Effects of federal government interventions on collection development in Nigerian universities.

Author:Akindojutimi, B.F.

Introduction and Historical Background

University education began in Nigeria in 1948 with the establishment of University College, Ibadan (UCI). Prior to this, the Yaba College was the highest institution of learning in Nigeria. With the establishment of UCI, many Nigerians had the opportunity for university education at their doorsteps and it remained the only institution of university standing in Nigeria for more than a decade. Since then, university education in Nigeria has taken giant strides (Agboola, 2000). From one university in 1948, Nigeria has gone to more than seventy universities scattered all over the country, and more are being established. Individuals, religious organizations, and state governments are all participating in establishing universities.

Until recent years, when private universities were allowed, governments have been the sole sponsors. Federally-sponsored universities are funded through the National Universities Commission (NUC) while their state-owned counterparts receive their funds directly through the state ministries of education or the governors' offices (Agboola 2000). This situation is different from that in other parts of the world, especially Europe and the US, where libraries can obtain grants from private individuals and corporate organizations like the Carnegie Corporation, McArthur Foundation, etc., in addition to government funding and students fees.

Statement of the Problem

The university library is an important component of any university community. No university can lay claim to academic excellence without a good library to back up its teaching, research, and public service mandates (Agboola, 2000). Nigerian university libraries have also been a major component of the university organizations and programmes.

According to Omotayo (1997), the Nigerian university system enjoyed general support from the Federal Government of Nigeria in the 70s, which were years of oil boom. Nigeria experienced a sharp decline in oil revenue in the 1980s, as a result of the world oil glut and poor internal management of resources. Since all the federal universities depended heavily on the government for their funds, the economic downturn took its toll on these institutions. The effect was so bad that the basic needs for teaching and research could not be met and the universities soon became a shadow of their past. The economic situation of the country in general prevented the working out of any reasonable acquisition programme by university libraries (Ibadan University Library Annual Report, 1984). This decline lasted through the 1980s and early 1990s.

The federal government recognized this decline and its debilitating effects on the quality of university education, and began to look for alternative means of funding the universities. Toward the end of the 1980s with a World Bank loan was obtained, which was finally used early in 1990s. Since then, there have been various government intervention policies and programmes aimed at improving Nigerian university library acquisitions. The paper evaluates the effects of these interventions on the acquisition of books in federal university libraries, using Hezekiah Oluwasanmi Library of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria as a case study.

The Historical Background of Obafemi Awolowo University

The then regional government of Western Nigeria announced its intention to start a university in 1960. The university was established...

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