Strategies for sustaining the provision of electronic information resources services in university libraries of North Central Nigeria.
Ojukwu, Njideka-Nwawih Charlotte.
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Electronic Information Resources (EIRs) is trending as a system of information provision and services in libraries, an alternative to the traditional information services system. EIRs presently constitute vital sources of knowledge and information in all university libraries. The 21st century has witnessed a global revolution in university library services via the integration of EIRs, and University libraries in Nigeria are catching up to this trend. They have adopted EIRs services in the selection, subscription registration, registration validation, materials organisation, and dissemination of information resources within the libraries that are currently using EIRs. Thus, the initiatives adopted for the provision of EIRs services focusing on their sustainability by university libraries can enhance the delivery of such services if adequately employed, which is the focus of the present study. The strategies applied for sustainable provision of EIR services in University libraries in Nigeria and their implementation in university libraries in North Central Nigeria remain unknown and under-researched. Therefore, the study aimed to: assess the effectiveness of the provision of EIRs in University libraries in North Central Nigeria; investigate the sustainability of funding sources for EIRs; examine strategic planning and policies implemented to impact the sustainable provision of EIRs; examine the extent to which economic, social, and environmental strategies were employed in sustaining EIRs services in the selected libraries; and identify the challenges faced in the provision of EIRs and how libraries ameliorate these. The research questions were deduced from the research objectives. The HC Bridge Decision Model, the Triple Bottom Line (TBL) theory, and the conceptual framework were drawn from the model and theory variables that guided the study data collection. The pragmatic paradigm was the theoretical lens applied for the investigation of the research questions. The methodological approach used was a multi-method design. The study population comprises professional librarians, ICT services provider, and Library management team from the four selected University libraries of North Central Nigeria. A quantitative questionnaire was applied to collect data from the service providers, the professional librarians, and the selected ULs’ ICT support staff. The qualitative data was collected through an interview from the library management team, document evaluation on the library funding documents, strategic planning and policy documents, and the observation checklist on the available EIRs from the university web site. The study analyses applied the Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS) to generate frequency tables and percentages and the charts from quantitative data. Qualitative data from the interview, document analysis, and Observation checklist were analysed using thematic content analysis. The study results revealed the availability of electronic information resources, services in the surveyed libraries and their effectiveness. Nevertheless, from the management response, there is high dissatisfaction with available EIRs services in some libraries. The study further revealed that government interventions through TETFund sustain EIRs services in higher institutions in Nigeria, significantly impacting EIRs’ provision in Nigerian ULs. Despite the government efforts, EIRs services funding was inefficient. The strategic planning implementation has a low impact on providing sustainable EIR services in ULs of North Central. Similarly, the policy guide for EIRs’ services provision was also lacking. Besides, the surveyed university libraries had applied various economic, social, and environmental strategies for the sustainable provision of EIRs services. Although inherent challenges hinder the EIRs’ management in most surveyed libraries. Finally, the study recommends applying the library sustainability team for EIRs and services effectiveness and having alternative sources for adequate funds. Besides developing and implementing strategic planning and policy for positive impact on EIRs, further recommendations point out that evaluating more innovations in economic, social, and environmental strategies for sustainable provision of EIRs services, and some identified strategic measures need a thorough review.