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The effect of library policies on overdue materials in university libraries in the South-South Zone, Nigeria.


The library is the symbolic heart or nerve center of academic life in any university. Rubin (1998) observes that colleges are waking up to the fact that the work of every professor and every department depends on the library, because it is the place where students can learn to move beyond lectures and textbooks and investigate for themselves. Changes in teaching methods require the academic library to supplement the single text book and enrichment enrichment Food industry The addition of vitamins or minerals to a food–eg, wheat, which may have been lost during processing. See White flour; Cf Whole grains.  the curriculum. Fargo (1998) notes that the library has an even more vital relationship to the academic community than before, and that books and other resources do not merely accompany academic activities, but are the fabric of those activities.

Libraries create policies to ensure that library resources are used effectively. Policies are mechanisms for ensuring that individuals are treated fairly and equitably and that individuals' interests are managed for the greater good (Bryson 1999). Policies are guides to decision making. They ensure that organizational decisions are in line organizational philosophy (Clark 1999). Nwalo (2002) observes that policies are common in all industrial and service organizations. For consistency of service, high productivity, and efficiency, organizations provide guidelines guidelines, a set of standards, criteria, or specifications to be used or followed in the performance of certain tasks.
 to be followed by those involved in the service or production process.

Professional librarians exercise independent judgment in the course of providing library service. This implies that a librarians adhere policies, but may also deviate from policies when professional judgment indicates that they should. Service to library patrons cannot be overemphasized (Akinbode 2002). Readers' services, which includes lending materials, is a major service that attracts many people to the library. Users of academic libraries are free to borrow materials for home use. The level, extent, and number depend on the library's policies. Loan periods are also a matter of policy. Some users do not return materials when they are due. The research reported on here was being carried to determine the extent of overdue OVERDUE. A bill, note, bond or other contract, for the payment of money at a particular day, when not paid upon the day, is overdue.
     2. The indorsement of a note or bill overdue, is equivalent to drawing a new bill payable at sight. 2 Conn. 419; 18 Pick.
 material and the policy factors that contribute to it.

Problem Statement

Circulation of materials is one of the most basic library services. Circulation policies stipulate stip·u·late 1  
v. stip·u·lat·ed, stip·u·lat·ing, stip·u·lates
a. To lay down as a condition of an agreement; require by contract.

 who is eligible to borrow books and how many books may be borrowed at a time and for what duration. Academic libraries usually permit extensive borrowing. Undergraduates may be allowed to borrow up to four books Four Books
 Chinese Sishu

Ancient Confucian texts used as the basis of study for civil service examinations (see Chinese examination system) in China (1313–1905).
 for four weeks, while graduate students and members of the academic staff are usually allowed up to six books for two months (Edoka 2000). The problem of overdue material is common in academic libraries. Available circulation records in the university libraries under study reveal the incidence of overdues. Little is known about the details of this phenomenon or the influence of library policies on material being overdue. Questions that need answers include:

* Do library policies influence the incidence of overdue material in university libraries?

* What policies influence book overdues in Nigerian university libraries?

Literature Review

Montuiloff (1990) observes that libraries should formulate policies to ensure effective and efficient use of their information resources (1) The data and information assets of an organization, department or unit. See data administration.

(2) Another name for the Information Systems (IS) or Information Technology (IT) department. See IT.
. Hill (1994) states that there is no single, all-encompassing policy; instead, policy tends to address specific issues, including overlapping and contradictory ones. A policy is a statement of the means for realizing the goals of an organization. Library policy statements are the regulations, principles, and strategies that help realize the needs of libraries. Since policies are guides to decision-making, they ensure that decisions of the organization or institution are kept in line with their philosophies (Clarke, 1999).

A library policy is a document that guides the management of the library from the present to the future (NCCE NCCE North Carolina Cooperative Extension
NCCE Northwest Council for Computer Education
NCCE National Coalition for Consumer Education, Inc.
NCCE National Career Counselor Examination
 2000). Wilson (1995) reflects that this development of formal policy ensured the success of the distance learning library strategy at the University of Calgary. Similarly, Rodriguez (1996) makes the point that for a library to offer resources and services appropriate to the academic level and scope of an institution's programmes, policies and procedures Policies and Procedures are a set of documents that describe an organization's policies for operation and the procedures necessary to fulfill the policies. They are often initiated because of some external requirement, such as environmental compliance or other governmental  must be planned and followed.

Weaver & Shaffer (1995) stress the need for written policies governing standards of service, particularly where agreements between institutions exist. Such policy documents should also include a mission statement and an account of the goals and objective of the service. Lebowitz (1997) suggests that following an extensive needs assessment, where aims and objectives are identified, libraries should plan for the six crucial elements of a service policy namely, staffing, programme format, services, document delivery, use of technology, and publicity/public relations. Lebowitz adds that if the planning stage is correctly completed, implementation can be relatively easy. It is worth noting that planning service for library patrons must be seen as an activity, which goes with the development of internal services and procedures.

Ogbodo (2002) suggests a need for library policies and procedure on the behavior of library patrons. Reactions to situations such as theft or mutilation Mutilation
See also Brutality, Cruelty.

Mutiny (See REBELLION.)


hacked to death; body pieces strewn about. [Gk. Myth.: Walsh Classical, 3]

Agatha, St.

had breasts cut off. [Christian Hagiog.
 of materials, or disruptive behavior, should not be left to an individual staff member's judgment. According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.

2. In keeping with: according to instructions.

 Rubin (1998), policies and practices that are established and implemented by libraries regarding the creation, organization, use, and dissemination dissemination Medtalk The spread of a pernicious process–eg, CA, acute infection Oncology Metastasis, see there  of knowledge are themselves information policies, which have tremendous impact on patrons' access to information. He outlines library policies under the following headings: organization of material and collections, selection and collection development policies, service policies, preservation, and intellectual freedom.


The study uses a survey that covered three university libraries located in the South South zone of Nigeria:

* University of Uyo University of Uyo (UNIUYO) is located in Akwa Ibom state, Nigeria.

The University was formerly known as University of Cross River State (UNICROSS). On October 1 1991 the federal government of Nigeria established it as federal University and the name was changed to the

* University of Calabar The University of Calabar (Unical) is a university situated in Calabar, Cross River State, southeastern Nigeria. It is one of Nigerian's second generation universities. The motto of the university is "knowledge is power".

The Vice Chancellor is Bassey Asuquo.

* University of Port Harcourt Port Harcourt (här`kərt, –kôrt), city (1991 est. pop. 362,000), SE Nigeria, a deepwater port on the Bonny River in the Niger delta.  

The population for the study consists of all registered library users in the three universities. A questionnaire known as Library Book Loan Practices and Book Overdue (LBLPBO) was used as the primary instrument. There were 1,000 respondents to the survey.

Analysis and Findings

The data collected from the questionnaire was analysed using percentages, while the hypothesis was tested using a t-test.

The discussion of findings was guided by responses from the questionnaire as shown below:

Item numbers 1-3 on the questionnaire, on library policies and overdues, were coded and used for the analysis. The analysis yielded a standard deviation of 46.38 and a mean score of 553.33 with a t-test of 3.98. This result shows that library policies have significant influence on book overdues. About 64% of the respondents agreed to this fact. This answers research question 1 that sought to examine whether library policies influence book overdue. Items 1-13 were also treated using a t-test. The result of the analysis yielded a t-test value of 8.2 that was highly significant at 0.05 probability level. t= 8.12; df 12; p = < 0.05. The critical value obtained was 2.18. The null hypothesis null hypothesis,
n theoretical assumption that a given therapy will have results not statistically different from another treatment.

null hypothesis,
 of no significant influence of library policies on book overdue is hereby rejected and it is restated that library policies have significant influence on book overdues.

Library Policies and Overdue Materials

This study has revealed that library policies are one of the factors that influence book overdues, which is congruent con·gru·ent  
1. Corresponding; congruous.

2. Mathematics
a. Coinciding exactly when superimposed: congruent triangles.

 with the findings of Aguolu and Aguolu (2002) that loan or circulation policies may cause inaccessibility of library materials. A closer look at the itemized statements on policies and overdues shows that 57% of respondents strongly agree that opening hours opening hours open nplheures fpl d'ouverture

opening hours open nplÖffnungszeiten pl 
 of the library affect book overdues. This supports Edoka's (2000) opinion that convenient hours are a crucial factor in making library services available. Slightly more than 60% of respondents agree that library hours should be extended. More than 67% agree that the library opens sufficient hours during the week, and nearly 60% agree that the library opens opens sufficient hours during the weekend. A little over 70% agree that the library should open on Sundays. The length of time that libraries are open determines whether library materials may or may not be used, and thus indirectly determines the degree of physical accessibility to materials. It therefore follows that a user may not return library materials on time because the hours of the library are not convenient. The libraries in the study area open from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Saturday. None of the three libraries open on Sundays, because it is difficult to find staffing on Sunday, and the anticipated use is not seen as great enough to justify it. According to Aguolu and Aguolu (2002), these typical library hours are unsatisfactory, because libraries are heavily used evenings and weekends by students. It is thus wrong to assume that library users will have no need of the university library on Sundays. Reference and circulation should be open to users during all the hours the library is open. This would eliminate physical and administrative barriers to library use. In the libraries in the population, only Reader's Services' Division (circulation) opens on Saturdays.

The use of special materials such as reference materials, reserve collections, government documents, Africana, etc., is restricted. Nearly 65% agree that the number of books allowed to circulate cir·cu·late  
v. cir·cu·lat·ed, cir·cu·lat·ing, cir·cu·lates

1. To move in or flow through a circle or circuit: blood circulating through the body.

 should be increased. University of Uyo and university of Port Harcourt libraries allow undergraduate students to borrow two books for two weeks, postgraduate postgraduate

after first degree graduation, the registerable degree in veterinary science.

postgraduate degree
may be a research degree, e.g. PhD, or a course-work masterate with a vocational bias, or any combination of these.
 students borrow four books for four weeks, lecturers borrow five books for one month, and postgraduate students five books for one month. This supports Opara's (2001) observation that in institution of higher learning, the loan period, and the number of books vary between staff and students. On whether the libraries have multiple copies of available texts 67.1% agree. Aguolu and Aguolu (2002), Nwalo (2000), and Oti (2000) all agree that loan periods and other circulation policies should vary by borrower status. When questioned as to whether policies on the penalty for defaulters affects overdues, 71.4% agree. Close to 60% of the respondents agree that borrowed books are kept beyond the date due because fines are minimal. This contradicts Udoh's (2004) assertion that when a fine is too much, it will serve as a further deterrent de·ter·rent  
Tending to deter: deterrent weapons.

1. Something that deters: a deterrent to theft.

 from returning library books. A nearly equal number agree that the penalty for defaulting should be very strict, and approximately 70% agree that the penalty should be revised every two years. Udoh (2004) states that there may be a relationship between books, material losses, and load policies, especially for books in heavy demand. It is often cheaper and easier for a reader to fail to return books than to pay fines.

Six hundred and nineteen (61.9%) of respondents agree that their library's environment is conducive con·du·cive  
Tending to cause or bring about; contributive: working conditions not conducive to productivity. See Synonyms at favorable.
 to reading. Onwubiko and Onu (2002) assert that the library has three fundamental components that encompass all other activities: the great Bs, the Building, Books, and Brain. There should be adequate accommodation and space in the library for all anticipated activities. The building should be properly designed to be roomy, well-ventilated, and adequately lighted. This is supported by Madu (2004) that library buildings and the environment must be conducive for learning. When the library environment is not comfortable, users may be reluctant to go there to return library materials when they are due. This suports that library policies influence book overdues, as indicated by the majority of the respondents in this study and as shown by Ogbodo (2004).


Aguolu, O. C. & Aguolu, I. E (2002). Libraries and information management in Nigeria. Maiduguri: Ed--Linform Services 457.

Akinbode, R.O. (2002). University library services and information needs of students and staff in an academic community. Le Professeur, 4, 41-42.

Bryson, J. (1999). Effective library and information center management. 2nd Ed. Hampshire: Gower Publishing Ltd; 148 -149.

Clarke, R. (1999). User education at the main library of the University of the West Indies The university consists of three major campuses at Mona in Jamaica, St. Augustine in Trinidad and Tobago, and Cave Hill in Barbados, together with a satellite campus in Mount Hope, Trinidad and Tobago and a Centre for Hotel and Tourism Management in Nassau, Bahamas. : A historical chronicle. Library Review 48 (5&6), 10 -15.

Edoka, B. E. (2000). Introduction to library science. Onitsha: Palma and Links Company Ltd. 119.

Hill, M. W. (1994). National information policies and strategies: An overview and bibliographic bib·li·og·ra·phy  
n. pl. bib·li·og·ra·phies
1. A list of the works of a specific author or publisher.

 survey. London: Boukeraw, 4.

Lebowitz, G. (1997). After the millennium: Library services to distance education. The Journal of Library Service to Distance Education (1), 10.

Madu, E. C. (2004). Technology for information management and service. Ibadan: Evi Coleman, 152.

Montuiloff, V. (1990). National information policies: A handbook on the formulation, approval, implementation, and operation of a national policy on information. UNESCO UNESCO: see United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization.
 in full United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
, 180.

NCCE (2000). Federal Colleges of Education: Regulation Governing the condition of services of staff.

Nwalo, K. I. N. (2002). Fundamentals of Library Practice: A Manual on Library Routines. Ibadan: Stirling-Horden Publishers, 37-44.

Ogbodo, C. I. (2004). In E. C. Duru and M. E. Okon (Eds.), Information utilization in tertiary tertiary (tûr`shēârē), in the Roman Catholic Church, member of a third order. The third orders are chiefly supplements of the friars—Franciscans (the most numerous), Dominicans, and Carmelites.  institutions in Nigeria. Uyo: Abaam Publishing Company, 71-81.

Ogbodo, C. I. (2001). Protection of information sources in Nigerian university libraries. Unpublished Masters Thesis.

Onwubiko, C. and Onu, B. (2002). Marketing library services in 21st century Africa: A strategic framework for survival. In E. Madu & M. Dunsu (Eds.), Information science and technology for library schools in Africa. Ibadan: Irwin Coleman, 159.

Opara, N. U. (2001). Guide to the use of libraries. Ibadan: Evi Coleman Publications.

Rodrigues, H. (1996). The role of the library in distance education. Microcomputers for information 13(1), 1-29.

Udoh, O. O. (2004). Concept of the library, in E. C. Duru & M. E. Okon (Eds.) Information utilization in tertiary institutions in Nigeria. Uyo: Abaam Publishing Coy, 11.

Weaver, S. & Shaffer, I. A. (1995). Contracting to provide library services for a distance graduate education program. The Bottom Line 893, 20-27.

Wilson, A. (1995). Library connection: Education from a distance. PNLA PNLA Pacific Northwest Library Association
pNLA Pseudo Next-Level Aggregation Identifier
 Quarterly, 22-59.

Christina Ndedde Udoumoh

Department of Educational Technology & Library Sciences

Faculty of Education

University of Uyo

Uyo Akwa-Ibom State, Nigeria

Clara Chinyere Okoro

Deputy University Librarian

Imo State Imo State is a state in Nigeria. It is located in the southeast region of the country, with Owerri as it capital and largest city. Ikedi Godson Ohakim is the current governor.  University

Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria
Table 1. Questionnaire results

Items                          SA            A            D
                               %      F      %     F      %     F

1. Opening hours of the        152    15.2   418   41.8   213   21.3
library affects overdues

2. Library policy on           282    28.2   362   36.2   214   21.4
special materials affects

3. Penalty for defaulters      165    16.5   401   40.1   310   31.0
should be very strict

4. Penalty should be           314    31.4   380   38.0   210   21.0
revised every two years

5. Policy on Penalty           400    40.0   314   31.4   218   21.8
affects overdues

6. No. of books allowed        318    31.8   252   25.2   280   28.0
on loan should be

7. Loan duration affects       358    35.8   265   26.5   182   18.2

8. The library environment     315    31.5   304   30.4   152   15.2
is conducive to reading

9. The library should          415    41.5   286   28.6   210   21.0
open on Sundays

10. Opening hours              318    31.8   286   28.6   188   18.8
should be extended

11. There are multiple         29.6   29.6   385   38.5   200   20.0
copies of available books

12. Library opens sufficient   382    38.2   295   29.5   105   10.5
hours during the week

13. Library opens sufficient   302    30.2   282   28.2   205   20.5
hours during the weekend

Items                          SD
                               %      F

1. Opening hours of the        217    21.7
library affects overdues

2. Library policy on           142    14.2
special materials affects

3. Penalty for defaulters      124    12.4
should be very strict

4. Penalty should be           96     9.6
revised every two years

5. Policy on Penalty           68     6.8
affects overdues

6. No. of books allowed        150    15
on loan should be

7. Loan duration affects       195    19.5

8. The library environment     229    22.9
is conducive to reading

9. The library should          89     8.9
open on Sundays

10. Opening hours              208    20.8
should be extended

11. There are multiple         119    11.9
copies of available books

12. Library opens sufficient   218    21.8
hours during the week

13. Library opens sufficient   291    29.1
hours during the weekend

Ho: 1. Library policies have no significant influence on book overdue.

Tables 2 and 3. Paired differences

                   Mean       N    Std Deviation   Std Error Mean
Pair VAR 00001 1   634.3846   13   54.1657         15.0229
VAR 00002          371.7692   13   64.0158         17.7548

               Paired Differences
                       Std         Error
            Mean       Deviation   Mean      95%
                                             of the

                                             Lower        Upper      t

Pair VAR    262.6154   116.4972    32.3105   192.2169     333.0139   28
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Author:Udoumoh, Christina Ndedde; Okoro, Clara Chinyere
Publication:Library Philosophy and Practice
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:6NIGR
Date:Aug 1, 2007
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