AVAILABILITY AND UTILIZATION OF INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY (ICT) FACILITIES IN COLLEGES OF EDUCATION LIBRARIES IN KANO STATE NIGERIA
Background of the Study
The task of providing information to the academic community in tertiary institutions like that of Colleges of Education has been the mandate the library has had to perform over the years. Colleges of Education libraries were purposely attached to the colleges in order to meet the objectives of the institutions by providing them with the relevant information resources that can support the teaching, learning and research process. For libraries to perform these roles smoothly, effectively, efficiently and in accordance with users needs within and outside the buildings, they have to make Information and Communication Technologies (ICTS) readily available and properly utilized. In light of the above, the need for colleges of education libraries to provide and use ICTs for information service delivery to their users is fundamental. It is fundamental because the libraries are regarded as the heart of their parent institutions, and they are also recognized as the medium through which colleges of education can achieve their set objectives.
The prime function of any academic library is to provide the most needed and up to date information materials that will support teaching, learning and research .Today libraries especially colleges of education libraries are confronted with intricate and constantly developing net work of knowledge. And they are existing in world where the use of ICTs has became essential to progress towards more efficient information service delivery. According to Adewale and Adesanya( 2003) the manual method of acquisition, organization , maintenance ,documentation circulation of other library materials and other services involves a lot of paper work and skilled man power of labour which is tedious, time consuming and prune to error. It is usually leads to unnecessary delays in fulfilling its services to library units.
As the library records became larger and keep on increasing by day, the task of controlling the records will be mere difficult and complex to handle manually. The situation therefore shows the extant need to apply ICTS to solve the problems created by manual method in this era of information explosion in the acquisition, processing and management of library resources as well as the satisfaction of users need.
There are three (3) Colleges of Education in Kano State; Federal College of Education Kano, Federal College of Education (Technical) Bichi and Sa’adatu Rimi College of Education. The two Federal Colleges of Education in Kano State were established by the Decree No. 4 of 21st March, 1986 which established Federal Colleges of Education in Nigeria by Military Government. In the same direction a body known as National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE) was also established by Decree No. 3 of April 1989. The commission’s responsibilities among others includes controlling, co-ordinating and supervising NCE programmes run by both Federal and State Colleges of Education. By the promulgation of the Decree No. 4 of 1986, Federal College of Education (Technical) Bichi started in November 1987. While Federal College of Education Kano which replaced Advanced Teachers College Kano, under Ahmadu Bello University Abu Zaira then began in 1990. The Kano State College of Education known as Sa’adatu Rimi College of Education was established earlier in 1981 by the Kano State Ministry of Education.
The primary objective of establishing colleges of education was to train and produce professional teachers who will teach in primary schools with a minimum qualification of National Certificate of Education (NCE). However, these noble objectives of the colleges that involve research, teaching and learning activities could only be achieved, if their libraries are well equipped with ICT facilities for effective information service delivery which in turn will simplify research, teaching and learning processes.
Therefore, it becomes necessary for academic libraries such as colleges of education libraries to provide enough ICT facilities that could be properly utilized for information service delivery. By so doing academic libraries could maintain their credibility in the provision of library services for research, teaching and learning process. Several attempts have been made by different authors to define information and communication technology (ICT). Aina (2004) defined ICT as the technology used in handling acquiring, processing, storing and disseminating information. He further stated that ICT consist of computers, online searching, CD-ROMs, internet etc. In 1983, the American Library Association (as cited in Jane, 2000) stated that ICT is the application of computers and other technologies to the acquisition, organization, storage, retrieval and dissemination, of information.
According to Fagbanmi and Ogunjobi (2009), ICT is an umbrella term that includes all technologies encompassing medium for recording information such as Magnetic disk, tape, optical disks (CD/DVD) flash and paper record, technology for the broadcasting, information, radio, television and technology for communicating through voice and sound or image microphone camera, loudspeaker, telephone to cellular phones. It also includes a wide variety of computing hardware, desktop computers, laptops, storage devices etc. Omekwu (2007) see Information Technology (IT) as the computer hardware, software that facilitates the, storage, organizing processing and the retrieval of information. Omekwu further defined communication technology (CT) as all other technologies that enable humans to communicate and transmit information, such as radio, television and telephone. This implies that IT and CT were integrated which developed to ICT, that encompasses all technologies that enables man to record, organize retrieve compute, communicate and transmit information.
From the foregoing definitions given above one can define ICTs as electronic devices that encompass CD-ROM, computer hardware and software, CD, Internet, radio, television, disk, tape etc. that libraries and information centers manipulate to facilitate recording, organizing, storage, retrieval, transmission and dissemination of information within and outside their buildings.
The introduction of ICTs in libraries dates as far back as 1950’s and 60’s in America and Europe (Adeyomoye, 2008). It started in form of automation projects where libraries tried to involve machines to help perform some tasks that are hitherto handled by humans alone. It however made its entry into Nigeria in the 1970’s in form of automated projects. According to Nok cited in Adeyomoye (2008) though information and communication technologies have been in the pipeline since 1970 in Nigeria, concerted efforts towards its application began in the late 1990’s mostly in academic libraries where it made its first debut. Libraries were sensitized through lectures of the need to computerize their operations. The new developments in the field of librarianship became so popular among academic libraries to this moment. This is because of its countless benefits to the libraries in every academic community.
The value of ICT is endless (Gama, 2008). ICTs not only give the opportunity to have easy access to information from various sources, but also facilitate resource sharing between and among various organizations apart from improving the status of the Library and Information Science profession. Gama further stated that, the significance of ICTs in Nigerian libraries cannot be over-emphasized. However, the application of the ICTs can be said to be low when compared with what is happening in developed countries of the world. The importance of ICTs in various aspects of library activities and service can be understood from the above. But conscious efforts need to be done by the institutions to provide the right ICTs in order to harness these benefits. Scholars recorded a lot of benefits that library users can drive from the ICT facilities in the library. Henderson (1992) identified some of these benefits or advantages as; provision of speedy and easy access to information, provision of remote access to users, provision of round-the-clock access to users, access to unlimited information from different sources and providing more current information. Colleges of Education libraries should do everything possible to provide ICTS facilities for the benefits of their users.
There is need therefore to investigate the level of availability of these facilities and how the available ones are utilized, the departments/sections of their utilization, staff perception on the use of the facilities problems associated with their utilization and strategies that will enhance their utilization in order to serve the users academic community of the colleges of education in and around Kano State.
Statement of the problem
There is no doubt that ICT facilities have become a major channel for seeking and sourcing information by library users, most especially in higher institutions of learning such as colleges of education libraries. This is because ICT facilities provide users easy access to information needed, which enhances research, teaching, learning and research. Okore (2005) asserted that “ICTs has changed the scope, space, range as well as the procedure of information service delivery, storage and retrieval. It enables information to be stored, retrieved, communicated and broadcast electronically in enormous quantities and at phenomenal speed. It also allows information to be arranged, selected, marshaled and transferred”.
Without the provision and utilization of ICTs facilities, the colleges of education libraries may not be able to deliver effective and efficient information services that will enhance teaching, learning and research processes that colleges of education are purposely established for. Where ICT are inadequate or under utilized, the speed on information service delivery and volume of available current information resources are likely to be critically jeopardized. Previous studies by other scholars covered areas such as availability and utilization of ICT facilities in university libraries. There seem to be a research gap on the availability and utilization of ICTs in Colleges of Education in Nigeria. It is the recognition of this problems motivated the researcher to embark on this study with particular reference to ICT availability and utilization in Colleges of Education Libraries in Kano State. Filling that knowledge gap seems to be vital in establishing the status of ICT facilities in these College of Education Libraries and delineating utilization levels which are vital in informations resources and services improvements in them.
Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of this study is to determine the ICT facilities available and their utilization in colleges of education libraries in Kano state. The specific objectives of the study are to:
1 Identify the types of ICT facilities available in Colleges of Education libraries in Kano state;
2 To examine the areas of ICT facilities utilization in Colleges of Education libraries in Kano state;
3 Determine the extent of ICT facilitates utilization in Colleges of Education libraries in Kano state;
4 Determine the staff perception with the ICT facilities in Colleges of Education libraries in Kano state;
5 Identify the problems associated with the provision of ICT facilities in Colleges of Education libraries in Kano state;
6 Identify strategies that could be taken to address the problems of ICT facilities provision in Colleges of Education libraries in Kano state.
In line with the set objectives of the study the following questions are formulated to guide the research.
1. What types of ICT facilities are available in Colleges of Education libraries in Kano state?
2. What areas ICT facilities are utilized in College of Education libraries in Kano state?
3. To what extent ICT facilities are utilized in Colleges of Education libraries in Kano states?
4. To what extent do library staff perceived services delivered with ICT facilities in Colleges of Education libraries in Kano state?
5. What are the problems associated with the ICT facilities provision in Colleges of Education libraries of Kano state?
6. What are the strategies that could be taken to address the problems of ICT facilities in Colleges of Education libraries in Kano state?
Significance of the study
The findings of the study will be of significance to the authorities of libraries and the institutions whose libraries are studied, the government and non governmental organizations, donor agencies. Students and staff who are library patron (users) and other researchers will also benefit from the study.
The study will identify the ICT facilities that are available in the institutions libraries. The institutions through this will be challenged to increase the number and also improve the state of the ones in bad condition. Thus the academic libraries studied, their management and the management of the institutions generally will stand to benefit. This is because, the provision of the facilities and their deployment to library duties will increase efficiency in information services delivery which will in turn make for the achievement of the institution’s objectives. Having identified the extent to which ICT facilities are lacking, the authorities may decide to make provision for them in their budget. This will help the students and staff who are beneficiaries of the libraries to have better information service from the staff and the resources.
The findings on the services provided with the ICT facilities will challenge the library authorities and encourage them to put the facilities to proper use which is information processing if at all they are not put to such use. This will ease the job of the staff- the job of information processing, storage and retrieval. The identification of the problems facing availability and use of the facilities will be exposed making the institutions and library management to look into the problems better with a view to solving them. The study will therefore be of great significance to the management in this area. To intending researchers who may want to do a study on a similar area, the study will serve as a guide.
Scope of the Study
The study was done in Kano state. It was limited to libraries in colleges of education in Kano state. They include Federal College of Education, Kano; Federal College of Education (Technical), Bichi- Kano and Sa’adatu Rimi College of Education, Kano. The study covered all the types of ICT facilities available and their utilization in the Colleges of Education libraries in Kano state