USE OF LIBRARY OUTREACH SERVICES FOR EFFECTIVE SERVICE DELIVERY TO COMMUNITIES IN SELECTED PUBLIC LIBRARIES IN SOUTH EAST NIGERIA
This study investigated the use of library outreach services for effective service delivery in selected public libraries in South East Nigeria. A descriptive survey design was used for the research, which was conducted using a population of 113, from both staff and library patrons and a sample size of 36 staff and 77 patrons from the three states under study. Two sets of questionnaires were administered, one for the staff and another for the library patrons. A total number of 77 library patron’s questionnaire were returned, 29 library staff questionnaire were returned. The data from the three were collected and analysed, to arrive at a decision, the mean response of each item was computed and results compared with criteria mean 2.50. The responses of the interview of Directors of Library Services and researcher’s checklist were incorporated into the findings. The findings indicate that librarians and para-professionals were involved in delivering library outreach services to the patrons in the area. Other outreach programmes excluding referral services and book loan services to schools, are neglected in the area. Referral services, book loan services are offered to a little extent to the patrons in the area. The major resources employed delivery outreach services to user include reference book, textbook including fiction, human resources, periodicals, newspapers, are much employed and other hand, the users agreed that textbook and fictions, human resources and periodicals are much employed. On the extent to which the library outreach services contribute to effective service delivery in the areas, the directors of library services in the selected state, they unanimously opined that library outreach services are and remain the fulcrum on which effective service delivery can stand. They equally noted that no state can boast of meaningful educational development without the use of outreachr services in the area. Finally, they suggested proper or adequate funding as a pillar of public libraries in order to carryout effective service delivery to the patrons in the area. This will in turn boost the appreciation of the said services by the users. On the problems affecting the provision of library outreach services for effective service delivery in the area, it was discovered that poor funding, lack of support from community leaders, inadequate ICT, lack of internet services , inadequate library legislation by government, outdated collection and lack of outreach services unit were accepted by the staff as the major problems while the patrons opined that inadequate library legislation by government, mobility constraint, outdated collection and lack of interest on part of the users were the major problems. On the strategies for enhancing library outreach services, user orientation on the use of information resources, improved funding by the government, training of library staff by the management, user orientation on the importance of outreach services by the management, provision of books including fiction, enhancing support services like mailing services, and provision of current information resources are very appropriate strategies.
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