A library has been defined in various ways by different that has taken place over the year Funk (1982) New encyclopedia defined that library as collection of books, other printed or written as collection of books and audio visual materials such as photographs, records, magnetic tapes, films and slides kept for loan, reference or study and by extension, the place of building were such collection is accumulated or maintained. In addition Harrod (1977) defines library as a collection of book and other material kept for reading, study and consultation, however this study concentration on the reference section of Federal University of Technology Owerri, library.
Reference services in a library is most often defined as direct personal assistance or succor to readers seeking information from the library which involves the provision of information of both on demand and in anticipation of its users in order to achieve its set objectives is satisfying the user need.
This service which is an indispensable in the library was of secondary importance before the end of the 19th century. It developed from the very simple effort helping readers to the appointment of special assistance the work of answering questions as well as providing the information needed whether in demand or in anticipation. Reference services as a pillar on which all the activities of academic library rest, was introduced in consideration of the following;
To assist student and other users in making information easily accessible; to develop the role of the library as an education institution; to help readers make the best selection from the universe of recorded information; and justify the existence of the library by demonstrating its value to those who support it.
All these constitute both the underlying rationale for reference service and the principal conceptual basic for its development to out own time. Moreover, the 20th century has witnesses both the consultation of the original concept of reference service and its expansion to new social academic and educational imperative.
According to Finer (1982) reference and equarey works involve more than the consultation reference books but it contains interactions between the injurers and the researcher, interpretation of engaging, selection of reference services has been diversified. This is because ready access of recorded knowledge provided by the reference librarian is indispensable to the users intellectual growth for the user, the service helps to solve immediate problems is his daily life and works to enrich his understanding of the acts and science to satisfy this curiosity and to pass, leisure some time to the reference librarian henshe must be intellectually sound, he should be in the position of satisfying the users.
As an academic library, the reference section of federal university of technology owerri (FUTO) library readers services which includes; the provision of researchers by way of assistance in the identification and selection of books, journal and other material relevant to a particular information need as well as the organization of reference materials for easy accessibility and use. Therefore this work concern how reference service are provided to whom they are provided and the use of them by student of federal university of technology.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
There is an increase in student enrollment in the institution of higher learning in recent times, this has no doubt led to explosion of the user population sequel to the students’ population without a commensurate increase in the library resource it follows that a number of problems are likely to arise.
Most often users complain of their inability to locate and retrieve important information needed for their assignments and project accusing the library staffs of not doing their jobs properly while on the other hand users has been accused of not identifying exactly what they want. It has not yet been ascertain what actually is responsible for this slow rate of provision of reference service, it has also not been ascertained if reference librarians renders or provide these services to the user this is better high-lighted by both the objectives of the study and the research question.
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
- To find out how reference service are provided at FUTO library.
- To find out the particular group of people that use reference services at FUTO library.
- To determine how the relationship between the reference personnel and users affected the provsion aid utilization of reference service at FUTO library.
- To ascertain the users of reference services at FUTO library.
- To proffer solutions to reference services problems at FUTO library.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The basic research questions are as follows;
- How are reference service provided by the FUTO library?
- What group of clientele makes use of reference services at the FUTO library?
- How does the relationship between reference staff and users affect the provision and utilization of reference services?
- What specific information materials do reference service users mainly demand for?
- What are the problems of the provision of reference services at FUTO library?
- What are the proffer solutions to the problem?
1.5 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This study is on reference services on the case study of FUTO academic library, major emphasizes was laid on identifying how the reference services are rendered and used by student and also focus on the department of federal university of technology owerri library.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The study on completion will basically add to the several literature of library and information science practically in the specified area of reference service in academic libraries, the study will go a long way in generally providing reference staffs that basic information on the proper reference services being provided to scholars and student, finally with its suggested a reference tool and guide to all those reference staffs, student and scholars in the area reference services.
1.7 HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF THE INSTITUTION
The historical brief of the institution under study would be bread from inception to the present day. The essence being to present the institutions and their libraries as living and growing organisms. The historical brief will also form parts of the data collection process for presentation and analysis.
The Federal University of Technology Owerri was one of the several science and technological universities established in 1981 by then Shehu Shagari civilian administration on regional basic all over the country. The university was formally inaugurated on the temporary site at the Lake Nwaebere ground which was then intended for the federal government girls’ college (FGGC) Owerri. The lack Nwabere then this included hospital facilities for only 616 students a few classroom blocks without lectures threatres, laboratories twenty (20) student at a time. Unfinished library building and few blocks of offices for the university of great intension, the site was small an area for the development of a full-fledged university however a number of additional building were put up to enable lecture to commence in October 1981 when the university formally took off but in December 1981, the concar-cplan explain group, company of architects and engineers or repute from the northlands but based on Lagos Nigeria was appoused by the university to prepare master plan for the permanent site situated at Ihiagwa, south of Owerri township (municipal) with the completion of some projects at the permanent site, the university moved over in 1993.
Library of the Federal University of Technology (FUTO) Owerri was established university. The library was first sited at lake Nwaebere campus before its movement in 1993 to its permanent site library commercial in June 1987 with Mr. Joseph C. Amafulu before its formal opening in November 1981. On inception, the library started with a party number of 2,500 volumes of books. Nineteen-eighty two (May 1882) was indeed a glorious year for the library. It witnessed the purchase and addition of 600 titles of journals to the book volumes and the number of books got up to six thousand.
Alongside the university in May 17, 1993, the library moved to its permanent site in Ihiagwa Owerri here, the library was allocated a befitting accommodation/building called library phase in which beats over 100 students. There were such section as serials, technical services, readers services information technology document and achieves research and training. At the entrance of the library is displayed the organizational structure as well as the materials that would be laid hands on.
The library today has a good, collection that caters for the information needs of both scholars and students. There are books of 56,095 volumes, 4,125 periodical bound together, 2,936 title of document, over 288 current periodical titles and 910 of various categories of maps, 253 local periodicals and 13 current newspapers and magazines title. The library has some audio visual materials and the computer and its accessories.
On the Mondays to Friday the library opens from the hours of 8.30am-9.00pm on Saturdays the library operates within the hours of 9.00am to 6.00pm but during holidays the library opens from 9.00am to 3.00pm.
The organization of its materials, the library uses the library of congress, list of subject heads and the anglo American cataloguing rule 2 standing in for second edition.
Since its inception, the library has had three librarians, namely meassre J.A. Amafulu, M.S Onye and the incumbent John E. Nnogu.
1.8 DEFINITION OF OPERATIONAL BASIC CONCEPTS
- Reference services: Direct personal aid within a library to perfom in search of information for whatever purpose, and various library activities especially aimed at making information as easily available as possible (opera 2006).
- Reference books: Books designed by its arrangement and treatment to be consulted for definite items of information rather than to be read consecutively “in other words, the arrangement of the entries and their treatment are such that a reference book is only consulted for specific items of information (American Library Association Glossary of Library Terms).
- Academic library: Part of an academic set up which exist to serve the objectives of the parents’ organization. It supports education and research materials and train reference librarian who will make judicious use of these reference materials in serving clientele (Krishna 1980).
- Ready Reference Source: Sources which provides answers to ready reference question. A ready reference question is one which could be answer with a fact of piece of evidence usually from one source (opara 2006).
- Bibliography: Organized lot of books, chapters in books, periodicals, journals articles, reports, conference papers etc concerned with a given subject or wide range of subjects and generally arranged alphabetically by another or chronological or by topic (opara 2001).
- Directories: List of person organization or institution systematically arranged, usually arranged alphabetically or classified orders, giving addresses, officers, function and similar data for organization (Oti 2000) reference collection; co-operative venture, where books that nobody but everyone potentially mighty need occasionally are published and housed for the shared use of the community (Thomsen 1999).