THE PROBLEM AND PROSPECT OF REFERENCE SERVICES IN ACADEMIC LIBRARIES
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THE PROBLEM AND PROSPECT OF REFERENCE SERVICES IN ACADEMIC LIBRARIES
1.1 Background of the study
1.2 Statement of problem
1.3 Objective of the study
1.4 Research Hypotheses
1.5 Significance of the study
1.6 Scope and limitation of the study
1.7 Definition of terms
1.8 Organization of the study
2.0 LITERATURE REVIEW
3.0 Research methodology
3.1 sources of data collection
3.3 Population of the study
3.4 Sampling and sampling distribution
3.5 Validation of research instrument
3.6 Method of data analysis
DATA PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION
4.2 Data analysis
This study is on the problem and prospect of reference services in academic libraries. The total population for the study is 200 staff of university of Anambra State Uli Campus library. The researcher used questionnaires as the instrument for the data collection. Descriptive Survey research design was adopted for this study. A total of 133 respondents made of librarians, front desk, senior staff and junior staff were used for the study. The data collected were presented in tables and analyzed using simple percentages and frequencies
- Background of the study
Reference service is one of the essential services of the library. Meaning reference service is the activities, roles, functions and services rendered by the reference librarian constitute reference service. According to Prytherch, (2002) He states that: “reference service deal with the provision of reference work by library staff”. According to Ohio Library Council, (2005) Reference services is “A way for libraries to meet the needs of their user (clientele) communities”. Reference service involves instructing clients to operate independently and at own pace to uses electronic and print resources of the library, it also involved personal assistance given to the users to enable them meet their needs. James (2005) states that reference work started in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to respond to several forces and trends. In the next several decades from the 1930s through the 1950s, a new technology that provides, access to the library to a lager member and much wider variety of people was introduce. That technology is obviously, the telephone and the reference literature of the day speaks of its advantages but also its challenges. For example, having distinguished between “important questions coming in via the telephone those business men and involving important topics from less important” ones from club woman planning programs, context questions like should this service be centralized or dispersed? Should it be staffed differently from the desk? What information resources should be dedicated to it? And many more.
According to (ALA RUSA, 2008) reference service includes reference transactions and other activities that involve the creation, management, and assessment of information or research resources, tools and services. Creation and management of information resources includes the development and maintenance of research collections, research guide, catalogues, database, web-sites, search engines etc that patrons can use independently, in-house or remotely to satisfy their information needs. Assessment activities include the measurement and evaluation of reference work, resources and services. According to Esharenana, (2008) sees reference section as that section of library which provide a variety of services and perform functions necessary to assist the users including provision of information service on demand and in providing institution in the use of library, selected of documents and organization of reference materials. According to Obiora, (2004) states that reference sources are publications – book and non-book materials consulted only within the library for specific facts or definite piece of information on a subject. There are two types of reference sources, general reference sources which include Encyclopedia, Directories, Dictionaries, Yearbooks and Handbook while special or subject reference sources are Mathematics, Biology, and Library Science. According to Esharenana, (2008) states that reference question is a sentence, phrase or word posed by a patron to the reference librarian asking for information or assistance in order to meet the need. According to Ramum (2003) reference policy is regarded as a kind of set of plan and as a kind of framework within which reference staff and clienteles work. Ahi Rusa, (2003) states that a reference librarians is person that provides reference service. He should posses a wide range of intellectual interest, desire to assist the patrons, flair for organizing documents ability to search literature and adequate knowledge of the library and external resources. According to Scott (2007) is public service counter where professional librarian provide library users with direction on how to make use of library materials, advise on library collection and services and expertise on multiple kinds of information from multiple sources. According to Anderson (2005) digital reference is a service and the reference transaction is a computer mediated communication.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The aim of this study is to critically analyze the problems and prospect towards the services in the reference section and equally to view the problems that have prevented it from executing effectively and efficiently the bibliographical functions in the library. One observes that the very rapid expansion of our reference sources have reached a stage of concern. One finds that the library does not tackle the problem of acquisition of up-to-date reference materials like journals to keep the clienteles (students and lecturers even the parent institution) abreast of the new trends in their various field of study. Development of the reference collection and organization which effect in the backbone of a reference eservice should also be looked into. A maximum attention would equally be paid to the relevance of the exiting services, to see how it meet the needs of the patrons, because the effective use of these materials depends on the services provided by the reference personnel or librarians.
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The purpose of this study is to know the problems and prospect of reference services. Therefore the researcher will be able to find out the following purposes:
- To know if the reference section of the academic library is well organized.
- To know if there reference services are being rendered in line with other reference services in other libraries.
iii. To identify the strength and weakness of the library’s reference collection because any effective reference service may not be feasible without an appropriate and adequate reference collection.
- To enable the researcher carry out the findings so that to make recommendation for effective reference services in the library.
1.4 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
For the successful completion of the study, the following research hypotheses were formulated by the researcher;
H0: the reference section of the academic library is not well organized.
H1: the reference section of the academic library is well organized.
H02: there is strength of the library’s reference collection because any effective reference service may not be feasible without an appropriate and adequate reference collection.
H2: the is weakness of the library’s reference collection because any effective reference service may not be feasible without an appropriate and adequate reference collection
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
- This study will lay on the reference services in academic library users.
- It will provide useful information on how reference services are being searched by the users.
- It demonstrates to library staff the feelings of its clientele towards the type of reference materials they provide for them.
- The recommendation to the made will be the one that if implemented will enhance an effective reference information services of the library to its user.
- To enable adequate access to the materials be the library users.
1.6 SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
This study is restricted to the university of Anambra State Uli Campus library. The reference services rendered to the users are deeply discussed. Reasonable conclusion and recommendation was made because of limited time and space placed on this research, make it impossible to evaluate in details everything about the problems and prospect of Anambra State University reference library section. Only activities performed in the library and the general overview of their statistical record and their reference materials have been look into. The quality of staff was also evaluated, the nature of their work and services towards their users. The researcher encounters some constrain which limited the scope of the study;
- a) AVAILABILITY OF RESEARCH MATERIAL: The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study
- b) TIME: The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.
- c) Organizational privacy: Limited Access to the selected auditing firm makes it difficult to get all the necessary and required information concerning the activities.
1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Reference Services: According to Ala, (2008) reference service involves reference activities that include the creation, management and assessment of information, research resources, tools and services. Creation and management of information resources include the development and maintenance of research collections, catalogues, research guides, databases, web-sites, search engines etc. So that patrons can use independently to satisfy their information needs. Therefore reference is seems to be an act of documenting important materials for future use while services is the ability to make sure that reference section is functioning effectively. It deals with provision of reference work by library staff.
PROBLEM: A matter or situation regarded as unwelcome or harmful and needing to be dealt with and overcome
PROSPECT: (sometimes pl) a probability or chance for future success, esp as based on present work or aptitude: a good job with prospects. 2. a vision of the future; what is foreseen; expectation: she was excited at the prospect of living in London, unemployment presents a grim prospect.
LIBRARY: A library is a collection of sources of information and similar resources, made accessible to a defined community for reference or borrowing.
1.8 ORGANIZATION OF THE STUDY
This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows
Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), historical background, statement of problem, objectives of the study, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope and limitation of the study, definition of terms and historical background of the study. Chapter two highlights the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature. Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding. Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study.