INFORMATION NEEDS AND INFORMATION SEEKING BEHAVIOUR OF CHILDREN IN PUBLIC LIBRARIES
(The Case Study Of Imo State Library Board, Owerri).
IMPORTANCE OF INFORMATION
The researcher would want to begin this work with a survey of the importance of information in daily living. Since the down of history, man had generally requires information for his day to living information is required in decision and in other aspects of life. To function and be relevant, every society needs information. According to bent and melacklam, information is the life-blood of modern organisation. Owing to the pervasiveness of information in the life of organisation some writers have tried to analysis organizational function in term of receiving, recording, arranging and giving information. At the top management levels, it is vital in planning and strategies decision making. Hence information is said to be data of value in decision making. It is critical resources that enable an organisation to function and flourish. It is first among the other corporate resources because decisions relating to others depend on it. But the collection processing and dissemination of information are not trouble free. This is basically due to the nature of information. Information is indispensable to all processes and is essential to natural development. It is both a national and international resource for social political, religious, economic, cultural as well as technological development. Information is important as the three basic necessities of life which are water, food and shelter and so should be given enough priority in order to achieve what is meant for. It is significant to note that information is useless unless it is used however, before information can be made use of, it has to be provided and the user of it has to be aware of it. In other words, the use of information depends on its availabllity and accessibility to users. INFORMATION DEFINED. Information is the act of informiong or the condition of being informed or the communication of knowledge. The American library association glossary of library and information science (ALA) define information as all ideas, gfeats and imaginative works of mind whioch have been communicated, rcorded, published and distributed formally or in formally in any format. The new webster’s dictionary defines information as, the communication of news, knowledge obtained by search, study etc. it can also be considered as knowledge communicated concerning some particular facts, subjects or events. Information reducesuncertainty and adds to human knowledge. Information cvan be in two forms. Those that are pointers to other information and their sources which it provides substantive information, that is information itself. Information is regarded as resources for use, and its generation and use for efficiency nd effectiveness is a very demanding and stressful task because any information that lis not organised for future use may be wasted. Also, the relevance ttached to information makes people to seek it in diverse ways and for diverse needs. (hanson 1978) writes: information is normally intended for use rather than interest. It is sought by their final users for particular purpose in particular circumstances. It is of maximum potential use to person who wnts it when it meets his need not only in terms of general, subjects too. Needs can be seen as a requirement fro subsistence or for carrying out some function or activities. Thus, information needs refer to information demands, requirements, wants or de sires for some general and specific purpose. Kadiri describes need in relation to information as: a state of lack of desirable requisition or commodity i.e. information necessary to deal with a situation as an individual deems fit. INFORMATION AND CHILDREN Information needs and information seeking behaviour of children is defined as the provision of desirable, up to data factual knowledge to the children at the appropriate time to enhance their welfare and ways or patterns pursued by them in an attempt to resolve an information need or needs. Access to information is one of the human rights and each user of it should be able to get the right information he desires at the right time and place in the way he needs it. Information as a valuable commodity can be got from the library among other places and it is necessary that librarians satisfy users needs. In public libraries, the notion of book acquisition or children literature is important. Of greater value is how the books and other materials are presented to children fro effective use. As a result, there is need for public libraries to meet with the information needs nd information seeking behaviour of lchildren. This would not only enhance performance of the children, use of libraries but would go an long way in improving the services [rendered to children in public libraries. In addition, it would make for easy storage, processing, retrieval of information, dissemination and use. As information literacy becomes vital to functioning effectively in todays would, the public library has a responsibility in ensuring that the specific information and reference needs of children are adequately addressed. Children as reference client require skilled and considered assistance to locate information relevant to both their perceived and real needs. The public libraries meet those needs through the children section of the public library. A children section is an important resource to which children have easy access to information and utilization. It provides information in various formats. The children section provides pre-school programmes, story telling, reading competitive, riddles and joke among others. The library facilities education of children. It also performs vital function such as informational, educational, cultural and recreational services. Public libraries can play a major role in fostering in children the desire for education and helping them develop the skills for obtaining the kind of ever changing knowledge necessary to survive and prosper. Children by all means need information knowledge sake, self development, skill acquisition and to carry out a given assignment. BACKGROUND INFROMATION OF IMO STATE PUBLIC LIBRARY BOARD OWERRI. On 3rd February, 1976 more states were created in Nigeria and imo state was one of the states. It was carved out of the former east central state. As a result of this creation, the east central state library board broke into anambra and imo state library boards. However, it was only in September 1976 that the indigenous imo state staff in enugu transferred ;to Owerri to establish the administrative head quarters of the imo state library board. The movement was in part printing; bindery and reprography were the last to move by the end of September 1976. The asset and liabilities of the former east central state library board were shared prior to the movement. The anambra state Library board retained the building and fixed assets while physical cash and information resources were shared. Consequent to this, Owerri divisional library which was under completion was hurriedly finished and used as the head quarter. The new library was opened to the public on the 12th of November 1976 by the then military governor, Commander Godwin nidubiosi kanu. The building was designed to accommodate 85, 000 volumes. The sum of n35,909, 84 was said to be spent on the building at the time of its opening. Apart from this, additional buildings have been added. These are handicapped building which was opened on 1st November, 1989 and the administrative building and book exhibition which was taken over by the N.T.A. the library began its operation with a financial provision of some n564,837.66 for the financial year 1976/77. the sum was made up of n246,832.66 being financial inheritance from the east central state library board and 300,000 as financial provision by the imo state government. In addition a sum of n500, 000 was to cover its capital expenditure fro the year 1977. anambra and imo shared a considerable quantity of new books which had not been allocated prior to the creation of the states. Other material shared included 6 catalogues cabinets and card cards. Originally ordered for Owerri library some metal filing cabinets and a few typewriters. The library started its operatioin with a total of 100 staff and a stock of 1,380 volumes. At present, the total staff is 108 (December 2006) and in june – December 2007 the staff strength was 112. this history will be in complete without mentioning the carving out of abia state from imo state in September 1991. the resultant effect of this, is the emergence of abia state library, board. This led to the showing of the assests and liabilities between the new imo state library board and abia state library board. The shaving was completed in November 1991. its worthy of nite that most of the divisional libraries and branch libraries went to abia state. Out of 17 divisional and branch libraries, imo state inherited only 7. the first imo state library board was appointed in the 10th of November 1976 under the chairmanship of prof, a.o. anya. The chairman of the board from 1976 till data are shown in table .a. S.No YEAR (DURATION) NAME 1st 1976-1979 Prof. kalu anya 2nd 1979-1982 Prof. estaba 3rd 1982-1985 dr.a. ukpabi 4th 185-1988 dr.c. okoronkwo 5th 1988-1991 Prof. lgbozuruke 6th 1991-1994 Bar. egbendy 7th 1994-1996 mr. v. kagah 8th 2002-2005 dr s.a amajirionwu 9th 2006-2007 Chief tim azubuike List of directors from its inception till data include: S.NO YEAR (DURATION) NAME 1st 1976-1977 Mr. kalu okorie 2nd 1977-1984 Mr. njoku ukonu 3rd 1984-1992 Mr. e.n.o adimorah 4th 1992-1999 Mr. a.c. Nwachukwu 5th 1999-2005 Mr. japhet Amadi 6th 2005-april2007 Dr. anozie ozurumba 7th April 2007 Mrs. A.n ndukwu The imo state library like other public libraries in and outsides Nigeria has strived to build up collection that relate to local interest and deals with general community. Today imo state library board has eleven branches located in various parts of the state, with the headquarter lat Owerri municipal. It has librarians. The public library of imo state renders services such as school library services, children library services, hand capped library services among others. The children library service was set up to cater fro the needs of pre-primary and primary school readers in the state. Holidays programmes are being organised for this group of readers every term. The library is divided into various sections. Such as administrative cataloguing, handicapped reference, acquisition, Nigeria, and children sections. In children’s section the way it is organised is quite different from the way the adult section is organised. STATEMENT OF PROBLEM In strict pursuance of the objectives for which public libraries are established children with different information needs and various seeking have continued to flood the libraries looking for ways to achieve their pressing information needs. In doing this, children make a mess of the acquired materials and as a result material in the library are not properly organised. To properly store, organise and process knowledge that is children literature should be paramount in the minds of library staff in public libraries. This becomes fruitless if the children are not conversant with the information relating to the use of public libraries, how to satisfy their information needs. Children get disappointed for not getting what desired, their needs not met and their information seeking behaviour not identified. This study intends to investigate the children specific information needs, ways by which the children needs are met, the kind of materials consulted by children and reaction of the children when their needs are met and when their needs are not met. So, on the strength of the above, the following research questions are formulated; a. what are the children specific information needs b. How are the children needs met? c. What are the types of materials used by children? d. How do the children go about obtaining information they need? e. What are the children reactions when their needs are met and not met? f. What problems do children encounter in obtaining the information they need? AIM AND OBJECTIVE 1. identifying the information needs ;of children 2. finding out the ways in which children needs are met. 3. identify source of information available to children. 4. knowing the ways or patterns in which children seek information relating to their needs. 5. to determine problem encopuntered by children and also that of the libraries in disseminating information to children. 6. to attempt to provide recommendation and suggestion for procuring information for children. SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF STUDY Considering the time factor and financial constrints, the scope of this research is limitated to information needs and information seeking behaviour of children in public libraries. There is no limitation as to the source of information used for this study,- books, no-book material, journals, discussions public national, special libraries and information centres will fruitful utilized. The study has particular reference to imo state public library board Owerri. SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY This study is meant to extend the frontiers of human knowledge and solve most of the problems encountered in public libraries when dealing with children information needs and information seeking behaviour. It would also be of grate significance to staff of public and school/children libraries. Also to be director. Of public libraries as it would support plans for library development and input to improving services rendered to children. This study would serve as literature/reference material, for researchers in future and input to the literature available in this area of study. OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF TERMS INFORMATION The online dictionary of library and information science defined information as data presented in readily comprehensible form to which meaning has been attributed within the context of its use information knowledge. INFORMATION NEEDS In 1967 information need was defined as an expression of the deficit of concreta information by an individual (collective or territorial) user solving a certain scientific or technical problem; it is said to be a necessity to acquire information about (or from) the suirendity enkvironment. Or any information a user ought to have whether the need is felt or not. INFORMATION SEEKING BEHAVIOUR. This is defined as patterns or paths pursued by an individual seeker or group of information seeker to solve or resolve an information need. Also Wilson (1999) defines it as those activities a person may engage in when identifying their own needs for information, searching for such information in any way, and using or transferring that information. CHILDREN Children are taken to be young people within the age bracket of 0-12 0r 13 years. The term children is refers to the plural of the noun child. PUBLIC LIBRARIES Elizebeth Thomson (1971) defined the public library as an institution that exist to serve all resident of a commodity district or region and receive its financial support in a whole or part from public fund. It is also a place where children enjoy themselves in story telling. METHODOLOGY The type of research designed to be use for this study is the survey research. Questionnaire will be distributed to children and staff of public library imo state. This will in essence give a proper under standing of the information needs and information seeking behaviour of children in public libraries. The data collection method is the interview and questionnaire methods which will give detailed information as the researcher will have to ask questions when facts are not very clear (this is for the interview method). The questionnaire will in the other hand give the respondents enough time to look properly into questions being asked.