Exploiting computer facilities for internal income generation: a comparison of two Nigerian libraries.

Author:Ajegbomogun, Fredrick Olatunji


The library is a non-profit organisation and its mission is to provide services to users. The environment in which Nigerian libraries operate, however, presents challenges to accomplishing this mission. Ojoade and Ochai (2000) observe that the emptiness of the library shelves and dilapidated structures, coupled with obsolete materials and the disappearance of valuable materials from the shelved have reduce the quality of library services. It has been suggested by many scholars that libraries should start generating funds in order to provide adequate services to users. The decline in library services includes lack of funds and partial withdrawal of federal government funding for Nigerian universities. An information explosion and the influx of new technology have changed the information-seeking behaviours of users. Networked computers, an exponential growth in knowledge, availability of the Internet and the World Wide Web challenge libraries to provide access to information by applying Information Communication Technology (ICT) to facilitate access.

The inconsistency in the funding of Nigerian university libraries shows that the government is not sensitive to the information needs of society. The alternative to this problem of under-funding is to explore other means of providing quality information. This article reports on research that explores whether computerization of library services will increase internal revenue generation.

Hezekiah Oluwasanmi Library,Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife

The university library is a central academic services. Since its inception in 1966, the new university administration, headed by Prof. Oluwasanmi, viewed the library as "a very unique importance as a repository of knowledge" whose main function was to "acquire, process, organize for use, and preserve such recorded communications as could serve the teaching, research, cultural, and service needs of the entire university community."

The Hezekiah Oluwasanmi Library's book collection has more than 650,000 volumes (Ajayi, 2005). Each year the library acquires thousands of new books. Efforts to computerize the operations of the library began in the 1970s and 1980s, attempting to use the University's Computer Centre mainframe facilities. The efforts that yielded the present results began in 1995 with the purchase through the National University Commission (NUC) of ICL 386 personal computers with a detached CD-ROM drive and OKI Microline printer. TINLIB software was later supplied and installed. This formed the nucleus of the library's computerization, and the creation of the library database began in September 1995. The NUC initiative posed a challenge to the library and brought pressure for a quick completion of the university library computerization project (Ajayi, 2005).

Kenneth Dike Library, University of Ibadan

The University of Ibadan was established as the University College of Ibadan in 1948, and has a library system whose center is the Kenneth Dike Library (KDL), with a mission to support teaching and research activities by making information available to users. Ekpenyong (2003) reports that KDL serves a student population of about 20,000 (full and part time) and an academic community of 5,800 staff (teaching and non-teaching). The library has approximately 542,888 volumes, and receives about 200 current journals, as well as a large number of audiovisual resources. The university library started its automation in 1993 (Ekpenyong, 2003) and presently has a Local Area Network (LAN)/ Intranet of about thirty computers, on which the library resources are hosted. In the library, users have access to CD-ROM databases and online resources like the eGranary library. The eGranary library from the WiderNet project, Iowa, and is a collection of over one and a half million documents (full text journals), books with audio and graphics that have been downloaded from the Web, with copyright permissions obtained (Akintunde, 2004). The library is able to provide a few computers for Internet access for users.

Literature Review

In the colonial days, there was a need for scientific information to support research, development, and to promote economic self-sufficiency. This prompted the development of public libraries. This initiative was short-lived due to lack of funds. A survey of university libraries by Rosenberg (1997) reveals that the amount spent on books and journals to be...

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