Libraries at University of Nebraska-Lincoln

 

Abstract

The present study was designed to investigate the staff awareness of ergonomics principles required at the University of Jos Library computer workstation. The methodology adopted was the case study. The target population comprised of all the library staff available as at the time of the study. Total enumeration method was used to obtain the relevant data from the respondents because the population was not too large. Out of the 129 copies of questionnaire distributed 119 were filled and retuned. However, only 36(30.25%) respondents indicated that they use the computer to perform library tasks. Therefore only 36 copies of the questionnaire were found suitable for use. Based on the analyses of the 36 copies of questionnaire, it was revealed that the major type of computer used to perform library tasks is desktop 24 (66.66%), while the major type of task performed with the computer is task in the subject libraries 15(41.66%). Also from the finding, majority of the respondents 14(38.88%) indicated that they have been using the computer to perform library tasks for a period of 1-5 years and majority of the respondents 19(52.77%) also indicated that they use the computer to perform tasks for 7-8 hours per working day. But with regards to their comfort at the computer workstation, majority of the respondents are slightly comfortable. This was revealed through the weighted mean of 2.33(58.25%). Further findings of the study revealed that out of the 36 respondents that use the computer to perform library tasks,34(94.44%),29(80.55%),25(69.44%),18(50%) and 22(61.11%) of the respondents are very aware that eye strain, back-ache, shoulder-ache, head-ache and stress are computer-related illnesses. Also, 32 (88.88%) of the respondents indicated that they sometimes experience eye strain in the course of using the computer to perform library tasks, while 23 (63.88%), 15(41.66%), 12(33.33%) and 18(50%) respondents indicated that they sometimes experience back-ache, shoulder-ache, head-ache and stress respectively. More so, 16(44.44%) of the respondents have ascertained through a medical practitioner that the illnesses they sometimes experience in the course of using the computer to perform library tasks are actually computer- related illnesses. However, 21 (58.33%) of the respondents are not aware of the meaning of the word ‘ergonomics’; 18(50%) of the respondents are not aware that they are supposed to maintain a good sitting posture at the computer workstation; and 21(58.33%) of the respondents are not aware that they are also supposed to maintain a good working posture of the arms and wrists while using the computer to perform task . Furthermore, 14(38.88%) of the respondents are moderately aware that they are supposed to stand up and move around regularly when using the computer to perform library tasks for long hours, while 16(44.44%) of the respondents are also moderately aware that staring at the screen of the computer for too long can have some negative effects on their eyes. The weighted mean is 2.39 (59.85). This implies that averagely majority of the respondents are slightly aware of the ergonomics principles required at the computer workstation. Further findings also revealed that majority of respondents slightly comply with the ergonomics principles required at the computer workstation. This was identified through the weighted mean which is 2.38 (59.62%). Therefore, based on the findings of the study, it was recommended amongst others that the library management should design a more ergonomics friendly computer workstation for the staff. The library management should also organize staff training on ergonomics principles required at the computer workstation. Thereafter, the staff should re-design their workstations to best suit their comfort and at the same time they should comply with the ergonomics principles learnt from the training. Finally, the library staff should endeavor to go for routine medical checkups so as to ensure early detection and treatment any form of illness that is trying to arise in the course of performing library tasks be it computer –related or not.

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