Background of the Study
Communication is the act of conveying information for the purpose of creating a shared understating. It is something that humans do every day. It includes verbal, non-verbal and electronic means of interaction (Ojobor and Sheriff 2005). The electronic means through which humans interact or communicate with one another is known as telecommunication. Telecommunication according to Houghton, (2007) is the science and technology of communication at a distance by electronic transmission of impulses by telegraph, cable, telephone, radio or television. Besides, Hornby, (2005) defines it as the technology of sending signals, images and messages over long distances by radio, telephone, television, satellite etc. Again, Divilbiss (1984) sees telecommunication as electronic transmission of voice, data and video information from one person to another. Moreover, he states that telecommunication includes all physical equipments, software; and procedures used in transmitting and receiving information. Based on the above definitions, one can equally define telecommunication as a worldwide transmission of information or knowledge from one person to another within or outside a geographical area through the aid of electronic devices such as telephone, radio, television, computers, and internet etc.
Telecommunication is an aspect of Information and Communication Technology (ICT). This is because all telecommunication facilities such as telephone, radio, television, computer, internet, videotext, telex, satellite phone etc are ICTs facilities; while some ICTs facilities such as scanner, photocopying machine, printer etc are not telecommunication facilities. In view of this, Spomega (2011) maintained that Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is a general term that stresses the role of unified communication and the integration of telecommunication. Furthermore, he emphasized that Information and Communication Technology (ICT) consist of Information Technology (IT) as well as telephony (telecommunication), and all types of audio and video processing transmission and network base control and monitoring function. It is therefore pertinent to note that those aspects of ICTs that relate to telecommunication are relevant in this study and should be discussed where necessary.
Telecommunication has great impact on library services and operations. The use of telecommunication facilities in library services and operations as stated Khalid (2007) will enable library to achieve greater integration among the various library sub-system in respect of data input, storage and processing operations. Moreover, telecommunication enhances efficiency in resource organization as delivery and dissemination of information becomes effective and easy. It will also encourage networking in library and as well eliminate repetition of tasks. With networking, indexing and abstracting of library materials such as books, journals, newspapers, and magazines etc can be shared among librarians in the network libraries. Moreover, sharing of electronic information resources such as e-books, e-journals with other libraries are possible through networking (Aina 2004).
In addition, with the use of telecommunication facilities in library, users are neither restricted to days and hours of accessing/borrowing library materials nor do they cluster on a particular library resources as a result of high demand or insufficient copies of such material in the library. Again, current awareness services can easily be created among library users through telecommunication facilities. Adaptation of telecommunication facilities in rendering library services and operation will enable the parent institution which the library is meant to service to achieve its goals with ease. This implies that the university will produce trained and qualified graduates which will competently server the entire nation. These and many others are the benefits awaiting the university libraries for employing telecommunication facilities to their services and operations.
A university library is a library situated in a university. Its primary purpose is to aid the university in carrying out its curriculum requirements. A university hardly operates effectively without a well organize library. In affirmation, Popoola (2006) maintains that a library is an integral part of any educational institution, most especially at the tertiary level. Moreover, Nwalo in Adeyinka (2010) argues that no system of education is complete without well-equipped library. Ogunniyi, (2011) also holds that “a well stocked and organized library is a pride of any educational institution which will definitely help in meeting its teaching, learning and research needs through availability of contemporary serial publication alongside other library resources”. University library is becoming more important than ever, particularly at this period in Nigeria when most parents especially the low income earners hardly purchase textbooks and other reading materials for their children due to economic hardship. Besides, some relevant science and technology textbooks are rare and very expensive. However, University libraries provide an alternative that can make available the information resources for the intellectual growth of students since its primary function is to serve as an auxiliary to its parent institution in carrying out its objectives which among other things include:
– to seek and cultivate new knowledge
– to provide the right kind of leadership to all walks of life
– to identify all gifted youth and help them develop their potential to education and national development
– to provide the society with competent men and women trained in agriculture, arts, medicine, science and technology
– to promote equality and social justice
– to reduce social and cultural differences through diffusion of education, and
- to foster in the teachers and students and through them in the entire society, the attitudes and values needed for developing good life in individuals and society.
The collection of a university library comprises materials in book and non book format to enable it fulfill its specific objectives which include:
- To collect and preserve the most up-to-date materials for teaching and research consultation services of the institution
- To collect and preserve information resources in books and non-book formats
- To give user-oriented services through current awareness services (CAS)
- To provide materials on history, language, culture, and socio-economic and technological development in Nigeria
- To provide reading environments in a useful variety of locations
- To maintain inter-library co-operation with other libraries around the world
- To facilitate access to information communication technologies.
(Adeyinka, Owolabi and Attama, 2010).
To achieve the above objectives, University library operates three main services, via technical services, readers services and administrative services. The strength and weakness of these library services and operations depend on the librarians. Likert quoted in Ojobor, (2003) states that “all activities of any enterprises are initiated and determined by persons who make that institution, plants, offices, computers, automated equipment, and all else that a modern firm uses are unproductive except for human effort and direction”. However, human beings cannot effectively discharge their duties in isolation of relevant facilities needed in their area of service.
In ancient time when library was at its rudimentary stage, and information needs at its minimum; librarians adequately discharged the aforementioned library services and operations efficiently with non-electronic means of communication such as books, periodicals and by use of postal services for resource sharing etc. Iwhiwhu (2010) in line with this view opines that “before the advent of Information and Communication Technology (ICTs), communication in the library was done through books, newspapers, microforms, slides, etc”. However, the explosion of information needs in the contemporary society renders the non-electronic devices used for discharging library services and operations ineffective and inadequate since it pose serious problems to library patrons, the parent institution and the entire nation at large. Librarians experience monotony and boredom as a result of repetition of task, errors in data entry due to human fatigue or oversight, delay in supply of reference queries, difficulties in resource sharing as a result of delay in postal services, and lack of standards in cataloguing library resources etc while users on their own part are faced with the problems of restriction to hours and days of assessing and borrowing of library materials, clustering on a particular material due to high demand or insufficient copies of such material in the library, time wastage and loss of energy in browsing through the catalogue cards, while the parent institution finds it difficult if not impossible to fulfill its curriculum requirement and thus produce graduate of low standard which render nation’s labour force incompetent and unreliable.
To this effect, Aiyepeku (1991) opines that, “we live and work in an age in which most professions, including library and information services can no longer cope with the demands of their clients by simply being literate in the vocabulary of their practice”. Abraham (2010), in affirmation buttresses, that no institution or organization can still rely only on traditional printed information resources to perform effectively and efficiently in the contemporary society. Besides, Dike (1999) emphasizing more on the exponential growth of information needs in modern society holds that
we live in a rapidly changing world marked by increasing emphasis on information. Ours is the information society, where information is power; information is also changing, even it is said, exploding-ever expanding, taking new forms… (p.1)
Mantoya cited in Adeyinka, et al (2010) identifies the changing environment and issues facing university libraries in recent times. He observed that the rapid growth of information and communication technologies (ICTs) is changing the way university libraries operate today. It has been pointed out that university library collections are no longer collections comprising almost entirely of print materials but collections of materials in multiple formats and media (Budd, 1998). Information technologies such as computers, telephones, multimedia, and CD-ROMs etc are bringing unprecedented abilities to university libraries in discharging their services and operations to the university community. In addition, Jantz, (2000) holds that as learning and education are transformed by the digital revolution, we can expect a further dissolution of the traditional structures of the university library. University library must transform itself to keep pace with this revolution and to fully utilize the innovations in network and computing technology.
As scientific knowledge increases, university library finds it difficult if not impossible to meet the demands of its clientele. Inability of university library to meet with the information needs of the university community affect the quality of teaching/learning process in the university environment. This however, has an adverse effect on the entire nation as it gives rise to poor quality graduates, unskilled manpower, poor quality of material resources and high rate of corruption in the nation. This drastic situation calls for immediate attention.
In view to resolve the above situation, Rajendran and Rathinasabapathy, in Adeyinka, et al (2010) observe that for university libraries to act on the core purposes in today’s academic environment, it has to move beyond the parameters of earlier times to pursue new modes of serving their institutions. Besides, Aiyepeku (1991) opines that “in this age of dwindling resources and galloping of information needs, library and information science are increasingly called upon to demonstrate their relevance and benefit to the society”. An attempt to play this role brings about the idea and use of telecommunication facilities in university libraries. Thus this thesis aims at determining the extent to which telecommunication facilities are been utilized in federal university libraries in Enugu and Anambra States, which include Nnamdi Azikiwe Library UNN and Festus Aghagbo Nwako Library Awka respectively.
Nnamdi Azikiwe Library is the main library of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka established in 1960. It is found behind Vice Chancellor’s office in the main campus of the University of Nigeria (UNN). It is located on eight hundred and seventy-one (871) hectares of hilly savannah in the town of Nsukka, about eighty (80) kilometers north of Enugu. The library started in two tiny rooms in the Faculty of Education with the total volume of 12,000 excluding journals and pamphlets. The collections were mainly donations from the first Chancellor of the University, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe after whom the library was named. During this period, the library renders its services with little or no difficulties through manual facilities. In 1961 the library moved from its temporary site to the newly completed Nnamdi Azikiwe building with a capacity of 350,000 volumes and seating for 450 readers (Obiechina, 1986). In June 2009, the library was moved to its present site due to the rate of increase in both volumes of publications and users. The increasing number of users and volumes of collection affect the quality of services and operations rendered by the librarians due to the use of manual facilities. With the use of manual facilities, librarians hardly meet with the increasing demands of information needs of library patrons; these often makes the library patrons to waste much of their time and sometimes leave the library unsatisfied. The librarians themselves are unhappy, tired and bored due to repetition of task and unable to satisfy the needs of their users. However, to overcome these problems, the library is gradually revolutionalizing its services and operations from manual to automated system. The library has established a digital library with about 120 computers to serve the library users. The library has also introduced the use of some telecommunication facilities such as telephone and computer in rendering library services and operations.
Festus Aghagbo Nwako Library is the university library of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka. The Library is found opposite PG School in the main campus of Nnamdi Azikiwe University (NAU) which is sited thirty-five (35) kilometer to the South-West of Awka. The library is also improving in changing its mode of serving its users from manual to computerized system. The library has a digital library which is described as the foremost and biggest on-line library in the country. It currently housed 700 computers which comprises of 200 laptops and 500 desk tops to serve both staff and students of the university. As a matter of fact, the two university libraries under study are gradually changing their mode of rendering services and operations to their clientele from manual to automated system. They have adopted the use of some telecommunication facilities to aid their services and operations.
Statement of the Problem Research evidence has shown that there is need for university library to transform itself to keep pace with digital revolution so as to utilize the innovations in networking and computing technology. As such, there is need to adopt the use of telecommunication facilities in university libraries. Telecommunication facilities play inevitable roles in rendering library services and operations. These roles among others include prompt and adequate services, inter-library loan services, indexing and abstracting of library materials etc. However, it is unbearable that despite the relevance of telecommunication in libraries, some university libraries in this modern age still operate with manual facilities. As a result, library users encountered a lot of delays in assessing library materials. Worst of it all they are restricted to hours and days of assessing and borrowing of library materials.