The objective of the university library is to support the academic programmes of the university by providing relevant information so as to respond to the ever-increasing information demands of the users who comprise the students and the academic staff of the university. The 21st Century poses radical challenges to the university libraries that the overall functions and services are influenced regularly. This is in line with the opinion of Opoku (2011) that many issues affect the way services are provided in the library on a regular basis. These challenges invariably demand that evaluation of university libraries services' remains worthwhile.
Constant evaluation of the university libraries use is the surest way of ensuring that information is obtained so as to ascertain whether the library is meeting its expected goals, so that adjustments should be made where necessary for effective information service delivery. In consonance with this, the purpose of evaluation, as declared by Knighty (as cited in Ogunrobi, 2012) is to gather information on how the library is accomplishing its objectives with a view to improving the delivery of library services.
In the light of this therefore, the need for this study becomes very imperative. It has become expedient to ascertain the extent to which the students of Paul University, Awka are utilizing the resources in their university library.
University Library is an academic library. Academic libraries, according to Reitz (2004) is a library that is an integral part of a college, university or other institutions of postsecondary education, administered to meet the information and research needs of its students, faculty and staff. Academic library therefore is a type of library found in institutions of higher learning universities, polytechnics, and colleges of education. University library is defined as a library or library system established, administered and funded by a university to meet the information, research, and curriculum needs of its students, faculty and staff (Reitz, 2004). Ekere (2006) confirmed this when she declared that any library attached to a university is called a university library.
The definition of a university library by Reitz (2004) revealed that a university library has a function, and this is to "meet the information, research, and curriculum needs of its students, faculty and staff". This concurs with the idea of Aina (2004) which stated that the main purpose of a university library is to support the objectives of a university, which are in the areas of learning, teaching, research and service. Ekere (2006) also shared this view by making an assertion that the main purpose of the university library is to support the objectives of the university which is to promote teaching, learning and research. Thus, the university library is meant to serve the undergraduates, postgraduates, lecturers and other members of the university community. Bringing out further the idea behind the establishment of a university library, Kumar (2006) argued that:
A university library is a part of a university set-up. Therefore, it exists to serve the objectives of its parent organization. Every library programme must support university's total programme. In other words, a university library should aim to advance the functions of its university. It should reflect the character of the school (p. 47). Halsey (2009) similarly summarized when he stated that:
Research plays a central role in the academic work of students and faculty at colleges and universities. As a result, college and university libraries--also called academic libraries--are often considered the most important resource of an institution of higher education. Because students and faculty at colleges and universities may wish to conduct research within any conceivable academic discipline, the collections of academic libraries usually reflect a vast range of interests and formats. Oyewusi and Oyeboade (2009) in line with the ongoing discussion opined that the primary purpose of the university libraries is to support teaching, learning, and research in ways consistent with, and supportive of, the institution's mission and goals. As a result, they continued, university libraries are often considered the most important resource centre of an academic institution. Roseroka (2004) also felt that University libraries derive their mission from that of the parent organization, the university ... The vision, mission, and strategies which are selected by universities as guide for meeting the core functions of teaching, learning, research and providing community service form the foundation on which the role of the university library is based. University libraries play a prominent role in providing information services in various forms to students, lecturers and researchers. This is why Okunu, Akalumhe, and Monu (2011) concluded that the university library is the heart and blood of the university.
The primary purpose of university libraries as could be seen from the above discussion is to support the teaching, learning and research activities of their parent institutions. In consonance with the National Universities Commission (NUC) policy which encourages bringing library services closer to the students and staff, university libraries are considered as one of the fundamental necessities required for accreditation of academic programmes in Nigerian university libraries.
However, university education in Nigeria is facing a critical challenge in meeting new demands of the 21st Century, with its ever increasing population growth, inadequate library facilities, resources and insufficient funding (Oyewusi and Oyeboada, 2009). Opoku (2011) also perceived this when he stated that:
Academic library service is a complex and dynamic collaboration between the library staff and the user. Many issues affect the way services are provided in the library on regular basis. The increasing students intake into the university, coupled with advanced Information and Communication Technology (ICT) development each day has created a new kind of library users demanding more efficient library services. If checks and balances are put in place, and components of the library are managed in an efficient and effective manner, the library is likely to succeed in meeting user expectations in its services delivery. There is need therefore for academic libraries to promote and provide quality...