Accessibility and utilization of reference materials by undergraduates of library and information Science, Imo State University, Owerri, Nigeria
Ogbuji David Uche, Chukwuemeka Chukwueke
Preliminary observations have shown a decline in the utilization of reference materials by most undergraduates in Nigerian universities. Could this also be true considering the undergraduates in the Department of Library and Information Science (DLIS), Imo State University (IMSU), Owerri? This is an issue investigated in this study, which focused on examining the accessibility and utilization of reference materials by undergraduates of Library and Information Science, IMSU, Owerri, Nigeria. Four objectives guided the study. The descriptive survey method was adopted with a sample of 140 undergraduates, which represents the entire population of the students from 100 to 400 level as at 2019/2020 academic session. A researchers’-made close-ended questionnaire was used for data collection. However, data collected were analyzed using frequency counts and mean scores. A criterion mean of 2.50 was adopted to ascertain the agreement or disagreement of item statements by the respondents. Findings showed the accessibility of greater number of reference materials, such as dictionaries, encyclopedias, and projects/theses/dissertations, among others. It was also revealed that most of these materials, which include projects/theses/dissertations are utilized. The challenges to accessibility and utilization of these materials, include inaccessibility of reference materials and provision of irrelevant reference materials, among others. Solutions were given to include provision of access point to reference materials, and provision of relevant reference materials, among other things. Based on the findings, the study concludes that there is high accessibility and high utilization of reference materials by undergraduates of Library and Information Science, IMSU and further recommends efforts by the Management of university libraries to improve on the number, forms and relevancy of reference materials provided and made accessible to their users.