Library User Education In Tertiary Institutions In Nigeria

Library User Education In Tertiary Institutions In Nigeria: A Case Study of The Federal College Of Education (Technical) Umunze



  • Background of the Study:

One of the fundamental laws of the library is that the resources (books and non-book) must be well consulted. The librarian has to acquire and provide access to information stocked in the library. The user is very important in the practice of librarianship, this is the library process revolves around the users.




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The library provides library user education in order to equip a user with enough knowledge on the use of library so as to enable them use the library resources effectively. The reason for the provision of user education in the library is that library processes could be so complex that an average user may not easily comprehend how to utilize the available resources. As a result of the era of information explosion in which we are, information is expending at a very fast rate and new resources are being introduced into the library (Aina, 2004). With the advent of information and communication technology (ICT), which has permeated all the activities of libraries, it is important to explain the working of a library to a new user in detail. The ultimate objective of any library is to enable users exploit its resources to the fullest.

Fjallbrant (1990) defines user education as: “the teaching of those skills that will enable students to locate and use materials effectively and feel confident in using the library.” Also, its aim is to acquaint users with the use of materials in the libraries. Similarly, Fleming (1990) defined library user education as “various programmes of instruction, education and exploration provided by libraries to users to enable them to make effective, efficient and independent use of information sources and services to which these libraries provide access.”

Bello (2003) defined library user education as: “A device by the librarians to educate users on how to use the resources available in the library in a result oriented ways.” Thus it’s concerned with information retrieval, since the objectives of the library user education according to Osagie (2003) are as follows:

  • To enable users to understand the classification scheme in any library so as to be able to locate materials with little or no problem.
  • To enable the users to see the library as a repository of knowledge that determines the success of the students academic programme because its not possible for an individual to have the collection of a library.
  • To enable user to know how to use the library catalogue independently in any library with particularly reference to the author.
  • To be able to see library catalogues as indexes to the entire collection and use them as such.

Students in Nigeria tertiary institutions are introduced to the use of library in one form or the other, in order that they might know what to consult in their quest for information. Today, most students in higher institute of learning find it difficult to explore the world of information sources in the library thus leading to poor appreciation of the library and its resources, which contributes to their inability to undergo meaningful researches or at best become poor library users. It is believed that a concerted effort to know and understand library more will eventually enable the individual to develop his/herself to the fullest potentials. This becomes very important as it will enable man to contribute effectively and positively to the development of the society at large.

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Brief Historical Background of the Case Study Library, Umunze

The Federal College of Education (Technical)  Umunze in Anambra State is one of the eight (8) college of education (Technical) established by decree No. 4 of 14th March, 1986. At its inception, the college moved to Umunze in November 1989, following a presidential directive. At Umunze, the institution inherited buildings of the former All saint Anglican secondary school. At present, the infrastructures inherited from the present, the infrastructures inherited from the school are being renovated and refashioned, as it were, to reflect the grandeaur and convenience of a technical teacher institution.

The college was initially cited at Lomu in the North-Eastern out skirt of Umunze town along way leading to Ogbunka and Owere-Ezukala all in Orumba South Local Government Area of Anambra State, Nigeria. In 1999/2000, the administration of Dr. C.V. Nnaka (Mrs.) made a deliberate effort to move the college to her permanent site at Nsogwu in the south central part of Umunze town with the erection of a gigantic building to house the school of Agric and Home Economics education which has been accomplished. Lectures have already started at the permanent site.

The college runs a certificate programme in computer programming to help provide students and the general public with a technological culture as we move into the 21st century.

Since its inception in 1990, the institution, with an initial student enrolment of 70, has grown by leaps and bounds. Weathering the vicissitudes of a young institution, the college now has a student population of about 2000 with a corresponding increase of staff population.

Finally, the college took off under the leadership of the pioneer provost, Dr. T.I. Eze at the temporary site in 1990. But because of the crisis in which the crisis was engulfed in 1996, the founding provost was removed from office following the recommendation of an Administrative panel of enquiry set up by the Federal Government in the interim the Deputy Provost, Mr. O. Ibe was directed to oversee the college pending the appointment of a new provost.

All the past provosts and deputy provosts have transformed the institution into a modern tertiary school among its equal. The incumbent provost Prof. J. Ogbuagu Mni has further raised the bar by making the college a degree awarding institution with an increase in population of about 1200 in degree programmes, 6000 in NCE and 455 in post graduate diploma programme.

The current Chief Librarian is Dr. Ugwuanyi, A.A. the main college library was recently re-named PROF. BEN NWABUEZE LIBRARY which housed their virtual centre. Their library opening hours are as follows:

  • Monday –Friday 8am – 6pm
  • Saturday 9am – 4pm
  • Sunday 2pm – 6pm
    • Statement of the Problem:

The aim of this enquiry is to provide information for solving an identified problem confronting the society.

Difficulties of users in locating materials easily on the shelf, poor use of library tools by the users, problems encountered in retrieving required materials and inability of users and staff interaction.

  • Objectives of the Study
  1. To find out how user education is conducted in Federal College of Education (Technical) Umunze Library.
  2. To identify the causes of poor use of the library resources/material by users.
  • To ascertain the effectiveness of user education in the library.
  1. To create a positive attitude to information searching which will stimulate the user to make use of the resource available in different libraries which is determine with the help of staff.
  2. To verify the level of user and staff interaction in the library.
  3. To find out the students satisfaction about the programme.
    • Scope of Study:
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The researcher’s range of the study was concentrated on Umunze, a community in Orumba North Local Government Area in Anambra State. Only the Federal College of Education (Technical) Umunze Library was studied by the researcher using some of library users and the staff.

  • Significance of the Study

The library materials are not adequately utilized and most materials are lying dormant on the shelf which is as a result of library user not being able to use the library as required. The outcome of this research work will leads to efficient, effective and continuous use of the library.

As regards to this project work, much time, money and energy will be duely employed for the successful outcome of this work.

  • Research Questions:
  1. How often is user education conducted in Federal College of Education (Technical) Umunze?
  2. What are the causes of poor use of library tools by users?
  3. How can the effectiveness of user education in the library be achieved?
  4. To what extent can user education create a positive attitude to information searching in users?
  5. How can the level of user and staff interaction in the library be determined?
  6. To what extent can users satisfaction or user education programme be achieved?
    • Definition of Terms:
  7. EDUCATION: This is a process of teaching, training and learning, especially in schools or colleges, to improve knowledge and develop skills.
  8. INSTITUTION: This is a large important organization that has a particular purpose, for example, a university.
  • LIBRARY: This is a building in which collections outdated of books, newspapers, CDs, tapes, etc, are kept for people to read, study or borrow.
  1. TERTIARY: This is a third in order, rank or important. It is a college that provides education for people aged 16 and older.
  2. USER: This is a person who comes to make use of library materials in other to satisfy th needs


Over the years, there have been various terms referring to teaching effective use of the library and its resources. These terms include “Library User Education”, “Reader Instruction,” “User Instruction”, “Library Orientation” and “Library User Education”.

This chapter will bring to light different views from different scholars and professional libraries on library user education. Thus, their views will be reviewed under the following sub-headings:

  1. Origin of library user education
  2. Categories of library user education programmes
  3. Information goals of the academic library.
  4. Library use
  5. Library orientation/user education
  6. Staffing and services
  7. Overview of library use education programme in Federal College of Education (Technology) Umunze Library.

Origin of Library User Education:

The instruction in the library user has roots as far back as library profession itself. The origin of library user education can be traced back more than 170 years ago. The earliest evidence of instruction was seen in a librarian lecturing to undergraduates was found at Harvard college in the 1820s. It was reported that most academic librarians were professors with part-time library appointment who taught the use of library for academic purposes. It was in the early 1900s that William Warner Bishop and William Fredrick Pole espoused the concept of library instruction that are still valid today, with the aim of making students independent learners and to clarify the role of the library in the university. In 1905, William Harper observed that “The equipment of the library will never be finished until it has upon its staff men and women whose sole work shall be, not the care of books, not the cataloguing of the books but giving instruction in their use”.

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Adio (2006) stated that: “The history development of user education is not recent and that it has been traced to 1960s, particularly the use of academic libraries”. This was in line with the view of Young (1974) that: “Library instruction movement as we know it today and the controversies which surround it came to maturity in 1960s”.

Categories of Library User Education Programmes:

There are various methods of imparting the skill on the use of a library. Aina (2004) asserted that: “It could be one-to-one sessions, library orientation/ tours or classroom instruction”. Speaking further on one-to-one sessions approach by Aina, he opined that the reference librarian takes a new user round the various sections of the library where the librarian will explain the activities that go on in the different sections of the library without necessarily distracting the staff of the various sections. During the section, the user is exposed to the basis services of a library, e.g. how to use the catalogue to search for documents of interest, location of shelves etc.

Akande (2002) explained that: “Library orientation involves taking fresh undergraduates on a guided tour of the library”. Citing university of Ibadan as a case study, the author explained that the programme normally last for 3-4 days and it features events like talk, exhibition, demonstration and guided tour. An important aspect of the programme is the talk which is always given by the university librarian or his representative. The third category is the class instruction. It is a formal instruction for library users. In some academic institutions, it is a non credit learning course.

Information Goals of the Academic Library:

There are goals and objectives for library user education in any type of library. Fjallbrant and Stevenson (1978) described the goals and objectives of user education in academic libraries as follows;

The goals and objectives for programmes of University Library user educati

Library User Education In Tertiary Institutions In Nigeria


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