UTILIZATION OF INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES (ICTs) IN PUBLIC LIBRARY SERVICES IN NIGERIA
This study investigated the utilization of Information and communication Technologies (ICTs) in public library services in Nigeria. Twelve public libraries from the six geopolitical zones of the country comprised the sample of the study. These include Abia State Public Library, Adamawa State Public Library, Akwa Ibom State Public Library, Benue State Public Library, Ekiti State Public Library, Imo State Public Library, Jigawa State Public Library, Oyo State Public Library, Plateau State Public Library, Rivers State Public Library, Yobe State Public Library and Zamfara State Public Library. The aim of the study was to inquire into the utilization of information and communication technologies in public library services in Nigeria. The specific purposes were to (i) identify the ICT facilities that are available in public libraries in Nigeria, (ii) determine the perception of librarians on the benefits of utilizing ICTs in public libraries in Nigeria, (iii) determine the extent to which ICTs are utilized for various public library operations, (iv) ascertain the extent to which users utilize ICT facilities in public libraries, (v) identify barriers to effective use of ICTs in public libraries, and (vi) proffer strategies for enhancing ICT utilization in public libraries in Nigeria. The questionnaires were validated by the expert opinions of three professionals in library and information science from the universities of Uyo, Maiduguri and Abuja, respectively. Reliability test of the instrument (questionnaire) was done using 120 users and 30 staff (librarians and library officers) from Bauchi, Kano and Nassarawa states public libraries. The study employed descriptive survey research design. Stratified sampling technique was used in choosing the sarmple. The population of the study consisted of four thousand two hundred and forty five (4,245) respondents which comprised librarians (74), library officers (164), and registered users (4,007). Three researcher designed instruments were used and these were questionnaire, interview schedule and observation checklist. The mean was used in answering the research questions and bar charts were used to show-case the analysis of the study. Data collected from the questionnaires, interview schedules and observation checklist were analyzed using descriptive statistical method. Based on the data collected and analyzed, findings revealed that: the commonly available ICT facilities in public libraries were computers, UPS, video tapes, television sets, photocopiers and printers; users were not satisfied with the ICT facilities available in public libraries; some of the barriers to effective utilization of ICTs in public libraries were inadequate funding, staff low level of computer literacy, inadequate ICT infrastructure and low level of ICT awareness among users; users of public libraries in Nigeria use ICTs mainly for accessing educational information, keeping abreast with current news, events, Internet browsing, down loading and storing information for personal use and for word processing. Based on these findings the researcher recommended that State governments should adequately fund public libraries, public libraries should partner with other agencies in ensuring the provision of ICT facilities, public library authorities should sponsor their staff to ICT- related workshops and training, and public libraries should organize workshops and seminars on ICT literacy for library users. The study concluded that, public libraries in Nigeria need to employ the use of ICT facilities and resources if their services are to improve.