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USER EDUCATION PRACTICE IN UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES: A CASE STUDY OF NYONG ESSIEN LIBRARY, UNIVERSITY OF UYO, UYO
1.1 Background of the Study
University libraries are libraries that are dedicated to aid in university education and teaching. It serves the knowledge and information needs of the university community and the general public. A university library is the part of the university with the responsibility to provide information services to actualize the goals and objectives of the university at large. Just as the name implies, university library is a type of Academic library attached to the University Institution to support the school curriculum and to support teaching, learning and research process in the university.
Libraries are the nerve-centre of educational institutions especially the universities. It is also a crucial centre in the educational development of man at any level and more particularly so in any academic pursuit. The purpose of the library is the purpose of its institution, hence they has set its objectives to meet with the objectives of the parent institution. The output of information has reached an exponential rate, the reason why the users needs to be more education on how to benefit from the proliferated resources. If the users are educated on basic common practices they will save their time and avoid much frustration. So, they therefore need to acquire the requisite knowledge of library methods to facilitate their effective use of library (Olanlokun&Saliso, 2000). Hence library education is very vital for library users achievement.
To have access to library information, the user has to know the arrangement of materials in the library, types of information resources available and how to conduct library search. The information user therefore has to be instructed in the use of library through the process known as user education. Library user education involves a process of making library patrons learn how to make effective and efficient use of library resources through the acquisition of skills in the identification and retrieval of information. Based on the opinion of Aina (2004), user education is to help library users get information they desire as well as developing the skills to use the resources of the library independently and appropriately.
It is important to note that various terms have been used denoting ways of imparting knowledge on how library users can utilize library resources. Some of the terms that have been used are reader instruction, user instruction, library orientation, library instruction, use of library, library and information skills, user and staff education and information literacy (Akalumhe, 2006). Upon all the different terms, there is one thing that is common and that is the fact that they all refers to formal and informal library programme of educating and enlightening users on how to maximally utilize library resources. The process concerned with the entire information and communication process involving the whole interaction of the user and the library. This study will therefore consider user education practices in NyongEssien library of the University of Uyo.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
For effective use of library resources, it is important for the user to know what he or she is looking for in the library, though the reverse is mostly the case. Thisis because most students enter the university with little or no knowledge of basic library skills, procedures and as a result they are faced with information skills challenges. University of Uyo library conducts user education programme every session for newly admitted students to enhance carry access and utilization of the library materials. Gorman (2006) states that, libraries are concerned primarily with the messages that constitute the human record and only secondarily with the medium by means of which messages are transmitted. Therefore, this studyaims at finding out user education activities in the University of Uyo library (NyongEssien, Library).
1.3 Objective of the Study
The main objective of the study is to examine users education practices in university libraries. The specific objectives are:
(1) To examine the concepts of users education.
(2) To determine the types of user education and their method of implementation.
(3) To ascertain the processes of acquiring effective user education.
1.4 Significance of the Study
This work would be of benefit to the University management, university library, students, educational planners and other researchers.
The work would be significant to the university in the sense that it will enable them to train and produce students with adequate knowledge that would be of benefit to the society should they know and understand the basic concepts of library users education and follow along with the skill taught. This will enhance students use of library and its resources effectively and efficiently.
It would be of benefit to the university library as it would help them to select the types of user education practices appropriate for their respective libraries before implementing them. This would motivate effective and appropriate use of the library and its resources. And also enable them to be certain about the processes of acquiring effective user education.
The study will further be significant to the students as it will increase their knowledge on determining what the library holds, where and how to find them and utilize them effectively without having to wait for the help of a librarian.
To educational planners, the study will enable them to see the need of incorporating library user education in the school curricular as a course not only as part of orientation exercise for new in takes. This will help the students to acquire the necessary library skills.
Finally, this study will be of great benefit to other researchers as it would serve as a guide for further research to those who may want to explore further on the topic.
1.5 Delimitation of the Study
The study is delimited to NyongEssien Library of the University of Uyo. It is further delimited to concepts, types, method of implementation and processes of acquiring effective user education.
1.6 Operational Definition of Terms
User: A user here refers to all those who uses the library and it resources.
User Education:This is a practice adopted by libraries to instruct and educate the users on how to make effective and efficient use of the library independently.
Practices: Actions taken by the library rather than ideas to enhance effective and efficient use of library by the users.
University Libraries: These are libraries attached to Universities to serve the information need of the members of the university.