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STUDENTS ATTRIBUTES AND USE OF LIBRARY FACILITIES IN THE FACULTY OF SCIENCE RESOURCE CENTRE UNIVERSITY OF UYO
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The utilisation of information resources in the university library has been a recurring theme in the field of librarianship. This is so because the university library has been vested with the mandate to provide information resources in all format to support the teaching, learning and research activities of its parent institution. The place of the library is so central and invaluable to the successful accomplishment of the goals of the academic institution that it engages itself in the acquisition of information resources to meet the diverse and growing needs of educational programme at the undergraduate, postgraduate and research levels.
The acquisition of these information resources does not fulfil the goals and objectives of the university without effective utilisation. It is in this view thatAfebende and Ebaye (2008) note that the effectiveness of a library does not depend on only its collection or resources and other facilities per se, but also on the success of its exploitation and use.Similarly, Nwokedi and Ogundare (2005) assert that one of the major objectives of any library is to ensure that maximum use is made of its resources and services. This is because no matter how rich a library collection may be, it is believed that if the users do not effectively make use of them, the library collection is regarded as a waste. Furthermore, to justify the existence of any academic library, provision of adequate library resources is necessary so as to attract students and lecturers who are usually the potential users of such libraries. While the librarian is concerned with collection and organisation of information materials, he also has the responsibility of creating awareness so that users can take full advantage of the acquired materials. According to Achebe (2004), taking advantage of the information resources in the library means making conscious effort to do them and using them has a positive multiplier effect on the academic performance and self-development of the library clientele.
The achievement of intellectual development for the students can only be achieved through effective utilisation of the information resources and services provided in the library while utilisation of information resources and services is the extent to which the resources and services provided in the library are actually used for teaching, learning and research (Bitagi and Garba, 2014). Though the primary purpose of university libraries, according to Oyewusi and Oyeboade (2009) is to support teaching, learning and research, in ways consistence with, and supportive of, the institution’s mission and goals with library resources and services sufficient in quality, depth, diversity, and currency to support the institution curriculum, Onifade, Ogbuiyi and Omeluzor(2013) reiterate that the university library must make sure that their resources are well utilisedas this is essential for educational development of the students.
While it is the duty of the university library to provide information resources and facilities as well as ensure its utilisation, students’ attributes play important roles in the use of the library facilities. Age, gender, level of study, discipline of study have been reported as having influence on the utilisation of information facilities in the library (Usoro, Umoren and Akwang, 2018; Sivathaasan, 2013). However, the crust of this study will be on study skill/habits, intellectual curiosity and information literacy skills. Study skill or habits has been recognised as an important factor in the utilisation of information facilities in the library. According to Illogho (2015), study skills refer to the student’s knowledge of appropriate study strategies and methods and the ability to manage time and other resources to meet the demands of the academic tasks. In essence students who are unequipped with good study skills, lack the capacity to use the available facilities in the library for their benefit because good study habits involves a good degree of concentration and time management which is needed in the utilisation of library facilities.
Intellectual curiosity is another factor responsible for the utilisation of information facilities in the library. An intellectual curious students will always make him or herself available to use the library facilities because it requires self-drive, self-efficacy, critical thinking as well as the opportunity to learn new things, to explore new perspectives, and to synthesize new ideas into an original argument. It is only curiosity that could inspire a student to seek for more information on a topic treated in class but not in-depth. In essence, an intellectually curious students would seek for information on a particular topic beyond the confines of what was taught in the classroom in order to have a well-grounded knowledge of a particular topic. According Deitering and Rempel (2017), most students in the university lack the curiosity to engage a topic further than what was taught in the classroom and it is not surprising that they do not make effective use of the library resources because they are satisfied with the classroom discourse on issues.
Information literacy skill is another attribute that equally affect the utilisation of information facilities. This has to do with the ability to recognise when information is needed, where to access such information and using such information within the sphere of legality. This is a skill necessary in the 21st century and it has to do with the knowledge of information resources as well as the knowledge of information technology. It deals with the competence that is required for the utilization of ICT for retrieval and dissemination of information, the competence required to locate and make use of information by one’s self or by means of the help of intermediaries as well as the competence of knowing the need for information, getting information, assessing, using and disseminating information to obtain or expand knowledge (Akpovire, Olawoyin, Adebayo and Esse, 2019). The advent of information technology has greatly impacted upon the library resources and services as there exist electronic information resources, online databases and computer facilities needed to access these resources. Utilising these resources requires a good degree of information literacy skill and students who are handicapped in this regard would not make effective use of the library facilities.
It is believed that students with good study habits, intellectual curiosity and information literacy skill would make effective use of the library facilities either for independent and quiet study as well as group or collaborative study which would have a trickle-down effect on their academic and overall development. This study is carried out to investigate students’ attribute and the utilisation of information resources inthe Faculty of Science Resource Centre, University of Uyo.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
University libraries all over the world understand the mandate that has been thrust over their shoulders and the make frantic effort to acquire the needed information resources in all format both print electronic to support the teaching, learning and research activities of their parent institutions. They are a reservoir of information that has the solution to almost all educational questions. Though undergraduate students in tertiary institutions are encouraged to make effective use of the library to satisfy their information needs but it have been observed by the researcher that university libraries are underutilised with particular reference to Faculty of Science Resources Centre. Preliminary visit to this resource centre show lackadaisical attitude towards information resources and services provided by the library. One wonders why the resource centre is underutilized when it was established to supplement and complement the classroom teaching. Several questions come across one’s mind, as to what may have been responsible for this undesirable situation. Could it be that the students’ attributes are responsible for this anomaly? That the students lack good study habits, are not intellectually curious and lack information literacy skills?