This study was carried out to examine alternative funding of public libraries using Rivers State Library, Port Harcourt as case study. Specifically, the studywas aimed at investigating the need for an alternative funding sources of public libraries, investigate the different alternative funding sources of public libraries, investigate the challenges of alternative funding of public libraries, and proffer possible solutions to the identified challenges of alternative funding of public libraries. The study employed the survey descriptive research design. A total of 30 responses were validated from the survey. From the responses obtained and analysed, the findings revealed that the need for an alternative funding sources of public libraries is that it helps to enhances service delivery, Enables provision of necessary infrastructure, Enables provision of current books, Helps in maintenance of staffs and library, and enhances overall performance of the library services. Also, the different alternative funding sources of public libraries include; Fees for Services, Private Donations, Government Grants, and Corporate and Foundation Grants. Furthermore, the challenges of alternative funding of public libraries includes; librarian’s attitude, Inadequate philanthropic culture of Nigerians, Inadequate structures for effective and efficient accountability and transparency, Unco-operative attitude of those involved in the fund-raising process, Inadequate time to plan the due to head librarians tenure in office, and government attitude towards library development in Nigeria. The study therefore recommend public libraries, as a matter of necessity should seek other sources of funding to supplement the traditional sources which are hardly adequate to provide modern facilities that will make the libraries ICT compliant. This they can do by commercialising their services to include those provided by private individuals or organizations within their premises. Such services may include photocopying, printing of documents and card production. Moreso, there is also a need for more advocacy and publicity in the mass media on the crucial role of libraries in the operational efficiency of their states. Through such awareness programmes, profit-oriented corporate establishments and non-governmental voluntary organizations could be mobilized to provide financial assistance to Nigeria’s Libraries.
BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Library is a learning institution equipped with treasures of knowledge, maintained, organized and managed by trained personnel to educate the children, men and women continuously and assist in their self-improvement through an effective and prompt dissemination of information embodied in the resources. This is an instrument of self-education, a means of knowledge and factual information, a center of intellectual recreation and a beacon of enlightenment that provides accumulated preserved knowledge of civilization which consequently enriches one’s mental vision and dignifies his habit, behavior, character, taste, attitude, conduct and outlook on life. (Islam, 2004).
The public library is a social institution that is inextricably linked to the political and social reality of the communities in which it exists. This is an open-to-the-public library, as the name indicates.
“Those which serve the inhabitants of the community or region free of charge or for a modest price,” according to UNESCO (1966). It is a public library intended to serve the entire public.
“Public libraries that serve the public are sustained by government subvention, municipal rates or levies,” according to Oduagwu (2002). He went on to say that a public library is sometimes referred to be a poor man’s university. Its clientele is diverse, with little regard for ethnicity, position, or rank as to who would avoid using its services. It carries every imaginable thing that contributes to society’s knowledge, education, research, information, and cultural requirements. In Nigeria today, each of the 36 state Win the country including Abuja has a public library board established under the public library act as United Kingdom (UK), but here in Nigeria, library board of states is established by edit or laws made by the states legislators.
Oparaku et al (2005) defined a public library as “an institution that is set up by the government through enabling law, funded and mentioned expected to meet the educational, informational and recreational needs of its community”.
Public library funding refers to making money available for the day to day running of the library. Funding deals with making money or funds available to public libraries. Finance is the life wire of any establishment including labor, capitals and entrepreneur and information the capital here refer to finance which can be used to procure other factors of production thereby making it more important than others. Fund is obviously the major element in every establishment. It is equally the working capital of an establishment. Public library funding generally means the various ways public libraries derive the expected funds for capital and recurrent expenses.
According to New Lexicon Webster’s Encyclopedic Dictionary (1991) public libraries is “a library usually run by a municipality from which books may be borrowed freely”.
According to Encyclopedia of librarianship (1958), a library is “concerned with all material. Values to the individual and the community and its duty not only to meet existing demands but also to encourage and facilitate wider demands from more people.
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
In many public libraries, the budgetary allocation released as when due, and this in turn delays the implementation of the program of those libraries when funds has resulted in shortage relevant textbooks as currently being experienced by people and researchers who are in need of the material. There is inadequate funding of public libraries by the state government which provides about 80% of the funds required by the public libraries. Shortage of funds has resulted in shortage of materials. In adequate provision of funds has prevented the provision of current materials needs by the staff and client in public libraries. Also poor appreciation of the service of the library by those at the helm of affairs, low societal ratings of the libraries in public libraries in Nigeria pose problems to funding of public libraries.
OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
Research objectives are just as useful as they are in most other aspects of life. “Research objectives provide the researcher a wonderful feeling of aim and direction,” according to Torty (2021). The study’s overall purpose is to investigate alternative funding of public libraries.
The study, on the other hand, was focused on achieving these precise goals:
- Investigate the need for an alternative funding sources of public libraries.
- Investigate the different alternative funding sources of public libraries.
- Investigate the challenges of alternative funding of public libraries.
- Proffer possible solutions to the identified challenges of alternative funding of public libraries.
Research questions provide structure and direction to a study in scientific inquiry. As a result, according to Torty (2021), “research questions should truly constitute an enlargement of the research problem.”
The following research questions were posed in accordance with the study’s objectives and are analysed using mean and standard deviation:
- What is the need for an alternative funding sources of public libraries?
- What are the different alternative funding sources of public libraries?
- What are the challenges of alternative funding of public libraries?
- What are the possible solutions to the identified challenges of alternative funding of public libraries?
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study will be of benefit to the government and policy makers in Rivers State and other states of the Federaion of Nigeria to come to the understanding the relevant of an alternative sources of funding for public libraries in the states. This study will also enable Librarians to abide by the rules of accountability and transparency in managing the different funds that will be coming to public libraries. This study will also help the government to identify the challenges of alternative sources of funding for public libraries and devise a measure to solving them. This study will further add to existing literature on this topic and serve as a reference material for futher research on this topic or related domain in the future.
SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This study focuses on investigating the need for an alternative funding sources for public libraries. This study will also examine the different alternative funding sources for public libraries. Also, this study will look into the challenges of alternative funding for public libraries. Finally, this study will proffer possible solutions to the identified challenges of alternative funding for public libraries. This study shall be delimited to Rivers State Library, Nigeria. Hence, staff of Rivers State Library, Port Harcourt shall serve enrolled participants for this study.
LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
Like in every human endeavour, the researchers encountered slight constraints while carrying out the study. Insufficient funds tend to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature, or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire, and interview), which is why the researcher resorted to a moderate choice of sample size. More so, the researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. As a result, the amount of time spent on research will be reduced.
DEFINITION OF TERMS
Library: A library is a collection of materials, books or media that are easily accessible for use and not just for display purposes. It is responsible for housing updated information in order to meet the user’s needs on a daily basis.
Fund – Money that has been served or has been made available for a particular purpose.
Alternative Fund: another possibility or choice of getting money from other sources