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1.1 Background to the Study

The key to every successful academic library organization is based on the job performance of its staff, which is made possible through their effective training and funds supports to make possible proper dissemination of information resources targeted to its clientele. Information resources changes the way of learning in which academic library users are no longer limited to what their lecturers impacts into them verbally. Instead, they have at their fingertips the opportunity to explore the world and take in vast amounts of information along the way. Learning resources such as Internet facilities, journals, library amongst other has been recognized by scholars through researches to be vital in improving performances both in the classroom and during examinations.

According to Aina (2004), the major objectives of the academic libraries are;

  1. To support the objectives of the university which are in the area of learning, teaching research and services.
  2. To provide materials that are needed for learning for all courses that maybe offered.
  3. To provide information sources for the purpose of extra-rural studies recreation, entertainment and general knowledge.

In meeting the objectives of academic libraries the need for serial materials which is essential because Information is better when current.The term serials and periodicals are synonymous, they are used interchangeably to refers to the materials imprint or non-print form that are produced serially or periodically. A serial material is defined as any publication issued in successive parts which are intended to be continued indefinitely. These publication may be issued in print, non-print, and/or electronic format. Common types of series includes abstracts and indexes almanacs and year book, newspapers, trade journals, popular magazines, or scholarly journals e.t.c.

Serials form the backbone of any academic library or research library because to its currency in information which means, they aid the dissemination of current information. Nwalo (2003), describe serials as publications issued in successive parts, at regular or irregular intervals and intended to be continued indefinitely. Nwalo listed serials materials to include; newspaper, magazines, newsletters, accessions, journals, indexes, abstract, reports proceedings and transactions of societies etc.  Out of them all, journals are the most important to researchers because much of articles therein are products of research and it may never appear in any other publications. Ogunrombi (1997) asserted that academic  and research libraries acquire, organize, store, retrieve and disseminate information contained in journals for researchers, educators, students and other interested persons in their various disciplines.

In line with this, Serial publications represent a most important reference source not only because of their sizes but also because they present other numerous values, which the book medium fails to offer. Perhaps their greatest value lies in the fact that they provide the newest and most nearly up-to-date information. Apart from announcing scientific discoveries and serving as avenues for the publication of scientific researches, research-in-progress, they are also a safeguard to researcher for sifting through the maze and an increased emphasis on access rather than ownership. Cook (2002) in his attempt to refresh and acquaint practitioner who need to become familiar with issues of collection management, avers that serials acquisition should be part of library’s annual budget.

To this end, library acquisition is the department of a library responsible for the selection and purchase of materials and resources.                                                                                            Imam et al. (2008) identified six channels or methods of acquiring library materials into the library, which include; purchase, exchange, gift, donations, bequest and legal deposit, professional association.

However, Agbadiuno C.P, Agbo A.D and onyekweodiri N.E (2015) stated that, Acquisition functions are generally located in the technical service divisions whose operations provide access to information in all its forms and formats. Acquisition process may include identifying and selecting materials for the library’ collection; pre-order searching to identify duplicate orders and to verify correct author and title as well as availability and price; ordering of materials from vendors or publishers; negotiating licensing agreements and contracts for electronic resources; claiming materials not delivered within the expected time frame; receiving materials; approving invoices for payments; physical processing such as ownership identification, security taping, and call number marking; binding; and preserving materials as needed.

Today, it has not been easy for serials librarians to acquire all the necessary information resources needed, Farrington (2000), he continued stating that the result of confusion and about over sources of information and acquisition idiosyncrasies on the part of book dealers. Even these materials are supplied, there is yet this problem of storage facilities and equipment to use. For library to achieve its objective effectively it must be able to co-ordinate both its human and materials resources properly,For effective access to and use of library materials including serials, proper management is essential

To this end management is the process of reaching organisational goals by working through people and other organisation resources. Management has the following two characteristics which are;

  1. It involves and concentrates on reaching organisational goals.
  2. It reaches these goals by working with and through people and other organizational resources.

Management processes the four basic management functions that make up the management process which are; planning, organizing, influencing, and controlling. Which are needed in library management which is a sub-discipline of institutional management that focuses on specific issues faced by libraries and management professionals.

According to Farrington, (2000) the effectiveness in the usage of serials depend on the efficiency of serials management in academic library. Serials have to be selected, acquired, stored, retrieve and disseminated to the users. This is where serial acquisition and management becomes indispensable, Thomas Adubika (2007) added that the sources of supply, bibliographic control as well as acquisition practices are not the same as those for monographic publications hence the need for proper management, most especially in the academic library environment where serials form a most important source of information to the researcher. He also stated that In spite of the unique value of serials and the very important roles they play in the operations of academic libraries, often poor results in management of serials collection which further results in loss of serials, existence of gaps in the collection and many other irregularities, the most frustrating of which is unmet requests. It is not unusual to witness a scenario where library patrons are unable to access serials which the library is known to have subscribed. In most cases, no satisfactory explanation could be offered for this parlous state, Adubika (2007).

Furthermore, Ugwuanyi (1998) stated that, in Nigeria, the main problem of acquisition is associated with the fact that most library materials are produced outside the country. The procurement of foreign books and other materials continually exposes Nigeria academic libraries to foreign exchange problems. He also identified some other basic problems of collection development in Nigeria academic libraries some of which include; under-developed book industries, censorship, poor funding,lack of managerial skills, lack of acquisition skills, lack of collection development policy, unavailability of bibliographies, government fiscal measures.

Woodward (1991) is of the opinion that acquisition and management of serials need skills as in any successfully manage business. It is a two way communication and clearly perceive task and understanding of the collection is a, must, he stressed that serial acquisition and management comprises all activities needs to facilitate and implement efficient and effective transfer of information to the potential users and thereby fulfill the objectives of the library wishes to achieve. Like any other concept, management evolves diverse memories in a variety ways.

In carrying the above functions, librarians are engaged in a continuous process of making decision. Acquisition and management is the beefing up the library stock and proper organizing and preserving of it, management is equivalent to decision making.

The goal of serial acquisition and management is to deliver promptly that serial literature, which the user needs. Librarians serving in academic libraries should realizing that researcher and users of the library require a wide range of knowledge. Realizing the complexity of the situation as well as the increasing trend towards publication in serial form, the selection and acquisition should be done on those information needs of the organization.


  • Background Information on John Harris Library Uniben

The University of Benin was founded in 1970. It started as an Institute of Technology and was accorded the status of a full-fledged University by National Universities Commission (NUC) on 1 July 1971. In his Budget Speech in April 1972, the then Military Governor of Mid-Western State, Col. S. O. Ogbemudia (then also Visitor to the University) formally announced the change of the name of the Institute of Technology to the University of Benin.

The university move to it’s permanent site at Uturu Okigwe in 1986 with the creation of Abia State from old Imo State in 1992, the Soul of Imo state university was reborn at Owerri in 1992.

The university’s main library, the John Harris Library, was named after the pioneer university librarian, Prof. John Harris, from New Zealand. The John Harris library began with the promulgation of this institute of technology edit in 1970. Clear provision had been made for the need of a library and the provision of textbook with the commencement of the first academic year which was scheduled to take off in October 1970 the late Mrs. P. Harris wife of the first university librarian who was then a consultant to the federal government of Nigeria was secure to draft a programe for the university planning committee Professor John Harris was appointed the first institutes librarian. While the temporary building was yet to be completed two classroom were provided for the assembly of furniture and equipment preliminary training of staff and looks the library was officially opened during the foundation day of the institute which harked its official opening.

John Harris Library is an ultra-modern building with central air conditioning. The building is designed to seat about 700 readers. It provides photocopying, duplicating, laminating and binding services. The library has been computerized. Installation of other modern information technology facilities is ongoing.

With the high increase in student population, the library has embarked on an expansion programme with the establishment of faculty libraries; the Ekehuan Road Campus Library, Medical Library, Law, Engineering and Pharmacy Library are functional. A John Harris Library extension is awaiting commissioning. The library participates in interlibrary co-operation among Nigerian academic libraries.

  • Statement of the Problem

Serial is the backbone of every academic library because of its indispensable nature as careers of current information on research findings in all fields of human endeavours. Therefore serials materials are acquired, organized, stored and display that users will make effective use of it.

It has been observed that proper acquisition and management of serials has advanced serials service delivery despite this, Ugwuanyi (1998) has noted several problems in the acquisition and management of serials in academic libraries which are; the procurement of foreign books and other materials continually exposes academic libraries to foreign exchange problems. He also identified some other basic problems of collection development in academic libraries some of which include; under-developed book industries, censorship, poor funding, lack of managerial skills, lack of collection development policy, lack of acquisition skills, unavailability of bibliographies, government fiscal measures. There is need for proper co-ordination and management of serials for serial sections of a library to serve its patrons effectively, therefore this necessitates the researcher out of curiosity to determine the problems that affect the effective management of serials in John Harris Library.

  • Objectives of the Study

The main objective of this work is to examine acquisition and management of serials in academic libraries in Edo State.

The specific objectives of this study are;

  1. To determine the serial materials acquired in the libraries.
  2. To find out how the serials are acquired.
  • Investigate how the serials are managed
  1. Find out the factors affecting effective acquisition of serials collections of the library
  2. To ascertain the factors that affects the acquisition and management of serials in the library.
    • Research Questions
  3. What are the kinds of serial materials acquired in the library?
  4. How are serials materials acquired and disseminated in the library?
  • The serial materials are managed in what way?
  1. What are the factors affecting effective acquisition of serials collections of the library?
  2. What are the factors that hinder effective management of serials collections of the library?
    • Scope of the Study

The study is limited to only the Nigerian section of John Harris Library. The researcher will cover such area as selection, acquisition, organization and storage, circulation and dissemination of information materials, funding, personnel, as well as management style of the serials department.

  • Significance of the Study

The John Harris Library is a federal owned organization. Like every other federal owned organization. After the researcher precious visit to the serial section of the library it was noted that It has been fraught with so many problems which are left unattended to over the years, as a result, there has been so much decay in the library as well as the library serials department (NIGERIAN). The information materials are so old and current materials are very rare. Serials rendered to clients are not the best and therefore not effective. These problem and more one what the researcher intends to investigate.

In discovering these problems, the investigator will also proffer valuable solutions to these problems.

It is expected that the study will be kind of blue print for other academic libraries that would like to establish a serial department. The researcher also hope that the work will be significance to people with task of managing serial collections of the library. It is also hope that study will be of immeasurable benefit to the following people via. libraries, librarians in training, universities, polytechnic or college of education planners, administrator, resources persons and pursuers of knowledge and learning.

  • Definitions of Terms

Serials: A serial is defined as a publication issued in successive part bearing numerical or chronological designation intended to be continue indefinitely, serials include periodical (Newspapers, magazines, journals and memo’s, proceeding transactions of societies, annual (report, year book and numbered monographic series).

Academic Libraries: These are libraries that cater for the teaching, research and recreational needs of students, lecturers, and non academic staff in institution of higher learning like polytechnics, universities, college of education and monotechnics etc.

Library Acquisition: Acquisition is the process on obtaining library materials to satisfy the need of users. It is also the process of obtaining books and other materials for the library, documentation centre or achieves.

Library Management: Library manager broadly defined includes all the things that go on from time a group of citizens establishes a library to serve it’s need to the moment that library does something which helps a citizen. The objectives of the institution and its methods, it facilities and personnel are involved.


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