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1.1 Background to the Study

Fundamental areas responsible for the dwindling educational standards and fortunes in our educational system today especially at the secondary school level is the area of library education and library service utilization among our pupils, as the. The mission of  libraries are to provide timely, accurate, current, and reliable information to their users. Olowu (2004) posited that “librarians are devoted to improving access to information and satisfying the user’s information needs”. “There is a growing recognition in library services, particularly in public libraries, as an integral part of the national socio-economic development and improvement of the general quality of life” (Kibat, 1990). Libraries have an important role in the advancement of knowledge. “This role can be effectively carried out with well-structured and well-planned library services, which include the packaging and repackaging of information” (Iwhiwhu, 2008).

A public library is therefore a library that offers services to the public free of charge and it also provides educational, social and political information to people in a particular community. Generally, public libraries are accepted as a public good. In the words of Olanlokun and Salisu (1993), public libraries are libraries set up to provide free but traditional “service to everyone”. A public library is an organization established, supported and funded by the community, either through local, regional or national government or through some other form of community organization. It provides access to knowledge, information and works of the imagination through a range of resources and services and is equally available to all members of the community regardless of race, nationality, age, gender, religion, language, disability, economic and employment status and educational attainment.

A public library serves the community and is generally referred to as a layman’s library or university.  The public library, the local gateway to knowledge, provides a basic condition for lifelong learning, independent decision-making and cultural development of the individual and social groups.’

Public libraries are a world-wide phenomenon. They occur in a variety of societies, in differing cultures and at different stages of development. In 1953, the Federal Government of Nigeria with the help of UNESCO organized the first regional seminar on the development of public libraries in the various regions of Nigeria with the following objectives (Edoka, 2000):

  1. creating and strengthening reading habits in children from early age;
  2. supporting both individual and self -conducted education as well as formal;

iii. providing opportunities for personal creative development;

  1. stimulating the imagination and creativity of children and young adults;
  2. promoting awareness of cultural and appreciation of the arts, scientific achievement and innovations;
  3. providing access to cultural expressions of all performing arts;

vii. fostering intercultural difference and favoring cultural diversity;

viii. supporting oral tradition;

  1. ensuring access for citizens to all sorts of community information;
  2. providing adequate information services to local enterprises, associations and interests groups
  3. facilitating the development of information and computer literacy skills and;

xii. supporting and participating in literacy activities and programmes for all age group and initiating such activities if necessary.

Oderinde (1980) affirmed that the “foundation of Nigeria’s public libraries services was laid by non-Nigerians, and with funds from abroad”. It was only in 1950s that the government of the Federation of Nigeria started to encourage library development. It was argued that the UNESCO seminar on development of public libraries in Africa held at the University College, Ibadan in August 1953 was the starting point. The Ibadan UNESCO seminar focused and highlighted on organizing public libraries on Regional or National scale, provision, selection and use of publication and audio-visual materials in African public libraries and on professional training for public libraries services.

The public library was established to provide materials, which communicate experience and ideas from one person to another and make them easily and freely available to all people. The public library is a local Centre of information that makes all kinds of knowledge and information readily available to its users. It is established, supported and funded by the community, either through local, regional or national government or through some other form of community organizations. It provides access to knowledge, information and works of imagination through a range of resources and services. It is equally available to all members of the community regardless of race, nationality, age, gender, religion, language, disability, employment status and educational attainment (Aboyade, 1984).

People in all works of life use the public library resources, facilities and services. These users include pupils, students, teachers, scholars, scientists, business executives, government officials and even dropouts. Large numbers of people also turn to public libraries to satisfy their desire for knowledge or to obtain materials for some kind of leisure-time activities. The public library is essentially a medium of education. In fact, the various roles, which the public library could play to ensure the realization of national development in Nigeria, include the following: Provision of information for planning, Provision of educational, information and facilities, Provision of political information, Undertaking Researches, Provision of economic documents and Organization of enlightment programmes.

Use of information resources refers to the extent to which users make use of the resources of a library to meet their information needs. Buckland (1975) identified ‘use’ as an activity which measures the worth of an item to a library or information system. Use is the single criterion, which could be used to determine the reason for retaining a document within the collection of a library; and use is essential in guiding the collection development effort of a library. The use of a library can be obtained from the demand of its items. The library tries to meet the needs of its users who may not be satisfied with the output they are getting from the system. The package or item provided to the user may not satisfy these needs. All these are problem that could possibly emanate from the use of a library with the aim to address them.

Public information centers should be designed to serve actual need as well as anticipation to meet these actual needs. Public libraries specialists must be technically and professional trained. Information therefore, is an important ingredient in all human endeavor and human survival in any society. Information today is a commodity, package and sold at obtainable price. It is regarded as vital source that must be made to achieve  organization goals and management option in survival technique.

The objective of the Public library is to utilize and maximize the exposure of the user to the library resources. Ray (2004) remark that the library should be organized to utilize the effort required by users to access the needed information as soon as possible when the need arises. Public libraries should be involved in the provision of all kinds of information resources for the use of their client because they play a vital role in transmission of knowledge that could be impacted because it is a way of providing the users with a totaling formation environment with the development of science and technology. The record of man’s achievement come in a wide varieties of forms each equally varied, each capable of giving information in its own unique way

and even complementing the other. Normally, it is information that the library client look for and not the library building.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

There is a general belief that reading culture is on a decline in Nigeria. It is not an overstatement to say that  reading culture is dying every day. Reading has become a burden to most students and their academic achievement have continued to remain poor. This has become a major challenge in the academic sector. It is observed by the researcher that students with poor reading skills receive poor grades at school, get easily distracted, frustrated, have behavioral problems, seem to dislike school, and often fail to develop their potentials. Similarly it is observed that Various research have been carried out on the use and utilization of academic libraries but little has been carried out on the use of public library resources. The public Library has great and significant roles which it should be made to play to ensure effective reading among students.. It has been observed that from all indications that students at all levels have poor study habit which might lead to poor academic performance. In recent years several works have been carried out on use of public library resources by secondary school students but none has been carried out on the resources available in public library, the services rendered by public library, frequency of use of public library by secondary school students, the information literacy skills of the secondary school students using public library and the resources used previously in public library by secondary school students. Hence this study is aimed at addressing this gap.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

            The main aim of this study is to examine the use of public library resources by secondary school pupils. The specific objectives are

  1. To determine the resources available in public library.
  2. To study the services rendered by public library.
  3. To determine the frequency of use of public library by secondary school students.
  4. To determine the information literacy skills of secondary school students using public library

 1.4 Research Questions

  1. What are the resources available in public library?
  2. What are the services rendered by public library?
  3. What is the frequency of use of public library by secondary school students?
  4. What is the information literacy skills of secondary school students using public library?

1.5 Scope of the Study

            This study focused on a study of the use of public library resources by secondary school students in Esan West local Government Edo State.

1.6  Significance of the Study

It is hoped that this  study will be of immense importance to students, scholars and the society at large

To students It will encourage them to patronize public libraries, and cultivate a good reading habit which in turn, will help to address students’ poor achievement.

Findings of this study will help the people and students to have a rethink and be more conscious on Using Public Libraries Findings of this study will kindle a new zeal in the people towards promoting literacy through the use of Public libraries.



1.7 Operational definition of terms

Library: A collection of sources of information and similar resources made accessible to a defined community for reference and borrowing.

Literacy: The quality or state of being literate

Students: A person studying in any institution of learning

School: An Institution of Learning

Public: Something open to people in general

Public Library: A public library is a library that is accessible by the general public

Resources: Stock of materials and other assets that can be drawn on by a person or organization in order to function effectively.

Secondary School Pupils: A student or learner who attends a secondary school

Library resources:  These are Stock of materials and sources of information found in the library

Use: The value or advantage of something


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