1.1    Background to the Study

The library is the nerve center of academic activities in universities and is a bank of knowledge with varied and useful information carried in different kinds of material, each of which has its unique way of handling. The academic library is an important agent in the pursuit of academic excellence in higher institution. Its main goal, according to Umuakwe and Oyebinama (2009), is to support the objectives of the host institution which has to do with learning, teaching, research and administration.

Academic libraries, according to Oyelude (2002), are libraries that are found in tertiary institutions which include universities, polytechnics and colleges of education. However, these academic libraries in universities are also regarded as research libraries because among their objectives are the provision of materials in support of postgraduate, faculty, external and collaborative researches. This shows that libraries are very important in institutions of higher learning because they assist the institutions to achieve their aims and objectives by providing information that will meet the information needs of the users. It is also evident that, the extent to which the institution is able to carry out its laudable objectives portrays how well the institution’s library has been supportive in the provision of all the essential information resources.

A deficient collection that is built on uninformed decision can have adverse effects on the academic library and subsequently in attainment of the goals of the parent institution. Therefore, every academic library requires a workable information resource development policy to guide its decision on resource development. The academic library is charged with the responsibility of ensuring academic performance through collection building, maintenance access and use. In addition, it supports the attainment of goals of its parent institution. Adeyemi (1991) observed the roles which academic libraries must play to assist in achieving the goals of their parent institutions viz:

  • Maintenance of adequate information resources, monographic and serials.
  • Bibliographic activities of newspaper clipping, indexing and abstracting of reference aids and sources;
  • National and international library cooperation, lending and resource sharing.
  • Reliable reprographic and document delivery services;
  • Well trained and dedicated staff;
  • Display and exhibition of reference stock.

Therefore, for academic libraries to achieve its optimum goal, it must stock adequate and relevant collections. Such collections, according to Kent and Lancour (1971) include amongst others books, manuscripts, serials, government publications, pamphlets, catalogue, reports, recordings, microfilms, microfiche and micro cards, punched cards, computer tapes e.t.c. Other collections that have recently been added to libraries are the internet, electronic and digital resources.

The development of an academic library collection is not just the duty of the librarian; it is a cooperative effort between librarians and the teaching faculties. A deficient collection can have an adverse implication on the institution. It is because of this that Olanlokun and Adekanye (2005) averred that it is imperative that the collection must be developed in such a way that it will meet the aspiration of the library patrons.

This implies that it is only with adequate library collection policy that academic libraries could reach the academic goals of their parent institutions. As Chukwu (1998) pointed out, the major indicator of a good library is the quality of its collection.