LIBRARY USERS MALPRACTICES IN PUBLIC LIBRARIES IN SOUTH EAST NIGERIA
This study investigated the Library Users Malpractices in Public Libraries in three states of the South East, Nigeria. These are Anambra, Ebonyi, and Enugu States. A descriptive survey design was used for the research, which was conducted using a population of 900 participants, from both library patrons and staff and a sample size of 186 patrons and 90 staff from the three states under study. Two sets of questionnaires were administered, one for the library patrons and another for the library staff. Random sampling technique was used to obtain staff and patron samples. After the administration, 181 copies of library the patron’s questionnaire were returned and only one was not useful. 87 library staff questionnaire were returned and only one was found invalid. The data from the three states were collated and analysed, using mean response of each item, was computed and results compared with the criterion mean of 2.50. The responses of the interview of Directors of Library Services and researcher’s checklist were incorporated into the findings. The findings indicate the major library users’ malpractices which include outright stealing, mutilation, mis- shelving, hiding of library books, library users’ behaviour within the library surrounding, including receiving phone calls, wearing noisy shoes, discussion inside the library, among others. The library resources that suffer rmost library users’ malpractices are books, newspapers, journals, periodical etc. Methods adopted by the culprits include misplacing/mis shelving of books, removing page/chapter with razor, staff collection of library books for home use and never return them, psychological study of those at the check point, throwing library books through the window etc. Reasons behind the malpractices are poor parental upbringing, high cost of library materials, poverty of the patrons. The major effects, are materials are rendered incomplete for use, eating and drinking may attract insects and rodents that may eat up library materials/books, non availability of books and other material for use, library materials may be permanently lost. The strategies to reduce, if not total eradication of library users’ malpractices include employing well trained security personnel, stern disciplinary action, user and staff education to raise up their conscience. Lastly, adequate funding, of the library services, to enable the library management implement all the suggested strategies.