Background of the study
The historical methods of managing a library are no longer dynamic and efficient for expeditions, retrieval and dissemination of knowledge, and better student service; use of contemporary technology has become vitally important. A well-equipped computerized library will provide speedy and efficient services to its patrons. A digital library is an automated or electronic library where operations such as accessing, sharing, and storing resources are done with the aid of a computer. The university library is a type of library that is found at a higher education institution, specifically a university. Madu (2004) described a university library as “one affiliated to a university-level institution of higher learning that serves primarily students, employees, and those who require its services.” Because the university library was formed to support the university’s aims of promoting teaching, learning, and research, it is critical that it serves undergraduates, postgraduates, lecturers, and other university community members. The library is planned to provide information items and services tailored to undergraduate students’ academic pursuits.The university library plays an important role in offering high-quality information resources and services to postgraduate students, faculty, and research fellows. That is why, according to Agboola (2005), university libraries are critical components of academic institutions. He went on to say that no university can claim academic greatness unless it has a strong library to support its teaching, research, and public service missions. Similarly, a university’s excellence is primarily determined by the quality of its library. As a result of the library’s crucial position within the university system, no university can function effectively without it. organized to support their academic goals. Importantly, libraries cannot operate as a unified entity without the use of technology to connect their resources. These digital libraries’ collections are not restricted to surrogate development but also include digital assets that cannot be represented or delivered in printed versions. Digital libraries are a movement in electronic content that allows libraries to use an expanding spectrum of information technologies to manage print information collections. The birth of the World Wide Web, with all of its uses for scholarly communication, the rise of computer science, and the new function of databases, is perhaps the greatest emblem of this transformation. Information acquired via the Internet is referred to as a “e-library.” E-library, unlike traditional libraries, are not constrained by geography or time. With the advent and application of information technology, libraries have evolved. They’ve taken on the job of educators, instructing people on how to search, analyze, and use information both in the library and on the internet. Users are expected to gain information literacy abilities as the use of e-library grows. As Julien (2002) points out, these skills will allow users to make efficient and effective use of information sources. As a result, information literacy is becoming more crucial (especially amongst students). Meanwhile, despite the demand for “virtual libraries,” the acceptance of information and communications technology and its use as an enabling tool has been slower in Nigerian university libraries, as they are still considered as largely book storage facilities. Because Nigeria is severely challenged by a lack of basic infrastructures, which has hampered development in most areas, the development and use of information technology in university libraries in Nigeria is still a work in progress.
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The use of information and communication technology (ICT) has become an essential component of many university libraries throughout the world. It’s used to find journal articles, get access to reference materials, conduct research, and send e-mail (Aina, 2010). When used properly, it translates to efficient user service delivery, which leads to improved access to information, improved educational development, improved library status in Nigeria, digitization of local content, and library space conservation. However, if ICT is not used or used inefficiently, it will result in inefficient and bad user service delivery; it will also have an impact on the role of university libraries as sources of learning, education, innovation, and research for societal development, as well as a communication vehicle. Users, on the other hand, will experience ongoing difficulties as a result of insufficient ICT use, even when it is used; pupils who are unfamiliar with the routine of ICT use will be dissatisfied and nervous, as well as engage in avoidance behavior (Okiy, 2010). Users of the university library will be discouraged from seeking help at the library for their academic needs. The conclusion is that students and other researchers would overlook crucial information that could have helped them become better scholars. Others may forego the library in favor of visiting a cyber café to access information on the internet via other websites that provide current academic materials.
Despite these benefits and the risks of poor ICT utilization for user services in university libraries, it appears that, to the best of the researcher’s knowledge, university libraries in Nigeria, specifically private university libraries in Enugu State Nigeria, are still using ICT to provide user services at a minimal level.
Although some researchers have written about the use of ICT in university library services, none have focused their research exclusively on federal university libraries in Nigeria’s South Eastern region. This study aims to determine the extent to which ICT is used in users services at federal university libraries in South Eastern Nigeria, with a particular focus on the availability of ICT facilities, the extent to which ICT is used, users’ perceptions of the benefits derived, problems associated with ICT usage, and strategies for addressing problems associated with ICT usage in users services at university libraries.
OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The objectives of the study are;
Examine the ICT facilities available in private university libraries in Enugu State for delivering user services.
Examine the extent to which ICT is used in the user services of Enugu State’s private university libraries.
Determine users’ perceptions of the benefits received from ICT use in Enugu State’s private university libraries’ user services.
Investigate the issues surrounding the usage of ICT in the user services of private university libraries in Enugu State.
The study will be guided by the following research questions.
1 What ICT facilities are accessible in private university libraries in Enugu State for delivering user services?
2 In Enugu State, to what extent are ICT facilities used in the user services of private university libraries?
3 What are the benefits derived from the use of ICT in the user services of private university libraries in Enugu State, according to the users?
SIGNIFICNCE OF THE STUDY
University authorities, university librarians, other library personnel, students, faculty members, educational research institutes, information technology researchers, and others would benefit from the findings of this study. As a result of these findings, university librarians will identify pertinent parts of library services that are deficient and in need of improvement. It will also help them save money, time, and resources when providing services to clients via ICT. This study will show academic librarians the value of implementing ICT in providing user services in university libraries. Other library employees (para-professionals) will have practical functional knowledge and an appreciation of the relevance of ICT in achieving information access. As a result of this discovery, students and teachers will have increased faith in the library’s ability to support their research and academic demands. Finally, the study will add to the existing literature and serve as a resource for students and scholars interested in conducting additional research on a related topic.
SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The scope of this study is limited to private university libraries in Enugu State, while the subject is limited to the study of ICT utilization in user services, excluding other sections of the university library such as cataloguing and classification sections, acquisition, and so on, with a particular focus on the examination of the availability of ICT facilities; extent of ICT utilization; users perception of benefits derived; problems associated with ICT, and so on.
LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
Every human endeavor is confronted with a constraint at some point, and the same was true during the research time. The researcher faced some challenges in conducting this study, including time limits, money constraints, and the attitudes of the respondents. Furthermore, there was a component of researcher prejudice. The researcher had some biases, which may have shown up in the manner the data was gathered, the kind of people questioned or sampled, and how the data was evaluated afterward. It’s impossible to overestimate the impact of all of this on the findings and conclusions. Furthermore, the results of this study are limited to the sample population (Librarians, Library Staff, and Students) in the study area (Private Universities in Enugu State), hence the findings may not be applicable to other schools, local governments, states, or nations throughout the world.