Barriers in accesing and retrieving information resources in academic libraries: a case study of selected libraries of Nairobi University
Mumo, Anjela Mbula.
MetadataShow full item record
Access to information in academic libraries is of vital importance. Users of academic libraries need information for education, training and research. University academic programmes are tight and students are always overwhelmed with the number of units they have to cover, term papers to finish and projects to write, thus accessing library materials should be very smooth with minimum constraints to save their time. Libraries should ensure that users receive adequate training on how to use the library and information retrieval tools should be user friendly, reliable and available. However, accessing information has faced challenges that have made the process frustrating to users and therefore hindering the library from achieving its goal of disseminating information. The main purpose of this study was to investigate the barriers that make the access and retrieval process time consuming, tiring and difficult in academic libraries in selected libraries of the Nairobi University library system. The study objectives were: to find out barriers that are related to the library systems, barriers that are related to the user systems, barriers that are related to Library staff systems and barriers that are related to multimedia systems and the effect these barriers have on information use. The researcher used a descriptive survey design to collect data. The design is appropriate in studying the problems users face in accessing information because it focuses on the users' views, opinions and perceptions on what barriers they face while accessing and retrieving resources. The study established clearly that academic libraries have barriers that affect information access and retrieval to a large extent. These included library related barriers like faulty information retrieval tools, poor library and stock signage and guidance. Others included, lack of skill on how to access and retrieve information and lack of publicity of resources which led to unawareness of resources. Untrained library staff and lack of commitment to work by personnel. Multimedia related barriers that included Poor telecommunication infrastructure, inadequate electronic services and facilities were the other barriers. Major recommendations from the study are to facilitate the use of electronic retrieval tools which are more effective; intensive and continuous training of users to impart skills of information access and retrieval; training of library staff about customer care and public relations. Other recommendations include marketing of library services and resources, improvement of telecommunication infrastructure and increase the number of multi-media facilities and services.