AVAILABILITY AND MANAGEMENT OF REFERENCE AND INFORMATION SERVICES IN SELECTED UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES IN ENUGU STATE, NIGERIA
The study examined the availability and management of reference and information services in selected university libraries in Enugu State, Nigeria. Five research questions guided the study. They covered: the types of reference and information services available in university libraries; the extent to which these services are provided in these university libraries; the extent to which the managerial functions of planning, organizing, directing, staffing and controlling, are applied to reference and information services by university libraries; the problems affecting the management of reference and information services in university libraries; and the strategies for enhancing effective management of reference and information services in university libraries. Descriptive survey research design was adopted for the study. The population of the study was 258 respondents consisting of professional, paraprofessional, and non-professional librarians drawn from the entire library staff of the three selected university libraries under study out of which 120 respondents were sampled using the stratified proportionate random sampling technique. The instruments employed for data collection were questionnaire and structured interview schedule. The data collected from the questionnaire were analyzed using quantitative descriptive statistics (percentages and mean scores) while the data collected from the interview schedule were analyzed qualitatively. Out of the 120 copies of the questionnaire distributed to the respondents, 112 were correctly filled and returned showing 93.3% response rate. The findings of the study revealed that the most available types of reference and information services in university libraries are: orientation/instruction in the use of the library and reference resources/tools and user education programmes while selective dissemination of information (SDI), current awareness services (CAS), indexing and abstracting services, referral services, photocopying services, readers’ advisorry services, inter-library loan services, consultancy services, extension services, Internet services, etc, are not largely available in some university libraries. It was also discovered that most university libraries engage in the five managerial functions of planning, organizing, directing, staffing and controlling, but do not apply certain crucial aspects of these functions and that the problems affecting the management of reference and information services in university libraries include: inadequate and out-dated reference collections, shortage of staff, poor funding, lack of ICT knowledge, poor digitization of library resources, unsteady power supply, poor selection criteria, among others. Based on these findings, the following recommendations were made: essential reference and information services that are lacking in university libraries should be made available and provided to a large extent, university libraries should fully apply the five managerial functions of planning, organizing, directing, staffing and controlling to the management of their libraries, university library management should ensure that their libraries are stocked with adequate and up-to-date reference collections, there should be periodic recruitment of qualified library staff by library management, there should be regular training and retraining of library staff, especially reference and information service staff, university libraries should be fully digitized and library staff equipped with ICT knowledge, government should urgently address the problem of unsteady power supply, part of the internally generated revenue (IGR) of universities should be allocated to their libraries to increase the funding of these libraries, among others.