A STUDY OF THE SOLUTIONS TO THE PROBLEMS OF BOOK THEFT AND VANDALISM IN THE LIBRARY, NIGERIA
CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION 1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY In medicine, prevention is better than cure, and also in libraries good preventive measures particularly of storage and security should be on alert so as to prevent damages and missing of books. The art of prevention is as old as human civilization. Since the innovation of writing, mankind has been faced with the problem of prevention. Documents have been existed in one form or the other and it is natural for man to attempt to securing, managing and preventing them from deterioration. Edoka (2000), say that ?library emerged when the need arose to safeguard, exploit and utilize records of civilization?. Libraries have been seen as one of the pillars of civilization. No nation can function effectively without the use of a library. The term ?library? means a collection of educational materials organized for use. The word is derived from the Latin word ?Liber? which means a book. This is a good reason to believe that the root concept of Library is deeply embedded in our ways of thinking about the world and coping with its constraints. In its primary role as guardian of the social memory, there are many parallels with the ways in which the human memory orders, stores and retrieves the information necessary for survival. Broadhead (2002) asserted that the ?study of library history and its related disciplines bear witness that the instinct to preserve, the zeal to collect and the desire to manage have been dominant influences in the genesis and growth of the library idea in the history of civilization?. Alokun (2003) affirm that ?libraries are essentially established to cater for the information needs of different categories of users which covers different aspects of life, such as political, economical, social and cultural aspects?. In order to achieve its purposes libraries have to put their best in securing, managing and preventing libraries collections from theft and mutilation to meet the demand of its heterogeneous clientele. Aina (2004), opines that a ?library is concerned with the collection, processing, storage and dissemination of recorded information for the purpose of reading, study and consultation?. Library services can only be achieved through the availability of library collections. This implies that inadequate library collections will bring about inaccurate library services. Udensi and Sadiku (2005) define academic libraries as ?library attached to institution of higher learning or tertiary institution such as universities, colleges of education, polytechnics and colleges of technologies?. An academic library, being a complex institution must have large quantities of materials to meet the demands of the numerous students, lecturers and faculty officers; therefore, there is the need to protect the materials in the library from factors such as theft, mutilation, and deterioration. The threat to intellectual property through theft, mutilation and other forms of abuse has been posed tremendous challenge to the library profession worldwide. According to Jackson (1991) ?incidents of theft, non-return of materials and mutilation of library stock are on the increase. These unwanted acts need a serious tackle in academic libraries in order to protect library resources?. Anunobi and Okoye (2008) contributed that, ?academic libraries are faced with crossbreed challenges in order to acquire the necessary skills?. One challenge is the issue of security management for prevention of theft of print non-print resources in the academic libraries. There is a need for academic libraries to ensure accessibility and effective use to make an effective program of collection security necessary. This programme must include assessment of collection security management for prevention of incessant book thefts and the measures use in curbing security infringement. Oyewusi and Oyeboade (2009) discussed the importance of access to collections in supporting the mission of the academic. The researchers view the importance of good collections as a pointer to the need for safety and security for those collections. SCONUL?s 2003 ?New guidelines to safeguard collections in UK museums, archives and libraries? recognize that ?there is an established market for the stolen items, and they usually retain their value?. Book theft is identified as the most common crime in libraries, one which has been on the increase for many years. Theft and malicious damage against books are difficult to combat because the risk of getting caught is very low, while the likelihood of success is high. Criminal activities in academic libraries are not limited to library information materials alone but theft of properties such as handbags, purses, calculators and notebooks are equally common. The extent, nature and rate at which these crimes occur vary from one academic library to another. The crimes, which are committed by some users of the academic libraries, have deprived many others from fully achieving their information needs. Vandalism, mutilation, defacement, theft, etc are problems regularly encountered by the materials of these libraries. The commodity the libraries promote: books and other information materials are valuable and expensive but are likely targets for criminal activities. The expected roles of the academic library tend to lead it to criminal activities. The more the control, safeguard and security levels there are, the less it resembles a library that is traditionally expected to serve users. The goal of the security system in the libraries should be to provide a safe and secure capability for library employees, library resources and equipment, and library patrons. At the same time, the security system must perform these functions as seamlessly as possible, without interfering with the library?s objective of easily and simply providing patron services. This study explores security management for prevention of book thefts in academic library and measure used or adopted by the Ibarapa Polytechnic Library, Eruwa to curb security infringement and is limited to the protection of the library and its collections from theft and mutilation. As information professional, we have a responsibility to mankind: to explore the possibilities of finding methods of securing, managing and preventing library and information materials and to ensure their continued availability for as long as possible, remembering that prevention is better than cure. 1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM The Ibarapa Polytechnic library, as one of the polytechnic libraries is traditionally built to meet the needs of the students, lecturers and the polytechnic communities through the provision of qualitative and adequate information resources and services. Security management for prevention of incessant thefts of information resources in libraries in Nigeria is posing a great problem especially in the area of book theft and mutilation. Poor security cannot cope with incessant pressure on the library by students who either steal or mutilate books/journals without regard for laid down library regulations. This leads to the loss of many valuable materials in the libraries. Rebecca (2009) says though ?the library had to contend with some problems which are found to affect the entire quality of library services, facilities and information resources?. These are some of the issues that constitute the problem the researcher intends to investigate on the course of this project with the view of finding and making suggestion for improvement. 1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY The main objective is to determine possible ways or solutions to the problems of security management for prevention of incessant book thefts in the Ibarapa Polytechnic library. Specifically the study is designed to: 1. Identify causes of book theft and mutilation of library materials 2. Find out the means through which library materials are being stolen 3. Identify the methods library adopt to prevent its information resources from the theft and mutilation? 4. Identify the security measures that can help to prevent theft and mutilation? 1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS The following research questions guided the study 1. What is the causes of book theft and mutilation of library materials? 2. What are the means through which library materials are being stolen? 3. What method does the library adopt to prevent its information resources from the theft and mutilation? 4. What security management measures can help to prevent theft and mutilation? 1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY The significance of this study is based on the need to improve the security management for prevention of book thefts of the academic libraries, especially as it relates to the research as well as to reexamine the roles of the library so as to achieve the stated objectives. Hence, the study becomes valuable as its findings if used will help to rendering solutions to the problems of security management for prevention of incessant book thefts. Academic libraries are not always safe and secure places and they are facing a wide variety of security concerns which includes the theft and mutilation of library materials, the results of a number of library studies reported that most libraries across the globe are having problems with security management for prevention of library information resources. (It is a worldwide phenomenon). 1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY The study of the strategies to be employed in combating book theft and vandalism in the academic library is limited to the Ibarapa Polytechnic library, Eruwa. 1.7 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY 1. Network interconnectivity to enhance elaborate research ? 2. High level of illiteracy 3. Time and cost constraints due to cause of scarcity in gasoline to go about the research.