THE IMPACT OF LIBRARY CATALOGUE IN ENHANCING ACCESSIBILITY IN THE LIBRARY

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY

Academic libraries collect material to support the teaching and research objectives of their parent bodies. The library serves both the teaching and non-teaching staff of the polytechnic, researchers from other academic institutions, and students. Experience has shown that the majority of users of academic libraries are students. The library collection is organized to give easy access to material. According to Maloney (2004) the role of the library is to organize information resources and services in a way that supports user needs. 

Cataloguing and classification are basic processes in organizing information.  Cataloguing is the process of describing material so it can be identified, while classification is the assignment of a call number that places material in order by subject. According to Opaleke, Olayemi, and Aina (2006) classification is a necessary device in organization. It directs the users to a specific subject, and groups books on the same or related subjects. The library catalogue is an essential tool. It is an index or a key to the collection, containing an entry representing each item (Clark, 2000).

The catalogue also tells where in the library a book is located (Apotiade, 2002). A catalogue is a list of things exhibited, articles for sale, school courses offered, etc., usually with descriptive comments and often illustration. A library catalogue serves the same purpose. It is a file of records for a library’s collection (List 1998, cited by Ojedokun 2007).  It is important to both library users and library staff. Its functions include giving a comprehensive record of materials owned by the library, listing what the library possesses by a certain author, on a given subject, and with a certain title, and enabling library materials to be located easily (Clark, 2000). The catalogue provides multiple access points to the library’s collection (Osiode, 1987). 

1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM 

In spite of the effectiveness of library catalogue in enhancing accessibility of library resources, the use of the catalogue is very poor in most Nigerian academic libraries. Ezomo (1988), cited by Okorafor (2006) reveals a poor use of the catalogue in Latunde Odeku Medical Library, attributed to lack of user education programmes. Fister (1992) states that undergraduates find the Polytechnic library threatening and doing research intimidating because they do not have library skills. This reduces the utilization of library resources in the library. Hence this study is set to examine the impacts of catalogue in the accessibility of library resources using the Moshood Abiola Polytechnic as a case study. 

1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY 

1. To identify the relationship between library catalogue and resources accessibility in the library 

2. Determine the extent of use of the catalogue to locate and retrieve books in the library. 

3. To examine the impacts of library catalogue in enhancing accessibility in the library

4. Discover problems and constraints militating against the use of the catalogue. 

5. Discover why students preferred to search for materials directly in the shelves. 

6. Discover ways to make the use of the catalogue easier for students. 

1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS 

1. Is there any significant relationship between library catalogue and resources accessibility in the library? 

2. To what extent is the catalogue used in locating and retrieving books in the library?

3. What are the impacts of library catalogue in enhancing accessibility in the library?

4. What are the problems and constraints militating against the use of the catalogue?

5. Why don students prefer to search for materials directly in the shelves? 

6. What are the ways of making the use of the catalogue easier for students? 

1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY 

The findings of this study would be useful to Librarians, students, lecturers, researchers and the Government in the following ways: As libraries deteriorate in terms of ensuring effective and efficient catalogue for users. Hence, the study of this nature is needed to determine the magnitude of the problems affecting the use of library catalogue 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. 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. Finally, the study will be useful for other academic purposes by providing the data base from which information could be obtained for future research in related areas of study. 

1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY 

The study of the use of library catalogue in accessing library resources among the Polytechnic students is limited to the Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, Abeokuta. 

1.7 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY 

1. Network interconnectivity to enhance elaborate research? 

2. High level of illiteracy 

3. Organization operational huddles. 

4. Time and cost constraints due to cause of scarcity in gasoline to go about the research.

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