The study was carried out to assess the community support to public libraries in North-Western States of Nigeria. Six (6) research questions were raised and answered, and 2 hypotheses were also formulated and tested at α 0.05. The research questions sought to find out what community support for public libraries are available in the North-western states, who are the stake-holders of the community support for public libraries in the North-western states, what types of donations are received by the public libraries in the North-Western States, how do the public libraries in the North-Western States utilized the community support meant for them, to what extent are the clientele of public libraries in the North-western states satisfied with the community support programmes provided to them, to what extent have the community support affected the services of public libraries in the North-Western States. A survey research design was employed for this study. Purposive sampling technique was used to select a sample size of 30% (686) from a population of 2,285. Data collected from the research questions were analyzed using frequencies count, and histogram, while Null Hypotheses one and two were tested using One-way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) at 0.05 level of confidence. The research discovered among others that donation of books and valuables forms the most frequent types of community support for public libraries, the public libraries in the North-Western States are not suffering from any neglect but the funding received from the government is inadequate. The resources and services of public libraries studied improved after they received and utilized their community support, there is a significant difference in the types of donations received by the public libraries.  The research concludes that community support initiative for public libraries should be continued because all financial gifts are critically important, especially during the crucial times when the libraries have capital intensive projects and government is yet to release money, the foundations/community based organizations/groups augments public library’s funds with donations to help the libraries preserve their tradition of excellence. Lastly, the researched made some recommendations that will help the Directors of public libraries to improve on the existing community support initiative in their respective libraries.


Title page - - - - - - - - - i

Declaration - - - - - - - - - ii

Certification - - - - - - - - - iii

Dedication - - - - - - - - - iv

Acknowledgements - - - - - - - - v-vii

Abstract - - - - - - - - - viii

Table of Contents - - - - - - - - ix-xii

List of Tables- - - - - - - - - xiii-xiv

List of Figures- - - - - - - - - xv

List of Abbreviation - - - - - - - - xvi 


1.1 Background to the Study - - - - - - 1-8

1.2 Statement of the Problem - - - - - - 9-11

1.3 Research Questions - - - - - - - 11-12

1.4 Research Hypothesis - - - - - - 12

1.5 Objectives of the Study - - - - - - 12

1.6 Significance of the Study - - - - - - 13

1.7 Scope of the Study - - - - -                       13

1.8       Limitation of the Study - - - - -            14

1.9 Operational Definition of Terms - - - - - 15



2.1 Introduction - - - - - - - - 19

2.2 Community Support - - - - - - 19-22

2.3 Community Support for Public Libraries - - - - 23-28

2.4 Community Support Programme and Facilities- - - - 28-29

2.4.1 Book Aid Nigeria (BAN) Project Information Literacy - - 29

2.4.2 Nigerian Book Foundation (NBF) - - - 29-32

2.5 Stake-holders in the Community Support For Public Libraries - 32-34

2.5.1 Friends of the Library (Fol) - - - - - 34-35

2.5.2 Fund Raising - - - - 35

2.5.3. Library Advocacy - - - - - - 35-37

2.5.4 Volunteerism - - - - - - 37-41

2.6 Public Libraries Roles and Support to society - - - 41-51

2.7 Summary of the Review - - - - - - 52-54 References - - - - - - - - 55-61


3.1 Introduction - - - - - - - - 62

3.2 Research Methodology Adopted - - - - - 62-63

3.3 Population of the Study - - - - - - 63-64

3.4 Sample and Sampling Technique - - - 64-66

3.5 Instrument for Data Collection - - - - - 66

3.6 Validity of the Instrument - - - - - - 67

3.7 Reliability of the Instrument - - - - - 67-68

3.8 Procedure for Data Collection - - - - - 68

3.9 Procedure for Data Analysis - - - 68



4.1 Introduction - - - - - - - - 71

4.2Response Rate and Demographic Analysis of the Respondents-------71-77

4.3 Descriptive Statistical Analysis - - - - - 77-104

4.4 Inferential Statistical Analysis - - - - - 104-108



5.1 Introduction - - - - - - - - 110

5.2 Summary of the study - - - - - - 110-111

5.3 Summary of Findings - - - - - - 111-113

5.4 Conclusion - - - - - - - - 113

5.5 Recommendations - - - - - - - 113-115

5.6Suggestion for Further Research-----115

Bibliography - - - - - - - - 116-122

Appendices --------123-132


1.0 Introduction

1.1 Background to the study

Public libraries are found in every societies and cultures at different stages of development. They vary in content, operation, and services provision. Oyegade, Nasarawa and Mokogwu (2003) viewed national and public libraries as the people’s universities which provide for life-long learning, independent decision- making and cultural development of individual and social groups. Public libraries attempt to meet a wide variety of readers’ needs, providing varied information resources such as text books, journals, magazines, e-books, and other publications. 

According to UNESCO (1994), public library provides access to information and work of imagination through a wide range of resources and services, making it available equally to all members of the community regardless of race, nationality, age, gender, religion, language, disability, economic and employment status and educational attainment. UNESCO, (1997) defined public library as an organization established, supported and funded by the community, either through local, regional or national government or through some other form of community organization. For any library to actualize all these, it needs to be adequately supported by the establishing authority as well as by members of the community for whom it is established. 

According to Aguolu and Aguolu (2002), the establishment of any library is predicated upon two fundamental assumptions namely, that the authorities setting it up are prepared to see to its continued existence by adequate financial support and that the people whom the library serves appreciate its informational and educational values, thereby, emphasizing the rights of individuals and the choices that they make in order to support the libraries.  Community support is conceived as a situation where the public sector represented by the government collaborates with the private sector represented by private individuals, organized groups, and associations or corporate bodies in the management, provision and delivery of public library services to the people (Nnamdi, 2007). It is all about inclusion and working together to achieve a common goal. It involves pulling resources, ideas and personnel together to improve public library services.

Expectedly, the members of a community would endeavour to increase their personal and institutional capacities to mobilise and manage resources to produce sustainable and justly distributed improvements in their quality of life consistent with their own aspirations. The current knowledge-driven economy requires public libraries to develop sustainable partnerships as a way to ensure that they remain in sync with the demand of their dynamic environments. This calls for the creation of strong linkages and relations with all stakeholders in the community, such as the local government, schools, universities, farmers, publishers, writers, booksellers, research institutions and non-governmental organisations.

Abel and Isa (2011) wrote about the development of public library in Nigeria, the writers said that public libraries recorded an impressive growth in the 1960s and early 1970s, but the economic downturn of the 1980s and the 1990s had great adverse effects on public library development as they witness decline in funding. The decline seems to defeat such traditional roles of public libraries as the provision of educational, informational and recreational services to the community. Traditional supporters of public libraries, especially the donor agencies, both local and foreign, are also shifting support and interests in the face of ever-growing competitive demands from other spheres of human endeavours. Library has an important role in the advancement of knowledge and national development. This role can be effectively carried out with well-structured, fully Internet connected and well-planned public library services. Public libraries are very important in the life of any nation. Okiy (2005) said that the greatest resource for development is the human resource; hence no nation can develop in isolation of her human resources. Thus, for Nigeria to develop there is the need for the stake holders to collaborate in order to educate the populace. 

Denise, (2008) said that in response to public library funding deficiencies, many people both inside and outside the field of librarianship have suggested that public libraries need to rely less on traditional government funding and more on alternative funding sources. In support of the above, Akporhonor, (2005) opined that, the emerging spending patterns and societal pressure require libraries to launch new and sustained initiatives to generate funds internally. Steady exploitation of money-yielding ventures, such as consulting, soliciting, donations and pricing information services, can generate revenue. 

As a matter of fact, no public library, however large and well funded, can meet all the needs of its clientele on its own. Participation in partnerships and networks with other libraries and related organizations, and the provision of access to other sources of information, will assist a public library to satisfy the information needs of its clientele by increasing the range of available resources and services (UNESCO, 1997). The UNESCO recommended the following sources of fund for public libraries development:

Primary sources of income may include: 

• taxation at local, regional or central level

• block grants from central, regional or local level.

Secondary sources of income may include:

• donations from funding bodies or private individuals

• revenue from commercial activities, e.g., publishing, book sales, sale of  works of  

  art and handicrafts

• revenue from user fees, e.g., fines

• revenue from charges to clientele for individual services, e.g., photocopying and

  printing facilities

• sponsorship from external organizations

• lottery funds for specific initiatives.

It is believed that the library is an agent of change, considering that the presence of a good library enables us to stimulate the community’s mindset of the importance of a better quality of life through the information available. In the past people felt that providing library service is government’s task not the society’s. Leach (2010) reported that:

“Public libraries both in South Africa and internationally are under financial pressure owing, in large part, to a decline in government funding. One of the responses to the situation is, and has been, for thepublic library sector to consider alternative sources of funding to supplement that received from government”. 

Similarly, Mohammed (1997), Ifidon (1998) and Kiondo (2004), have also identified gross under funding of libraries as a major obstacle in the acquisition and application of information technology in their services. This is a major problem that should be addressed since adequate funding is at the core of the provision of the facilities required to equip the electronic libraries of the 21st century being advocated for educational and national development in Nigeria.

Community support in the life of the public libraries could have a dramatic impact on their access, quality of service delivery, retention and weeding the information resources collection. Bringing public libraries and community closer together can generate a sense of local ownership and enhance accountability. Librarians and other library staff are more likely to do their jobs well, while communities take an active interest in what is happening in the library. With community support in the management of public libraries, the important question that arises is how can the communities in the northern part of the country be more committed to the management of public libraries? Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioner (2000) reported that: Every public library works in effective partnership with other community organizations and neighbouring libraries to better serve its clientele. That shows that the level of participation is at the highest level. Participation is a rich concept that varies with its application and definition.

Paul (1986) viewed the following five objectives as some of the ways in which community participation might contribute to public library operations:

1. Sharing project costs: participants are asked to contribute money or labour and occasionally goods during the project’s implementation or operational stages.

2. Increasing project efficiency: beneficiary consultation during project planning or beneficiary involvement in the management of project implementation or operation.

3. Increasing project effectiveness: greater beneficiary involvement to help ensure that the project achieves its objectives and that benefit go to the intended groups.

4. Building beneficiary capacity: either through ensuring that participants are actively involved in project planning and implementation or through formal or informal training and awareness- raising activities.

5. Increasing empowerment: defined as seeking to increase the control of the under- privileged sectors of society over the resources and decisions affecting their lives and their participation in the benefits produced by the society in which they live. 

Public Library System in Northern Nigeria

In Nigeria, the pressing need for public libraries was realized only in the 1940s. The first public library in Nigeria was established in Lagos as far back as 1932, being the result of a generous grant of $6,000 from the Carnegie Corporation (Abel, 2001). The library, founded at the time of Sir Alan Burns, was largely under European influence and control. Moreover, its location within the premises of the Government House made it very much inaccessible to the majority of Nigerian people, which consequently minimized the impact of library development consciousness among the people. The Second World War, however, created the much-desired forum for the actual growth and development of public libraries in Nigeria.

This was the time when there arose the great and urgent need for information/propaganda to be made freely available and easily accessible to the colonized. The need therefore arose for an agency that could effectively carry out this tedious task. It was this need, which brought into focus the issue of public library provision in Nigeria. The need to keep people informed about the war and to disseminate information as widely as possible led to the setting up of “reading rooms” or “public libraries” or better still, “public reading rooms” as they were then variously referred to (Aleyideino, 1992). 

The idea of a public library system in Northern Nigeria started in the late 1940s with the Native Authority (N.A.) Reading Rooms. Prior to this period however, a collection of Islamic scriptures and manuscripts could be found with individual clerics scattered across the region especially in Sokoto, Borno and Kano which were centres of commerce and Islamic civilization as a result of their contact with the Arab world through the Trans-Saharan Trade Routes. (Aguolu,1984). The “libraries” lacked all that can be said of a typical public library especially in terms of policies, organization, personnel and services. 

The first significant attention to public library development was the commissioning of a study on library services in the region in 1963, by the government of the then Northern Region, the study was conducted by F. A. Sharr under the Special Commonwealth African Assistance Plan. The report popularly known in the Nigerian Library Literature as “The Sharr Report”, praised the “foresight of the Government in seeking, at this early state, to rationalize the development of all types of libraries and avoid waste and inefficiency which follows from uncoordinated endeavour” (Aleyideino, 1992). 

The first functional public library was the Kaduna Lending Library which also doubled as the Regional Reference Library. The library system was organized under a Director and was departmentalized according to the various functions in the Library. While a public library system was gradually taking shape, a major political shake-up of the Northern Region took place in 1967. The once famous “giant North” was broken into six (6) states. This development led to the decentralization of the Regional Library System. Consequently, the former Regional Library Headquarter in Kaduna had to split its resources and assets equally among the new States.

Another milestone in the history of library development in Northern Nigeria was the commissioning of yet another study by Robert Pearce to assess Public Library Services in the newly created states in the Region, based on F. A. Sharr’s recommendations. The aftermath according to Pearce (n.d), was that “six inefficient library services, lacking in policy, staff and funds and plans for coordination and cooperation even to alleviate if only in a small way, this deficiency in resources “came into being with headquarters in Kaduna, Kano, Jos, Maiduguri, Ilorin and Sokoto.

During the military rule of Late Gen. Sanni Abacha, (1993-1998) the entire nation was categorized into six geo-political zones where every state of the nation fell into these categories. Although, the categorization of the entire nation into Geo-Political Zones did not come as an official pronouncement from the government, by 1997 this had gained prevalence in the political language of the nation (Adeyomoye, 2011). The six Geo-political zones are South-west; South-east; South-south; North-east; North-west and North- central. The North-west Geo-political zone where the public libraries under study are located comprises of seven states namely; Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto, Zamfara and Jigawa.  

1.2 Statement of the Problem

In different parts of the world governments are tasked with the funding of public libraries. However, over the years, several reports had unveiled the abysmal funding of the public libraries particularly in developing countries including Nigeria. According to Opara (2008) the bane of public libraries in Nigeria is poor funding from where other problems confronting them emanate. This has called for the community’s collaboration more than ever before and fresh approaches to the challenges of public libraries especially in the North-west. In addition, Abel and Issa, (2011) opined that in spite of lofty goals and laudable aspirations of public library system in Nigeria, public libraries still suffer most neglect, lack of recognition, inadequate funding and personnel all of which have adversely impacted on their service provision.

Also, the findings of a survey of the public library sector conducted in South Africa revealed inadequate funding. The consequential negative impact on important aspects of public library provision was by far the most frequently mentioned problem (Leach 1998). Thus funding for public libraries has been precarious historically and the continuing inadequacy of public funding is a source of regular concern. 

Nwokocha (2002) considered the growth of public libraries in Nigeria as being long and problem ridden due to inadequate funding, which resulted in low patronage, almost total absence of current information resources and lack of adequate number of trained personnel. He offered some radical and practical suggestions on how to ameliorate the situation, such as the repackaging of information resources and the involvement of wealthy individuals and multinational organizations in the funding of public libraries. Nwokocha pointed out that inadequate funding is one of the problems hindering some of the public libraries in Nigeria. Partnering with community members in order to support public library services and programmes can be of immense benefit to their effective service provision and delivery.

Ajibero (2000) attributed poor funding of public libraries to economic conditions, government’s attitude, and particularly information infrastructure. His view was about the state of the country’s economy, the government’s ability to allocate a substantial amount of money for public libraries’ development attitudes towards provision of information infrastructures that will allow the public library systems in Nigeria to meet up to expectations.  Issak (2000), in her analysis of the literature on public libraries in Africa, found that in the public library sector “there is declining financial support or even its total absence, which makes the development of the sector difficult or impossible”. She indicated that in the majority of countries reviewed, the government would only guarantee the payment of salaries, not the funding of other activities within the sector. 

There is no doubt that public libraries need to partner with other non-governmental agencies in order to improve on their services. In the light of this, it is considered necessary to establish the extent to which community participation as conceived by the UNESCO’s definition is being achieved and how far the envisaged impact of community support on the public library in the zone is being realised. 

1.3 Research Questions

This study sought answers to the following research questions:

(1) What community support for public libraries is available in the North-

           western States? 

(2) Who are the stake-holders in the community support for public libraries in the North-western States?

(3) How do the public libraries in the North- western States disseminate 

information to their clientele?  

(4) How do the public libraries in the North-western States receive and utilize their community supports?  

(5) To what extent are the clientele of public libraries in the North-western states satisfied with the community support provided to them? 

(6) To what extent is the community support initiative affected the services of 

public libraries in the North-western States?  

1.4 Hypotheses 

The study was guided by the following hypotheses:

Ho1. There is no significant difference among the state public libraries in the 

North-western States in the types of donations they received.

Ho2. There is no significant difference among the state public libraries in the 

North-western States in the way they utilize their community support funds.

1.5 Objectives of the study

This research has the following objectives:

1. To identify community support that is available for public libraries in 

North-western States.

2. To ascertain the stake-holders in the community support for public libraries

in the North-western States.

3. To identify ways that public libraries used in disseminating information to their clientele

4. To determine how public libraries in the North-western States received and utilized their community support. 

5. To identify the level at which clientele of public libraries in the North- western States are satisfied with the community support provided for them.

6. To determine the level at which community support initiative affects the 

  services of public libraries in the North-western States.

1.6 Significance of the Study

Public library as a gateway to information resource has the potential of developing the nation. Thus the study will help identify the types of community support that are available to public libraries in the zone. It will motivate the Directors of public libraries in the zone to introduce community support initiative if there is none. The current relationship that exists between public libraries and their communities will be highlighted. It will serve as basis for developing intervention programmes by policy makers and stake holders in library development. The researcher will make some recommendation that will aid librarians in sustaining community support for library initiatives that will elicit effective community support for public libraries. Conclusions and findings from this study will serve as a useful base for further research in the area and also add to existing knowledge.

1.7 Scope of the study 

The study was restricted to only public libraries in three states out of seven states under study. The study will cover Kaduna, Kano and Sokoto States. Sokoto State has a State Library Board, Kaduna State has ten public libraries including the state Library Board, and Kano has a State Library Board and fifteen branch libraries. 

However, the library staff who are the subject of the study comprise of Directors, Professional and Para-professional staff of readers’ services department in the selected public libraries. It also covered only community support aspect of the selected libraries with regard to information service delivery to clientele. 

1.8 Limitations of the Study

Just as every research entails challenges and limitations, this study is no exception. The first challenge was the time frame within which the research was to be carried out, presented and defended, followed by the constraints of finance (funds) and delay caused by the respondents in returning the questionnaires.

1.9 Operational Definition of Terms

Library Staff – a group of persons, as employees, entrusted with the provision and service delivery in public libraries.

Synonyms:  Professional Librarian, Paraprofessional Librarian, Library personnel

Community Support - a situation where private individuals, organized groups, and association or corporate bodies collaborates with the government for delivering good public library services to the people.

Synonyms: Community Participation, Community Partnership, Community Collaboration, Community Integration   

Support – Any form of gesture rendered by private organizations, philanthropists, community-based groups or society and volunteers either in cash or in kind towards the development of public libraries. 

Synonym: Community support activities, community support initiative    

Community Support Facilities – Space or equipment such has building, generator, vehicle/ van, ICT equipment for supporting public library operations and services. 

Synonym: Amenities




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