Effects of Information Literacy on Adult Consumers of Kenya National Library Services in Embu County: A Case Study of the Kenya National Library Services Embu Branch, Embu County, Kenya
Karimi, Phyllis Njeri
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The study aimed at assessing the effects of information literacy programs on adult users in public libraries in Kenya by conducting a case study at Embu County public library. Public libraries have been operating with little information on the effects of the literacy programs on the adult users of the public libraries. To achieve this goal, the study sought to pursue the following objectives: to investigate the policy on information literacy; assess the methods used to conduct Information Literacy training to users of information; examine the resources available for conducting information literacy training; determine the challenges faced while carrying out information literacy training and to assess the effectiveness of information literacy programs initiated by public libraries that affect adult users of library services in Embu County. On achieving these objectives, the study was able to provide information on the effects of literacy programs in the public libraries in Kenya thus bridging the existing information gap. This study is significant as it illuminates the importance of the Literacy Programs as well as providing key information on how librarians can organize themselves to make them more effective among the adult consumers of the public library facilities in Kenya. The study was based on the characteristics of adult user’s model. It used case study research design characterized by purposive selection of the sample for the library management officers and a random selection of the adult users. A combination of both qualitative and quantitative data collection instruments such as questionnaires and oral interviews were used to collect the data of the study. A pilot test was done at KNLS Nyeri County public library to assess the appropriateness of the data collection instruments. Face and content validity of the questionnaires was assessed by lecturers/experts from the department of Library and Information Science Kenyatta University. The experts made useful corrections and criticized the instruments used in the study. Data was collected and later analyzed both quantitatively and qualitatively. The analyzed data was presented by use of tables, charts and graphs generated using the SPSS techniques to show comparison of the data in the interest of the study. It was observed that at least 50% of the library users were not aware of existence of adult literacy programme within Embu library. Moreover, library users could not tell the effectiveness of the adult literacy program provided in the library with majority saying it had not made their work easier. The findings of this study showed that use of written materials was the most common method used for training as identified by the library users and the staff as well. Other methods mentioned in the study included use of guided tours, demonstrations and one on one training. However, most of the library users felt the methods were not effective in contrary to library staff and the management who felt the methods were very effective. Though the staff mentioned having specific resources dedicated to adult library users, the researcher could not find such distinctions from other library users. Moreover, the library users themselves did not identify availability of resources meant for adult library users. Some of the challenges encountered in the provision of Information literacy skills includes: Lack of teaching equipment/facilities, inadequately trained staff, Inadequate funding, Lack of skills, Negative attitude and inadequate time for training. The study recommends that more emphasis should be given to training the adult users on information literacy. This will go a long way in helping the users to be more independent and helps in saving time in their knowledge search.