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AN INVESTIGATION INTO PERCEIVED ROLES OF COMMUNITY-BASED LIBRARIES IN CURBING INSECURITY IN SELECTED COMMUNITIES IN KWARA SOUTH, NIGERIA

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DEPARTMENT OF LIBRARY AND INFORMATION SCIENCE

Abstract

In order to promote national security in Kwara state, this research looked at the role of libraries and other information sources. The purpose of the article was to demonstrate how the library and other information sources can help successfully the war against insecurities through information gathering and distribution, civic education, effective propaganda, and the mobilization of the public. It also aimed to identify the perceived roles of community-based libraries in curbing insecurity and to determine the extent to which community-based libraries and information services have helped in curbing insecurity in Kwara South, Nigeria. In recent years, Nigeria has faced significant challenges related to insecurity, particularly in various communities across the country. This research study aims to investigate the perceived roles of community-based libraries in curbing insecurity in selected communities in Kwara South, Nigeria. The research is conducted by a Librarian recognizing the potential of libraries as important community institutions that can contribute to addressing security concerns.

The findings of this research contribute to the existing body of knowledge by shedding light on the perceived roles of community-based libraries in curbing insecurity in selected communities in Kwara South, Nigeria. The results provide valuable insights into the effectiveness of community libraries as a means to enhance security, including their potential to raise awareness, provide access to relevant information, facilitate community engagement, and promote education and literacy. The outcomes of this investigation are useful for policymakers, library professionals, and community leaders in understanding the significance of community-based libraries as essential partners in addressing the pressing issue of insecurity.

CHAPTER ONE

Introduction

1.1 Background to the study

Libraries as an information centres play an important role in meeting the information needs of their library users. Libraries provide information materials of all forms and formats such as text, audio, video and also in audio-visual forms to satisfy the information needs of their users. A library can be regarded as a building or room containing collections of books, periodicals, and sometimes films and recorded music for use or borrowing by the public or members of an institution.

As gateways to knowledge and culture, libraries play a fundamental role in society. The resources and services offered by libraries create opportunities for learning and support literacy and education, it further assists in shaping the ideas and perspectives that are central; to a creative and innovative society. The role of libraries in meeting the information needs of people in a particular society and even in the information world cannot be overemphasized. There are different types of libraries which serve and meet the information needs of different sets of people. There are five types of libraries, which are; School libraries, Academic libraries, Special libraries, Public libraries and National libraries. A Public library can also be referred to as a community-based library which is further discussed in this writing.

A community library is a library that is accessible by the general public and is usually funded by community resources such as taxes, manpower, gifts and donations. Community libraries are also public libraries that are operated by librarians and library para-professionals, who are also civil servants. These libraries are governed by a board to serve the public interest; the collections of the library are made available to all members of the community without discrimination. They provide basic services to the people in the community without any charge.

The library as a repository of knowledge has changed its horizon over the years to become not only a place or building but a thoroughfare through which information can be delivered to people, no matter the location. Since the human race from evolution to date has metamorphosed in many ways, services to man should also change to reflect this present place and status in today’s society. This is to say that the libraries, librarians and indeed all information practitioners have a role to play to term the spate of insurgence and terrorism in Nigeria. Issa (2003) observed that economic and national power and status are considered to be dependent upon the wide dissemination and use of information and knowledge. Even though the onus of libraries and information services rests on the librarian and information scientists, there is also the need to collaborate with others in bringing optimum information services to the public. Traditionally, libraries were collections of books, manuscripts, journals, and other sources of recorded information. In the last 50 years, libraries have increasingly developed into a provider of information resources and services that do not even require a building.  The library’s traditional lasting objective is to provide access to relevant information resources, with the aim of giving high value to the needs and expectations of users. Generating and sharing information is useless, if there’s no way to locate, filter, organize and access it. Traditionally, librarians are at the forefront of information dissemination and they will continue to be there (Ramos, 2007). Social responsibility is a corporate function of all public libraries and part of librarianship.

The issue of national security is also a core value of librarianship, it is technically believed that no meaningful learning, education and development can take place in a context of insecurity and unabated destruction of human lives and properties, the onus lies on the libraries for responsible librarianship through the dissemination of information that can contribute to peace and national security in Nigeria by helping the citizens to understand their role in national security and development. The libraries as a storehouse of information have positively altered their scope of influence across time to become not only a place that houses books but also a gateway through which information can be conveyed to people irrespective of their location, tribe, culture, gender or religion. Issa (2003) posited that economic and national power and status for instance are leveraged on the widespread use of information and knowledge that the libraries provide, he further emphasized that the responsibility of libraries and information services rests on the librarian and information scientists, there is also the need to collaborate with the security agencies in bringing maximum information services to the public and in this case for national security.

Without a doubt, community libraries play an important role in performing the function of disseminating direct information services to the public, irrespective of age, gender and occupation. However, the role of the library in providing timely and up-to-date information to community members on the issue of insecurity in the communities in Irepodun local government, Kwara state cannot be over-emphasized.

1.2 Statement of the problem

Insecurity in Nigeria has become a social problem which is caused by political reasons, religious differences, ethnicity, civil conflicts and economic reasons. Insecurity simply means a lack of security. And this situation has made every society in the country unsafe. Community library plays an important role in curbing insecurity in Nigeria and community libraries that are located in Kwara south are of no exemption. Despite the role of the library in curbing insecurity, the awareness of community members or library users that libraries in their communities perform this role is low. It is based on this premise, that this study examined the assessment of the perceived roles of community-based libraries in curbing insecurity in Kwara state south, Nigeria.

1.3 Objectives of the sturdy

The main objective of this study is to examine the assessment of the perceived roles of community-based libraries in curbing insecurity in Kwara South, Nigeria. However, the specific objectives of the study were to:      

  1. Identify the common types of insecurity being experienced by community dwellers in Kwara South, Nigeria;
  2. Determine the types of information services that are available to the community dwellers in Kwara South, Nigeria;
  3. Identify the perceived roles of community-based libraries in curbing insecurity in Kwara South, Nigeria;
  4. Determine the extent to which community-based library and information services have helped in curbing insecurity in Kwara South, Nigeria; and
  5. Identify the challenges of community-based libraries in providing information services that could help in curbing insecurity in Kwara South, Nigeria.

1.4 Research questions          

The study will provide answers to the following research question:

  1. What type of information services are available in the library for dissemination on insecurity in Kwara state?
  2. What are the measures which community-based libraries use in providing information to community dwellers?
  3. What is the frequency of information needs of the community members in Kwara South on insecurity in the state?
  4. What are the benefits of community members, of the roles of libraries in curbing insecurity in Kwara South?
  5. What are the challenges librarians face in disseminating information to community members on insecurity in Kwara South?

1.5       Research Hypothesis

  • Hypothesis 1: There is a significant relationship between the presence of community-based libraries and the perception of increased security in selected communities in Kwara South, Nigeria.
  • Hypothesis 2: Community-based libraries play a significant role in enhancing community cohesion and fostering a sense of collective security in selected communities in Kwara South, Nigeria.
  • Hypothesis 3: The availability of community-based libraries positively influences community members’ awareness of security issues and their ability to take preventive measures in selected communities in Kwara South, Nigeria.

1.6       Significance of the Study

Library as an information centre has become very important in the dissemination of information of any kind to rural dwellers. Therefore, this study will provide baseline data on the roles of a community library in curbing insecurity and also the information needs of the rural dwellers on problems of insecurity in their community. Also, the study’s outcome would contribute to the body of knowledge information world and information management. In addition, the study would serve as a reference point and information source for future researchers in the field of library and information science in Kwara state, Nigeria.

1.7       Scope of the Study

The scope of the study is on assessment of the perceived roles of community-based libraries in curbing insecurity in Kwara South, Nigeria. The scope of this study is to affirm if there are libraries to provide the information needs of the rural dwellers on insecurity in their community.

1.8       Limitations of the Study

While the research topic “An Investigation into Perceived Roles of Community-Based Libraries in Curbing Insecurity in Selected Communities in Kwara South, Nigeria” is interesting and relevant, it is important to acknowledge some potential limitations associated with studying this topic. Here are a few limitations to consider:

Subjectivity of perceptions: The research focuses on the perceived roles of community-based libraries in curbing insecurity. Perceptions can vary among individuals based on their personal experiences, biases, and understanding of the issue. This subjectivity may introduce a level of bias or inconsistency in the data collected, as perceptions may not always align with the objective reality.

Limited generalizability: The study is limited to selected communities in Kwara South, Nigeria. The findings may not be representative of other communities or regions in Nigeria or other countries. The unique socio-cultural, economic, and geographical characteristics of the selected communities may limit the generalizability of the research findings to a broader context.

Methodological challenges: Conducting research on community-based libraries and their impact on curbing insecurity can present certain methodological challenges. Access to reliable data, measuring the effectiveness of community-based libraries, and obtaining accurate information on the perception of security and library usage may pose challenges during data collection.

External factors: Insecurity in communities can be influenced by various external factors beyond the control of community-based libraries. Socioeconomic conditions, political stability, law enforcement, and government policies are some examples of external factors that may significantly impact community security. Isolating the specific role of community-based libraries in curbing insecurity and attributing changes solely to their activities can be challenging due to these external factors.

Limited scope of the research: The research specifically focuses on the perceived roles of community-based libraries in curbing insecurity. While it is important to understand perceptions, it may be equally important to consider other factors and stakeholders involved in addressing insecurity, such as local law enforcement, community leaders, and government agencies. The study’s narrow scope may not provide a comprehensive understanding of the complex issue of insecurity in the selected communities.

1.9       Operational definition of key terms

The following terms are defined as used in the study.

Investigation: This is a formal or systematic examination or research.

Perceived: Become aware or conscious of (something); come to realize or understand.

Role: The function assumed or part played by a person or thing in a particular situation.

Community: A group of people living in the same place or having some particular characteristics in common.

Base: A conceptual structure or entity on which something draws or depends.

Library: A building or room containing collections of books, periodicals, and sometimes films and recorded music for use or borrowing by the public or members of an institution.

Curbing: To restrain or keep in check something.

Insecurity: the state of being open to danger or threat; lack of protection.

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