An appraisal of the Kenya national library reference service
Macharia, Beatrice Wangari
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A reference service is one of the services offered in any type of a library. It's role in the library is that of maximizing utilization of a library's resources. Due to this important role, it is an essential service that should be recognized as an important and inseparable part of the library services. This reference service provision involves not only finding the answers to queries but performs other functions; i.e. inter-library loans, location of documents, outreach services, compiling of bibliographies and indexes among others. The main purpose of this research was to evaluate the quality of this service in K.N.L.S. The objectives were; to establish the philosophy of this service, identify services offered, and establish through user satisfaction the quality of this service. The sample for this research was obtained through simple random sampling method. This was done from three categories of users i.e; from primary school level, secondary school level and above secondary school level. This was to ensure that all users of the library were well represented. There was also a sample representing the staff which was also acquired through the same simple random sampling. IV Data collected was through questionnaires, direct observation and reference service records at the K.N.L.S. On analysing and interpreting the data, conclusions were made by the researcher. From the findings of the study, it was established that the reference service although not extremely poor, it is below average. Various factors established which down play the quality of this reference service are, lack of policies, inadequacy of services and resources, and lack of marketing of services provided. The recommendations given by the researcher were that, the reference service personnel come up with policies, improve on the collection, enter into formal inter-library services, sensitize their users and potential users on services provided and automate all services.