Library user education in public libraries in kenya with particular reference to the Kenya National Library Service and Macmillan Memorial Library
Ngacaku, Caroline Wanjiru
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The importance of library user education is so crucial to libraries and their users that it cannot be over emphasized. Effective library user education enables users to utilize library resources and facilities maximally and this utilization justifies the large amount of money spent on the acquisition and organization of the resources and the general up keep of the library. This study sought to establish whether library user education is carried out in public libraries in Kenya and how effective this education is in enabling library users acquire information retrieval skills so as to make maximum use of the library resources, services and facilities. It also looked at the objectives of library user education and the methods used in its provision in the public libraries under study. The study covered two main public libraries in Kenya, namely: Kenya National Library Service and McMillan Memorial Library. Also covered are the library's branches, namely KNLS - Thika and McMillan Memorial Library - Eastlands. The study utilized questionnaires in data collection whereby a total of 80 library users and 12 librarians were involved. The data was analyzed using descriptive statistics. The findings of the study revealed that library user education in the public libraries is provided. However, it is not effective. The education has not succeeded in developing library users who maximally utilize the library resources, services and facilities competently and independently. This is as a result of the librarians' assumption that library users know how to use the library before joining their public library, poor timing in the provision of the library use education programme, inadequate and untrained staff to provide the education and above all, lack of clear policies on library user education and lack of evaluation. The findings of the study also threw some light on the various services provided by the public library. The study recommends that the public library needs to have a policy on library user education that will provide guidelines on its provision. User studies should also be carried out to identify the information needs of library users to assist in designing appropriate and relevant user education programmes. The study also recommends that evaluation should be carried out on a regular basis to assess the effectiveness of the library user education provided
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