This study was carried out on the management and use of legal deposit materials by libraries for effective user support in the national library of Nigeria. To achieve this, thee significant research objectives were formulated. The survey design was adopted and the simple random sampling techniques were employed in this study. The population size comprises of librarians from five departments offering library services in National Library Of Nigeria, Abuja. In determining the sample size, the researcher conveniently selected 41 respondents while 38 were received and 35 were validated. Self-constructed and validated questionnaire was used for data collection. The collected and validated questionnaires were analyzed using frequency tables and mean scores. The result of the findings reveals that the legal deposit practices available in the National Library Of Nigeria are Collection of legal deposit of thesis and dissertations; collection of legal deposit of government resources; collection of legal deposit of serials; collection of legal deposit of non-print resources like CDs and audio-visual materials etc. The findings also revealed that legal deposit materials are used to promotes effective user support in the national library of Nigeria. And the factors affecting effective user support in the national library of Nigeria include poor enlightenment by NLN campaign, poor assistance from Staff, poor legal framework of the NLN, none compliance by publishers, etc. In regard to the findings, the study recommends that there is a need for the federal government to make room for adequate funding of the NLN. This is to enable it provide for capital intensive method of accessibility like the Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC).
Keywords: Library, National Library, Legal deposit materials.
Background Of The Study
Different libraries exist for different purposes. These purposes include function, type of users and the reason for establishing the library. These account for the major differences in libraries. Okiy in Tinuoye (2010) asserted that the main reason libraries exist is to provide the right materials to meet the information needs of their users. The type of users who make use of a library; the kind of services rendered by it; the type of collection it has and the general intention of those who established the library clearly distinguish one type of library from the other. The types of library include: the national, public, school, academic, private and special libraries.
National libraries are regarded as the apex libraries in a country. Uwaifo (2010) acknowledged that national libraries are established and maintained by the national governments of countries. They serve as the preeminent repository of information for that country. Unlike public libraries, these rarely allow citizens to borrow books. Often, they include numerous, rare, valuable or significant works.
National libraries are responsible for acquiring and conserving copies of all significant publications published in the country and functioning as a `deposit’ library, either by law or under other arrangements. They will also normally perform some of the following functions: produce a national bibliography; hold and keep up to date a large and representative collection of foreign literature including books about the country; act as a national bibliographical information center; compile union catalogues; publish the retrospective national bibliography. Libraries which may be called `national’ but whose functions do not correspond to the above definition should not be placed in the `national libraries’ category(UNESCO 1970). In addition, National libraries functionalities are guided by the instrument regarded as the legal deposit law.
Specifically, the National Library of Nigeria (NLN) Decree No. 29 of 1970 stipulates in Section 4(1) that the publisher of every book published in Nigeria shall within one month after the publication deliver at his own expense to the National Library, three (3) copies of the book for permanent preservation and one of which shall be sent by the Director to the Ibadan University library. This is called legal deposit Law. It is given as instrument to the National Library authorizing it to collect these indigenous materials.
Legal deposit materials, therefore, are those acquired by law by some libraries for permanent preservation, proper processing and dissemination to the public. These materials are mostly indigenous and they emanate from authors and publishers within a geographical area.Some libraries are designated by law to receive and preserve these materials. Edoka(2000).These libraries are called depository libraries. Legal deposit according to Prytherch (1995) is a method whereby certain libraries are entitled by law to receive one or more copies of every publication which is printed or published in the country. These depository libraries are mostly federal academic institution, public libraries and national libraries.
The National Library of Nigeria is established by law to carry out the functions of legal depository. It is the library of libraries. It serves as the national information bank as rare, valuable, and all published work are preserved in it. According to Adewunmi (2008), the objectives of the National Library of Nigeria Decree include: (a) The provision of necessary support for intellectual efforts in all activities directed at progress and development. (b) Ensuring a free flow of knowledge between this nation and others, thereby securing a place for the nation in the community of nations that depend on recorded knowledge and information for survival in a world of rapid advancement and competition of ideas. (c) Ensuring availability of comprehensive and as near complete a collection of resource as possible, materials in existing knowledge in the world and ensuring full access to such resources both within and outside the nation’s boundaries.
These legal deposit materials are indigenous materials published within the country and those published about the country outside the country. They are of different types. They include printed materials while access to the password is given to the National Library by the publishers into the digital or electronic copies .They are lawfully acquired free of charge from publishers and authors of any intellectual work. The materials include books, magazines, journals, films, newspapers, government publications, oral recordings or documentaries etc .Arua (1997) and Owen (2007) posited that books, journals, newspapers, government publications are collected and preserved for posterity through the legal deposit. These materials could be literary, collective, distinct or documentary work. . These legal deposit materials are of immense value to the country due to the type of information they contain. Ifidon and Ifidon (2007) opined that they are useful for research. They are also important in the bibliographic control of publications both nationally and internationally. This is achieved through the publication of the National Bibliography of Nigeria (NBN) by the National Library of Nigeria. According to the decree establishing the National Library of Nigeria, it is the giant memory of the nation. In line with this, the Legal deposit materials help in retrospective searches by users as a lot of these materials are rare and old .They are used as reference materials in court subpoena in the case of litigation, authentication and certification in government offices. Government documents, serials and monographs are useful in this case. Legal deposit materials are very important in collection development. This is because the depository or national library does not spend money in acquiring them. They are deposited freely by the publishers. Ifidon and Ifidon (2007) opined that if full advantage is taken of it (legal deposit materials) as is the case of developed countries, the collection can be swelled significantly. They also contain current information and information on different disciplines.
Lawyers also make use of it as the Certified True Copy (CTC) for conflict resolution among authors in the court of law. It is the only copy accepted in the court and a librarian from the National Library of Nigeria usually goes with the material for subpoena. This is because it is the copy regarded as authentic. Students also find the legal deposit materials useful in their educational pursuit. Ezema and Okafor (2009). Civil servants are also great users of the legal deposit materials particularly the government publications. The official gazettes are used for certification and authentication in government offices. They serve as credentials for leave of absence, first and second appointments, date of promotion, transfer of service, etc. These records are of great use in these government offices. Other users of the legal deposit materials are current affairs seekers and job seekers. These people seek information on job placements and current happenings contained in newspapers. Ajidahun in Owairu (2010) stated that despite the importance of newspapers, the prices are beyond most individual purchasing power. Hence, most Nigerians rely on libraries that offer free services to keep abreast of current information. The National Library of Nigeria is one such library and the legal deposit materials are library resources that serve this great purpose. Bibliographic control is useful in providing information on the existence of information bearing materials, identifying the works contained in them, systematically pulling together these information resources, and producing lists and access points to their retrieval. This makes for easy access and utilization of the materials. The legal deposit according to Line and Line (1979) helps the national libraries fulfill international goal of Universal Bibliographic Control through the local bibliographic control. It achieves this through the legal deposit or by Cataloguing- in –Publication (CIP) Data in Library of Congress, for instance, or through collection development policies which target book markets in other nations. National Library of Nigeria also provides Cataloguing –in – Publication Data for these legal deposit materials. Another function of the legal deposit is that it is the nation’s memory or information bank. The legal deposit materials have a lot of potentials in them as indispensable library resources. They educate, inform and equip the users. This also gives the users the springboard to contribute effectively to the society. They make Nigeria distinct as a country and give her an identity in the committee of nations. This is in line with Okwilagwe in Ola and Osagie (2011) who posited that books record a people`s experience and artifact. For instance The Nigerian Yearbook published and printed by ‘Times Press (Nigeria)’, Apapa contains all that one needs to know about Nigeria. Chinua Achebe`s Things Fall Apart bears the culture of a particular group of people, the Igbos in Eastern Nigeria. The legal deposit materials help to advertise the Nigerian indigenous authors and publishers internationally through the standard numbers given by the National Library of Nigeria. These include the International Standard Book Number (ISBN), International Standard Serial Number (ISSN), and International Standard Music Number (ISMN), Apart from the aim of preserving books for future generations, other objectives of the legal deposit system include the constitution of a national bibliography and accessibility for research purposes of a collection of the nations published materials. Adrienne (2005) buttressing this opined that the purpose of the legal deposit is to preserve and provide longterm access to the national intellectual heritage. This is the hallmark of a good library.
Hence, the accessibility of these materials through effective user support is what attracts users to the library. A user who hurries to the library as an information pool or bank turns back in disappointment if his or her information need is not met by the library, as a result of none availability of needed material, or complications in accessing the material.
The National Library of Nigeria through its managerial efficiency provides also access points to the legal deposit materials. These according to Owen (2007) include consultation with staff, indexes, library catalogue, and abstract, with the sole aim of satisfying the users. However, the guarantee of access to legal deposit materials depends on factors affecting legal deposit libraries(Nsibirwa, Hoskins and Stilwell 2011). These factors as identified by these authors include implementation of the Legal Deposit Act; other legislation affecting access to legal deposit collection and preservation of materials; and methods of managing the materials. These factors unveils managerial ineffectiveness in the library. Hence influencing users experience negatively. In the view of the above, this study is focused on management and use of legal deposit materials by libraries for effective user support in the National Library of Nigeria.
Statement Of The Problem
The legal deposit materials form a large constituent in the collection of the National Library of Nigeria. They are of great benefit in bibliographic control, research, study, learning, entertainment and knowledge transfer from one generation to another. They are also veritable authority during litigation, subpoena and authentication for Certified True Copy (CTC). They showcase the nation`s cultural heritage. They draw a lot of users to the library. These include lawyers, students, researchers, civil servants, legal practitioners, tourists etc. However, it has been pre–observed by the researcher, through on the job experience that legal deposit materials is not user friendly as their accessibility and effective utilization by users is inadequate and restricted.
Additionally, effective legal deposit management and practices guarantee the citizens and researchers nationally and globally access to collection of the nation’s published resources. This is possible and can be successfully implemented with the positive and committed management of the legal depository library, publishers and authors, as stakeholders. However, it has been noted that legal deposit law is not effectively implemented, and publishers and authors have not been effectively complying with their legal deposit obligations. This pitfalls therefore significantly affect the user support and experience in the use of legal deposit materials in National Library of Nigeria. Thus, the purpose of this study is to critically examine the management and use of legal deposit materials by libraries for effective user support in the national library of Nigeria.
Objective Of The Study
The general aim of this study is to examine the management and use of legal deposit materials by libraries for effective user support in the national library of Nigeria. Below are the specific objectives of the study;
- Determine the legal deposit practices available in the National Library Of Nigeria.
- Determine the uses of legal deposit materials that promotes effective user support in the national library of Nigeria.
- Ascertain the factors affecting effective user support in the national library of Nigeria.
The study will be guided by the following questions;
- What are the legal deposit practices available in the National Library Of Nigeria?
- What are the uses of legal deposit materials that promotes effective user support in the national library of Nigeria?
- What are the factors affecting effective user support in the national library of Nigeria?
Significance Of The Study
The findings of this study are expected to be of benefit to the management and staff of the National Library of Nigeria, researchers, students, policy makers, authors, lawyers, civil servants, publishers, lecturers and students of library and information science.
Legal deposit materials are important library resources and have indeed taken their place in the literature of library and information science. This study on the management and uses of these materials in National Library of Nigeria to enhance user support is expected to add to the existing body of knowledge in the department of Library and Information Science. Furthermore, the findings of this work, if adopted, may be of great benefit to the National Library of Nigeria as it may reveal its strengths and weaknesses in the management of legal deposit materials for adequate accessibility and effective utilization. It will also showcase the areas where proper adjustments may be made as the depository library to enhance the accessibility and utilization of the legal deposit materials.
Scope Of The Study
The study focus on the management and use of legal deposit materials by libraries for effective user support in the national library of Nigeria. The study is however narrowed to determining the legal deposit practices available in the National Library Of Nigeria, determining the uses of legal deposit materials that promotes effective user support in the national library of Nigeria, and ascertaining the factors affecting effective user support in the national library of Nigeria. The respondents for this study will be obtained from five departments offering library services in National Library Of Nigeria, Abuja.
Limitation Of The Study
Like in every human endeavour, the researcher 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, which is why the researcher resorted to a limited choice of sample size. More so, the researcher simultaneously engaged in this study with other academic work. As a result, the amount of time spent on research will be reduced.
Definition Of Terms
Management: Is an act or process of forecasting, planning, organising, controlling, commanding and coordinating. Also, management is a process by which organisations ensure that their objectives are achieved by the proper planning, organisation and controlling of their resources – human and materials.
Library: Library is a social institution established to collect, organize, preserve information resources and disseminate them to people for whom the library is established in a place conducive enough for the use of the information resources.
National Library: These are the kinds of libraries which irrespective of their title are responsible for acquiring and conserving copies of all significant publications published in the country and functioning as a deposit library either by law or under some arrangement.