The broad objective of this study is to examine conservative practices of information resources by libraries for enhanced collection usefulness in University libraries in Enugu State. The study adopted the survey descriptive research design and with the aid of convenience sampling method, the researcher purposively selected one hundred and fifty (150) participant for the study. Self- structure questionnaire was issued to the respondent of which one hundred forty-one (141) was retrieved and validated for the study. Data was analyzed using simple percentage, presented in frequencies and tables. From the responses obtained and analysed, the findings revealed that the techniques and methods for preserving and conserving of information materials in Rivers state University central library includes; use of photocopying machine, use of digitization facilities lamination equipment, bindery, fumigation, cleaning and dusting of the library materials, reformation, microfilming of newspaper, brittle or fragile paper based materials, copying audiotapes and video materials and electronic digitizing, floor cleaning, shelf clearing, collection condition surveys, pest inspections, environmental monitoring and a plan for disaster preparedness and response plan. The study therefore recommended that a good policy on short-term to long-term preservation and conservation should be formulated. Also, professionally trained conservators should be recruited, and training and retraining of staff should be encouraged. Moreso, there should be an annual budget allocation for preservation and conservation. Furthermore, a well-equipped bindery section with trained staff should be established. Also, there should be regular orientation on the preservation and conservation of library materials.
Background of the Study
The earliest and most fundamental responsibility of academic library is the conservation of knowledge. An academic library according to Akpata (1979) and Edoka (1992), refers to a library that caters :or the needs of those enqaged in academic pursuits in higher institutions like the universities, colleges of education, of technologies and polytechnics. It has to do with a library that takes care of the people engaged in academic and research work in the institutions of higher learning. This group comprises the students, academic and administrative staff in those institutions. Since a library of such nature serves many people, it becomes a focal point.
Academic library acquires various types of human communication records, organizes and stores them for later use. Librarians in it were therefore employed to preserve those records by locking them and restricting usage. They cared less whether people asked for and mads use of them or not. Even the few materials made use of were used only in the library and under the strictest surveillance of the librarians. Librarians never thought of free access to, or lending of their materials to their users. They were only interested in collecting, storing and conserving materials for the future generation. In essence, the security of library materials was upper most in the minds of their earliest librarians. Hence, Wilson (1982) writes of the tasks of the earliest librarians as: to devote his time and leisure to increasing the library in his charge, If he neglects increasing the collection let him at least take care not to reduce it by losing the books committed to his care or letting them perish in any way. He must suspect and beware of those enemies of books. He is to repair bindings destroyed by age, remind readers to treat books decently, keep them in a fixed and safe place. The introduction of printing and the massive quest for education following the Renaissance led to the change in the professional attitudes of librarians towards their collections. According to Nzotta (1 982), the pendulum swung to the other extreme and the emphasis shifted to dissemination rather than preservation.
Librarians began to allow users open access to their book stacks and encouraged their use. User education then emerged. The proliferation of researchers in the universities and project work in schools greatly increased the use of libraries and thus posed threats to traditional library materials. Traditional library materials here refers to all the print materials like books, manuscripts, maps, drawings, photographs, journals, newspapers and magazines. By this definitions computer and all audio-visual materials are excluded while all the paper-based materials remain the focus. Paper materials from the largest stock of academic libraries. Hence Akussah (1991) observes that the information world stand the imminent risk of losing so much of its precious writer: heritage following the deterioration of paper records. Over-use became a major threat to books for the greater the use, the more vulnerable the volumes. Increased accessibility also increased threat from thieves and other delinquent readers. Open access to academic library collection led to the increased demand for the use of these traditional library materials which is paper materials. The search for ever cheaper paper to meet the increased e demand led in the later part of 19th century to the manufacture of paper from ground wood pulp. The sizing agents used for the bleaching leave sommcids in the paper. When these acid papers, according Shahani and Wilson (1987) are exposed to light and heat, they begin to hasten their I’ deterioration and embitterment. The inherent poor quality of modern paper is one of the greatest problems of all traditional materials in an academic library. In addition, poor environmental and storage conditions contribute significantly to the deterioration and destruction of paper-based records in any academic library. In the face of all these threats, many people have become apprehensive of the survivability of these traditional library materials for future use.
For instance, William (1 982) observes: Everything .in the library collections is deteriorating today, was deteriorating yesterday, and will continue to deteriorate tomorrow.. . . Library lovers having noticed this threat, and the usefulness of preservation have alerted the world. Different actions requisite to retarding deterioration process and ensuring preservation have also been identified. Further efforts are being made nationally and internationally to find out more solutions. According to Akussah (1991) at the International Conference on the preservation of Library Materials held in Vimna, Austria in April, 1986, it was recommended that member associations should urge national policy-making bodies to establish guiding principles for the formulation and implementation of national programmes for the preservation of library materials. The above is an indication of concerted efforts being made to root out deterioration. Research organizations like the International Federation of Library Association (IFLA) have at so established their own programmes on preservation and conservation (PAC) of libraries. African university libraries have had good knowledge about conservation. This occurs through the publications, training facilities and seminars of some research institutes, councils and associations like IFLR. Yet no comparable development has been made in the area of practical preservation and conservation. This is affirmed by lgbinoba (1993) who also asserts that to his knowledge, no African university library has appointed a conservation librarian. Academic libraries in Africa including Nigeria pay more attention to the acquisition of library resources than to preservation. This has made our academic libraries the homes of embrittled, variegated and mould infested books, magazines, journals, newspaper and other print materials (Oliobi, 1987). Hence, Wilson (1981) observed: Libraries today are hospitals for sick books in which with very few exceptions not nearly enough is being done to treat the patients…books are not lasting as they ought and should. Academic libraries acquire, process into retrievable form and make available the information contents to the academic community and the public for their teaching and research work.
Academic libraries in Nigeria in fulfilling the above functions are facing pressures due to overuse and other abuses from the users. With the colossal amount being spent on our academic libraries one just expects that adequate planning be put in place to preserve the records in them from deterioration and destruction. The decline in the growth of valuable and up-to-date collections in our academic libraries due to budgetary constraints, and the effects of global inflationary trends call for serious preservation measures in our academic libraries.
Statement of the Problem
Academic libraries face an uncertain future as a result of their diminishing traditional resources due to deterioration caused by various environmental factors and poor quality papers. Ogunilade (1996) observes that of all the multifarious problems facing university libraries in Nigeria today, none is as virulent, persistent and agonizing as the preservation and repair of library resources. Therefore, unless positive attitude towards preservation is exhibited, academic libraries may no longer be able to accomplish their traditional roles of supporting teaching, learning and research in their institutions. Oliobi (1987) supports this as he states that most information materials in Nigerian academic libraries are in paper format and are supposed to have been declared endangered following their poor state. Akinfolarin (1992) and Aleabeleye (1996) opined that the grossly reduced funding of academical institutions tends to worsen matters as their libraries find it difficult to afford new learning resources or even to replace those damaged through deterioration. The only option left is to try to salvage the existing ones by employing various preservation measures to enable the libraries to still perform their roles in their academic environment. Therefore, the task before this study is to examine conservative practices of information resources by libraries for enhanced collection usefulness in University libraries in Enugu state.
Objective of the Study
The broad objective of this study is to examine conservative practices of information resources by libraries for enhanced collection usefulness in University libraries in Enugu State. Specifically, the study seeks:
- To ascertain whether there are needs for preservation and conservation of information materials.
- To determine the techniques and methods for preserving and conserving of information resources.
- To investigate if adequate preservation of library resources enhances collection usefulness of those material by university community.
- To examine the personnel need for preserving and conserving information materials.
- Are there needs for preservation and conservation of information materials?
- What are the techniques and methods for preserving and conserving of information resources?
- Does adequate preservation of library resources enhance collection usefulness of those material by university community?
- What are the personnel need for preserving and conserving information materials?
Significance of the Study
The result of the study will be significant to academic libraries in Enugu State as it is important to crucial support services in the accomplishment of the academic mission of their institutions. It will also be of paramount interest to all the stakeholders in higher education to ensure that the traditional resources of these libraries are preserved for as long as possible to make them viable for academic purposes. The study will also sensitize library management in the institutions about the true conservation and preservation practices to inculcate in other to improve them so that their libraries will be saved from destruction and still continue to render services to their users. Theoretically, the study will add to the body of knowledge and serve as reference material for scholars and student who wishes to conduct further studies in related field.
Scope of the study
The scope of this study borders on conservative practices of information resources by libraries for enhanced collection usefulness in University libraries in Enugu State. The study further discusses the personnel need for preserving and conserving library materials. The study is therefore delimited to librarians, library users and library and information student of University of Nigeria Nsukka, Enugu State.
Limitation Of Study
There are few factors that posed as limitation of the study. Those are Financial constrain and Time Constrain.
Financial constraint– Insufficient fund tends 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).
Time constraint– The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.