EVALUATION OF ACQUISITION PRACTICES IN POLYTECHNIC LIBRARIES IN SOUTH-EAST NIGERIA

ABSTRACT

This study evaluated the acquisition practices in Polytechnic Libraries in South Eastern zone of Nigeria. Six research questions guided the study. An evaluative survey design was adopted in carrying out the study. The total population for this study was three hundred and thirty (330) lecturers and thirty seven librarians (37), but two hundred and ninety eight (298) lecturers and all the librarians were sampled. The major instrument for data collection was questionnaire. A total of three hundred and thirty (330) copies of questionnaires were distributed to lecturers, 298 copies were returned, representing 90.3%. On the other hand, 37 copies of questionnaires were distributed to the librarians and all were returned. Data was analyzed using frequency tables, simple percentages and means scores. From the analysis, the findings revealed that the most adequate information resources in the libraries under study are books (textbooks). The result also shows that information materials are acquired mainly by gifts and purchase. The study revealed that information materials such as books, journals, and reference materials are more current than other information materials in the library and that collection development policy is available but encompasses only the area of acquisition. Out dated materials, resistance to change, worn out materials, inadequate professionals/Librarians, lack of cooperation from parent organization, problem of storage facilities, lack of funds, lack of collection development policy and duplication of titles are some of the major problems encountered in developing library collections. Based on the research findings, it was recommended that libraries should have a written collection development policy that will embrace acquisition,selection,weeding,gifts and exchanges, there should be constant staff training/orientation, librarians should consult with lecturers in order to get information on the institutions curriculum thus acquiring materials that will suit the curriculum, employment of qualified librarians, provision of space for Polytechnic libraries to enable them have archives where they can deposit outdated materials. The study concluded that adequate and efficient evaluation of acquisition practices and collection development in Polytechnic and academic libraries at large would effectively support librarians, lecturers and students research output.

CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
Background of Study
An academic library is a library that is attached to an institution of learning, a major function of which is research and the advancement of knowledge in a wide variety of subjects. It is a central service or unit of operation set up to provide location ,materials and facilities for study, teaching and research carried out in the institution. The main function of an academic library is to serve as an auxiliary to the parent institution in carrying out its objectives. The Library is an important intellectual resource of the academic community, and helps them fulfill the curriculum requirements and to promote studies and research (Rajendran and Rathinasabapathy, 2005). The library caters for the information needs of the community, through the provision of reading materials for the various programmes of the institution (Igbinosa and Idiodi, 2002).

According to Danton (1963), the major obligation of the academic library with respect to its book selection and book collection is to provide the materials which will now and in the future best contribute to the fulfillment of these closely related functions of teaching, conservation and research. Ajibero (1995) opined that the academic library is the“heart”of the institution. He contends that what all academic libraries have in common, virtually regardless of country or history is their basic position, roles, aims and objectives. The reputation of these libraries depends highly on the library facilities it offers its clientele in terms of information resources. As information and research resources become more varied, it places a challenge on academic libraries. Hazen (2000) argued that the changes in the nature of information, in research strategies, and in the structure of higher education are affecting academic libraries. These changes define much of the shifting context within which academic libraries must operate.

It is absolutely essential for a library to possess the resources that will enable it meet its goals. Beautiful buildings, well trained staff and modern information storage and retrieval system can only be appreciated if excellent services are given to users. These services cannot be given without a collection of information materials.

The objective of any academic library is to support the teaching, learning and research activities of the parent institution. It is an objective which is achieved through a systematic acquisition and organization of all forms of recorded and undocumented information in all fields pertinent to the goals of the institution. This can be realized by making such information available to the members of the academic community and other scholars engaged in research and study (Ekere, 1992).

Collection development is one of the fundamental functions of the library and information profession. Magrill (1989) described it to include all planning for the systematic and rational building of a collection. In one sense, collection development includes assessing user needs, evaluating the present collection, determining selection policy, coordinating selection of items, re-evaluating and storing parts of the collection and planning for resources sharing. However, in a broader sense, collection development is not a single activity, or a group of activities; it is a planning and decision-making process. In order to play these vital roles effectively, academic libraries are supposed to be adequately funded by their parent institutions to procure adequate information resources. A library’s collection development efforts cannot be effective unless its acquisition efforts are efficient. This practice that is responsible for selecting and acquiring information specialist to perform their myriad function to the users effectively (Aina, 2004). Academic librarians must strive to remain competent navigators of acquisition and collection building in order to assist library users’ .In addition, acquisition practices includes a policy on the conservation and preservation of information materials as well as the weeding of information materials. The policy is to provide guidance to staff when selecting and deselecting resources for the local collection.

Futhermore, collection evaluation is concerned with how good a collection is in terms of kinds of materials in it and value of each item in relation to the community being served, and to the library potential users. The complexities of operating effective and efficient libraries require greater knowledge about measuring the processes and evaluating how they influence library’s decision making and planning. Collection evaluation is a broadly encompassing activity. It can be as simple as the assessment of size of dollar worth of a collection and it can be as complex as measuring its value to a given community. The process is an excellent situation for communication among units in the library.

There are two axioms about the best foundation for good selection in collection development: know the collection and know the community. Osborne (1992) pointed out that evaluation possesses the potentials to make known the strengths, limitations, needs and possibilities of the library. It can project the image of responsible management thereby garnering support for improvement, nuturing hope for the future. The library’s aim is said to have been achieved if its objectives is not just towards mere warehousing of materials that come within its reach or become a mere dumping room for gifts, but an evaluative system where the best is acquired and organized for easy identification of resources within a given period.

The goal of those who are charged with acquisition responsibilities is to build the best collection possible that will be relevant to the curriculum but this singular goal is far fetched in our academic libraries today. This is why Osborne (1992) in his study of relationship between trends in research and in the way in which academic research collections had been built lamented that research libraries are unable to meet the needs of their users, not so much because of lack of money as lack of awareness in the academic research environment.

The main reason for the existence of libraries and indeed librarians is providing the information materials that a person wants regardless of its format or location. Central to the ability of the polytechnic librarian to do this is the collection of materials upon which the students and staff alike will draw. He is expected to continuously acquire, assemble and develop a collection bearing the unique characteristics of the polytechnic. Conclusively, whether the collection of a library is large or small, the weaknesses must be determined, rated as to their importance for users and accepted or alleviated.

The establishment of the polytechnic system in Nigeria in the late 1970’s came with the idea of providing Nigerians with another level of tertiary institutions besides the university system. The main purpose of the Polytechnic education is to produce the middle –level manpower for the nation’s economy. According to Owolabi and Attama, (2009), these institutions are engaged in research suitable for the development for both human and material resources needed by the nation’s industry and economy. The training of competent personnel that would fit into these positions requires adequate and free access to well organized sources of information Adegboro (2000). The curriculum of polytechnics in Nigeria is structured to provide both theoretical and practical training for students in an atmosphere that is academically enriching. Ekere (1992) further highlights that a polytechnic’s prime function is the education and training of students to be able to contribute effectively to the nation’s economy and technological advancement. The Polytechnic describes the program mix and focus of a special purpose. This mix typically includes business, arts and science, design, health, engineering, journalism, education, media studies, health, visual and performing arts. Some distinguishing features of a polytechnic are learn-by-doing environment, application of theory to practice, students’ diversely widening participation in higher education, multi-disciplinary programe, flexible learning environments/approaches and work placement/co-op education.

The polytechnic library is an academic library which supports learning, teaching and research programs in the institution. In addition to providing an atmosphere conducive to reading and consultation of relevant facts and data, the library also offers a variety of facilities and services to enable readers to make optimal use of library resources. Aboyode (1979) summed up these services as follows: answering reader’s questions, instruction in the use of library materials, readers’ advisory services, inter-library loan services, photocopying facilities, library publications, exhibition and displays. In addition to this, the library also organizes an orientation program for new students at the beginning of each session.

It will be appropriate to give a brief history of the polytechnics under this study. The Akanu Ibiam Federal Polytechnic was established in 1981 as the first Federal Polytechnic in Southeast Nigeria. It was first located in a temporary site at the federal Government College, Okposi in Ohozara Local Government area, Ebonyi State. In the same year, the first class of students was admitted to pursue various programs leading to the award of National Diploma (ND) and Higher National Diploma (HND) in science, engineering, and humanities. The polytechnic administers five schools or faculties in eighteen departments where the mission and vision of the institution are vigorously pursued.

The polytechnic library, which was established at the same time, has been playing supportive roles in the actualization of the mission and vision of the institution. The collections of the library are made up of fifteen thousand books in different fields, and two hundred and fifty serial titles (Owolabi and Attama, 2009). The library is not computerized .Hence; it is not connected to the internet. However, the institution has an information and telecommunication centre that is internet-driven with a staff of six information technology (IT) professionals and four non-professonals.The library is well positioned to carry out its mandate to the entire staff and students of the polytechnic.

The Federal Polytechnic, Oko is a research –led polytechnic, recognized for excellence in teaching, learning, research, creative work and administration for the significance of its contribution to the advancement of knowledge and its commitment to serve its local, national and international communities. The institution which has today metamorphosed into the Federal polytechnic, Oko was founded in 1979 and approved by the then Anambra State government as a College of Arts and science. In 1992, the Federal Government of Nigeria with Prof.Ben Nwabueze as secretary for Education took over the polytechnic and redesigned it as Federal polytechnic, Oko with campuses at Atani and Ufuma.Over the years, the polytechnic was saddled with several anti-development factors which were associated with its birth and growth especially in the area of physical infrastructural development. In order to move the institution forward, the mission of the polytechnic is to enable learners develop individual potentials and to acquire the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed and public services for the technological advancement of the country. Students pursue various programs leading to the award of National Diploma (ND) and Higher National Diploma in Business, engineering, Technology and Art. The institution administers ten Schools and they all work together in pursuing the vision of the institution. (www.Okofederalpoly.com).The collections of Oko polytechnic library are made up of twenty seven thousand books in different fields and three thousand five hundred and fifty serial titles. The library is not computerized but also has an IT centre. (Okoye, 2010)

Abia State Polytechnic, Aba was established by edict no 8 of 1994, which has a retrospective effect from 2nd October 1992. Its location is the former Girls’ Technical College (GTC) Aba, along Aba Owerri Road. The initial intake comprised students taking various Certificate Programmes.The National Diploma programmes commenced in the 1994/1995 academic year. The Higher Diploma programmes were introduced in the 1999/2000 session. The institution is made up of six Schools and twenty five departments. (www.abiapolyportal.org/pages.php?page_id=30).

The library collection is made up of eighteen thousand five hundred and ten books in different fields and four thousand seven hundred and fifteen serial titles and has seven librarians. (Uhiara, 2010) The library is not computerized. The library remains open between 8.00am and 9.00pm from Monday through Friday and opens 8.00am to 3.00pm on Saturdays.



Federal Polytechnic Nekede, Owerri was established in 1978.The polytechnic pursues programs that lead to the award of National Diploma (ND) and Higher National Diploma (HND).The Polytechnic administers five schools. The library was established to provide information resources in support of teaching, learning and research. In doing so, it has the following objectives: To collect and preserve the most up to date materials for teaching, research and consultation services of the Polytechnic, to collect and preserve information resources in books and non-book formats, to give user-oriented services to the polytechnic community through Current Awareness Services(CAS), to provide

reading environment in a useful variety of locations etc.(www.federalpolynekede.net/site/about.htm).The volume of books are twenty seven thousand and sixty in different fields and three thousand and fifty serial titles.(Nwiwu,2010). The library is not yet computerized.

Institute of Management and Technology, Enugu is located in the heart of Enugu and was established in the year 1973.It is the oldest polytechnic in southeastern part of Nigeria. Beyond academics and professional competence, the institution strives to produce graduates who will never be found wanting in character and who have a burning zeal to serve their fatherland with their skills. They run both National Diploma programme and Higher National Diploma programme in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Humanities. The institution administers ten Schools all in the bid to produce well baked graduates.(www.imteduportal.com). The library has been providing supportive roles. The library houses fifty thousand five hundred and sixty five books and three thousand five hundred and fifty serial titles. The sections in the library



include: Readers services, collection development department, serials section, reference and reprography sections. (Eze, 2010)

Generally speaking, all the Libraries under study are involved with collection development and evaluation. In one sense, the issue of policies guiding the process and constant evaluation of collection is yet to be fully actualized. Adequate information resources that meet the needs of users are slightly above minimal level. This situation might be as a result of some problems such as insufficient staff/manpower to carry out the practice, inadequate funds to acquire relevant materials and then the issue of non existent or minimal demand from students,academics,departments and faculties for up to date or topical materials relating to current curriculum.

Statement of the Problem
Over the years, libraries have been faced with the problem of inadequate and outdated collections. Providing the information materials a user wants regardless of its format or location is the main reason for the existence of libraries and librarians. Various efforts are being made by Polytechnic libraries in Nigeria to acquire information materials that will meet the desired needs of users in terms of adequacy, currency and availability. The consistent review of library materials is necessary for maintaining an active library collection of current interest to users. Evaluation will be made to determine whether the collection is meeting its objectives, how well it is serving its users, in which way it is deficient and what remains to be done to develop the collection. This is why the acquisitions department of any library is essentially a service unit for the public service department and staff as customers to be satisfied. Unfortunately, most Polytechnics are facing some challenges in providing, preserving and replacing damaged and worn out materials.

However, some studies have been carried out on related areas such as book acquisition, collection development in university libraries but none have covered the present status of acquisition and collection development in Polytechnic libraries in South east zone of Nigeria. Notwithstanding all the efforts being made by Polytechnic libraries towards acquiring information materials that is adequate, current and fully meets the institutions curricular, it appears they face a number of problems. Knowledge of these challenges is essential for any Polytechnic library whether federal, State or private. This shows that there is still gap which needs to be filled in order to have a balanced collection. Hence, the need for this study which is designed to evaluate the acquisition practices in Polytechnic libraries in south eastern zone of Nigeria.

Purpose of the Study
The  general  purpose  of  the  study  is  to  evaluate  the  acquisition  practices  in
Polytechnic libraries in South-East Nigeria. The specific objectives are as follows:

1.  To examine the adequacy of the collection of the Polytechnic libraries under study.
2.  To evaluate the methods of acquisition of the information resources by the Polytechnic libraries.
3.  To evaluate the currency of their information resources.
4.  To examine the collection development policies available in the polytechnic libraries.
5.  To evaluate those problems encountered in the development of their collections.
6.  To examine the strategies that could enhance the acquisition practices in the Libraries under study.

Research Questions
The study will be guided by the following research questions:
1.  How adequate are the collections of the polytechnic Libraries in South-East Nigeria?
2.  What are the methods of acquisition of their information resources?
3.  How current are the collections of the Polytechnic Libraries?
4.  What are the Collection development policies available in these Libraries?
5.  What are those problems encountered in developing collections of these Libraries?
6.  What are the strategies that could enhance the acquisition practices of the libraries under study?

Significance of the Study
The findings of this study would be useful to Librarians, students, lecturers, researchers and the Government in the following ways: As libraries deteriorate in terms of collection evaluation, users suffer. Hence, the study of this nature is needed to determine the magnitude of the problems affecting collection development/evaluation and strategies adopted in handling them. For Librarians, the result of the findings will assist librarians to create avenues of contending with the problems in the area of collection development evaluation. This study is also aimed at alerting librarians on the need for proper collection development, policies and constant evaluation of collection in order to frequently satisfy the needs of users, of polytechnic Libraries and other academic libraries. The recommendations will help in giving the librarians an insight of information on evaluation of materials so as to adopt better ones.

For students, lecturers and researchers, the findings will provide them with basic and factual information at their disposal. It will help to determine the extent to which the aims and objectives of libraries in terms of evaluation of collection has helped students and researchers and organizational bodies of institutions.

Likewise the Government will benefit from the study as they will realize their budgeting inadequacies for library collection development. This will enable them counter these inadequacies.

Finally, the study will be useful for other academic purposes by providing the data base from which information could be obtained for future research in related areas of study.

Scope of the Study
This research is limited to the collections of Akanu Ibiam Federal Polytechnic Library, Uwana, Federal Polytechnic Library, Oko, Federal Polytechnic Library, Nekede, Institute of Management Technology Library, Enugu, and Abia Polytechnic Library, Aba. The study will involve all librarians and lecturers of the institutions.


Furthermore, the study will be delimited to: adequacy of collections, methods of acquisition, currency of collections, availability of collection development policies, problems and strategies for enhancing acquisition practices.

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