This study looks at availability and accessibility as variables in information seeking and use. Availability of information resources must be distinguished from accessibility. Availability of information sources means ensuring their presence in libraries for immediate use (Aguolu and Aguolu 2002). Learning materials might be available, i.e., the library has acquired them, but inaccessible to those who need them for whatever reason (uncataloged, miscataloged, misshelved, etc.). Accessible means that users can identify and use the resources. Both variables have a relationship with the use of library resources.
Michael Okpara University of Agriculture
The University was founded in 1994, and added a postgraduate school in 1997. In addition to teaching, research, and community service, the University has "training" as a mission, so that its products can go from "Lab to Land." The University is committed to producing educated farmers and new and improved agricultural protocols.
The University Library
The University Library has about 20,000 volumes in agricultural science and related fields, with 5,000 volumes of reference materials, and reports of student research, including theses and dissertations. The library is connected to the Internet, and subscribes to more than 500 print journal titles, local and foreign, as well as national newspapers and magazines.
Purpose and Objectives of the Study
The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship of availability and accessibility of information sources with the use of library services in the university library.
How readily available are the information source and what are the relationships between the availability of information sources and the use of library services?
How easily accessible are the information sources and what are the relationships between the accessibility of information sources and the use of library services?
Availability of Information Sources and Library Services
Aguolu and Aguolu (2002) argue that availability should be viewed from both national and instructional levels. They attribute the lack of availability of information sources to the steady proliferation of universities: federal, state, and private, along with increases in students and faculty, and the diversification of courses and academic and research programmes, without adequate information sources to meet the actual and information needs. They identify obstacles to the development of adequate information sources. Dike (1992) conducted research on the scarcity of books in Nigeria and the threat to academic excellence. She was able to establish that non-availability of information sources has led faculty and students not to use library services.
Buckland (1975) analyzes frustrations felt by users who fail to find the information sources they want in the library. He outlines four relationships between the user and availability or resources, which are:
The greater, the popularity, the lower the immediate availability.
The longer the loan period, the lower the immediate availability, the shorter the loan period, the higher the immediate availability.
The greater the popularity, the shorter the loan period has to be and the less the popularity, the longer the loan period can be.
Increasing the number of copies available, like shortening the length of loan periods, increases the immediate availability.
A study by Marama and Ogunrombi (1996) confirms high unavailability of library and information science (LIS) collections in most Nigerian university libraries, which had a negative effect on the use of information sources in the libraries studied. The librarians cannot conduct quality research and get published, and library students cannot even use library services. The authors recommended that at least 5 percent of the book budget be set aside for LIS information sources. The study, though limited to LIS, can be generalized to other subject areas. Unomah (1987) conducted a study at the former Bendel State University to determine the unavailability rate in the library and to find out its causes. The survey revealed an unavailability rate of 34 percent. One effect on the use of library service was that 300 users (71.4%) gave up and went away frustrated. On acquisition performance, the survey showed that the library acquired only a little more than half the items requested. A similar study by Okiy (2000) showed an unavailability rate of only 7.5%. Iyoro (2004) found that availability of serials at the University of Ibadan was 94 percent, with 242 of 256 respondents agreeing that serial publications are available and readily accessible.
Ajayi and Akinniyi (2004) found frustration among information seekers due to the non-availability of sources. Aina (1985) analyzed the availability of periodical titles used in Nigerian...