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This study examined the causes of theft and mutilation of books and other library materials in Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Library, Bauchi. Five objectives and research questions guided the study, survey; research design was used for the study. The target population of the study consisted of two groups; 1200 users and 14 staff, the sample of the study was therefore made up of 120 registered users and 14 staff of the library. Questionnaire was the main instrument used for data collection. Data collected was analyzed using descriptive statistics of frequency counts and percentages scores presented in tables. The findings reveal that inadequate security systems are some of the factors responsible for theft and mutilation. The readers service is the section most affected by the problem, while the involves removal of pages, sneaking out the materials from the library and misplacement of the materials. The study conclude that theft and mutilation of library materials is gradually laying waste to vital and expensive library collections throughout libraries of higher institution of leaving across Nigeria. Finally, recommendations were made that; the library staff should look for patrons in need of assistance in using the library, embrace on public campaign to inform student on the difficulty and expense involved in replacing damage and stolen materials as well as lower the cost of photocopying in order to stem the problem of theft and mutilation.



Title page    –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        i

Certification         –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        ii

Dedication  –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        iii

Acknowledgement         –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        iv

Abstract      –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        vi

Table of content   –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        vii



1.1     Background of the Study        –        –        –        –        –        –        1

1.2     Statement of the Problem        –        –        –        –        –        –        11

1.3     Objective of the Study   –        –        –        –        –        –        13

1.4     Research questions        –        –        –        –        –        –        13

1.5     Significance of the study         –        –        –        –        –        –        14

1.6     Scope of the study         –        –        –        –        –        –        –        15

1.7     Operational Definition of Terms       –        –        –        –        15

Reference    –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        16



2.0     Introduction         –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        17

2.2     Factors Responsible for Theft and Mutilation of Information

in Academic libraries.    –        –        –        –        –        –        18

2.3     Ways through which students carryout theft and mutilation of

Library Materials –        –        –        –        –        –        –        21

2.4     Section of library affected by theft and mutilation         –        –        33

2.5     Measures of curbing occurrence of theft and mutilation in

academic libraries          –        –        –        –        –        –        –        38

References  –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        41



3.1     Research Design   –        –        –        –        –        –        –        43

3.2     Population and Sample –        –        –        –        –        –        44

3.3     Instrument for Data Collection         –        –        –        –        –        44

3.4     Procedure for Data Collection           –        –        –        –        –        45

3.5     Method of Data Analysis        –        –        –        –        –        –        46



4.1     Data Presentation and Analysis        –        –        –        –        –        47

4.2     Summary of Findings    –        –        –        –        –        –        53

4.3     Discussion of the Findings      –        –        –        –        –        54



5.1     Summary    –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        56

5.2     Conclusion –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        57

5.3     Recommendations –       –        –        –        –        –        –        58

Bibliography        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        61

          Appendix I –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        63

          AppendixII –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        68



1.1     Background of the Study

One of the important duties of any library is preservation and security of the library materials despite all effort to preserve library materials users still employ different tricks to fault library management strategies, hence perpetual need for deriving security measures to stop or reduce the rate of crimes in library.

The crimes which are committed by some users of the academic libraries have deprived many others from fully achieving their information needs. Vandalism, mutilation, defacement, theft, are some problems regularly encountered by the materials of these libraries. The commodity that the library promote: books and expensive materials, but are likely target for criminal activities. The expected roles of the academic library tend to lead it to criminal activities, the more the control, safe guide and security levels there, the less it resembles a library that is traditionally expected to serve as users.

Theft and mutilation are malicious damage against books that are difficult to combat because the risk of getting caught is very low while the likelihood of success is high, criminal activities in academic libraries are not limited to library information materials alone but theft of properties such as hand bags, purses, keys, and note books are equally common. The extent, nature and rate at which these crimes occur vary from one academic library to another, Longman dictionary (1995) described mutilation as to damage or change something so much that is completely spoiled or ruined. Crime of library materials are certainly not new development of our time such can be traced as far as 539BC in Egypt when the Persian conquerors removed tools of papyrus from the library of Ramses II around 41BC, according to constatinou, (1995).

In many academic libraries were periodic or regular stock taking lesser resulting from crimes are enormous. Typically libraries losses between 5 and 10% of the collections annually to theft and mutilation, Crimes of library materials takes different form regarding from defacing a material to total cutting away of some pages, many readers make use of pencil or pen to underline sections in a book thinking they are helping other readers. During the middle age library books were chain looked to prevent them from theft from the earlier time to the present librarians are bothered on how to ensure the protection of library materials from theft and mutilation as well as vandalism. As custodians of library materials and resources, librarians most ensure the safety of library materials adoption how they can serve and that means reduction beside, non-availability of library materials might connote inefficiency on the part of the librarians and other information managers who keep such materials. It is therefore in the interest of the librarian to preserved available materials and resource from theft and other criminal act committed on the library materials, Bello (2001) stated that books theft is the intentional removal of books from the library in an unauthorised manner.

There is no specific solution to those problems and it result in both staff and student frustration in the sense that materials are searched for without the knowledge of being stolen or mutilated, according to Oni (1984) books were at once time chained to library tables no library however rich in its information materials can claim to have operated without any loss of books. The book thieves or mutilators are Omni-present and ever active to grab the opportunities available to them, these books had been produced manually, one at a time and the need for conservation was therefore great according to Harvey, mutilation  of library materials have become more problematic today than previously acknowledge. These have faced libraries in Nigeria of valuable records, university libraries are the worst hit in this regard because students have succeeded in circulating its existing securities arrangement.

Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (ATBU) was established in the year 1980 with its first intake of student in October 1980, the purpose of establishing the university stipulated that it is, to accelerate the technological development of the nation. The university started functioning at the old side located at the bauchi state college of arts and science (BACAS) after necessary renovations and constructions of new buildings were carried out. The university had an intake of four hundred and seventy students (470) retrieved from http://(

The university library located at the Yelwa campus of the university was established in august 1981 almost a year after establishment of the school, it was opened to the university community in October 1981, as at June 1992 the collection number sum of 35000 volumes and 478 current journals. Total periodical titles numbers 1210 from 1981 to 1989, the library was housed in a temporary building measuring 2142 square metres, it has a total capacity of 165,380 volumes and 516 readers, it also has 40 carrels reserved for academic staff and post graduate students, the new building was occupied on April 2,1990 (retrieved from

The 1998/1981 academic session was spent on planning the commencement of the academic program procurement of basic laboratory equipment, recruitment of academic programs and staff, teaching began at the beginning of the 1981/1982 academic session. The ATBU library was under the leadership of Mrs A.O.Ike from its inception in 1981 the library had staff strength of three categories comprising of the librarian senior librarian has staff strength. However, presently the library has staff strength of fifty eight (58) with seventeen (17) professionals, sixteen (16) Para-professional and (25) others. With Dr Musa Ayilla Bello as the university librarian, the library building incorporate on integrated computerized library system which when fully installed will be user oriented as well as user friendly. The library is coordinating the inventory taking project for science and technology resources by the readers ensure expedition retrieval of information for users aid the library in its current awareness services within and outside.

The Library Organisations

There is a university library committee with the vice chancellor as the chairman the committee is advisory to the university librarian. It comprises school and program coordinators at professional levels, the registrar, a student representative and an external adviser normally a university librarian of another university. The activities of the library are organised under four main divisions namely:

  • administrative division
  • collection development division
  • readers services division
  • technical service division



Administrative Division

The division is responsible for policies, system planning, coordinating personnel, finance accommodation, publication and day-to-day administration of the library. The division supervises the activities of two units namely; computer and bindery units.


Collection Development Division

The division is responsible for acquiring, processing and building library collections to facilitate the university to achieve its objectives under the division there are two sub-division acquisition and cataloguing units.

Acquisition Unit

It is the sole responsibilities of the acquisition unit to acquire information materials after careful selection, materials are acquired through purchase using library budget. Other responsibility of the unit is to develop the library collection by gift, exchange request, instructional membership, repository or legal deposit.

Cataloguing Unit

The cataloguing unit is the nerve of all library materials processing, it catalogues, classifies/indexes and abstract acquired materials. It also prepared all access for retrieval as well as maintaining all retrieval systems; the unit uses the library of congress classification scheme (LCCS) for cataloguing and classifying of all the library materials.


Reader’s Service Division

The division is responsible for circulation, reservation, reference; current awareness services bibliographic instructions and Inter-library Corporation. It controls and coordinates the abstracting and indexing services of the library. The division also supervise the activities of five units namely; document, reference, serials, circulations and audio visual units.

Serials Units

This unit is responsible for selecting, ordering, and processing of journals, backlog of journals and newspapers are bound to reserve there life span selective dissemination of information (SDI) and current awareness services (CAS) are provided for its users its also responsible for one on one information delivery the orientation of student on industrial training (IT) is also done and conducted in and by the unit. Furthermore, the unit is mandated with the responsibility of maintaining up to date records in both the kardex and public catalogue (retrieved from HYPERLINK “”th HYPERLINK “”-2015)


Users of the Library

The following categories of users are allowed access to the collection of the library; university council members, academic senior administrators, and technical staff of the university, members of the convocation, occarsional users from outside the university with special permission from the university librarian (for reference and research purpose only).


All readers must register before making use of the library, registration renewable every academic year. All registered members of the library are issued with the library identification cards bearing their passport photographs. They must show the cards before entrance into the library.

Objectives of the ATBU library

The university library, established to provide strong bibliographical support to its parents institution, has the following objectives:

  • To collect the most up-date information to the learning research and consultancy activities of the academic community.
  • To collect such information not only in book form but also in non-book forms such as slides, films, transparency, government documents, tapes, records etc.
  • To give user orientated services to the university community by quick disseminating the information collected to all who needs it.
  • To aid the university to develop the human, liberal and social side of scientist by providing selected materials in arts, humanitarian and social sciences.
  • To provide materials on Nigeria history, language, culture, social, and economic life to enhance the spirit of national cohesion and understanding.
  • To collect materials on Bauchi state to form resource centre on Bauchi history, culture, social, and economic life.
  • To collect materials produced by the university in all its school and programs and by all its staff to preserve these for posterity and for future research activities.
  • To give leadership in service in Bauchi state by actively participating Nigerian library Association (NLA) activities.
  • To provides a centre of excellence of library collection in academic area as selected by the University for use by university staff and research scholars from within and outside Nigeria specializing in the areas selected.
  • To cooperate with Nigerian libraries in resource sharing through photocopying, inter-library lending and courier services.
  • To form part of the national information networks by participating in the national union catalogue and serial union list, based at the national library of Nigerian (NLN), those produced by the committee of university librarians of Nigerian university (CULNU); and those produced by NADICEST
  • To undertake research into relevant library problems guided by the objectives, the library acquires materials of five levels, remedial, undergraduate, post graduate research general studies, light and specialized information.

1.2     Statement of the Problem

Loss of library materials has been of great concern to librarians and information workers right from the onset of the practice of librarianship. Vandalism, mutilation, defacement, theft, arson, illegal removal of library materials led to loss of library materials. These ugly trends have negative influence on library services; libraries regularly organized and build collection (print and non-print) materials to meet need of library users, AbubakarTafawaBalewa university library is no exception in this practice. Loss of library materials is seen as a serious threat to intellectual materials. Jaffason (1992) assert that the incident of book theft and non-return of library materials has been with the library since antiquity, the researcher further stress that in ancient England this phenomenon was also there and consider as sacrilege if one was caught doing that, it is then not expected in modern libraries all over the world. The loss of library materials therefore is of great frustration to the library users and staff of the library when library materials in the catalogue or data base is not found on shelve or appropriate place due to security lapse and loss of library materials. It is in this regard that the research intend to investigate the various lapses that courses the loss of materials in (ATBU) Bauchi.



1.3     Objective of the Study

The objectives of the study were to:

  • Identify those involve in the crimes of library materials in AbubakarTafawaBalewa university Bauchi.
  • Determine the factors responsible for crimes of information materials in Abubakar Tafawa Balewa university library.
  • Identify ways through which students steal library materials in Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Library.
  • Identify section of the library that is mostly affected by theft and mutilation?
  • Identify nature of security is put in place to curb the menace in Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Uniersity Library, Bauchi?

1.4     Research Questions

This study answered the following research questions;

  • Who are those involve in theft and mutilation of library resources in the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Library.
  • What are the factors responsible for crimes of information materials in Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Library, Bauchi?
  • What are the ways through which Library materials were been theft or mutilated.
  • Which section of the Library are mostly affected by theft and mutilation in Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Library.
  • How can library crimes be prevented in the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Library.

1.5     Significance of the study

The researcher found the factors that give rise to causes of crimes of library resources in the library the purpose of this study is to conduct a research on the causes of crimes of library materials, ways through which the crimes are been done and those involve in it, the study suggested possible solutions to those problems.

At the end of the study the result would help in reducing the incidence of causes of crimes of library materials in ATBU and in any other academic library. The result would also help libraries in making proper security measures on the library materials, finally this work would serve as addition literature for those undertaking further studies on causes of crimes of library materials in Librarianship.

1.6     Scope of the study

This study covered the problem of the courses of crimes of information materials in Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University of Bauchi library. Also the study covered factors which give rise to the causes of theft and mutilation of information resources in the library. The effects of these on library services were also studied.

1.7     Operational Definition of Terms

Library crimes refers to:-

Specific act committed in violation of the library laws such as book theft, mutilation, vandalism, defacement of Infatuation Resources

Book theft refers to:-

The removal of book or any information materials illegally with or without the intention of returning it back to the library.

Mutilation refers to:-

The act of removing, defacing, imperfect, book through with oil, greasing hand, cutting some pages away, folding the edge, making with pen, under laying or writing across the pages of book in the library.







Afolabi F.O (1993) factors influencing book theft and mutilation among library users and staff in Nigeria. Focus 8(12). 24-40

Constantan Constantia (1995); Destruction of knowledge: A study of journal mutilation at large university, College and Research Libraries Pg.56,497,507

El-kanemi Herald, university of Maiduguri Ramat library, magazine Ruby anniversary edition 2012/2013.23

Longman dictionary (1995): dictionary of English. Accessed at on 26 September 2015 Directory,!p=library& s=services

Oni J.A (1984). Book theft in libraries-problems and solution. Lagos Librarian vol.1 & 2.


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