DEVELOPMENT OF PUBLIC LIBRARY IN NIGERIA WITH REFERENCE
This project is on the development of public libraries in Nigeria with reference to the Imo Central Library, Owerri. Chapter one of this work traces the history of public Library development in Imo State starting from the days of the eastern Nigeria Library Board which serried as a platform for the establishment of the Imo State Central Library Owerri. Chapter two highlights the roles which a public Library can play in the society in it’s capacity as an agency of education, information, culture, recreation and asthetic appreciation. Services rendered by public Libraries were mentioned, such services includes reference services, circulations of materials, local collections development, display and exhibition, etc. problems militating against public Library development in the state were also highlighted in this chapter. Three methods of data collection were used in this project. Three methods of data collection were used in this project. These include: oral interview, examination of the Libraries records and the questionnaire made. Through these methods the researcher collected relevant data for this project work. In chapter five, findings were made from investigation carried act about the Library from these findings, the researcher therefore made a number of recommendations which he hoped will develop in Imo State.
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
In this modern world of information explosion the society is always in need of information agencies strive to meet this information need. Numerous definitions have been given to the term library, one of such definitions are contained in the encyclopedia Britannica (vol.22, 1988) state that “a library is a collection of written, printed or other graphic or visual materials (including files, photographs, tapes, phonograph records, video discs, microforms and computer programmes) organized and maintained for reading, study and consultation. Another definition of library is from the websters New York World Dictionary (1991) which states hat “library is a room or building where a collection of books, periodicals etc are kept for reading and reference” collier’s encyclopedia (vol.14,1990) defines the “library as collection of graphic materials, books, films, magazines, maps manuscripts, organized for use” while majority of people take a library to be a place where books are kept. These views of people about the library is not satisfactory.
Therefore, the definition of a library to be accepted by all should be the one given by Agbodike 1995 in a lecture delivered, “ A library is a collection of records of human culture in print or non-print information providing materials, or book and non-book materials, house, preserved, organized, interpreted and managed by professional librarians or clientele for information, knowledge, education, research, recreation and aesthetic appreciation and cultural enjoyment. The definition which unites the library to book alone is incomplete for there are many other forms of recorded knowledge such as tapes, firms, microfilms, microfishes, video tapes and projectors contained in the holdings of libraries. Commenting on the changing roles of the library, the father of librarianship, Melvin, Dewy (1906) stated that the library has lost it’s etymologic meaning and means not a collection of books but the central agency for disseminating information, innocent recreation or best of all, inspiration among the people.
From the definition given above, the three components of a library are books, staff and building. A library cannot exist without books or a qualified institution called a library without a building, as well as adequate finance to run and maintain it. There are different types of libraries performing different functions aimed at satisfying their various patrons. These includes: school, academic, special national and public libraries. School libraries are libraries located in primary and secondary schools. They support and enrich the educational programmes in the schools in which they are located. Academic libraries are libraries located in institutions of high learning while special libraries are those established in companies, organizations, government department and research institutions. This type of library satisfy the needs of subject specialists and researchers. The National Library of a country is the one responsible for collecting and conserving the whole of that county’s book production for the benefit of further generations. It is the chief depository of the national arts and culture.
Public libraries are libraries built for the general public. They are supervised, financed and supported them by the state or local government of a country. According to the New encyclopedia (vol. 22, 973) “public libraries are acknowledged to be an indispensable point of community life as promoters of libraries providers of a wide range of reading for all ages, and centres for community information services”. Public libraries are established by state law supported from the general public funds and administered for the benefit of the citizens of the town, city, or region which maintains it on the basis of equal access to all, whether they are artisans, or professionals. It does not discriminate as it’s doors are open to all classes of people.
The American library Association (1967), in one of its publications, stated the functions of public libraries. Again, at the seminar in library management, organized by the University of Ibadan and the British council (1970), it was considered that the public library should provide printed and audio-visual materials to meet the individual and group needs of its community for information, self realization, recreation and culture growth and for assistance in campaign out their duties are citizens and members of the community.
1.1.1 HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF THE IMO STATE CENTRAL LIBRARY OWERRI.
The Imo State Library Board came into existence with the creation of Imo and Anambra state. Despite the creation of the Imo state out of the former east central state, both continued to maintain a central library services under the east central state library board until September, 1976, when the library staff of Imo State origin had to be transferred to Owerri to establish the administrative headquarters of the present Imo State library Board. At the same time, the assets and liabilities of the former east central state were shared. The movement of staff to Owerri created accommodation problems. Most of the junior staff occupied the uncompleted library building as their residence and worked very hard to see that the library was opened early for services.
1.1.2 IMO STATE LIBRARY BOARD:
The Imo State Library Board was actually set up by edict N0. 12 of the ImoState library Board edict 1977. The edict state: “There is hereby established a board to be known as the Imo state library Board. The Board shall be a body corporate with perpetual succession and a common seal and with power to sue and be sued in its corporate name”. The edict which set up the Imo state library board had made it an animate body can sue and be sued in its corporate name. The services of the board are supplemented by the divisional libraries at Aba, Abriba, Umuahia (now in Abia state), Orlu and Mbano. The Board started it’s operation with the sum of five hundred and forty thousand, eight hundred and thirty-two naira (540,832.00) for the financial year 1976 and 1977 with six catalogue cabinets, catalogue cards, some metal filing cabinets and few type writers. In addition to this, the state government provided the sum of five hundred thousand naira to cover its capital expenditure. Anambra and Imo state share a considerable quantity of new books which had not been allocated prior to the creation of state.
1.1.3 APPOINTMENT OF THE BOARD
The Imo State library Board was appointment on 10th November, 1976. Its member were Professor A.O. Anya as chairman and seven members namely, professor, D.I. Nwoga, Dr. Eze Ogueri, Miss. Gloria I. Ofor, Mazi F. Nwosu Ezi, Mrs. R. Umelo, the permanent secretary, ministry of education and information (Mr. N.C. Okonkwo), or his representative and the director of library services. It held its first meetings onDecember 17th 1976 and it was addressed by the then honourable commissioner for education and information (Dr. M.A Nwachukwu), on 14th January 1977. The Board held three meetings altogether during the period under review. The board relationship with the press has been most cordial and added to this is the Boards’ determination to provide adequate public library facilities for the state. It will not be satisfied until every major centre of the community in the state particularly the headquarters of the local government areas have been provided with effective public library services.
1.1.4 OFFICIAL OPENING OF THE CENTAL LIBRARY OWERRI
The state central library, Owerri was officially opened to the public on 12th November 1976 by then military governor of Imo state (His Excellency, commander Godwin Ndubuisi Kanu). The ceremony was witnessed by nearly five hundred guest including state commissioners, high ranking government officials, representative of various business concerns, banking and public affairs, and representatives from various local government areas in the state. The building of the library was designed to accommodate eight five thousand volumes of books, but it was opened with a book stock of about twelve thousand. On the ground floor, the building houses the children’s library, acquisition and cataloguing departments as well as an auditorium to sit some hundred persons, the mobile library garage and loading bag. The first floor contain a reference library and he adult reading library, the administration wing of the library which is behind the ground floor, contains the general office and accounts section while the first floor of the wing accommodates offices for the director and other personnel staff.
THE IMO STATE CENTRAL LIBRARY IS MADE UP OF THESE SECTIONS: CHILDREN’S SECTION ADULT LENDING SECTION TECHNICAL SERVICES SECTION ACQUISITION SECTION NIGERIANA
CHILDREN’S SECTION: The section started with a total of five hundred and three children, two hundred and fifty were makes and two hundred and fifty-three were females. These number has increased by much since then. A total number of five thousand seven hundred and fifty six books were issued in the same period, two thousand five hundred and thirty-two books were non-fiction. A number of writings with African and Nigeria background have been acquired for the children. Journals were also acquired for them.
ADULT LENDING SECTION: This section started with six thousand five hundred books and by 1977 the book stock had increased to then thousand six hundred books. The section does not had adequate fiction books in its holdings. But effort were made to improve the situation. The non-fiction holdings are improving every body. The number of non-fiction books borrowed was five thousand and twenty-six, out of this numbers, two thousand were borrowed by males while two thousand five hundred books were borrowed by females. In 1977, there was an increase in borrowing of books by both sexes. The library has now a collection which reflects a wider range of fields.
TECHNICAL SERVICES SECTION:This section initially experience problem brought about by lack of tools and equipment and the task of processing books for the library, many unprocessed books were transferred to Owerri, form Enugu, and this created a lot of problems by sorting out the unnecessary materials accessioned, catalogued and shelve them and required. Before the creation of acquisition section, about four hundred and eighty-three children’s books and two thousand three hundred and nine-teen adult books had been accessioned and catalogued in the section. Four thousand materials are processed for Owerri, two thousand two hundred and twenty eight for Umuahia divisional library, one thousand six hundred and sixty for Aba and three hundred and seventy eight for Abriba divisional library respectively, (of which are now in Abia state).
ACQUISIITON SECTION: The acquisition department was not established as a separate section as soon as the library came down from Enugu. It was rather separated from the cataloguing division in February 1977. The acquisition policy of the Imo state library board states that: All books selected either by individuals, libraries or by a group should be passed to the acquisition department for pre-order searching. No blanket orders should be given to any vendor except in respect of annuals, in case of reference books only two copies of a title should be allocated to each library but not more than eight copies”.
With the creation of the section, acquisition duties have been streamlined and co-ordinated and co-ordinated with other sections of the services. The staffing of this section began with a librarian and typist. It was later joined by two library assistants. The secretaries performances ahs been satisfactions. The sections has been satisfactory. Its accessioned materials have virtually field up the shelves. According to records, some thirteen thousand seven hundred and four books were accessioned in the section while nine thousand six hundred and thirty-eight items on order were outstanding. Out of the thirteen thousand seven hundred and four accessioned book, seven thousand nine hundred and ninety seven were adult books while five thousand seven hundred and seven were juvenile.
NIGERIANA SECTION: This section consist mainly of Nigerian publications. The stock covers a total of one thousand three hundred and eight volume comprising serials, magazine and newspapers. Because of economic problems, not all books are purchased. The works of staff of this section include keeping the vertical files and writing of captions, it operates between 9:00am to 3:30pm. However, there are some accommodation problems being experienced in this sector.
SERVICES: The role played by the Nigerian section of the Imo Central library is separates from the purpose for which it was set up. The offer direct services which include personnel assistance given to readers in pursuit of information, the department and the character of such services very with the type of user it is designed to serve. They supply information based in bibliographic search. It also provides indirect services, this makes it possible for user to have access to information. In this kind of services bibliographic are preferred which help the user in searching and retracing of the document which they use.
EXTENSION ACTIVITIES: The opening of he state central library, Owerri attracted lots of favourable comments from all and surrounding several visitors and student’s excursion groups visited the library and outstanding among them being:
(a) Two groups of class five students from federal Girls Secondary School, Owerri, were introduced to the public service department (adult circulation and reference section of the library).
(b) The press Club of the Community Secondary School Umuaka-Orlu were conducted round the library with a brief talk on the Boards Services.
(c) Teacher librarian, the Imo and Anambra State join seminar in school libraries held in Owerri from 22 to 27th March, 1977.
1.1.5 BRANCH LIBRARIES OF THE IMO STATE CENTRAL LIBRARY
The libraries were established to carryout library development in the rural areas of the state. These libraries include: Mbano Branch commissioned by Dr. Raymond Ofoegbu, the then Imo State Commissioner for information, youths, sports and culture. The library is located at Mbano Local Government Headquarters. There is also the Aboh Mbaise and Orlu libraries. The divisional library was established on14th December, 1981.
1.1.6 FUNCTIONS OF IMO STATE LIBRARY BOARD:
a. To establish, equip and maintain the state central library and its branches in any part of the state.
b. To provide assistance to other persons in the organization of libraries.
c. To make recommendations and give advice on library development or organization to any department of local government area in the state.
d To make the facilities of the state library system available to members of the public and undertake bibliographic services in the state.
e To establish and maintain the library’s mobile services
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
a Public libraries in Nigerian are confronted with a lot of problems. For instances they do not have enough information sources for the different categories of users.
b The do not have enough space for accommodating the users.
c Consequently, many users complain of their inability to satisfy various information needs.
d Some public libraries in Nigeria operate without essential facilities like photocopying machines and toilet facilities.
e There is also the problem of trained staff.
f To find out the basis reason of establishing the Imo State library Board.
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY:
a. The objective of the study is to trace history of public library development inImo State.
b By tracing the history, the study also aims at identifying factors and situation that have either contributed to public library development in Imo state or retorted their rate of development.
c The study also aims at ceiling the attention of policy makers to the need for a speedy development of public libraries in the state.
1.4 Researcher asked a number of questions with which he hopes to find answers to problems posed by the study: these include:
a Is the library adequately stocked with source of information
b Are there facilities provided by the library headquarters?
c Is the library staffed with well drained personnel?
d As a public library, what roles does it play in the society?
e What are the problems imitating against its proper development?
1.5 SCOPE OF THE STUDY:
a This project ahs a historical overviews and would therefore cover issues of public library development starting from the Eastern region library days to the present Imo state.
b Lack of time and finance would not allow for an exhaustive survey of this study thereby limiting it to the establishment and development t of the Imo state central library, Owerri only, among other public libraries in the state.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY:
a This project will be of great benefit to students especially those in the library and information science department.
b The study will also be of great value to researchers who are entered in the area of public library development in Imo state.
c Government authority who are desirous of establishing public in their states will also find this work beneficial.
The researcher sampled about fifty users and the staff of the Imo state central library Owerri, for data collection.
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