Factors influencing utilization of Library services and resources: The case of University of Nairobi Mombasa Campus Library
In an era in which universities are more in competition each other globally, availability of academic libraries' resources are no longer considered a good measure of an institution's excellence and quality. Recent studies on academic libraries argue that libraries need to be able to demonstrate that their resources and services are making a significant contribution to the educational and research activities of their clientele. (Whitemire, 2002). To meet these challenges, numerous innovations have been proposed such as integration of e-resources in the library and information services. The University of Nairobi Library and Information System have adopted integrated library information service that provides access to both physical and electronic information resources using networked information consortium. This study aimed at investigating a set of individuals' knowledge and skills on one hand and organizational characteristics (user support programmes) on the other hand, with the intention of exploring ways of optimizing utilization of the integrated library resources. The objective of the study was to describe the students' information seeking behavior and their use of the library to support their process of learning and knowledge acquisition activities. Employing a purposeful sample and a mixed research method, this study strived to identify factors that may be addressed to facilitate optimizing utilization of library and information resources provided through University of Nairobi Mombasa Library. The study identified awareness and familiarity of library and information resources, including their organization and retrieval tools, library skills and information literacy as the main factors that influence utilization of libraries' resources. The findings indicated that lack of library and information skills, which are the basis for empowering students with information literacy competencies of identifying, locating, and using of information resources, is the source of underutilization of integrated information resources accessible through Mombasa Library. The study found that the level of information literacy among students can be raised through integrated library skills programme designed with the cooperation of all the stake holders. The study also noted the high correlation between the Mombasa Library and ICT Lab where students use the ICT Lab to identify and locate physical materials available in the library and for accessing library's e-resources. The study recommends need for instituting integrated programme for library skills in the Campus that will take into consideration individual students' characteristics to ensure development of self-directed, lifelong learners.