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EVALUATION OF THE QUALITY ASSURANCES PRACTICES OF NIGERIAN UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES

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EVALUATION OF THE QUALITY ASSURANCE PRACTICES OF NIGERIAN UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of Study

The academic or university library remains the heart of the university. The library’s role is to support the intellectual development of the university community by making provision in terms of resources and facilities and services to users of varied categories (students, lecturers, professionals and scholars). Thus, an academic library is a library that is attached to a higher education institution and serves two complementary purposes: to support the curriculum and to support the research of the university faculty and students (Curzon and Jennie, 2009). The library is a learning centre because it makes provisions in terms of materials needed for learning cutting across all courses offered by the institution for effective learning and research activities and resources to support the pedagogy of each faculty (Aina,2004). The author further stated that the mandate of an academic library is achieved when the users are satisfied with the information resources, facilities and services. These form the basis for measuring user’s satisfaction and are premised on the quality of the library’s collection and services. Ogunbiyi and Okpe (2013), believes that quality education is impossible without quality library. Thus by implication, the quality and the reputation of a university is also dependent on the quality of the university library. These authors believe that the quality and effectiveness of academic programme of a university are measured in part by the quality of the library. Quality Assurance on the other hand is a way of measuring, improving and maintaining the standard of any human activity that has a value. It may be academic, sport performance, business or economy. Quality Assurance is a means of ensuring that the best practices are encouraged in a social system. Quality Assurance ensures standards are built into the functions and services of academic libraries. Arikewuyo (2004) asserted that Quality Assurance process involves setting up standards and ensuring that the standards established are kept to and reviewed periodically. It entails procedure for assessing quality parameters, quality standards, regular quality assessment, periodic review of set standards and evaluation. Osinulu and Amusa (2010) believe that quality assurance requires a meeting point between the standards for academic libraries and what is available; setting up standards and ensuring that the standards established are kept to and reviewed periodically; identification of crucial elements that require evaluation; establishment of the procedure for assessing quality parameters; quality standards; regular quality assessment and periodic review of set standards.

There are minimum standards for academic libraries as prescribed by the American Library Association (ALA), Nigeria Committee of University Librarians of Nigerian University (CULNU), Nigeria Library Association (NLA), National University Commission (NUC), and others for quality provision of information resources and services.

National Universities Commission (NUC), Nigeria. The value of a library collection is measured by usability and size. There are standards and guidelines in Nigerian academic libraries which include collection standards and general library policies. These include total collection and yearly additions and are correlated with student population. ALA (2006) outlined the provision of authoritative and up-to-date resources that support its mission and the needs of the users. There is no absolute standard for the size of a collection, but resources should adequately support particular user needs. In a seemingly opposition to this idea, the Ventura College Accreditation Team (2004) recommended an initial total minimum collection of 50,960 volumes of books, serials, videos, films, and other items to a maximum of 378,000 for 19,000 students. ALA (2006) took no specific position on quantity and quality of staff because its document on this only posted this question what is the ratio of staff to the number of library clients? ALA stated that staff serving students should have the knowledge and ability to ensure effective management and use of the resources. They should also have diverse backgrounds to meet the teaching and learning needs of the users. It also requires excellent communication skills. Rittenhouse (1991) supported this assertion by noting that without passion, sympathetic, and competent staff at the point of contact with patrons, no amount of provision in top quality facilities, collections, and programming will succeed.

1.2 Statement Of The Problem

University libraries are libraries established in universities to promote scholarship and research in various fields of learning. University library as Yusuf and Iwu (2010) put it are the nerve centres or the hubs around which scholarship revolves in the university environment.

They are established with the obligation of providing bibliographic or information services that are essential for the fulfillment of the mission of the universities. For university libraries to remain relevant and central to the mission of the universities, provision of quality services is critical. This is because quality services in the university library demonstrate ‘fitness for purpose’ of the library.

Winkworth (2001) in support of this, highlights that fitness for purpose entails effectiveness of the university libraries in achieving institution goals and objectives by ensuring high level of quality in their services. The quest for quality in the university libraries which evolves into quality assurance provides the opportunity to examine all elements of the library:- its structures, systems, services, processes and people to identify defects and ascertain conformity to acceptable standards. Unfortunately, from face value, personal experience and observation of the Nigerian university libraries, one could see that quality has eluded the Nigerian university libraries as they are not measuring up to the expectations for which they are established. This can be seen in the manner at which books are heaped at some corners of the libraries, abandoned or unattended to; inadequate library personnel comprising professional, para-professional and non- professional; lack of balanced collection; not meeting users’ service demand; non or partial application of Information Communication and Technology to service; inadequate space; inefficient reference services; lack of user education/orientation and poor relationship between staff and users.

1.3 Objective Of The Study

The general aim of this study is to evaluate the quality assurance practices of Nigerian university libraries. The specific aims of this study are outlined below:

  1. Investigate the quality assurance practices adopted in Nigerian University Libraries.

  2. Determine the extent to which university libraries comply to the quality assurance practices.

  3. Determine whether quality assurance contributes to quality service delivery in university libraries.

1.4 Research Questions

The main focus of this research is to provide a valuable response to the questions below.

  1. What are the quality assurance practices adopted in Nigerian University Libraries?

  2. What is the extent to which university libraries comply to the quality assurance practices?

  3. Does quality assurance contributes to quality service delivery in university libraries?

1.5 Research Hypothesis

Ho: There are no quality assurance practices adopted in Nigerian university libraries.

Ha: There are quality assurance practices adopted in Nigerian university libraries.

1.6 Significance Of The Study

This study will be beneficial to university authorities, library administrators, library staff, students and researcher.

This study will identify the remote and near causes of poor quality service in the Nigerian university libraries and also formulate ways to redress the gaps, challenges and shortfalls. It will therefore help the university authorities to realize the dwindling quality of the libraries and as such, re -strategize for effective improvement in terms of funding and staff recruitment.

The findings of this study will help library administrators to develop ways to improve ICT knowledge and skills and to maintain a systematic and continuous programme for evaluating the library’s performance to ensure continuous improvement of library resources and services.

The effective and efficient functioning of the university library resulting from the implementation of the results of this study will improve service delivery to users.

Coherent and coordinated library activities proposed in this study will help efficient and appropriate team work that will eliminate redundancy and foster the development of the innate potentials of library staff.

The statistical approach that is adopted in this study will open a new vista of research methodology that will benefit researchers.

1.7 Scope Of The Study

The scope of this study is boarded on the quality assurance practices of Nigerian university libraries. Hence the study tends to evaluate the degree of adherence to quality standards in the libraries using Federal University of Technology Owerri as case study

1.8 Limitation of the Study

Like in every human endeavour, the researcher encountered slight constraints while carrying out the study. Insufficient funds tend to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature, or information and in the process of data collection, which is why the researcher resorted to a limited choice of sample size. More so, the researcher simultaneously engaged in this study with other academic work. As a result, the amount of time spent on research will be reduced.

Moreover, the case study method utilized in the study posed some challenges to the investigator including the possibility of biases and poor judgment of issues. However, the investigator relied on respect for the general principles of procedures, justice, fairness, objectivity in observation and recording, and weighing of evidence to overcome the challenges.

1.9 Definition of Terms

Quality: is defined as valuable and acceptable standards that meet requirements and specifications.

1.10 Organization Of The Study

This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows. Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), historical background, statement of problem, objectives of the study, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope and limitation of the study, definition of terms and historical background of the study. Chapter two highlights the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature. Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding. Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study.


This material content is developed to serve as a GUIDE for students to conduct academic research



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