by the User-Education Unit.

Unomah (1987) maintains that the major responsibility for the proper and effective use of the library lies with the facilitators (Librarians or, Academic staff) of user education programme. He emphasized the importance of user-education to the university student arguing that a lecturer with inadequate library training is unlikely to encourage his students in the use of the library. ALA (2001) reports that the American College and Research Libraries (ACRL) offers one of the most complete sets of practice characteristics which emphasize the importance of integrating information literacy instruction (ILl) throughout a student’s entire academic career.

In Nigeria, Ononogbo (1998) categorizes user education programmes in university libraries into two levels consisting of orientation for new students in the area of library use and a course in information retrieval or use of library for undergraduate students. In his own analysis, Uhegbu (2001) has categorized user education into four namely: orientation – where professional librarians teach users various aspects of the library as well as acquaint them with penalties for any offence committed in the library; library tour – which involves taking users around the library facilities; bibliographic instruction – aimed at assisting library users to take maximum advantage of library resources to meet their information needs; and user awareness – having to do with making users aware of what the library has in terms of new acquisitions, new services new rules or conditions governing library use.

According to Adedigba (1990), library instruction programmes exist at a variety of academic research institutions in Nigeria. Though he dwelt largely on agricultural libraries, he alluded to the fact that instruction programmes are required and available in different forms in most academic libraries in Nigeria. University libraries come under the umbrella of academic libraries, which encompass all libraries found in institutions of higher learning. In the opinion of Ifidon (1998), universities are established for the primary functions of teaching, research and public service. It is therefore the basic responsibility of the library to provide the information and bibliographic resources that are essential to the fulfillment of the university’s mission. Ajibero (1998) and Ajayi (1999) support the above viewpoint and maintain that the main traditional function of university libraries is to assist the teaching-learning process and research needs of the faculty and graduate students. There are other services that are supplementary to the above including user education.

In describing user education practices at Charles Sturt University library in Australia, Oshiro (1998) highlights the underlying principle of developing generic information and literary skills with close integration into academic courses. He also describes several phases of user education including lecture, class visit, library skills, introduction to library research, and introduction to the Internet and subject specific sessions supplemented by online subject guides.

Library user education and information technology

Information Technology (IT) is now a factor in effective user education programmes. Beard and Harper (2002) consider the present possibility of teaching without the teacher’s physical presence in the classroom to provide direct instruction as a modern day miracle of 21st century education. !n their considered opinion computer related course instruction has made a tremendous impact on instruction and student learning at colleges and universities. According to Ajibero (1998), computerization makes for greater efficiency as it saves staff time, provides more accurate and accessible records as well as facilitates user education.

Blackburn (1979) appears to be the first author of a published description of how librarians teach patrons to use an online catalogue. In the published article, he describes how patrons can make the best out of the online system. McDonald and Searing (1983) describe how librarians could help orientate patrons to online systems. They argue that librarians in charge of user education programmes should be involved in designing online systems. This is because they have got the skills, knowledge and experience needed for teaching and designing instructional aids.

In a paper titled “The Internet” Doran, (1995) highlights the misconceptions library users have about the potentials of the web. Many users mistakenly believe that the web is the equivalent of and the equal of a library. However, most materials in libraries do not appear on the web for a variety of reasons, the biggest being copyright. He therefore advocates the teaching about the web in a balanced way that encourages its use but still made patrons aware of its huge limitations.

Loomis and Fink (1993) argue that the convergence and constant change in the electronic world is challenging to academic instructional librarians. They therefore suggest that the principles of good instruction should apply regardless of what people are teaching. Graubart (1997) on his part discusses the development of online instruction programmes in different countries and highlighted the differences between Israeli and American academic libraries. She also describes library instruction programmes of seven Israeli academic libraries and discusse how students are taught to use online catalogue both in the classroom and at the reference desk.

Burrows (1995), reveals how librarians at the University of Australia deliver instruction on Internet use. There is also a special centre developed for scholars and librarians where classes are taught on how to find information on the Internet. According to Suarez (2002) many instruction librarians are presently using the web in addition to their regular teaching tools. This was against the practice in no-too-distant past when the only tools at one’s disposal were overheads, whiteboards or blackboards and similar display items. In the opinion of the author, by mounting library instruction material directly onto a web page, it is possible to reach a potentially wider audience and to update the material more quickly whenever necessary.

Fjallbrant (1990) discusses the impact of information technology with particular emphasis on the Nordic academic library instruction programmes. She examines online databases; optical storage devices, electronic publishing and e mail in regards to how these technologies were impacting on library user education. Her view is echoed by Gertich and Perrier (2003) who argue that instructional methods are becoming increasingly technological to the extent that library educators are no longer asking themselves whether to use technology but how and what type to use. For instance, faculty members who teach with audio want to utilize technology to deliver listening assignments via web at Carnegie Mellon University among others.

Information literacy skills and library user education

According to James (2010), Information Literacy is the ability to identify what information is needed, understand how the information is organized, identify the best sources of information for a given need, locate those sources, evaluate the sources critically, and share that information. University of Idaho, (2010), maintains that Information literacy skills are used for academic purposes, such as research papers and group presentations. They’re used on the job—the ability to find, evaluate, use and share information is an essential skill. Tuckett (1989) insists that since information literacy is tied directly to computer technologies, librarians need to teach users to become literate in the act of locating and evaluating information with the use of computers. It is therefore imperative for librarians to stay abreast of developments in information technology and learn them early so they can teach the patrons. Vasanthi (2001) maintains that the main aim of information literacy is to make information user capable of locating, retrieving and using information. He argues that information literacy can contribute to developing information technology (IT) related competencies among end-users as it includes basic computer and network literacy.

User education programmes are planned to teach users necessary skills on how to optimally utilize library resources. How and the extent this is achieved is a matter of argument by authors. The Association of College and Research Libraries (2007) recognizes the various models currently existing within the profession for developing instruction skills such as library school courses, workshops, seminars, conferences and computerbased Instruction but argues that only research could determine the need for and impact of instructional techniques. It poses a number of questions which require academic investigation such as (i) How effective are different types of delivery methods for library instruction (ii) What are the effective models of library instruction and (iii) To what extent can library instruction impact on the use of resources by patrons?

In a study by Bhatti (2003) it was revealed that library and Information skills tend to improve when those skills are course related. The benefit is that students may be led to earn high grades as they will know how to find relevant and suitable information resources to support their research papers, projects, proposals and their assignments. It is the opinion of scholars that the ability to use library resources to identify, access and retrieve information is essential to the successful completion of a university education. On the account of this, Grimes and Charters (2000) investigated campus library use by university students and discovered that only three activities significantly brought more clients to the library. These include use of reference materials, use of library as a place to study and use of the library as a place to meet and socialize with friends. According to them, traditional activities, which develop research skills such as searching for books and periodicals and retrieving government documents, were not found to significantly attract users. They argue that facilitators of user education programmes should take this trend into consideration while planning the programme.

Line (1986) arrived at the same conclusion when he examined the economic and other pressures on university libraries especially on the question of charging fees for facilities and services. The reaction of patrons in this research pointed to the fact that user education might be slightly affected by changes in the known traditional method of service in university libraries.

Problems of library user education

It is a well-acknowledged fact that library user-education is necessary prior to effective library use. However, there are a number of problems that hinder the smooth operation of the programme in libraries. The problems as discussed here are with emphasis on academic libraries.

A major obstacle to library user education programme is that some librarians and authors consider it a distraction from the main library role of delivering information. This is the opinion of Biggs (1979) in reasoning that library instruction programme would increase the need for space, materials and public services personnel. According to her, this would drain funds from other more important services such as reference. It would also create personnel problems relating to scheduling, incompetence and evaluation of teaching.

One of the major problems encountered in the execution of library instruction programmes is that of criticism by authors and those who should operate it. For instance Shrigley (1981) believes that academic library instruction is ineffective due to the tendencies of academic librarians to go into “over kill” mode. They tend to provide too much information for students to observe even when it is apparent that the student can only remember a few simple points. Eadie (1992), who has been described as probably the foremost critic of academic library instruction in the 1990’s, though originally in favour of library instruction, concluded that it was largely a waste of time. This according to him is because students had yet to ask question that the librarian was teaching about answering, the students would probably not remember the answer until when the paper is being written.

McCrank (1991) and Miller and Tegler (1987) see library instruction or information literacy campaign by academic libraries as merely an attempt by libraries to increase status and gain more funding. Duff (1995) argues that the academic library instruction has a hidden ideology and secret curriculum insisting that the programme is counter productive.

Nna-Etuk (2003) traces the problems of user education in Nigeria to the unavailability of real library services at all levels of education especially earlier stages. This lack of solid base, according to him, is evident at various schools where literature indicates the absence of libraries, reading materials and qualified staff to provide library services. Similarly, in the case of India, Rashid (1997) highlights a number of problems as responsible for the slow pace of user education. These include: the state of the library profession, educational system, financial, social and political factors.

Theoretical Framework

User education has theoretical base in the learning theory as evidenced in several models of it such as active learning, constructivism and the Big6.

Active Learning as a Learning Theory

Active learning is a method of educating students that allows them to participate in class or academic discussion. According to Lorenzen (2009), active learning method takes students beyond the role of passive listener and note taker and allows them to take some direction and initiative during the class. The role of the teacher becomes to lecture less and instead direct the students in directions that allow them to “discover” the material as they work with other students to understand the curriculum. A variety of techniques are encompassed in active learning including small group discussion, role playing, hands-on projects and teacher driven questioning; the objective being to bring students into the process of their own education.

Lara (2010) views active learning as a dynamic process involving continuous adjustment and restructuring of basic elements (talking, and listening, writing, reading and reflecting), learning strategies (small groups,  case studies and teacher resources (outside speakers and homework assignments).

According to Lorenzen (2009) the first real written account of active learning comes from ancient Greece and the teaching style of Socrates which relies on students interacting with each other and the teacher. Socrates would introduce a problem and ask the students about it. The students would discuss in detail what they thought the answer was. Socrates would direct the conversation back to the key points when it drifted so much from what he thought the answer was. In the end, Socrates would use the points made by the students to reveal his answer to the students.

Active learning as an umbrella term that refers to several models of instruction that focus the responsibility of learning on learners was popularized by Bonwell and Eison (1992) as an approach to instruction in their report to the Association for the Study of High Education (ASHE). Some of the pioneers in the push for active learning are David Johnson, Roger Johnson and Karl Smith (1991) who have argued for active learning because they feel learning is over relied on by faculty with all the limitations of lecturing. They insist that students have difficulty focusing on lecturing and their attention diminishes over the course of a class. They also postulate that lecturing method promotes the acquisition of facts rather than the development of higher cognitive processes such as analyzing, synthesizing over the course of a class and evaluation.

Lorezen (2009) reports that a good reason for using active learning by many is that non-traditional students in higher education (that is those that are older than 18-24) prefer it over lecturing. According to Slavin (1991) traditional students have been lectured all their lives and expect it while the older students have had the opportunity to work and have life experiences that have shown them that they can learn things on their own and can participate and interact with both other students and the teacher in the classroom. Cook, Kunkel and Weaver (1995) confirm this in a study with students at the different branch campuses of Kent State University.

Active learning can be applied in user education programmes of university libraries. For instance hands-on learning is an important component of active learning which university libraries can incorporate in their user education programmes. Passing reference materials around a room and allowing students to look at them is an active learning exercise. This can be upgraded with an opportunity to discuss why the reference materials are useful, coupled with a group assignment to look up some information. Another way of applying active learning in user education is by allowing students to use computers and conduct searches during class or allow the student to evaluate the relevance of materials in answering some referencing questions.

Drueke (1992) has articulated nine strategies of incorporating active learning into user education. These are talking informally with students as they arrive for lecture, encouraging students to participate, arranging the classroom to encourage participation including putting chairs in a cluster or circle, using small group discussion, questioning and writing to allow for non-threatening methods of student participation and giving students time to give responses. They should not be rushed. Others are rewarding students for participation by praising them or paraphrasing what they say, reducing anonymity by introducing yourself and asking the students for their names, drawing the students into discussions by showing the relevance of the library to their studies and allowing students time to ask questions at the end of class.

Constructivist as a Learning Theory

Another aspect of learning theory is called constructivist theory which is very much related to active learning. The difference lies in the expected import and application of past experience under constructivist theory and the effective involvement of students in the learning process in the case of active learning. Constructivist theory is generally attributed to Jean Piaget, who articulated mechanisms by which knowledge is internalized by learners. He suggested that through processes of accommodation and assimilation, individuals construct new knowledge from their experiences. When individuals assimilate, they incorporate the new experience into an existing framework without changing that framework. This may occur when individuals’ experiences are aligned with their internal representations of the world or may decide that an event is a fluke and is therefore unimportant as information about the world. In contrast, when individuals’ experiences contradict their internal representations, they may change their perceptions of the experiences to fit their internal representations. According to the theory, accommodation is the process of reframing one’s mental representation of the external world to fit new experiences.

Many academic librarians including Robinson (2001) and Davis (2001) have long noted the need for an alternative to lecture method. They prefer students to become real scholars who could educate themselves and do research without the aid of librarians. They maintain that students do not gain from even multiple lectures on library skills arguing that lecturing students in a large lecture hall was damaging to the education of students. They believe that students should be taught in the library by both the professor and the librarian. Rather than lecturing them, the librarianprofessor team should give problems to the students and then require them to find the answers on their own in the library stacks.

Constructivism is a theory that describes how learning takes place, regardless of whether learners are using their experiences to understand a lecture. Some historical figures that influenced constructivism include: Giambattista Vico, Immanuel Kant, John Dewey and Jean Piaget among others. This theory encourages the instructor to adapt to the role of facilitator and not a teacher. Where the teacher gives a didactic lecture which covers the subject matter, a facilitator helps the learner to get to his or her own understanding of the content. In the former scenario the learner plays a passive role and in the latter scenario the learner plays an active role in the learning process. This implies that a facilitator needs to display a totally different set of skills than a teacher. According to the theory, a teacher tells, a facilitator asks; a teacher lectures from the front, a facilitator supports from the back; a teacher gives answers according to a set curriculum, a facilitator provides guidelines and creates the environment for the learner to arrive at his or her own conclusions; a teacher mostly gives monologue, a facilitator is in continuous dialogue with the learner.

According to Brownstein (2010), constructivism can be incorporated into user education through the acquisition of relevant skills by librarians saddled with the task of teaching user education. These skills will include the ability to allow the students to carry out some of the user education tasks themselves under his supervision. An example of this is the supervision of students by the lecturer as they attend to reference questions or as they catalogue library materials.

Ranganathan’s Five Laws of Library Science

Five laws of library science is another theory of library use. Propounded and published in 1931 by Dr. Shiyali Ramamrita Ranganathan (1892-1972), an Indian inventor, educator, librarian and a philosopher, it stipulate that five major laws govern and control the dissemination and use of library materials (Wikipedia, 2010). These laws include books are for use, every reader his or her book, every book its reader, save the time of the reader and the library is a growing organism.

In the first law, Ranganthan emphasizes the basis for library services, observing that books were often chained to prevent their removal argued that emphasis was on storage rather than use. The law asserts that the purpose of preservation should be to promote the use of books as without the use of materials, there is little value in them. The law therefore refocused attention to access-related issues, such as location borrowing of materials and related policies.

The second law which is – every reader his or her book, recommends that every member of the community should be entitled to needed materials He argued that the basis of library use was education to which everybody was entitled. The implication according to him is that collections should meet the special interests of the readers and libraries should promote and advertise their collections and services extensively to attract a wide range of users.

Every book its reader is the third law and it focuses on the item itself, indicating that each material in the library has an individual(s) who would find it useful According to Rubin (2004), Ranganthan was of the opinion that libraries could devise methods of ensuring that each material finds an appropriate reader including the use of the basic rules for access to the collection in an open shelf.

The fourth law which is tagged: save the time of the reader recognizes the critical part of library service which is the ability to meet the needs of the library user efficiently. Ranganthan recommended the use of appropriate business approach to improve library management noting that staff should include those with strong reference and technical skills in core areas of library services.

Finally, the fifth law of library science (The library is a growing organism) focused more on the need for internal change than on changes in the environment itself. According to him, the library should accommodate growth in staff, collection and use of materials by patrons.

According to Kabir (2003) the Ranganathan’s five laws provided essential guidelines for librarians with the potential for planning and providing user education to patrons in all types of libraries. These laws cut across all aspects of library and information services including the area of library user education to students. The idea of ensuring that patrons and materials are matched in the library as a way of providing information service is fundamental to both Ranganathan’s five laws and modern library user education programmes.

Review of Empirical Studies

Many authors have conducted a number of studies in an attempt to establish the relationship between user educational programmes and utilization of library resources. Korsah (1995) conducted a research that concentrated on the nature of the different library instruction programmes at the University of Cape Coast, Ghana. According to his research, each of the programmes is available as part of the curricular and not just on request. The study indicated that the written component of the programme is made compulsory and a prerequisite for graduation of students from the university. Another research on the availability and operation of user education programmes has been carried out by Matenje (1995) in Malawi using Chancellor College in the University of Malawi as a case study. The study revealed that library orientation was the major type of library instruction operated by the university as indicated by over 95% of the respondents.

In a bid to make patrons better users of library materials, university libraries are developing and introducing a number of programmes. In line with the above, Yoshiua (1997) discusses the new orientation programme developed by Tokushima University, Kwamoto, branch Library, Japan to reflect changing needs and service provision. According to the findings, the library serves about 1500 staff and 2150 students in medicine and life sciences. At the university, second year and postgraduate students are given three hours of user education covering structure of the literature, bibliographic citation, theory of searching and practical exercises. Following this new programme, the number of students that visit the library increased by over 30% while actual use of resource increased by 45% in the first three years

Marcus and Beck (2003) studied the best method of introducing freshmen to the library in Western Australia and skills required to use it. They compared the results of an orientation tour conducted by a traditional librarian and a self-guided pleasure trip which included unguided tour of different sections of the library. Two hundred (200) students from selected randomly from a population of 4000 students participated in the alternate forms of orientation. They later completed identical questionnaire in which 57% of them said that they learnt in the self-guided tour as against 41% who benefited more from the guided tour while 2% of the participants were undecided. This indicated an educational advantage in the self-guided tour thereby supporting active learning theories. They stressed on the need for continuing experimentation, innovation and creativity in user education.

In a research, Fidzani (1995) explored the variety of library instruction programmes being practiced in Southern African countries such as South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho and Swaziland. University librarians of these countries were given details of the library instruction programmes of the six countries and requested to evaluate and indicate which other one other than his own he considered relevant, comprehensive and practicable. The other five countries all preferred the South African model thereby making it the best developed and the most widely accepted. The South African model is founded on a combination of four forms of library instruction and facilitated with the help of computers. The four are library orientation, classroom teaching; group demonstration of library use and pre-arranged tours of the library by students. The final scores awarded to students are based on their performance in each of the above four programmes.

Portman and Roush (2004) examined the influence of library instruction on the development of students’ library skill in Hong Kong. The objective was to determine the influence of an hour of library training and orientation session on library use by college students. The study revealed that while 320 of the 500 students who participated in the orientation exercise continued to use the library but out of this number only 102 could locate books without assistance. This statistically significant increase in students’ library use without a corresponding increase in the area of library skill development goes to support the importance of user education. They argue that there was the need to go beyond the initial library orientation for fresh students by engaging them in a session of credit load course on use of library in order to sustain their interest in library use.

In a research reported by Osinulu (1998) on the attitude of Nigerian university students to library use and services, Seventy-six percent of the respondents affirmed that their interest in using the library stemmed from user education programmes they participated in while 22% owed to search for a reading place and the remaining 2% cannot decide the source of the interest. It was also revealed that there are differences in the frequency of the use of the university library by the major users – faculty members and students. It was discovered that 45.2% of users used the library for class work 39.8% research and 15% used it for discussion, leisure and other purposes.

Ragains (1997) highlights the results of a survey of evaluation practices reported by library instruction coordinators at 44 colleges and universities in the United States of America and argues that subjective data alone in form of questionnaire are inadequate to measure student learning guide and pragmatic improvement in library instruction. He therefore suggests an inclusion of course related library instruction in order to achieve useful evaluative information. In conclusion, he argues that librarians need to identify other teaching strategies that increase the amount of meaningful instruction and allow student learning to be assessed.

In a survey, Hollister and Coe (2003) sought librarians’ views on two models of library instruction – the traditional which conducts library instruction manually and modern fashion of library instruction which uses computers and other information and communication technology (ICT) tools to facilitate user education. It revealed that though the modern style is preferred to the traditional model continues to be useful and necessary in some situations. They therefore suggested a combination of modern and traditional methods of user education especially for those who may not be computer literate.

Ottong (2005) analysed the library instruction programmes in three Nigerian universities to determine how they are related to students’ library resources utilization. The research employed the questionnaire approach which was given to 300 level undergraduate students numbering 230. The result indicated that 221 of the responding students claimed knowledge about the purpose and features of the library but only 52 indicated interest in library use. On the reason for their lack of interest in library use, 183 of them claimed they did not participate in user education programme during their first year while 47 of them said they prefer to read their personal books. The researcher therefore suggested the need to redesign the library instruction programmes to meet the interest of the students.

In a research to determine why some library users seek assistance from library staff rather than using retrieval devices, Izah (1998), discovered that 132 out of 419 respondents in Kashim Ibrahim Library, ABU, Zaria did not use the catalogue due to lack of adequate training in the use of retrieval devices. This is followed by 113 respondents who indicated that they did not use retrieval devices because according to them they were time consuming. The researcher concluded by emphasizing the relevance of user education as a way of teaching users the necessary library skills.

Igbo (2008) investigated the level / degree of information literacy skills possessed by students of Faculty of Education, University of Nigeria Nsukka. Data collected revealed that the students scored high in the areas of identifying relevant print resources (3.56), getting information on a topic using the Internet (2.63) and citing of authors whose ideas are used. On the reverse, the students scored very low (2.37) in ability to get information using such retrieval tools as catalogues, indexes and abstracts. This situation results from lack of prerequisite skills in library use.

Sun and Rader (1999) reported that 421 academic institutions in library instruction programmes that had the major aim of teaching students how to use the integrated library information system based on a CD-ROM server. The Tsinghua University Library that was used as a case study was the first Chinese academic institution to be connected to the Internet in 1998. Today the librarians are taking the lead in showing students how to search the World Wide Web effectively.

Kaplowitz and Contini (1998) have undertaken a study of how librarians at the Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library University of Los Angeles (UCLA) developed a library user training programme based on Computer-Assisted Instruction (CAI) for 800 – 900 undergraduate biology students per year who enroll in the Department’s basic compulsory introductory course. Prior to the introduction of CAI, the librarians made use of laboratory manual for user education. With the introduction of CAI, records of class attendance showed an increase from 500 to 550 while it increased further to 730 with the combination of both laboratory manual and CAI. They came to the conclusion that the combination of CAl and laboratory manual is an effective and user-friendly way of offering user education.

Okonkwo (2005) in a research on the importance of user education for effective utilization of College Education libraries in Anambra State, reported that 76.4% of respondents affirmed to the very helpful nature of user education programmes in their library use and 78.2% indicated that they had a mastery of effective library use after undergoing the programmes. The research further reveals paradoxically that on observation of the students in the library, majority of them were seen launching their search straight from the shelves without going through the library catalogue. The import of this is that the claims of student users concerning their library skills are at variance with the actual situation during library use.

In another research carried out by Emdad and Rogers (1978) in Iran, it was revealed that “many undergraduates are not good readers and thus do not make optimal use of the library resources provided for them”. However, they found that library use at Pahlavi University in Shiraz, Iran would increase if faculty promoted the library or if the library should develop an orientation programme to introduce the library to students. They therefore called for the establishment of a library skills course taught by librarians.

Agosto, Paoney and Ipock (2007) conducted a written survey of 97 female and male library users at two United States libraries. In addition to exploring gender-related variance in the reasons for which young people use the library, the survey investigated how frequently the respondents needed information relating to 12 major topic areas and how useful they considered the library in helping them to find information relating to these topics. Largely, the results indicated no significant gender difference in the respondents’ reasons for using libraries or in their frequency of information needs. The only major gender difference was the girls’ tendency to rate libraries as more useful in helping them to meet their personal information needs.

In a study by Edem and Lawal (1996) to determine perceptions, problems, needs and suggestions of librarians for the improvement of user education programmes, it was revealed that two major problems confront user education programmes in university libraries in Nigeria namely lack of qualified personnel and lack of professional time for teaching and practical work accounting for36.36% and 27.27% respectively. Other barriers highlighted by the research include lack of theory and methodology 13.63%, inadequate funds and poor evaluation methods 9.09% each and lack of philosophy 4.54%. After analyzing the number of professional librarians engaged in the teaching of user education, the study concluded that the number of staff was grossly in adequate given the large population of students in each university. They also suggested more time to be allocated to teaching and practical sessions in user education programmes.

Summary of Literature Reviews

An attempt has been made to highlight some of the views expressed by authors and experts in the area of library instruction or user education especially those opinions that have been published. One thing that has become evident is the importance of user education programme in university libraries. Overwhelming number of authors attest to the necessity of the programme in order to ensure effective library use by patrons.

It has been highlighted in the literature reviewed that there is a high possible influence of user education on utilization of library materials. Some authors argue in support of this influence while others consider library instruction a drain on library resources.

Another point, which this review has raised, is the diversity of user education programmes. The type and nature of the programme vary from country to country and sometimes from library to library. While it is compulsory for all in one library, it might be based only on request in another. The type and nature of the programme are usually influenced by a number of factors including level of awareness in library use and general development of each country or library especially in area of information technology.

This review has also brought to the fore the relationship and linkage between user education and information education. In addition, it appears that information technology is a key to a more effective library instruction programme judging from the success attained by such libraries that have integrated computer related facilities into their user-education programme.

However, this present study intends to compare the effectiveness of two education programmes as operated in ABSU and FUTO especially to determine how they influence their acquisition of library skills. From the reviewed works, it is obvious that little attention has been paid to the assessment of user education programmes especially in the South East of Nigeria from where this programme could be said to have emanated. It therefore becomes important to carry out a study to assess user education programmes with a view to determine strengths and weaknesses that will be useful in repositioning and improving on them and also filling the gap.

 

CHAPTER THREE

RESEARCH METHODS

This chapter covered the following aspects of research methods: research design, area of study, population of the study, sample size and sampling technique, instruments for data collection, validity and reliability of instruments, procedure for data collection, administration of instruments and statistical technique for data analysis.

Research Design

The research design adopted for this study is the survey research method. In this case, two user education programmes have been subjected to an investigation to determine their influence on university students’ acquisition of library skills. There is a cause and effect relationship in this study whereby user education can be seen as the factor that causes an effect in the area of acquisition of library skills.

This method was considered appropriate because it enabled the researcher to determine the actual relationship between user education and skills acquisition in libraries. In addition, causal-comparative method within the context of this research was efficient and reliable in understanding the behaviour of the respondents to library skills acquisition as a by-product of the exposure to user education.

Area of the Study

The area of this study consists of universities in Abia and Imo states in South East of Nigeria. The choice of the two universities has more to do with the nature of their programmes than their location. Abia State University presents a novelty in the teaching of user education being the very first to mount a fully independent Use of Library programme with no attachment to Use of English. Similarly Federal University of Teechnology Owerri presents about the worse case scenerio as Use of Library is taught for only four hours in the whole the session as part of Use of English.

Population of the Study

The population of this study is 18,807 consisting of undergraduate students of ABSU and FUTO and the facilitators of user education programmes in the two universities studied. According to ABSU (2006), there are 11,800 undergraduate students and 7 lecturers who serve as facilitators. On the hand, FUTO (2006) indicated that there are 7,007 undergraduate students as well as 5 librarians who serve as facilitators. (See Appendix I)

Sample Size and Sampling Technique

The sample size of this study is 393 undergraduate library users. It is derived from the application of Yaro Yamanne’s (1969) statistical formula popularly adopted to select appropriate sample size from finite population. Based on this formula, the sample size of 392 was derived. (See Appendix III for details).

Given the fact that the population figure of registered users in the two libraries is not equal, the proportionate random sampling technique was adopted to select the number of respondents from each of the two libraries. To achieve this, Uzoagulu’s (1998) statistical formula was used to derive proportionate representation of sampled respondents was applied. Details of the workings of the formula is in Appendix Based on this, 246 were selected from ABSU which has 11,800 registered users while 147 were selected from FUTO out of 7,007 users. (See Appendix IV for details)

To select actual respondents in each of the libraries, random sampling technique was adopted. Those sampled were students who attended scheduled lecture period specifically for the skill test. In addition the test paper was distributed from the front row until the required number was reached. There was no prior notice to this method of distribution. This technique was adopted because it offered every registered user in each of the Faculties equal opportunity of being selected. In addition, it eliminated bias, researcher’s influence and created room for neutrality on both sides of the research (respondents and the researcher).

Instrument for Data Collection

The researcher adopted a combination of two instruments for the purpose of collecting data. These are skill test and questionnaire. The skill test was drawn and developed from Use of Library text blue-print as recommended by the National Universities Commission (NUC). A total of twenty multiple choice examination questions were drawn aimed at testing the student practical knowledge of library use in the areas of catalogue use, reference services, book retrieval, library rules, reference citation and library practices/ethics.

The questionnaire titled Questionnaire for the Facilitators of User Education Programmes in Two Nigerian Universities was designed for the facilitators of the user education programmes in the two universities studied. The questionnaire consisting of thirteen questions was based on the objectives and the hypotheses of the study. The questions were aimed at collecting from the respondents information that are not in the skill test for students such as the duration of user education, levels of students involved, areas of emphasis and level of satisfaction with the programme.

Validation of the Instrument

The draft of the instrument was subjected to a process of content validation by five experts. They are, a Professor in the Faculty of Education both in University of Nigeria, Nsukka, a Professor in the Department of Education Technology and Library Science, University of Uyo and a Professor in measurement and evaluation and a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Library and Information Science, Abia State University, Uturu and In order to facilitate the validation, the objectives of the study, research questions and the hypotheses of the research were attached to the draft instrument.

Some of the changes brought about by the instrument validation include an increase in the number of questions in the skill test for students from fifteen to twenty in order to widen the areas of testing and inclusion of changes in some of the options of the questions asked e.g. rather than ask questions based on APA style it was changed to “Based on how you were taught”. These changes were effected and contributed to the validity of the instrument. (See Appendix V)

Reliability of the Instrument

A trial test was conducted as a way of determining the reliability of the instruments. In doing this, 20 library users comprising 10 each from the University of Uyo (UNIUYO) and Rivers State University of Science and Technology (RUST) were randomly sampled and the skill test administered to them. The choice of UNIUYO and RUST stems from the fact that both of them are not part of the universities studied.

The reliability of the skill test was calculated based on Kunder-Richardson (K-r20) formular. At the end, the co-efficient of reliability the result from the calculation of the data was 0.62. This is considered high enough to certify the instrument as reliable. The details of calculations are attached as Appendix I.

Procedure for Data Collection

The instrument used for the study was administered to the respondents. The 246 students from ABSU and 147 from FUTO were gathered separately and in groups and the skill test given to them in form of examination. The pattern of administering the instrument ensured a 100% return rate as the students were gathered in classrooms with the help of their lecturers and the test administered to them. Each session of the test for a particular group or university lasted for 30 minutes.

Methods of Data Analysis

Percentage average was used to answer the research questions, while ANOVA was used to test the hypotheses at .05 (95%) level of significance.

 

CHAPTER FOUR

PRESENTAION OF DATA

Introduction

The data collected were analyzed, and presented in this chapter. All tests were conducted at .05 level of significance. Three hundred and Ninety-three copies of the skill test were distributed to 393 students that attended user education programme at ABSU and FUTO. All the 393 students duly filled and returned their skill test papers, thus, there was 100% response rate. Based on the responses of the students, their biodata in terms of their course of study and gender were weighted. Table 1 shows that 25.7% of the students who attended the user education programme at ABSU and FUTO were from the Biological and Physical Sciences, 19.3% were from the Social Sciences, 18.3% come from the Arts/Humanities even as 11.9%, 10.2% and 8.7% came from the Environmental Studies, Health Sciences and Engineering respectively. 46.3% of the students were males while 53.2% were females, an indication that more females attended user education programmes at ABSU and FUTO.

Table 1: Bio-data of the Respondents

Course of study Responses Percentages

 

Gender Responses Percentages

 

1 Arts/Humanities 72 18.3 Male 182 46.3
2 Social Sciences 76 19.3
3 Sciences (Biological & Physical) 101 25.7

 

4 Environmental Studies 47 11.9 Female 209 53.7
5 Health Sciences 40 10.2
6 Agriculture 23 5.9
7 Engineering 34 8.7
  Total 393 100   393 100

 

Research Question 1: What are the contents of the curricula of user education at ABSU and FUTO?

Data answering this research question are contained in Table 1.

Table 2: Major contents of the curricula of user education programmes in ABSU and FUTO

  ABSU   FUTO
1 History and overview of libraries and library use 1 Brief definition, role, types and history of libraries
2 Types of libraries and their functions 2 Library Resources (Book & Non Book)
3 Organizational patterns in libraries 3 Arrangement of library materials
4 The book and its parts 4 Cataloguing and classification of library materials.
5 Reference books and reference

Patterns

5 Reference materials
6 Reference/Readers’ services 6 Library research/documentation
7 Classification of materials and

library catalogue

7 Filing of library catalogues
8 Electronic and digital library and information services    
9 Techniques of library use    

 

Data in Table 2 show that both ABSU and FUTO have similar curricular which look largely traditional except for ABSU that has a topic on electronic and digital library services. Both ABSU and FUTO are interested in the history and types of libraries as indicated in their curricula. They are also interested in the arrangement of library materials in the form cataloguing and classification, patterns of referencing and reference materials. It should be pointed out here that while ABSU has the whole session (two semesters) FUTO has only four hours in a semester (First Semester) to teach these topics to the students. This is a major factor that may determine how detailed those topics are covered.

Research Question 2: What types of materials/resources are employed in the provision of user education?

Data answering above research question are contained in Table 3.

 

Table 3: Types of materials employed for user education programmes

    ABSU   FUTO
    No %   No %
A

B

C

D

E

F

Writing boards

Print-out/Handouts

Books/Pamphlets

Audio-Visuals

Computers

Others

5

7

71.42

100

  5

4

100

80

 

Data in Table 3 reveal that all the facilitators of user education programme in both ABSU and FUTO make use of either writing boards or books and pamphlets. In ABSU, five out of seven facilitators amounting to 71.42% indicated that they always make use of the writing boards while in FUTO all the five facilitators or 100% affirmed to the use of the writing boards. Similarly 7 or 100% of the facilitators in ABSU indicated that they make use of books/pamphlets to teach while in FUTO the number is four or 80%.

The other items in the table are not popular because according to the respondents, the sale of handouts to students are prohibited in the two universities and computers and other audio-visual materials are not easy to come by, for the purposes of teaching large classes such as Use of Library.

Research question 3: What are the methods used in the teaching of user education in FUTO and ABSU?

Data answering the above research question is contained in Table 4.

 

Table 4: Methods employed in user education programme

  ABSU FUTO
Methods

Lectures

Demonstration

Guided Tours

Practical Exercises

Independent

Assignments

No. of Resp.

7

1

1

3

5

%

100

14.28

14.28

42.85

71.42

No.of Resp.

5

3

%

100

60

 

Data in Table 4 reveal that all the facilitators in both ABSU and FUTO employ lectures as a method of facilitating or teaching user education programmes. Apart from lectures, the only other method used by facilitators in FUTO is demonstration to which 3 persons representing 60%2 indicated they use in FUTO and one person in ABSU representing 14.28%. The other method heavily used by facilitators in ABSU is the independent assignment method to which 5 facilitators representing 71.42% indicated they use frequently. Three facilitators or 42.85% also indicate that they use practical exercises to teach user education in ABSU.

Research question 4: What are the qualifications and experience of facilitators of user education programmes?

Data answering the above research question are contained in Table 5

Table 5: Qualifications of facilitators of user education programmes

  ABSU FUTO
Qualification

Ph.D

MLIS/MLS

BLS/BSc/BA

HND

TOTAL

No

2

5

7

%

28.57

71.43

100

No

1

4

5

%

20

80

100

 

Table 5 shows that 2 or 28.57% of library facilitators in ABSU hold Ph.D as their highest qualification as opposed to one person or 20% in FUTO. Five and 4 others in ABSU and FUTO representing 71.43% and 80% respectively have MLS as their highest qualification. On their experience as displayed on Table 6 shows that one facilitator in ABSU has been engaged in the teaching of user education for over 16 years the highest in both institutions while one person in each of ABSU and FUTO have taught the programme for 14 years representing 14.28% and 20% respectively. In the categories of 12 years and 11 years FUTO has one facilitator in each representing 20% respectively while ABSU has none. On the other hand, ABSU has 2 facilitators representing 28.58% with 8 years’ experience while FUTO has none in that category. Under the 6 years category, ABSU has 2 facilitators or 28.58% while FUTO has one representing 20%. Both ABSU and FUTO have one facilitator each in the category of those with 3 years’ experience or 14.28% and 20% respectively.

Table 6: Years of experience of facilitators of user education programmes

  ABSU FUTO
Experience in Teaching Use of Library No % No %
16 Years

14 Years

12 Years

11 Years

8 Years

6 Years

3 Years

1

1

2

2

1

14.28

14.28

28.58

28.58

14.28

1

1

1

1

1

20

20

20

20

20

TOTAL 7 100 5 100

 

The ranks or designations of the facilitators were also found out.

Table 7: Rank and Designation of Facilitators

  ABSU FUTO
Rank/Designation No % No %
Graduate Assistant/Assistant Librarian

Assistant Lecturer./Librarian II

Lecturer II/Librarian I

Lecturer I /Senior Librarian

Senior Lecturer/Principal Librarian

Associate Professor./Deputy University

Librarian

Professor/University Librarian

1

2

2

1

1

 

14.28

28.58

28.58

14.28

14.28

 

1

1

3

 

20

20

60

 

TOTAL 7 100 5 100

 

According to Table 7, one Associate Professor and one Senior Lecturer representing 14.28% respectively are among the facilitators in ABSU with no such equivalent in FUTO. Within the rank of Lecturer I/Senior Librarian, FUTO has 3 representing 60% while ABSU has two or 28.58%. At the level of Lecturer II/Librarian I, ABSU has 2 facilitators (28.58%) while FUTO has one representing 20% of its facilitators. Finally as shown in the table, both ABSU and FUTO have one facilitator each or 14.28% and 20% respectively in the cadre of Assistant Lecturer/Librarian II. This shows that ABSU has more number of highly qualified personnel than FUTO.

Research question 5: What are the library skills acquired by students of ABSU and FUTO after user education programmes?

Data answering this research question are contained in Table 8

Table 8: Skills acquired by students after user education programme

  ABSU   FUTO
  Skills Responses %   Skills Responses %
A

B

C

D

 

E

F

Use of catalogue

Borrowing of books

Location of materials

Library practice &

Ethnics

Computer Application

Citation references

220

231

203

108

 

187

101

21.0

22.0

19.3

10.3

 

17.8

9.6

A

B

C

D

 

E

F

Use of catalogue

Borrowing of books

Location of materials

Library practice

& Ethnics

Computer application

Citation references

163

15 5

153

176

 

116

98

18.9

18.0

17.8

20.4

 

13.5

11.4

  Total 1050 100   Total 861 100

Information from Table 8 indicates that students from ABSU and FUTO have acquired a variety of use of library skills after being exposed to user education programme. According to Table 8, ABSU students after being exposed to user education programme acquired four major use of library skills namely how to use library catalogue (220 or 21.0%), knowledge on borrowing of books which include registration processes, charging and discharging of books (231 or 22.0%), location of materials on the shelf (203 or 19.3%) and knowledge computer application (187 or 17.8%). Few of them, 108 or 10.3% and 101 or 9.6% indicate that they acquired skills on library practices such as rules and regulations and citation of references respectively.

In the same vein, FUTO students also showed that they had acquired four major use of library skills. These include use of catalogue (163 or 18.9%), borrowing of books (155 or18.0%), location of materials (153 or 17.8%) and library practices (176 or 20.4%). Few of them 116 or 13.5% and 98 or 11.4% acquired skills on computer application and citation of references respectively.

Comparatively, ABSU students have shown more acquisition of use of library skills than the students from FUTO. This is because, while 21% of ABSU students acquired skills on use of catalogue, only18.9% of FUTO students did. Again, while 22% of ABSU students had knowledge of how to borrow books, only 18% of FUTO did. For location of library materials ABSU recorded 19.3% as against FUTO is 17.8. However, more FUTO students 20.4% acquired skills on library practices as against ABSU’s 10.3%.

Research question 6: What are the problems that are associated with user education programmes in ABSU and FUTO?

Data answering this research question are contained in Table 9.

Table 9: Problems that affect user education in two university libraries

S/N Problems Responses Percentage
A

B

C

D

E

F

G

H

I

J

K

L

M

Poor attendance by students

Lack of honorarium for teaching extra work load

Lack of public address system

Insufficient access to computers

Inadequate chairs and tables for students

Unsuitable lecture periods on the part of staff

Unconducive nature lecture halls

Deficient curriculum on use of library

Insufficient time to teach user education

Large size of class

Few staff to teach the programme

Attitude of staff to the course

Poor monitoring of staff

12

10

12

10

6

5

9

5

9

12

7

6

4

11.2

9.4

11.2

9.4

5.6

4.7

8.4

4.7

8.4

11.2

6.5

5.6

3.7

  Total 94 100

 

Table 9 shows that a number of socio-economic obstacles militate against smooth execution of user education programme at ABSU and FUTO libraries. Poor attendance by students to user education programme, lack of public address system and the large size of classes were identified by the respondents as the major obstacles to user education in the two university libraries. Each of these factors recorded 12 or 11.2% response rate. Lack of honorarium for teaching extra work load (10 or 9.4%) was one of the major problems. Other inhibiting factors identified by the respondents were unconducive nature of lecture halls (9 or 8.4%) insufficient time to teach user education (9 or 8.4%) few less of staff to teach the programme (7 or 6.5%) amongst others.

Research question 7: What measures can be adopted to ameliorate the identified problems?

Data answering this research question are contained in Table 10.

Table 10: Remedies to user education problems at ABSU and FUTO

S/N Remedies Responses %
A

B

C

D

E

F

G

H

I

J

K

Provision of adequate seats and

Proper ventilation and illumination of venue

Regular monitoring and control of user education providers

Adjustment of user education time to suit beneficiation

Provision of handbill/print ceuts during user education session

Provision of computers

Payment of enhanced honorarium to facilitators

Expausium of user education programme

Provision of public address system

Workshops/seminars on capacity building of staff

Increase in the allocated to user education programme

12

8

5

10

12

7

12

7

4

5

12

12.8

8.5

5.3

10.6

12.8

7.5

12.8

7.5

4.2

5.3

12.8

  Total 94 100

 

Against the backdrop of the identified problems, respondents offered suggestions to ameliorate the obstacles. Among the suggestions offered by respondents included provision of adequate seats and chairs, provisions of handbills and printouts during user education sessions, payment of enhanced honorarium to facilitators with 12 or 12 or 12.8% response rate respectively. Increase in time allocated to user education programme with 12 or 12.8% was also another major remedy identified by the respondents. Other remedies were adjustment of user education to suit beneficiaries (10 or 10.6%) proper ventilation and illumination of venue (8 or8.5%), provision of computers and expansion of user education programme (7 or 7.5%) respectively.

Hypothesis one

There is no significant difference in the mean scores of students exposed to two user education programmes in respect of acquisition of library skills on:

(a) Borrowing of Library Materials

Table 11: Summary of ANOVA testing the null hypothesis of no significant difference in the mean scores of students regarding borrowing of library materials

Source Type II Sum of squares Df Mean Square F Sic.
Corrected  Model

Intercept

Group

Gender

Group *Gender

Error

30.201a

2630.218

3.646

28.376

1.051

245.514

3

1

1

1

1

389

10.067

2630.218

3.646

28.376

1.051

.631

155.951

4167.400

5.777

44.960

1.666

.000

.000

.017

.000

.198

Total 3349.000 393      
Corrected Total 275.715 392      
  1. R Squared = 110 (Adjusted R Squared = 103)

Data in Table 11 reveal that the calculated F – value for group is 5.777 at PL.017. Hence the null hypothesis of no significant difference in the mean scores of students regarding borrowing of books between ABSU and FUTO students was rejected. This shows that ABSU students’ mean scores regarding borrowing of materials were higher than those of FUTO students.

(b) Utilization of Library Catalogues

Table 12: Summary of ANOVA testing the null hypothesis of no significant difference in the mean scores of students regarding utilization of library catalogues.

Source Type II Sum of squares Df Mean Square F Sic.
Corrected  Model

Intercept

Group

Gender

Group *Gender

Error

31.844a

2669.888

3.531

19.290

2.964

358.675

3

1

1

1

1

389

10.615

2669.888

3.531

19.290

2.964

.922

11.512

2895.622

3.829

20.921

3.214

.000

.000

.051

.000

.074

Total 3475.000 393      
Corrected Total 390.519 392      
  1. R Squared = .082 (Adjusted R Squared = .074)

Data in Table 12 reveal that the calculated F – value for group is 3.829 at PL.051. Hence the null hypothesis of no significant difference in the mean scores of students regarding borrowing of books between ABSU and FUTO students was not rejected. This shows that ABSU students’ mean scores regarding utilization of library catalogues were not significantly different from those of FUTO students and could be regarded as equal.

(c) Location of library materials

Table 13: Summary of ANOVA testing the null hypothesis of no significant difference in the mean scores of students regarding location of library materials

Source Type II Sum of squares Df Mean Square F Sic.
Corrected  Model

Intercept

Group

Gender

Group *Gender

Error

38.944a

2489.039

14.586

27.211

.316

231.611

3

1

1

1

1

389

12.981

2489.039

14.586

27.211

.316

.595

21.803

4180.442

24.498

45.702

.531

.000

.000

.017

.000

.467

Total 3233.000 393      
Corrected Total 270.555 392      
  1. R Squared = .144 (Adjusted R Squared = 137)

Data in Table 13 reveal that the calculated F – value for group is 24.498 at PL.000. Hence the null hypothesis of no significant difference in the mean scores of students regarding location of library materials between ABSU and FUTO students was rejected. This shows that ABSU students’ mean scores regarding location of library materials were higher than those of FUTO students.

(d) Citation of Reference Materials

Table 14: Summary of ANOVA testing the null hypothesis of no significant difference in the mean scores of students regarding citation of reference materials

Source Type II Sum of squares Df Mean Square F Sic.
Corrected  Model

Intercept

Group

Gender

Group *Gender

Error

40.084a

2309.656

19.460

25.380

7.597

545.906

3

1

1

1

1

389

13.361

2309.656

19.460

25.380

7.597

1.403

9.521

1645.809

13.867

18.085

5.414

.000

.000

.000

.000

.020

 

Total 3370.000 393      
Corrected Total 585.990 392      
  1. R Squared = 068 (Adjusted R Squared = .061)

Data in Table 14 reveal that the calculated F-value for group is 13.867 at PL.000. Hence the null hypothesis of no significant difference in the mean scores of students regarding citation of library materials between ABSU and FUTO students was rejected. This shows that the mean scores of ABSU students regarding citation of library materials were higher than those of FUTO students.

(e) Library Practices and Ethics

Table 15: Summary of ANOVA testing the null hypothesis of no significant difference in the mean scores of students regarding library practices and ethics

Source Type II Sum of squares Df Mean Square F Sic.
Corrected  Model

Intercept

Group

Gender

Group *Gender

Error

13.015a

3033.831

2.382

11.524

2.739

241.861

3

1

1

1

1

389

4.338

3033.831

2.382

11.524

2.739

.622

.977

4879.505

3.831

18.534

4.405

.000

.000

.051

.000

.036

Total 3750.000 393      
Corrected Total 254.875 392      
  1. R Squared = .051 (Adjusted R Squared = .044)

Data in Table 15 reveal that the calculated F-value for group is 3.831 at PL.051. Hence the null hypothesis significant difference in the mean scores of students regarding library practice and ethics between ABSU and FUTO students was not rejected. This shows that the mean scores of ABSU students regarding library practice and ethics were not significantly different from those of FUTO students.

Summary of Findings:

Based on the analyses of data, the following were established as the findings of the study:

  1. User education curricula at ABSU and FUTO still focus more on traditional librarianship. However ABSU has few ICT- based courses.
  2. Both ABSU and FUTO adopt print media supported by writing boards as the main materials used in teaching user education programme.
  3. Both ABSU and FUTO use lectures and demonstrations as the main methods of implementing library user education programmes.
  4. ABSU has more highly trained facilitators of user education than FUTO.
  5. User education programme at ABSU spans two semesters in one session compared to FUTO that has duration of four hours in a session.
  6. ABSU students show greater library use skills compared to their FUTO counterparts.
  7. No significant difference exists in the mean scores of use of library skills acquired by students of ABSU and FUTO.

 

CHAPTER FIVE

DISCUSSION

This chapter presents the discussion and interpretation of the findings of the research as well as the conclusions and recommendations drawn. It is presented under the following sub-headings: discussion of the findings, implications of the study, recommendations, limitations of the study, suggestions for further research and conclusion.

Discussion of Findings

Data analysis as shown in Table 2 reveals the similarities/differences in the user education programmes of ABSU and FUTO. The obvious similarity is that both of them are largely traditional in content and delivery in that both curricula are interested in old methods of information search. However the difference is in the fact that ABS U has a topic in the area of electronic and digital library and information services which is not available in FUTO. Furthermore, ABSU user education programme including the fact that it spans two semesters and facilitated by lecturers with the help of the university library as against FUTO programme which is for only four hours and for only a semester. ABSU therefore has more time to introduce ICTbased courses to user education especially in the second semester. This is in conformity with Tuckett (1989) who maintain that user education is now tied directly to computer technology and that librarians need to teach the best use of it by learning and keeping abreast of it. Burrow (1995) and Suarez (2002) also insist on the importance of using the Internet to facilitate user education. This means that ABSU students may become more competent in ICT skills than FUTO students.

Another finding of the study indicates that the most popular method of teaching user education in both ABSU and FUTO is the use of books/pamphlets followed by writing boards. While all the facilitators indicated to the use of books/pamphlets in both ABSU and FUTO, more facilitators use writing boards in FUTO than in ABSU. The explanation is in the population of the students in ABSU where due to the large size it makes little sense writing on the board as many may not be able to see the board clearly. This calls for the adoption of modern tools such as digital projectors and computers to teach user education in both universities. This tallies with the views of Perrier (2003) that instructional materials are becoming increasingly technological to the extent that the question is not whether to use but what type of material or device to use. Adoption of traditional methods of teaching user education will not only stress the facilitators but also the students who have to put extra energy to listen and understand what is being taught.

Finding shown in Table 4 indicates that lectures and demonstrations remain the most popular methods of impacting user education in both ABSU and FUTO. However, ABSU has an edge over FUTO with the inclusion of independent assignments, practical exercises and guided tours by some of the facilitators. This is not surprising when viewed against the backdrop that ABSU students are beneficiaries of an enhanced user education programme which makes it possible for students to be taught for one full academic session as against four hours for FUTO students thereby affording ABSU facilitators enough time to try their hands on other teaching methods. This finding is in line with the view and findings of Robinson (2001) and Doris (2001) that there is the need to identify and integrate alternatives to lectures in every user education programme. The finding also corroborates the suggestion by the Association of College and Research Librarians (2007) and Eadie (1990) that user education programme should include in addition to library school courses, conferences, workshops, seminars, tours and computer-based instruction.

The study also reveals that the caliber of personnel involved in the conduct of the user education programmes in ABSU can be said to be higher than that of FUTO especially in terms of number, qualification and years of experience. This finding as shown in Tables 4, 5 and 6 can be understood when viewed under the perspective that ABSU has larger student population compared to FUTO and therefore naturally requires more staff in order to cope. This is in line with the argument of Unomah (1887) that the sure way to encourage students and impact in them effective library skills is to have qualified and well trained personnel to serve as facilitators. In the same vein, Shingle (1981) and Eadie (1990) argue that the use of untrained or unqualified staff would surely result in wrong tactics and waste of everybody’s time.

Findings show that exposure of students of ABSU and FUTO to user education programmes has made them to acquire a variety of skills. These include skills on borrowing processes, retrieval of documents, citation, location of materials, and library practices/ethics, ABSU students have the advantage of acquiring computer use skills. These skills make the students to become better users of university libraries at ABSU and FUTO. This buttresses the argument of Vasanthi (2001) that the major aim of user education is to widen the use of varying resources which will enable lecturers to improve their teaching and research while the students learn more in order to achieve better results in their work. This finding is also in line with the views of McElroy and Bate (1982) and Fleming (1986) that the main purpose of library instruction (user education) is in proper guidance of library users towards a meaningful and purposeful use of resources and at the same time encouraging familiarity with library facilities, principles, practices and regulations.

Findings also show that user education programmes at ABSU and FUTO are plagued by a number of socio-economic challenges. These challenges as shown in Table 9 include amongst others poor attendance by students, large number of students, lack of public address system, lack of honorarium for facilitators and insufficient access to computers. Provision of adequate seats, issuance of handbills/printouts, payment of enhanced honorarium to facilitators, Increase in the time allocated to user education programme were among the suggestions by respondents on how to improve the teaching and learning of user education at ABSU and FUTO.

The hypothesis was tested to determine the difference in the mean scores of students exposed to user education programmes in ABSU and FUTO in respect of acquisition of library skills in five sub areas. In the first which is borrowing of library materials, the result indicated that ABSU students had higher mean scores than their FUTO counterparts and the difference in the mean scores was significant. The hypothesis which stated that there is no significant difference in the mean scores of students exposed to two user education programmes in respect of acquisition of library skills on borrowing of library materials was therefore rejected. In the second area on utilization of library catalogue, the result indicated no significant difference in the mean scores of ABSU and FUTO students and the hypothesis was therefore accepted. The third sub area indicated that ABSU students had higher mean scores than FUTO students on location of library materials leading to the rejection of the hypothesis which stated that there is no significant difference in the mean scores of students exposed to two user education programmes in locating library materials. The fourth sub area on citation of reference materials showed that ABSU students had higher mean scores than their FUTO counterparts leading to the rejection of the hypothesis which stated that there is no significant difference in the mean scores of students exposed to two user education programmes in the area of citation of library materials. Finally, the fifth sub area revealed no significant difference in the mean scores of ABSU and FUTO students in the area of library practice and ethics. The hypothesis of no significant difference in the mean scores of ABSU and FUTO students in library practice and ethics was not rejected. The result of the hypothesis is an indication that user education is crucial to a student’s use of any university library especially 100 level students. It also goes to show that the curricula of the two universities are not substantially different both in content and method of implementing it. The mean scores of the students’ skill test from both univers ities are indication that user education programmes in both universities require revision, injection of new technologies and more time.

Implications of the Study

The findings of the study have implications for the teaching and management of user education programmes, effective use of university libraries and deployment of ICT facilities for the purposes of teaching library user education programmes. User education programmes in ABSU and FUTO are largely traditional in content and the implication is that the students are denied the benefit of learning ICT knowledge and skills which is lacking in both programmes except for ABSU that has a topic on electronic libraries. The students of both institutions may be unable to use the resources of computerized libraries.

The second finding of the study indicates that ABSU and FUTO adopt largely print media supported by writing boards as the main materials for the teaching of library user education programme. The implication of this is that under the traditional scheme, it is sufficient but when the students are taken to ICT driven libraries they may find it difficult to cope. Both universities make use of lectures and demonstrations ass main methods of implementing user education programme. The implication of this is that the student is meant to receive both theoretical and practical lessons on user of the library which creates a good foundation for effective use of libraries by students.

Another finding is that ABSU has more highly trained facilitators of library user education than FUTO with a number of implications. The first is that ABSU students are likely to receive better lectures on user education and secondly be better placed to acquire more use of library skills.

The study also found that library user education programme at ABSU spans two semesters per session while that of FUTO lasts for only four hours in a session. The implication of this is that ABSU provides more time for both facilitators to implement the programme and more time for students to acquire necessary skills while FUTO students have little time for acquiring library user education skills.

Recommendations

The following recommendations are hereby proffered as a way of ameliorating the problems identified.

  1. There should be a detailed and uniform course outline for user education. This is against the present situation of sketchy mention of use of library in NUC General Studies Scheme. This can be done by developing a well articulated scheme of work based on National Universities Commission (NUC) Minimum Academic Standard (MAS). The scheme should include lectures and practical sessions in libraries.
  2. In order to ensure the proper execution of first recommendation above, NUC should direct and insist that Use of Library should be a full-fledged and compulsory General Studies Course with credit load in all universities in Nigeria. This will afford the facilitators adequate time to cover the course outline without interruption or marginalization by the lecturers of Use of English course.
  3. University authorities should provide venues that are conducive for the teaching of user education. The venue should have enough seats, tables, adequate ventilation, illumination and functional public address system.
  4. User education programmes should no longer dwell largely on traditional library practices but should include lectures in the area of information literacy and information technology. This will further expose undergraduate students on how to use computerized libraries and Internet facilities which are very vital in everyday living today.

Limitations of the Study

This research has a major limitation of not making information and communications technology (ICT) a major variable in assessing the library user education programmes of the two institutions. Another limitation is in the number of institutions compared.

Suggestions for Further Research

Having completed this research, the following areas of further possible study are suggested

  1. A study of the implementation of NUC Minimum Academic Standards (MAS) on library user education by Nigerian universities.
  2. A survey of ICT coverage in the user education programmes in Nigerian universities.

Conclusion

Based on the findings of the study, a number of conclusions can be drawn in relation to the influence of user education programme on university students’ acquisition of library skills. The first conclusion is that user education programmes in both ABSU and FUTO are largely traditional in content, method and approach. Information and communication technologies which have been widely accepted by libraries all over the world are yet to be integrated into the two programmes.

The second one is that students of ABSU possess higher mean achievement scores than their FUTO counterparts in the areas of borrowing of library materials, location of library materials and citation of library materials.

The third conclusion is that longer duration of ABSU programme has        positive influence on the students’ acquisition of library skills as the study indicates that they are better users of libraries than FUTO students.

 

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APPENDIX I

Registered users and facilitators of user education programmes in the two universities

S/N UNIVERSITY NO OF LIB. REGD.

STUDENTS

NO OF

FACILITATORS

1

2

ABSU

FUTO

11,800

7,007

5

7

  TOTAL 18,807 12

Sources: Statistics obtained from the libraries of ABSU and FUTO (July, 2006).

 

APPENDIX II

CALCULATION OF THE PROPORTION OF THE SCORES OF THE RESPONDENTS ON THE SKILL TEST

  OVERALL

SCORE OF

ITEMS

PROPORTION OF

SCORE OF TEST

WRITERS (P)

PROPORTION OF

WRONGLY FILLED

ITEMS Q (1-P)

PQ
1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

19

20

13

10

13

13

13

15

13

12

15

14

15

13

12

16

13

14

14

11

13

12

0.65

0.5

0.65

0.65

0.65

0.75

0.65

0.6

0.75

0.7

0.75

0.65

0.6

0.8

0.65

0.7

0.7

0.55

0.65

0.6

0.35

0.5

0.35

0.35

0.35

0.25

0.35

0.4

0.25

0.3

0.25

0.35

0.4

0.2

0.35

0.3

0.3

0.45

0.35

0.4

0.2275

0.25

0.2275

0.2275

0.2275

0.1875

0.2275

0.24

0.1875

0.21

0.1875

0.2275

0.24

0.16

0.2275

0.21

0.21

0.2475

0.2275

0.24

        Σ = 3.29

 

Calculation of the mean of scores of Test writers in each Text item

No Marks Per Test Item
1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

19

20

2

16

4

20

20

20

9

19

19

19

16

00

7

19

01

20

7

15

15

16

TOTAL 265

 

Mean = X = ΣFX/N

Where:

X = 265

N = 20

X = 265

20 = 13.25

X = 13.25

 

Calculation of the standard Deviation (SD) and Variance (S2)

  Score X X2 X – (X –
1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

19

20

13

10

13

13

13

15

13

12

15

14

15

13

12

16

13

14

14

11

13

12

169

100

169

169

169

225

169

144

225

196

225

169

144

256

169

196

196

121

169

144

-0.25

-3.25

-0.25

-0.25

-0.25

1.75

-0.25

-1.25

1.75

0.75

1.75

-0.25

-1.25

2.75

-0.25

0.75

0.75

-2.25

-0.25

-1.25

0.0625

10.5625

0.0625

0.0625

0.0625

3.0625

0.0625

1.5625

3.0625

0.5625

3.0625

0.0625

1.5625

7.5625

0.0625

0.5625

0.5625

5.0625

0.0625

1.5625

  265 3524 TOTAL 39.25

Where,

K = number of items in the test

S = the variance of the test

P = the proportion of the test writers who scored the item correctly

Q = the proportion of the test takers who scored the item wrongly or difference between (I) and P

Σ = Summation of

 

APPENDIX III

WORKINGS FOR SAMPLE SIZE

ABSU = 11,807

FUTO = 7007

TOTAL = 18,807

 

APPENDIX IV

WORKINGS FOR PROPORTIONATE SAMPLING

It is expressed as:

 

APPENDIX V

QUESTIONNAIRE FOR FACILITATORS OF USER EDUCATION PROGRAMMES IN TWO NIGERIAN UNIVERSITIES

  1. What is your highest qualification?
  2. What is your rank or designation?
  3. How long have you been involved in the teaching of use of library or facilitation of user education? (a) 1 – 2 years [ ] (b) 3 – 5 years [ ] (c) 6 – 10 years [    ] (d) Over 10 years [    ]
  4. What is the average size of use of library class taught by you at a time? (a). Below 200 [ ] (b). 200 –300 [    ]  (c) 300—400  [    ] (d) 400—500 [    ] (e) 500 & above [    ]

KEY TO OPTIONS

VHE (4)= Very High Extent VHL (4)= Very High Level HE (3)= High Extent HE (3)= High Level ME (2)= Moderate Extent ML (2)= Moderate Level LE (1)= Low Extent LL (1)= Low Level ZE (0)= Zero extent ZL (0)= Zero Level

  1. Indicate to what extent the listed topics are covered in your user education programme.
    VHE HE ME LE ZE
A

B

C

D

E

F

G

H

I

J

K

L

M

N

O

P

Arrangement of entries on cards

Retrieval of books from the shelves

Use of the Catalogue

The Computer as a library Catalogue

Registration of library users

Procedure for borrowing library materials

When & how to seek assistance of librarians

The Dos & Don’ts of library use

Opening & closing hours

Fundamentals of electronic library services

How to make literature search

Internet browsing & ICT in library services

Resource materials and services

Electronic Databases

Citation of print & non-print sources

How to use Boolean operators (“AND”

“OR” & “NOT”)

         

 

2. To what extent do you employ these methods in your user education programme?

    VHE HE ME LE ZE
A

B

C

D

E

Lectures

Demonstrations

Guided Tours

Practical Exercises

Independent Assignments

         

 

3. What is your level of utilization of these facilities/materials in carrying out user education programme?

    VHE HE ME LE ZE
A

B

C

D

E

F

Writing board

Print-out/Handouts

Books/pamphlets

Audio-visuals

Computers

Others (specify)

         

4. What is the amount of official time allocated to user education (Use of Library)? Tick only one from below.

A

B

C

D

E

F

G

One Hour per week for a semester

Two Hours per week for a semester

One Hour per week for a session

Two Hours per week for a session

Three Hours per week for a semester

Three Hours per week for a session

Four Hours in a semester

 

 

  1. What is your extent of satisfaction of the amount of time allocated to user education in your university?
  VHE HE ME LE ZE
Indicate the extent of your satisfaction          

5. If you are not satisfied with the amount of time, to what extent would you consider the following as a remedy?

    VHE HE ME LE ZE
A

B

C

 

Increase in number of credit hours

Spreading the programme into a session

Making use of library an independent GST course

         

6. What is your level of satisfaction with the content of the present curriculum for user education programme in your University?

  VHE HE ME LE ZE
Indicate the extent of your satisfaction          

7. To what extent do you consider each of these to be a problem militating against user education programme? Tick as many as are applicable to you.

    VHE HE ME LE ZE
A

B

C

D

E

F

G

H

I

J

K

L

M

N

O

Poor attendance by students

Lack of honorarium for teaching extra load

Lack of public address system

Lack of access to computers

Inadequate chairs and tables for students

Unsuitable lecture periods on the part of staff

Non-conducive nature of lecture halls

Limitation of use of library curriculum

Inadequate time to teach user education

Large class size

Inadequate number of staff

Inadequate skilled staff

Excess work load on the part of staff

Lack of sufficient commitment by staff

Lack of monitoring of staff by authorities

         

 8. To what extent do you accept each of these options as a remedy to these problems?

    VHE HE ME LE ZE
A

B

C

 

D

 

E

 

F

G

H

I

J

Provision of adequate seats and tables

Proper ventilation and illumination of venue

Regular monitoring and control of user

education providers

Adjustment of user education time to suit

beneficiaries

Provision of handbills/print-outs during user education session

Provision of computers

Payment of enhanced honorarium

Expansion of user education curriculum

Provision of public address system

Workshops on capacity building for staff

         

 

KEY TO OPTIONS

VHE (4)= Very High Extent VHL (4)=Very High Level HE (3)= High Extent HL (3)= High Level ME (2)= Moderate Extent ML (2)= Moderate Level LE (1)= Low Extent LL (1)= Low Level ZE (0)= Zero Level ZL (0)= Zero Level

 

APPENDIX VI

SKILL TEST FOR UNDERGRADUATE LIBRARY USERS

INSTRUCTION: Answer the following questions by circling each of A – D you consider being correct.

Male ( ) Female ( )

TIME ALLOWED: 30 MINUTES

  1. From which of these would you begin your search for a library book whose title but not the author is well known to you? a. Subject catalogue [ ] b. Shelves [ ] c. Author/title catalogue [     ] d. Reference book [     ]
  2. From which one of the following would you commence the search for a book containing information on HIV/AIDS for which the author and title are unknown to you? a. Subject catalogue [ ] b. Shelves [ ] c. Author/title catalogue [     ] d. Reference book [     ]
  3. Which one of these is not important in the quick location of books in the library? a. Series [ ] b. Colour [ ] c. Author’s name [     ] d. Title [     ]
  4. In searching through author’s name in the library catalogue which one of the following do you consider as the primary route? a. First name [ ] b. Middle name [ ] c. Maiden name [     ] d. Surname [     ]
  5. All library books can be borrowed at all times except one of the following: a. Encyclopedia [ ] b. Novel [ ] c. Fiction [     ] d. Non-.fiction [     ]
  6. One of these is the punishment usually prescribed for delay in the return of a borrowed library book beyond the due date. a. Suspension [ ] b. Expulsion [ ] c. Monetary fine [     ] d. None of the above [     ]
  7. In a university library, only one of the following is possible. Identify it a. Students of ABSU registered with the library can borrow books from FUTO library [ ] b. Students of FUTO registered with the library can buy books from ABSU library [ ] c. Library books can only be borrowed by students [     ] d. Library books cannot be borrowed out of the library [     ]
  8. What is the name of the Department of the library where books are borrowed? a. Reference [ ] b. Circulation [ ] c. Catalogue [     ] d. Administration [     ]
  9. Which one of the following is not a quality of readers’ services librarian? a. Knowledge of library collection [ ] b. Patience [ ] c. Urbanity [     ] d. Aggressiveness [     ]
  10. Which of the following would you accept as the definition of reference interview? a. A question and answer session aimed at employing a librarian [ ] b. Interaction between the head of the library and a job seeker [ ] c. A question and answer session aimed at understanding the information needs of library users [     ] d. An interaction between the librarian and the parent body aimed at developing the library [     ]
  11. Identify from the following the one that can give you information concerning persons, companies, institutions or organizations providing their names and addresses. a. Encyclopedia [ ] b. Directory [ ] c. Dictionary [     ] d. Handbook [     ]
  12. Which one of these materials provides concise information on different aspects of knowledge? a. Encyclopedia [ ] b. Directory [ ] c. Dictionary [     ] d. Hand book [     ]
  13. At the end of reading a library book inside the library, the reader is expected to do one of the following. a. Leave the book on the reading table [ ] b. Take the book back to the shelf [ ] c. Take the book to the librarian [     ] d. Hide it at a convenient place [     ]
  14. A user is allowed to do any of the following inside the library except one. Identify that one. a. Take a library book home on loan [ ] b. Tell stories with some friends [ ] c. Take any book from the shelf and read [     ] d. Pose any question to the librarian [     ]
  15. Every book whose card is in the library catalogue is expected to be on the library shelves except for all but one of the following reasons a. Book is wrongly shelved [ ] b. Book is on reserve[ ] c. The library has no such book [     ] d. Book has been stolen.
  16. One of these practices is not permitted inside the library by the authorities. Which? a. Reading of dictionaries in the library [ ] b. Asking so many questions in the library [ ] c. Reading of Newspapers [     ] d. Eating of biscuits[     ]
  17. Based on how you were taught, identify the one you consider the appropriate way of citing a book by one author. a. Okoro, J.A. (2007): Victory. Lagos: Ace [ ] b. Okoro, J.A. Victory. Lagos: Ace, 2007 [ ] c. Victory by J .A Okoro. Lagos: Ace, 2007 [     ] d. None of the above [     ]
  18. Based on how you were taught, identify the appropriate citation for an article in the Journal of Informatics of volume 2 number 2 of 2002 by Victor Nseje titled Information and Religion in pages 83 to 94. a. Victor, Nseje. Journal of Informatics volume 2 Number 2 2002. Information and Religion pp 83-94 [ ] b. Nseje, Victor “Information and Religion Journal of Informatics 2 (3) 2002 pp 83-94 [ ] c. Victor, Nseje (2003) “Information and Religion” Journal of Informatics 2 (3) 2002. 83-94 [     ] d. Nseje, V. (2002) Information and religion. Journal of Informatics 2 (2), 83-94 [     ]
  19. Which one of these do you consider the appropriate citation of an article in an edited book? a. Ike, John. “The Roots” Behold our Origin. Ed. Ken Offor. Owerri: Rapters, 2003. 23-35. [ ] b. Ike, John (2003). “The Roots” In Ken Offor’s Behold our Origin (pp 127-132) Owerri; Rapters. [ ] c. Ike, J. (2003) The roots. In K. Offor (ed.) Behold Our Origin (pp 127-132) Owerri: Rapters. [     ] d. Ike, J. (2003) The roots. In K. Offor (ed.) Behold Our Origin Owerri: Rapters. pp 127-132. [     ]
  20. Identify the correctly cited work written by two authors under APA style. a. Anene, V & Okon, J. (2005) Man’s right. Aba: Alertace. [ ] b. Vivian Anene, and Joan Okon (2005) Man’s Right. Aba: Alertace. [ ] c. Anene, V. & J. Okon (2005) Man’s right. Aba: Alertace. [     ] d. Anene, Vivian and Okon, J. Man’s right. Aba: Alertace, 2005. [     ]

 

APPENDIX VII

ABIA STATE UNIVERSITY, UTURU COURSE OUTLINE FOR USE OF LIBRARY

General Purpose:

The Use of Library is a course designed to expose first year students of Abia State University to the rudiments of library use. These include awareness of the different departments of the library and the techniques to fast and convenient use of library resources.

Course Outline:

1. History and overview of libraries and library use.

  • Definitions of Library, Librarian and users.
  • Professional and non-professional Library duties.
  • Why use of the Library as a course.

2. Types of Libraries and their functions Private, School, Public, National, Special and Academic Libraries.

3. Organization patterns in Libraries.

  • Administration Department
  • Acquisitions Department.
  • Cataloguing Department
  • Circulation Department.
  • Reference Department.
  • Serials Department.
  • Audio-Visual Department.
  • Reprographic Department.

4. The Book and its parts.

  • The importance of the book in the Library.
  • Cover.
  • Jacket
  • Blurb.
  • Spine.
  • Preliminaries.
  • Text.
  • Subsidiaries

5. Reference Books and Materials.

  • Encyclopedias
  • Dictionaries.
  • Directories.
  • Almanacs and Yearbooks.
  • Handbooks and Manuals.
  • Index and Abstract
  • Bibliographies.
  • Gazetteers.

6. Reference/Readers Services.

  • Qualities of a Readers’ Services Librarian.
  • The Reference Interview.
  • Types of Reference Questions.
  • Levels of Readers’ Service.

7. Classification of materials and Library catalogue.

  • Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC)
  • Library of Congress Classification (LCC)
  • The Library Catalogue–forms and types
  • How to differentiate the catalogue cards.
  • Filing of catalogue cards and its relevance

8. Electronic and Digital library and information services

  • How to use the computer in search of information
  • How to use the e-library
  • The use of the computer as a catalogue

9. Techniques of Library Use

  • How to locate materials in the Library.
  • Avenues or access points to Library materials.
  • From the catalogue to the shelf.
  • Ethics and behaviour in the Library.

 

APPENDIX VIII

FEDERAL UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY, OWERRI LIBRARY

MODIFIED COURSE OUTLINE FOR INSTRUCTION IN LIBRARY USE

COVERAGE OF THE PROGRAMME

The course is aimed at making the first year students acquire some skill in the use of libraries especially the FUTO Library. Thus the course intends to address the following:

  1. Libraries in general and their role
  2. Library resources.
  3. Arrangement of Library materials.
  4. Reference materials and reference services.
  5. Library research and documentation.

 

DETAILS OF THE SCHEME

1(a) Brief definition and role of libraries including types of libraries.

(b) The Federal University of Technology, Owerri Library i.e. Brief history and service provided at two service points-Pilot Plant and the New Library.

  1. Library Resources: Brief description and use:

(i) Books and periodicals, newspapers and magazines, documents and thesis, projects, etc.

(ii) Non-book materials, Pamphlets, Maps, Charts, Manuscripts Ephemerals (vertical files) and audio-visual material.

 

3.(a) Arrangement of Library Materials I

(i) Purpose and meaning/objective of classification.

(ii) Outline of the LC and Dewey Classification schemes.

(iii) Broad arrangement of Library.

(iv)Location marks and symbols (including guides)

 

4.(b) Arrangement of Library Materials II

(i) The Library catalogue – purpose and function.

(ii) The Card Catalogue.

(iii) The Author/Title catalogue – (purpose and use).

(iv) The subject catalogue – (purpose and use).

(v) Filling order/and using the catalogue to locate materials.

 

  1. Reference Materials

(i) Reference Sources – Dictionaries, Encyclopedias,

Calendars, Handbooks, Annuals, Directories, Annuals/Year-books, Atlases and Gazetteers.

(ii) Guides and aids to information sources-

(iii) Abstracts, Indexes and Bibliographies.

 

  1. Library Research/Documentation

(i) Parts of the book and their use in reading.

(ii) Selecting and evaluating books for use.

(iii) Recording details of books.

(iv) Documentation/Citation and Referencing

 

APPENDIX IX

MINIMUM ACADEMIC STANDARD ON USE OF THE LIBRARY

  1. Introduction to the Use of the Library
  2. The Reader in the Library Environment
  3. Arrangement of Library Materials
  4. Reference Sources
  5. Sources of Information
  6. Modern Technologies in Libraries
  7. Online Resources and Web Research
  8. How to Cite Sources consulted in the research process
  9. Term Paper Writing and Skills
  10. Law Libraries

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