TITLE PAGE I
APPROVAL PAGE II
CERTIFICATION PAGE III
TABLE OF CONTENTS V
LIST OF TABLE VI
Background of the Study 13
Purpose of study 14
Research questions 14
CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
CHAPTER TWO: REVIEW OF LITERATURE
Conceptual Framework Concept of University Library 17
Users of University Library 19
Concept of Library Aesthetics 20
Concept of Influence 31
Concept of Library Patronage 36
Need for adherence of Library Aesthetics 39
Problems Affecting Library Aesthetics Influence on Users’ Patronage 40
Strategies for Enhancing Library Aesthetics influence on users’ patronage 42
Review of the Empirical Studies 45
Literature Review 49
CHAPTER THREE: RESEARCH METHOD 51
Design of the Study 51
Area of the Study 51
Population of the Study 52
Sample and Sampling Technique 52
Instrument of Data Collection 53
Validation of Instrument of Data Collection 54
Method of Data Collection 54
Method of Data Analysis 55
CHAPTER FOUR: RESULTS 56
CHAPTER FIVE: DISCUSSION OF FINDINGS, IMPLICATION OF THE
STUDY, RECOMENDATION AND CONCLUSION 75
Discussion of Findings, Recommendations and Conclusion 75
Implications of the Study 84
Suggestions for Further Research 87
Appendix 1: Distribution of Population of the Study 100
Appendix 2: Distribution and Return of questionnaire 101
Appendix 3: Influence of Library Aesthetics on Users’ Patronage Questionnaire 100
Appendix 4: Observation Checklist 107
LIST OF TABLES
- Retract of the observation checklist on the availability of library aesthetics 56
- Mean rating of responses on the available aesthetic facilities that attract and Fascinate users to patronize the library 57
- Mean rating of responses on the influence of library aesthetics on users’ educational purpose of library use 60
- Responses on the influence of library aesthetics on users’ library service purpose of using the library 62
- Mean rating of respondents on the influence of library aesthetics on users’ social and entertainment interest of library use 64
- Response on library users’ perception on the influence of library aesthetics facilities and design features 66
- Mean rating of responses on the impressions users’ have on the aesthetic consideration on the design of the library 68
- Mean rating of responses on the problems affecting library aesthetics in SEN university libraries 70
- Responses on the strategies of enhancing the library aesthetics in SEN university libraries 72
This study was designed to investigate the influence of library aesthetics on users’ patronage of federal university libraries in South-East Nigeria. The study was carried out as a result of the decline in university library patronage; which could be attributed to the influence of internet on access and retrieval of information resources and the emergence of various information providers. Descriptive survey research design was employed for the study. The population consisted of twenty-four thousand, two hundred and sixty three (24,263) registered library users. The sample size was three hundred and eighty-eight (388). Eight specific objectives and research questions guided the study. Sixty- eight items questionnaire titled Influence of Library Aesthetes on Users’ Patronage Questionnaire (ILAUPQ) was used for instrument for data collection. Observation checklist was also adopted in finding out the available library aesthetics facilities in the libraries. Mean scores and standard deviation were used to analyze the data. Findings derived from the observation checklist were discussed in the interpretation of table. The results of data analyzed revealed that: available library aesthetics facilities such as; ventilation, signage, lightning, art drawing; interior and exterior decoration attracts and fascinates users to patronize the library; library aesthetics influences users’ educational purpose of library patronage; users’ library services consultation are being influenced by library aesthetics; there are few social library aesthetics facilities to influence users to frequently patronize the library for social and entertainment activities; users’ perception of library aesthetics and design features influences their patronage; the aesthetic considerations embedded on the design of the library were regarded very impressive, attractive inspiring and desirable for library use by library users; the major problems affecting library aesthetics influence on users’ patronage are: lack of or poor maintenance, non refurbishment and renovation of the libraries, use of inferior and substandard materials amongst others; and the strategies to enhance library aesthetics influence of users’ patronage are use of standard aesthetic materials in library construction; proper maintenance of the aesthetics facilities, and aesthetic consideration in the design of the library. Respondents affirmed that these strategies are applicable to enhancing library aesthetics. The degree of influence of library aesthetics on users’ patronage is on “agree” level. It is based on the above findings that the following recommendations were made: the library building should be renovated and refurbished aesthetically to appeal to the taste and attraction of users; aesthetic consideration should be implemented in designing new library buildings or renovation of old ones; proper measures for maintenance of the library aesthetics facilities should be adopted; adequate fund should be allocated to beautify the library; standard and modern library aesthetics facilities should be put in place in the library, and finally, the library aesthetics should be used as a marketing gimmick to earn frequent users’ patronage.
Background of the Study
Library aesthetics is a tool that could be harnessed to attract users to frequently visit the library to make use of information resources, consult library services and engage in other social and recreational activities. There is need to find out if the look of the library could have influence on users’ library patronage in academic institutions.
An academic library is the central nervous system of a tertiary institution. They are established with the prime objective to provide information resources and information services to back up her academic programmes. It is the hub or centre of information resources and information services for members of the tertiary institution. An academic library is the principal agent of the tertiary institution in the conservation and dissemination of knowledge. Proper fulfillment of these roles by academic libraries provides sound basis for the transmission and advancement of knowledge. Freeman (2005) opined that academic libraries significantly serves as the principal building on academic campuses where one can truly experience and benefit from the centrality of the institutions’ intellectual community. For these responsibilities saddled on the academic library, Oyewumi, Oladapo & Adegun (2013) categorically stated that the academic health, intellectual vitality and effectiveness of these educational institutions in producing high quality graduates for the labour market depend largely on the quality of information resources available in their libraries. According to Mason (2010) an academic library has the mission to build and maintain a collection that will support and enhance the instructional needs of the institution. Academic libraries are categorised into three, namely: university libraries, polytechnic libraries and colleges of education libraries.
A university library is established to carry the onus of providing and making accessible information resources of various mediums to members of the university community who are the library users; and to provide effective and efficient information services to enhance their information needs. The university library is a service institution that exists in order to enable users to make the most effective use of the resources and services (Ofodile & Ifijeh, 2013). The university library is the heart and lifeline of the learning environment for fostering lifelong learning. A university library by her nature is expected to acquire, process into retrievable form, and make available the much needed information in the academic community and the public at large who may require them for their various teaching and research activities (Popoola, 2008). As Huake and Werner (2013, p.1) affirmed that “libraries as gateways for knowledge are particularly responsible not only for disseminating the idea of sustainability but also for leading by example and thus serving as exemplars.” The information needs of the university library users are dependent on the professional efficiency of the university library in offering effective library services and making their relevant information resources (manual, digital and electronic) available and accessible at the time of need. The university library supports the users (academic staff, researchers and students) in their research and learning activities; therefore it is her onus to grant them access to information materials and services of the library.
University library users’ are those who visit the library to make use of her reading and studying space; consult and utilize its collections, patronize the various services offered by the library and also engage in other social activities. The library users are a composite of members of the tertiary institutions that owns the library. The users include: undergraduate students, postgraduates students, academic and non academic staff of the parents institution, the university alumni members and members of the institutions’ community. Library users are the rationale behind the establishment of university libraries; because satisfying their various information needs is the priority and onus of university library staff. The term “user” encompasses various terms such as: patrons; clientele, client, information users, information seekers, consumers, readers etc; thus the term can be used interchangeably (Anyira, 2011).
Users’ patronage of the services the university library offers and their frequent visitation to the library justifies the essence of establishing the university library and the huge fund being allocated to the library by the parent institution. Suffice it to state that without the users the library existence is worthless, there would be no justification of the huge fund being allocated yearly to the library. Users come to the library with various needs having optimistic expectation to have them satisfied by the library staff. Harbo and Hansen (2012) categorically stated that on the other hand we are not always certain of the needs of our users. If libraries want to improve the way they serve their users’ needs, they must innovate their services, facilities and courses by building upon what you could call ‘user logic’ and not upon classical ‘library logic’.” ‘User logic’ is that which is meaningful for the user instead of what is traditionally meaningful for a library.
At the design stage of the library, aesthetics and beauty features should be given much consideration to attract frequent users’ patronage. According to Nwalo (2003) the library user is undisputedly the most important person in any library setting. He went further to define the library user as anybody who visits the library with the purpose of exploiting its resources to satisfy his/her information need. In his view, Aina (2004) sees the term “user” to include all those who avail themselves the services offered by a library. He further stated that the library user is the focal point to the 21st century library and information services, as the library primarily exist to satisfy the user. For too long, we have expected students to visit the library because they have to, without making an effort to make their experiences satisfying and productive (Fawley 2012).
Library users deserve conducive, comfortable and convivial learning and studying space that is aesthetical, tasteful and appealing. A space that makes them convenient, relaxed (in fact inducing in the feeling of home away from home) and entertained during patronage. Users’ library visit or patronage is very essential to sustain the university library existence. The physical library building serves as the centre of information services and source for the library users. Oyedum (2011) opined that for effective use of university libraries to be achieved, they should not only provide and preserve information materials for all categories of users but should endeavour to keep the reading environment inviting and attractive. University library users on daily basis visit the library building for various educational purposes (research, reading, group discussion, doing of assignment etc); to consult the library services and also for social and entertainment activities. The library building houses the library collections and the library staff.
Library buildings are significant and plays important role in attracting users to the library. The design and look of the library building could determine users’ convenience in patronizing the library. As a “temple of scholarship,” the library building as a place assumed an almost sanctified role, reflected both in its architecture and in its sitting (Freeman, 2005). A place that performs such services and roles in a university community should be an edifice that is conducive and comfortable to users. It should be a building or place where users can feel at ease when using it; as it provides them with a sense of security because users of university libraries spend considerable hours in the library building reading, browsing, researching and studying, leisure and social activities. Therefore, the library ought to be a building that takes users’ needs uppermost in its design and construction (Ibrahim and Sokiyo, 2015).
The design of the library building is significant to attracting frequent library usage. Great design embedded on the library building plays important role in fascinating users’ interest to frequently patronize the library; more so in this digital age or digital information environment, where information is accessible at any place and time. Knirk (1999) stated that “a well designed library building will support its users by addressing a broad spectrum of issues that include occupant issues such as comfortable environment; adequate lighting, temperature and noise control”. The design of the library building should be embodied with aesthetic considerations that appeals to the taste of library users. Naser (2016) noted that Jerry Gager an AU architect stated that “it is difficult to overestimate the importance of a university’s positive use of physical space. The combination of innovative well-designed building and equally prepared grounds adds to a user’s academic experience at the university and it’s beneficial to all the community populace”. Suffice it to relate this to the users’ perception of an aesthetically designed library with library aesthetics facilities put in place with aim to enhance users’ aesthetics experience.
Library aesthetics entails creating a beautiful library that is classy, adoring and tasteful for the users. Library aesthetics is the philosophy of beauty, design features of the library or more broadly as that together with the philosophy of art. Library aesthetics is an important aspect of library design and look. The aesthetical look of the library is a strategy of making users’ visit memorable and inspiring. Library aesthetics covers questions such as; what is beauty? What makes the library beautiful? Even though beauty is not a subject which attracts uniformity of opinion, but definitely, the look of the library does matter. Therefore, academic libraries could learn and redefine their library aesthetics and design features based on this notion. Jack (2004) noted that in recent years, design has emerged even more as a hot topic, and libraries that break a new ground aesthetically draw a great deal of attention in professional publications as well in the mainstream press. She went further noting that attention has been paid to the notion that library buildings can affect their user, and many recent articles described new and redesigned libraries focus on the feelings the buildings invoke in the patrons.
Library aesthetics entail creating a library user friendly environment; it has to do with the furnishing, beautification and exhibition of the library. Ugwuanyi, Okwor & Ezeji (2011) stated that aesthetics is an important factor in the library building. New library buildings should pay attention to the expression of beauty as representing knowledge and culture. This idea is shown in the combination of such aspect as exterior look, interior layout, artistic design and natural environment; these make the library environment attractive and inviting to users. University library requires physical facilities as part of its design and decoration. Oyedum (2011) identified physical facilities as one of the environmental factors that could influence the students’ use of library. He further noted that university libraries are expected to provide conducive reading chairs and tables as well as bright lighting system in order to encourage and enhance learning and research. According to Ibrahim & Sokiyo (2015) aesthetics facilities are those items in academic libraries that add to the beauty and attractiveness of library usage in terms of indoor and outdoor environment, such as good landscaping; colour, interior decoration, lightning, ventilation, temperature and signage/direction.
The library building design determines and influences users’ impression, perception and appreciation of the library, in a manner that attracts and fascinates them to frequently patronize the library. For this reason, Fawley (2012) stated that great design, clear signage, and a focused identity can do so much to make a library users’ visit satisfactory. She further noted that creating safe and clean environment that is easy to navigate with well-designed spaces and clear and concise signage is something that can done on a small or large budget. Paying attention to your library’s appearance can go a long way to enhance a patrons’ experience.
It is important to pay attention to the experience (positive or negative) users have when they visit the library. It serves as determinant factor of users’ reliance on the library for their information needs. Academic library users’ aesthetics experience has to do with the experiences that they engage with art and beauty of the library (King, 2006). It is difficult to dismiss concerns about appearance as frivolous; we daily make decisions based on how something or someone looks. Although the aesthetics of a library cannot be separated from its function, one can look at the reading rooms much more like one can look at art installations (Dominiczak, 2014). Aesthetic appearance of a phenomenon attracts attention, therefore the university library should create user friendly environment, full of glamour and splendour that attracts the patronage of the users’ community. LaGuardia (2013) confirmed that libraries now built or renovated are changing their spaces to suit actual user needs, as well as the needs of the library to do its work (aesthetics and functionality). That is the aesthetics (design and beauty) that would obviously have impact on the quantity and quality of user patronage and utilizations.
Library aesthetics is considered to centre on the above latter-day developments and attractiveness of the library structure. McDonald (2006) stated that an increasing diversity of imaginative new academic libraries are being constructed around the world; that successfully combines exciting architectural expression, inspiring internal spaces and good functionality. He recommended that library managers must have strong vision for the new library and this should inspire design of the whole library building. The aesthetics (beauty, glamour, attractiveness, conspicuousness, decoration and design) of the library should be fascinating to the user like in the gallery. Lushinton (2002) noted that individuals use libraries, and as such libraries should be designed with individuals in mind, and with widest spectrum of taste. There is need to reduce barriers to the library user on patronage such as bad design of facilities and buildings. Clee and Macquire (1993) noted that the total environment is made up of many different factors and that anyone of these factors could potentially influence the users’ perception of the library patronage. To enhance users’ aesthetic experience, they recommended better building, better lightning, and fresher atmosphere, more seating and quieter library (acoustics).
Generally, the traditional interest of beauty or aesthetics itself broadened in the 18th century to include sublime. Since 1950, the number of pure aesthetics concepts discussed in the literature has expanded even more. Even though, Zangwill (2014) argued that “the 20th century was not kind to the notions of beauty or the aesthetic” as beauty itself embodies qualities of both the beautiful and the ugly. The term or concept “aesthetics” was first used by a German Philosopher called Alexander Baumgartner. It refers to those principles governing the nature and appreciation of beauty. Aesthetic deals with appearance in a beautiful and attractive nature. It deals with the subconscious feeling of admiration of the look and presentation of a phenomenon. Aesthetics Kurraz (2016) stated that aesthetics is one of the most openly creative and flexible human theories that study the aesthetic values of beauty and taste. He further stated that the aesthetic images and artistic structures of beauty in literature emerge between the recipient and the aesthetic space that embraces the aesthetic values and aesthetic experience. Aesthetics is a concept that relates to the beauty in both nature and art, as something that enlivens or invigorates both body and mind, awakening the senses (Cawthon and Moere, 2007). Aesthetics needs to be embedded not only on the library building, but also on the library physical environment or surrounding to invigorate positive perception of users on the library in order to earn their frequent patronage.
The university library surrounding or physical environment plays important role in stimulating users’ special interest on the university library by considering her as one of the best places to spend the day in the university. Affirmatively, Amusa and Iyoro (2013) averred that the design of a library can influence users’ behaviour and satisfaction; in the same way that the physical environment and organisation of a library can. Library environment ought to be a favourable or positive influence on the objectives of establishing the library. Ogbonna and Okenyi (2006) noted that the environment of academic libraries have undergone changes resulting from lack of financial resources, poor architectural designs, climatic conditions and the rising wave of technologies. They went further to note that the environment of the library has moved from the aesthetic beauty, the architectural designs etc, to the development and use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for the organisation of libraries. Okiilu and Otike (2016, p.10) stress that the “environmental ambiance is considered important. This includes anything that may impact on any of the five senses of sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste. It includes landscape, architecture, interior layout and decor; lighting, air quality and temperatures, and human relationships and interactions.”
The university library environment ought to be a convivial and welcoming space to the library users. A space designed to motivate the information, teaching, research and learning seeking behaviour of the users. The environment of the library should be space that prioritises the taste and desirability of users. For this reason, Sannwald (1998) advocated for library atmospherics, which is the manipulation of the physical environment of the library to stimulate emotional responses of users; this is aimed at improving the library environment in order to earn and secure frequency of users’ library patronage. According to Wikipedia, “atmospheric variables includes colour schemes, acoustics, ventilation, lighting, electronic support, furniture, upholstery and shelving fixtures, while the exterior atmospheric variable includes walkways, landscaping and parking spaces.” Library atmospherics are important in making the library convivial, welcoming, beautiful and tasteful to the library users on their patronage. It is worthy to state that these atmospheric variables and library aesthetics facilities are one and the same thing. Library aesthetics is required to encourage users’ patronage of the library.
entails library users visit to the library to consult its information
resources; and the services that it offers to in order to satisfy their
information needs. Patronage entails
that one party offers something that the other party desires; and the desiring
party comes to get that thing. In essence, the library offers information
services that the users desire; thus, they patronize the library by coming to
the library to seek for the services, in order to satisfy their needs. Even
though the influence and implementation of information and communication
technology (ICT) in library practices enables users to remotely patronize the
services of the library, there is need also to influence their patronage of the
physical library services. The university library has the mandate to strategize
and adopt workable modalities to ensure users’ frequent patronage.
The range of services offered, and the aesthetics (the philosophy of beauty) embedded on the library environment plays significant role in attracting users’ patronage to the library. McDonald (2006) confirmed that universities have continued to build new library buildings designed to encourage learning and inspire research. He further recommended that the design must meet the legal requirements for access by those with disabilities and learning deficiencies not least because good design for disabled people is generally good design for the able-bodied. Navarro (2016) averred that the same core concepts that drive the aesthetics of the “Library Zone,” drive the visual design of information literacy instruction. Visually pleasing, aesthetic design is an important part of the human experience through colours, font, and design; they all have a marked impact on behaviour and emotion of users. Librarians need to think and design universally in the 21st century to reach the greatest number of library users.
There is need to beautify the library to attract users’ frequent patronage. The library landscape should portray good learning space. The paintings should portray expertise choice of attractive colour that is tasteful and adoring. The interior decoration should adopt the modern trends in architectural design. The library lightning should be adoring with pricey lightning facilities; and which much consideration and implementation of natural lightning of the library, because natural lightning adores reading and learning. The library should have conducive ventilation; interpretative and meaningful artistry drawings on the walls, and lucid and easy to decipher signage/wayfinding tools. Ifidon & Ifidon (2007) opined that mistakes of wrong location of toilet; walls, poor ventilation and vulnerable staircases and exit will remain with the library staff and readers for many years to come, and this will affect utilization and patronage and render collections unworthy of the time, energy and money spent in acquiring them. But with all the aforementioned aesthetic features put in place in the library, users’ frequent patronage would be influenced positively.
Influence entails the effect, stimulation and arousal that a phenomenon has on another phenomenon. It is the ability of a thing/being to manipulate the subconscious feeling, behavior, perception and acceptance or rejection of another thing/being. Influence could be negative or positive. According to Oxford English Dictionary, influence is the capacity to have an effect on the character; development, or behavior of someone or something, or affect itself. Butterfied (2012) stated that when one takes control of their message; and of how they want to be perceived by other people, it’s empowering.” Therefore, academic libraries can learn and redefine their library appearance based on his advice. Library aesthetics influences the library users as confirmed by Ali, Almomani & Hindeih (2009) that indoor environment quality is also highlighted to be of importance in any building, not just library. This is because any defect in poor design of building, poor layout, building materials etc can have negative influence on human health, comfort and performance.
In order to positively influence and achieve frequent users’ patronage of libraries, LaGuardia (2013) recommended the following: i. Build libraries in a perfect world to attract user patronage. ii. Build libraries that people can use and use easily. iii. Build libraries that draw people to them. iv. Modern architecture building design must be considered in erecting a library building which the exterior decoration should be one that attracts users, flowers and sit outs and corridors. v. Build libraries that bring people together even if they want to make individual use of services and space. vi. Build libraries that help users achieve a sense of belonging, intellectual activity, productivity, serenity, curiosity and community. vii. Build libraries that balance aesthetics with practical. Freeman (2005) observed that the same user behaviour is common to most academic libraries. As a result, when planning academic libraries, it is imperative for the design team to incorporate quiet, comfortable, and adequate space for study and learning.
Through tasteful aesthetic facilities and great design of the library, users’ library patronage would be a wonderful aesthetic experience. Attractive and appealing aesthetic implementation on the library building (exterior and interior) would constantly entice library users to visit the library frequently. Yelewa and Baba (2002) and Abdullahi (2009) discovered that in recent years, university libraries have been witnessing low patronage by users’ community, this low patronage or under utilization has been ascribed to other things to include inadequate space and condition of library building. For libraries to retain their customers/users, it should create the best library atmospherics that would appeal to users’ taste. There is need to refurbish the library with the optimal objective to positively influence users’ perception and appreciation of the library existence and services. Therefore, this research work is being conducted to discover the influence that library aesthetics have on library users’ patronage.
South-East zone of Nigeria has five federal universities that have libraries, namely: Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike (MOUAU) in Abia State, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka (NAU) in Anambra state, University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) in Enugu state, Federal University, Ndufu-Alike (FUNAI) in Ebonyi state, Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO) in Imo state. Each of these universities libraries operates from their permanent library building and branch libraries. The library buildings have good architectural structures especially, Nnamdi Azikiwe Library in UNN that has the largest library structure in West Africa, and Prof. Festus Nwako Library in NAU. Library structures in south-east Nigeria are designed aesthetically and constructed with library aesthetics facilities. Observation shows the existence of aesthetics facilities embedded on the libraries, such as: lightning even though natural lightening is lacking in some of the libraries, signage/direction, interior and exterior decoration, good floor plans, furniture (shelves, seats, cabinets etc), elegant colour paintings, acoustic, landscape and ventilation are not in good condition to appeal to users’ taste, as observed in Nnamdi Azikiwe Library that natural light was not considered during its design, resulting to the library reading being darkened during power outage.
Further, observation showed that some of some of these libraries lack aesthetic qualities, as functionality was considered most in the library design.