Information provision to the rural dwellers in Nigeria has suffered a complete neglect over a long time and it has led to the situation whereby the rural populace are information starved. Obviously, the rural populace suffers from acute low productivity, social and economic regression due to ignorance, which is also a direct consequence of either inadequate or lack of information provision to them. The only information outfits over time that are available to the Nigerian rural dwellers are radio and television. The community dwellers due to inadequate provision of public services such as health care services, library and information services, etc usually have the need to travel to cities for them to obtain wider access. Travel, however, may not be an easy option, due to low income.
According to Encyclopedia Britannica (2007) rural society is a society in which there is low ratio of inhabitants to open land and in which the most important economic activities are the production of foodstuffs, fibers and raw materials. However, the poor socio-economic conditions of community dwellers could be improved with the provision of community-based library and information services. One of the surest ways of raising the standard of life in the rural areas is the provision of useful and reliable information through library services.
A community-based library is basically concerned with the provision of problem-solving information to the community dwellers. According to the South African Community Library and Information Services Bill, community-based library and information services (CIS) is defined as library and information services established, funded or maintained by a province or municipality to provide library and information services to the public or community dwellers (South Africa Government Gazette, 2010). Community-based library and information services involves provision of citizen action information needed for effective participation as individuals or as members of a group in the social, political, legal, and economic process. Community-based library and information services assist individuals and groups with daily problem-solving and with participation in the democratic process. In this vein, effective provision of community-based library and information services in Nigeria's rural communities has the potential of providing the people's information needs promptly in the proper language and format.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION OF ASA LOCAL GOVERNMENT
Asa Local Government is one of the oldest in Kwara State, Nigeria. It was created in 1976 with it's headquarter in Afon. The Local Government Area has 12 wards and shares boundary with Osun State in several locations. It has an area of 1,286 km2 and a population of 1,26,435 at the 2006 population census. (National Population Commission, 2006). The categories of people living in the rural areas of Asa Local Government Area of Kwara State include farmers, hunters, petty traders, teachers, cattle-rearers, Local health workers, Local Government workers, artisans, politicians, students, etc. The rural communities in the Local Government Area include: Afon, Igbo-Nla, Igbo-Aran, Oguntoyinbo, Otte-Oja, Aboto-Oja, Okeso, Ballah, Alapa, Laduba, Ogbondoroko, Olowu Oko, Lasoju, Igbo Aran, Eiyenkorin, Budo Egba, Ilaji Garuba, Idiapa Sadadi, Ago Oja, Ila Oja, Faje, Budo Are, Aladera Magaji, Akunyun and Elebute. Others are: Iyana Alakuko, Gaa-Lamba, Okepete, Pampo, Apata Ajele, Ogiri, Onile Aro, Ajuwon, Efue, Gaa Abuyanrin, Berikodo Dongari, Gbaja, Ologbo, Agboyi, Ilaji Owode, Owode Alagbon, Oniyere, Ajagusi, Budo Adio, Onikeke, Yede, Oja Iya, Kupola, Awe, Agbonna, Jagun and Agbolu. Yoruba and Fulani are the major languages of the people of the Local Government Area. The major economic activities of the people are farming, trading, carving, cattle rearing, hunting, and garri processing. The major festivals include; Egungun Festival and Alagbe Acrobat. (www.kwarastate.gov.ng/asa/lga, 2011).
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Information is indispensable in human life, hence a basic human need, which has an over-riding significance to all and sundry. However, people living in the rural communities of Nigeria need information as urban dwellers. It is generally believed that community-based libraries if exist, suffer the most neglect in terms of funding. Yet, provision of needed information at the right time and format to the rural dwellers is central. However, since the creation of Asa Local Government, much has not been done on the information needs of the people living in its rural areas and library and information services available to them. Thus, the situation calls for a research. This study, however, intends to identify the information needs of rural dwellers in this area and to find out what information services are available to them. This study is considered significant in view of the fact that the findings will assist the community-based information service providers to plan and cater for the diversified information needs of community dwellers in terms of better library and information service delivery. The findings of the study will also help the community dwellers to be aware of what information services are available to them so as to make better use of them.
OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The objectives of this study are:
i. to identify the information needs of the community dwellers in Asa Local Government
ii. to find out what information services are available to the community dwellers
iii. to determine the extent to which the community-based information service providers meet the needs of the community dwellers
iv. to examine the challenges of community-based library and information services provision to rural dwellers with a view to proffering solutions
REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE
The rural populace in Nigeria represents the...