Use of electronic security systems in academic libraries: experiences of selected universities in South-West Nigeria.
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This study investigated the use of electronic security systems in academic libraries in selected universities in South West, Nigeria. The study in particular, examined the different library security systems that are in use to curb theft and mutilation of library materials; the extent to which electronic security systems (ESS) are used in the academic libraries; how electronic security systems are used to discourage patrons from pilfering information resources from the library; the extent of loss of library materials through theft, mutilation and vandalism; the effectiveness of electronic security systems in curbing the menace of theft, mutilation and vandalism of library materials; and the factors influencing/motivating the use of ESS in the library. The population of the study was made up of 205 librarians and para-professional library staff, including the heads of libraries (University Librarians) and Information Technology personnel at the University of Lagos, University of Ibadan, Covenant University and Babcock University, in South West, Nigeria. These Universities were purposively selected for the study and a total enumeration method (census) was employed as the sampling technique. The research instruments used to elicit information from the respondents included survey questionnaires and structured interview guides. A response rate of 83.2% was recorded and use of frequency counts, percentages (%), mean ( ) and standard deviation (SD) were used to analyse the data collected. The quantitative and qualitative data obtained from the main study were coded and organised, using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) and thematic content analysis to generate descriptive and inferential statistics. Cronbach’s alpha coefficient was used to determine the internal consistency and reliability of the items in the questionnaire. The Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT) developed by Vankatesh, Morris, Davis, and Davis (2003) was used to underpin the study, and to investigate the factors influencing the use of ESS in academic libraries. The study also employed the post-positivist research paradigm as the theoretical lens to illuminate the research problem. The study further engaged a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods as well as the survey design. The study adhered strictly to the ethical protocols of the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) and permission was acquired from the relevant authorities of the Universities which were surveyed. The findings revealed that the universities in South West geopolitical region of Nigeria had implemented one form of electronic security systems or the other in their libraries. Findings further revealed how electronic security systems (ESS) are used to discourage patrons from pilfering information resources from the library. Additionally, the findings exposed the extent of loss of library materials through theft, mutilation and vandalism; the effectiveness the use of electronic security systems (ESS) in curbing the menace of theft, mutilation and vandalism of library materials; and the factors influencing/motivating the use of ESS in the library.The originality of this study lies in the fact that, extant studies carried out in Nigeria, as it relates to the security of materials in academic libraries, only investigated and recommended how library materials can be safeguarded manually (through the traditional methods); and therefore, only a few of the studies suggested the use of electronic devices to secure library materials. However, none have investigated how these modern technologies (electronic security systems) could be used to secure library materials from theft, mutilation and vandalism. Furthermore, no prior studies have employed the use of research paradigms or theory such as UTAUT to underpin their investigations. The study recommended among others, that university libraries in South-West, and Nigeria in general should enhance and encourage the maintenance of the electronic security systems (ESS) regularly; the heads of the libraries (University Librarians) should also ensure that the University Management is well educated and apprised on the importance of the use of electronic security systems (ESS) in the libraries and how adequate funds should be made available through the annual library budgets. It is also recommended that the heads of the libraries should solicit external funding to regularly upgrade the electronic security systems (ESS). The study further recommended that user education programmes should be carried out regularly. These findings are significant and have implications for policy, practice and theory in the field of library and information sciences.