The Development of Library Science Education in Nigerian Universities

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1 The Development of Library Science Education in Nigerian Universities Achufusi Ani Uju N Department of Library Science, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State, Nigeria Abstract The study examined the development of library science education in the Nigerian Universities. The design was survey and six research questions guided the study. The population comprised three federal universities in the south east zone. The respondents are fifty-five (55) lecturers of the department of library and information science from the three selected universities. Data collected were analyzed using mean and percentages. The findings of the study are that training programs in most universities are bachelor degrees with combined honors and master degree programs and admission requirements are not the same across schools, that degree level. Based on the findings of the study, the following recommendation were made: training programs in the library profession should focus entirely on library courses, the admission requirements for first and second degrees should be standardized and requisite courses, especially on ICTS should be reviewed from time to time. If these recommendations are adopted library science education and training will be properly improved. Keywords: Library Science, Development, University, Education 1. INTRODUCTION Background to the Study The word library is of Latin origin and derives from the Latin word Liber meaning book. In its full meaning the word library connotes a storehouse of books. But the original prompting was the organization and preservation of records. So even though the word library is derived from the Latin word for book, it precedes the introduction of books. The basic function of libraries is traceable to the ancient Mesopotamian and Egyptian civilizations. These functions are, the Collection and presentation of information; organization and dissemination of information. One, tortoise shell, stone and bronze are recorded to have served in the recording of information before the arrival of paper and print. These were followed by bamboo and silk before the arrival of paper in China in the 2 nd century A.D. The absence of tools for the recording and dissemination of the primitive stapes of the written media necessitated the existence of a custodian for the few available records. This was the basis for the search for an Individual of high quality that would have the capability to select, acquire, organize disseminate and 36

2 safeguard the store house of information that metamorphosed into the modern library. This custodian Individual became the modern librarian. Almhed (1988) makes it clear that some of the earliest libraries in Nigeria before the 20 th century were the Islamic libraries in Northern Nigeria. He stated that most of the collections found in the early libraries during the ancient periods are composed by the foreign Muslim missionaries during their stay in the area. Further he said most of these collections were initially owned by individuals who inherited their father s collections and some allowed scholars, archivists to purchases or photocopy these collections. Ndigwe (2001) records that the first Nigerians to be trained as librarians were one Mr. Kalu and Mr. Nwikina. C. who were sent to Achimota College in Ghana. It was the earliest programs for library education in the British West Africa. Lawal (2000) records the first library school in Africa in general and Nigeria in particular as the institute of librarianship of the University of Ibadan. He further asserts that this served specifically for training librarians to work in university libraries. But unfortunately, the librarians were not sufficient for other established universities such as Amadu Bello University Zaria, University of Benin, University of Nigeria Nsukka and University of Ibadna. Equally Anyafulu (2005) points out that the emerging advancement in ICT which began over a quarter of the century ago has continued to take librarians into ever more amazing area of cyber space. In judging the relevance of library education with respect to its curriculum, Kent and Lawrence (1972) are of the opinion that stating the objective of instruction and adequacy of course to meet the objectives of the changing needs of the profession are basic requirements. Steig (1992) emphasizes the need for the curriculum to encompass elements of theory and practice as prerequisites in library education. Library education has lately taken its place in Nigerian universities. Many Universities can now claim to have one form of library services and library departments in their establishments. But it may look like there is a lack of standards in the establishment of library education in these institutions. Thus the problem is how far has the development of library science education in Nigerian universities gone? Purpose of Study This study aims at examining the nature of development of library education in Nigerian Universities. The areas to be examined are existing programs, entry qualifications levels and stages of training curriculum content and problems in the way of training. Scope This study is concerned with the growth and development of library education in Nigerian universities. Focus will be on three selected universities. 37

3 Design The research design is the survey research design which Osuala (2001) stated studies both large and small populations by selecting and studying samples chosen from the population. Population This study covered libraries in university of Nigeria Nsukka, Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka and Imo State University Owerri. These are twenty nine lecturers from UNN; eleven (11) lecturers of NAU, Awka and Fifteen (15) lecturers from Imo State University Owerri. Sample The total fifty-five (55) respondents from the entire population were all used for the study. Instrument This consisted of questionnaires on library education development, interviews and observation checklist. The questionnaire consisted of twenty item questions, the item were on open ended and close ended format. This was dependent upon the nature of the research questions. For the interview, a face to face interview with the respondents was carried out observation was used to get acquainted with on-going library education practices in the selected universities. Validation of Instrument The instruments were validated by senior lecturers in the department of library and information science. They examined the appropriateness of the languages and structures. 2. METHODOLOGY The questionnaire and interviews were administered to the respondents and with the services of the heads of Departments the respondent Collected back the questionnaires and interview questions. The data collated into frequency and percentages and represented on tables. They were used to answer the research questions. Fifty percent (50%) was considered as a pass mark. Any score with 50% and above is considered a major option and scores below 50%, a minor option. Research Question 1: What are the existing library training programmes in Nigerian Universities. 38

4 Table 1: Training Programmes Available in the Universities 1 Professional library teachers only Teachers from other discipline Both profession and non professional Result from table one indicates that both professional and non professional library teachers combine to provide training for librarians in Nigerian Universities. Table 2: Periods of Training Programmes 1 Regular Continuing education Sandwich programme Result in table 2 showed 83.66% of the universities offered library training in both regular and sandwich basis. But only 29.09% offered CEP programme. Research Question 2: What are the nature of admission requirements for the training of student librarians in the Nigerian Universities? Table 3: Qualification for Admission into Diploma Programme 1 3 credit in GCE 0 level with Eng Entrancy for candidates Staff with one year record Grade II teachers certificate with merit in 3 subjects Table 4: Qualification for Admission into Bls degree Programme level credits in GCE or WASC Diploma certificate in library with upper credit 3 NCE in library with net in three subjects Pass in MSc or Advanced level GCE

5 Table 5: Qualification for Admission to Post-Graduate Programme 1 A good university degree in library science A good university degree in education Good honours degree in library science with post qualification experience 4 Good honours degree with P.Gd in L. S Results indicated that all the sampled universities agreed on items 1 3 with percentage of 72.73; and respectively. Interview revealed that those with diploma and NCE certificates in library are seen as direct admission and given one year waver. Research Question 3: How many levels of training programme are available for student librarians in Nigerian Universities? S/N 1 One who possess combined honours - 2 An MLS holder One who posses BLS degree A Ph.D holder in L.S Items 2 and 3 have values of 92.73% and % respectively. This shows that a professional librarian is one with a maser degree or doctor of philosophy degree in library science. The University of Nigeria and IMSU considers one with a BLS degree as a professional. Research Question 4: To what extent are the existing curriculum contents relevant for the education of student librarians in Nigerian Universities? Table 7: Existing Curriculum Contents S/N 1 Introduction to librarianship Cataloguing and classification Administration of libraries Advanced cataloguing Collection development Research methodology Archives and museum Serial and govt. document Library services to young people Book production and trade Theories of knowledge

6 12 Bibliography Comparative librarianship Management theory Special librarianship Educational and librarians Librarianship of A. V. materials Project research Media technology Reference service Research Question 5: What are the problems hindering the education of librarians in Nigerian Universities? Table 8: Problems Hindering Education of Librarians S/N 1 Lack of professional teachers Inadequate funding Inadequate curriculum Lack of elaborate classroom No uniform and requirement Combing other courses with librarian Lack of awareness on importance of library education 8 Lack of teaching materials Inability to provide practical teaching Lack of initiative to introduce innovations Table 8 shows that problems hindering the education of libraries in Nigerian university. Problems are lack of professional teachers, inadequate funding, lack of classroom and no uniform admission requirements. Research Question Six: What ways can the education of student libraries be improved in Nigerian Universities? Table 9: Ways of Improving Librarianship Education S/N 1 Adequate funding of library schools Employment of enough professional Standardization of admission requirements Provision of expanse decision Curriculum content should be reviewed Provision of teaching materials Workshop should be organized to senitized the students on training need. 8 Library education should be practical oriented 41

7 9 Computer oriented courses should be introduced in the library schools. 10 Library courses should not be combined with other curses DISCUSSION There is an indication from tables that all the responding universities agreed that those who provide training programmes for librarians are both the professional and nonprofessional library teachers. On the type of available training programmes, the study revealed that bachelor of library science programme is the most available among the universities under study. The tables also indicated the availability of masters degree programmes in university of Nigeria, Nsukka and Imo State University Owerri and that doctorate degree programme is available only at UNN. As Aguolu (1989) commented that the quality of a library programme is dependent upon the extent of teachers available in such universities. Also revealed from the study is that regular and sandwich programmes are the most available period in all the universities. The regular is intensive four year degree process while the sandwich is carried out during the long school vacation to help workers get trained in the field of librarianship. Findings from study revealed that a professional librarian is one who has acquired a masters degree in library science and perhaps a doctorate degree in the profession. As clearly indicated in the table, the existing curriculum contents for library education include, introduction to librarianship, cataloguing and classification, advanced cataloguing and collection development, comparative librarianship and project research. This supports the views of Steige (1992) that today s library, especially university and special libraries must be information intensive. 4. CONCLUSION Summary of Findings 1. The existing library training programmes available in most universities are undergraduate B.Sc and M.Sc degree programmes. 2. The period of training progrmamme are regular and sandwich masters basically three to four years of Bachelor degree, one year of master and three years of Doctor of philosophy degree. 3. The admission requirements for first and second degrees are not the same in the universities except for doctorate degree programme. 4. Most school librarians university award combined honours to bring students at first degree level. 5. The existing curriculum content for library education are essentially adequate, though it should be reviewed from time to time to meet demands of time. 6. Some of the teaching problems to library education are lack of professional teachers, inadequate funding and the problems of combining library course with teaching subjects. 7. The best way possible way to improve library education is the employment of professional teachers, provision of adequate funding and periodic reviewing of the curriculum for effective teaching and learning. 42

8 Implication of Findings The implication is that Nigerian university library schools should see reason in the adequate training of who would be librarians to produce requisite manpower for tomorrow libraries. The university administrators should help to reshape by way of constant reviewing the curriculum. Recommendations 1. Training programmes should focus entirely on library courses for library profession 2. Admission requirement should be standardized at least in Nigerian universities so as to make the education more qualitative. 3. Professional library teachers should provide programmes for library education. 4. Conferences, seminar and workshops should be organized from time to time to sensitize the general public for effective library education. 5. REFERENCES Agulu, C.C. (1989). Problems facing libraries in Nigeria. Nigerian library waves (1) Anyafulu, M. J. (2005). Library education in Nigeria. Way forward in proceedings of the 7 th National Conference of the Nigerian Association of Library and Information Science Educators (NALISE). Bayero University Kano: June, 29- July1. Ahmed, S.A. (1988). The early library development. Need for restricting paper presented at the National Conference of the ALA Enugu. Kent, A. & Lawrence, H. (1992) (eds). Encyclopedia of library and information science, Vol. 20. New York: Marcel Dekker. Hawal, O.O. (200). Professional education for librarianship international perspectives Calabar. University of Calabar Press. Ndigwe, K.N. (2001). Collaboration in the provision and utilization of I.T. facilities for library and information science education in Nigeria. In P.O. Fayose and N.K. Nwalo (eds). Information Tech in LIS in Nigeria. Ibadan. Ogunsola, T. (2000). Information profession and business entrepreneurship in Nigeria. In Tijianing, A. Mohammed, Z. and Otim, J. (eds). Issues in the information profession: Nigerian perspectives Nigerian: NALISE INLA: Olanlokun, S.O. (1993). Librarian s Education: The university of Lagos experience. African Journal of Library, Achieves and information science, 4(2) Steig, M. F. (1992). Change and Challenges in library and information science education. Chicago: ALA. 43

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