An assessment of library user education programmes among undergraduate students in kenyan universities with particular reference to University of Nairobi and Kenyatta University libraries
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This study sought to assess library user-education programmes among undergraduatuate students in Kenyan Universities with particular reference to University of Nairobi and Kenyatta University Libraries. The study was prompted by an observation that inspite of the various orientation programmes designed to enhance use of library resources and services by Universities, this is yet to be achieved. For example while some of the students admitted that they were aware of the existence of these programmes, they chose not to attend to them and some of those who did attend did not seem to have benefited much. The specific objectives of the study were to establish students' awareness of user education programmes offered in the University libraries, to determine whether students who had utilised those programmes are more competent in the use of library services and resources, and to establish whether there is something wrong about the appropriateness, timeliness and comprehensiveness of the programme that the students arc taken through. In terms of methodology, this was a survey in which questionnaires weres administered on a convenient sample of 110 respondents. Each University was allocated 55 questionnaires. The information that was collected was analyscd using the SPSS statistical data analysis method. The major findings of the study were that; most respondents were full-time University students, the majority of the students who were in the campuses during the orientation week were aware and actually attended the orientation session and about 50% of the students attended library guided tours. The majority of those who did not attend the above two programmes indicated that they were unable to attend because they are inappropriately timed during the first week of the students arrival in the Universities when they are busy settling down. They proposed that these programmes take place when they are settled. The second major finding was that very few respondents were aware of the existence of user-education programme in both Universities. The main reason for this was lack of awareness and publicity. The third finding was that, although they were aware of the presence of library catalogue, most did not use it because the cards are wrongly filed, the books represented by the cards were not available on the shelves, the exercise is time consuming, and they could not differentiate the author from the subject. It was also established that over 90% of the respondents were aware of the presence of the Library Skills course and that they attended. The reason why they attended was that this is a compulsory and examinable course. The study concluded that Library Skills course attracted the greatest attention. It was revealed that various serious problems that faced the programmes. These problems ranged from poor timing, inappropriate and poor subject content. poor teaching methods. theoretical rather than practical approach to teaching, over-crowding in the lecture theatres, some incompetent staff, failure to use new technology as well as poor communication among the students, the library and faculty. The major recommendations are that library user-education programmes be evaluated from time to time, that all stakeholders be involved in the implementation of these pogrammes, that there be consultation among the students, the library and faculty, that clear channels of communication be established in public Universities and that new technology be introduced and be available to all. The study suggested further research in the area of student apathy on use of libraries, evaluation of the existing programmes and carrying out of user studies to assess the impact of the programmes.