This research project is on Library Resources and Security Challenges in the Library of Federal Polytechnic Nekede, Owerri. Data was collected using questionnaire designed and distributed to the staff of the library used as case study. In analyzing and presenting of the data collected, tables, frequencies and simple percentage (%) were used. The findings showed that the library is faced with different types of security challenges which are book theft, non-return of library materials, book mutilation, keeping books beyond due dates, purposeful mis-shelving of books, writing on or in books etc. Recommendations made in this study includes that there should be increased security in the library premises and library hall through supervision, patrolling and surveillance, libraries should be designed in such a way that collection security is taken into account, libraries should install goods and working electronic security gadgets in the library and its environs. The researcher suggested that further study should be carried out on; the need to observe library rules and regulations, preservation and conservation of library resources, securing the digital libraries against security breaches as these suggestions will further help to prevent the library and its resources against any form of security challenge.
1.1 Background to the Study
Libraries as a store house of knowledge and information must be safe from security threats and vulnerability.
Academic library collections are broad and varied. Academic libraries support the educational community through access to its collections. Borrowing privileges is an important means of giving access to the library’s collections for personal, educational and socio-economic advancement.
Gelfand (2005) posit that the library is the only centralized location where new and emerging information technologies can be combined with knowledge resources in a user-focused, service, rich environment that support today’s social and educational patterns of learning, teaching and research. Library services can only be achieved through the availability of library collections. Anuobi and Okoye (2008) state that “academic libraries are faced with hybrid challenges of managing resources and are challenged to acquired the necessary skills needed for the adequate security of the library’s collection or resources both in print and non-print format.
Chaney and MacDougail (2004) states that collections are vulnerable to abuse of one sort or another and library managers need to keep this characteristic well to the forefront of the library. Ensuring effective use, longevity and accessibility of library resources makes an effective programme of collection security necessary.
Antiwi (2009) state that book theft (stealing of books) was already a great challenge to the library. Book theft started when the Persians went to Egypt and with one word drew papyrus from the Library of Ramses II without stopping for any formalities at the charging desk. They thus began this illegal practice which has continued to torment libraries ever since (Antiwi, 2009). Oyewusi and Oyeboade (2009) discuss the importance of access to collections in supporting the mission of the university. Their research view the importance of good collections as they point to the need for safety and security for those collections.
Collection security refers to a process designed to protect library collections against un-authorized removal or loss. This involves protecting resources against disasters as well as thieves or intruders (Ajegbomogun, 2004). Information security governance is the manner in which information security is deployed, Da Veiga and Eloff (2007). Collection security management in libraries can be conceptualized to mean the overall manner in which collection security policies, programmes, procedures, or measures are deployed to mitigate risk and ensure access.
Crime is increasing in a spectacular and frightening rate in academic libraries, vandalism, mutilation, defacement, theft, hiding of books, verbal and physical abuse, harassment and other criminal activities are some of the challenges regularly encountered by the library resources and the library staff. It is therefore vital that today’s academic libraries be positioned to be able to confront these challenges in an objective, analytical and professional manner without displeasing the library users. The act of stealing, mutilation and vandalization of library resources is no doubt spreading among library users. These negative acts not only cause some immediate damage but also have longer effect on those who witness them and the library’s collection at large.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Library resources are usually mutilated, stolen and vandalized by some delinquent users. The extent of these challenges varies from one library to the other but seems to be a universal problem. Libraries should therefore ensure that there is high rate of security of their resources. Academic librarians and information managers must have a clear focus and vision on the reality of these security breaches in academic libraries in other to successfully manage a flourishing and efficient library and resources/research centre.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The following are the researcher’s objectives of the study:
i. To determine the existence of security policy in the academic libraries.
ii. To find out if adequate security of library resources is necessary in an academic library.
iii. To find out the type of library resources security breaches perceived by the respondents.
iv. To identify in general the types of collections which are more vulnerable to security breaches.
v. To find out the measures the library used to reduce and address security breaches in academic libraries.
vi. To identify the challenges to library resources security management.
1.4 Research Questions
The following research questions were presented for the study:
i. Does the library have an existing security policy that defines what a security challenge is and how to handle it?
ii. Is adequate security of library resources necessary in an academic library?
iii. What type of library resources security breaches does the respondents perceive in the library?
iv. What type of library materials are more vulnerable to security breaches?
v. What are the measures used by the library to reduce and address these security breaches?
vi. What are the challenges to collection security management?
1.5 Scope of Study
The study is on library resources and security challenges in the polytechnic library of Federal Polytechnic Nekede, Owerri. The study focuses particularly on identifying the various types of library resources and their security challenges and ways of reducing these identified challenges.
1.6 Significance of the Study
The researcher intends to contribute significantly to the importance of high rate of security on library resources as these resources contains useful information for human and nation development. Security challenges faced by the library resources militates against the provision of adequate information materials to library users. This work will also serve as a reference material to future researchers and library professionals who wish to write on library resources and security challenges in the libraries.
1.7 Historical Background of Federal Polytechnic Nekede, Owerri
The Federal Polytechnic Nekede Owerri was established in 1978 by the Imo State Government through Edict No. 16 of April 1978 as the College of Technology, Owerri. It took off at its temporary site at the premises of Government Technical College (GTC) Owerri along Egbu Road in the same year. The school in November 1981 was moved to its present and permanent location at Nekede in Owerri. By the Imo State Government Edict No. 6 of 1987, the name of the institution was changed to “The Polytechnic Nekede, Owerri”. Six years after and precisely on 7th April 1993 the school was formerly taken over by the federal government and was renamed by the federal government to “The Federal Polytechnic Nekede, Owerri” which is the institution’s present name.
1.8 The Polytechnic Library of Federal Polytechnic Nekede, Owerri
At the inception of the school in 1978 at its temporary site at Government Technical College (GTC) Owerri, the Chief Librarian of the then College of Technology was appointed on March 1978 and the school open for its classes on 15th December, 1978. The collection of the library in 1981 at the inception of the institution at its permanent site was housed in one of the apartment of the School of Engineering block and was later moved to a new classroom complex on January 1993 by then the permanent site of the library has not been built until 1988 when the foundation stone was laid by the then chairman of the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) Dr. Abdullahi. The library building was completed in 2000 and commenced users services in 2001. Dr. C. I Osuoji was the then acting rector of the institution in 1993 and later assumed office as the rector in 1996 which lasted till 2000. Mr. Chukwuma Chukwu was appointed the acting registrar while Mr. J. U. Obasi was the acting librarian. Chief Sir Uduma took over from Dr. Osuoji in 2000 as the acting rector and handed over the mantle of leadership to Engr. O. I. Nwankwo who emerged as the 6th substantive digital rector from June 2010. Mr. C. A Omenka acted as the acting rector from July 2010 to September 2010 and handed over to Dr. (Mrs.) Celestina Njoku as the rector from September 2010 till date. Mr. Ifeanyichukwu Oti was the chief librarian from 2010 to 2014, while Chief Christian Enyia is currently the chief librarian of Federal Polytechnic Nekede, Owerri.
The Federal Polytechnic Nekede library has many departments which includes: the administrative department, the technical service department made up of the cataloguing and classification section, collection development section and the bindery and reprographic section, the readers service department made up of the circulation section, reference section, serials section, reserved books section, special collections section and the audio-visual or media unit and currently the library has the E-library or digital library department.
Today the Federal Polytechnic Nekede Owerri Library has about 32,196 (thirty two thousand one hundred and ninety six) volumes of books in its collection according to the school’s curriculum and 3228 (three thousand two hundred and twenty eight) periodical and journal titles. It also has its collections in digital format called audio visuals. The library is also linked to the libraries of other academic institutions both foreign and within the country through its wireless internet connections.
1.9 Definition of Operational Terms
Academic Libraries: These are libraries established in institutions of higher learning such as universities, polytechnics, mono-technics and colleges of education to meet the educational and research objectives of their parent institutions.
Challenges: A new or difficult task that tests ones ability and skills.
Crime: Activities that involves breaking the law. An unlawful act or default which renders the offender guilty of a legal punishment.
Library: This is an institution specifically established for the acquisition, processing, organization, preservation, storage, retrieval and dissemination of information stored in prints and non-prints formats.
Mutilation: This means to damage something or somebody very severely, especially by cutting or tearing off part of it.
Library resources: These are resources stocked in the library to satisfy the reading and research needs of users. They come in either prints or non-print format.
Security: The act or activities involved in protecting something or a person against attack, danger or bad that might happen in the future.
Vandalism: A crime of destroying or damaging something especially public property, deliberately and for no good reason.
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Antiwi, I. K. (2009) The Problem of Library Security. The Bauchi Library Experiences International Review. Journal of Academic Librarianship. 21:363-372.
Anunobi, C. B. and Okoye, I. B. (2008) The Role of Academic Libraries in Universal Access to Print and Electronic Resources in Developing Countries. Library Philosophy and Practice. Available:http://unllib.unl.edu/LPP/anunobiokoye.htm.
Chaney, M. and A. F. (2004) Security and Crime in Libraries. Gower Publishing.
Da Veiga, A. and Eloff, J. H. P. (2007) An Information Security Governance Framework. Information Systems Management 24:361-372.
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