Libraries at University of Nebraska-Lincoln
A Survey of Library and Information Services to Physically-Challenged Students in Academic Libraries in Ogun State, Nigeria
Date of this Version
The importance of information to the success of any academic institution should not be underestimated. Ukpanah (2006) affirms that in an academic community, information is used for learning, teaching, research and leisure. Information according to Ajiboye and Tella (2007), is used primarily for academic purposes. These findings agree with Kakai et.al (2004), when they observed that students information-seeking behaviours promote academic excellence. Mabawonku (2005) highlights ways in which students seek for information, which include colleagues, the internet, library, friends, family members, etc. Furthermore, Akinade and Ogunyade (2002) and Onohwakpor (2007) asserted that valuable information to students determines to a very large extent their success and future development. Sequel to this, it is imperative for Academic libraries, which are attached to tertiary institutions to support the Teaching, Learning and Research processes in such institutions. Students, according to Adesina (2003) , have been found to be majority of library users in an academic library. Hence, Popoola (2008) affirmed that the information resources and services available in institutional information systems must be capable of supporting research activities among students and faculty members. These students could be challenged or normal library users. The challenged students will need assistance while in the library but the normal students may need little or no assistance. Onifade and Sowole (2009) quoting Ojo rightly noted that, for libraries to add to the advancement of knowledge, they must not only provide resources but also ensure that the resources are effectively used. In this regard, academic libraries should be committed to providing equal access to all categories of students, whether normal or challenged. Therefore this paper attempts to look at information availability and services provided the physically challenged students ( students using wheelchair, crutches, and braces for mobility) to the library, in eight academic libraries in Ogun state, Nigeria, their accessibility to the library and the problems they encountered.
Nigeria and the Challenged or Disabled
The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that there are approximately 19million disabled people in Nigeria. Furthermore, Yeo,(2005); Barron and Amerena et.al (2007) affirms that disabled people constitute one of the poorest, socially excluded and marginalised groups within the Nigerian society . On 30th March, 2007 the Government of Nigeria signed the UN Convention on the rights of persons with Disabilities, yet, no disability discrimination legislation has been enacted within Nigeria despite the fact that two bills have been introduced into National Assembly. Also, the common view, held by policy makers and the
public at large, is that disabled people and disability issues are Charity and Welfare matters and not Human rights. (DFID 2008). Findings by Okoli (2005) also corroborated this and in his findings he revealed that disabled people in Nigeria are living in an environment that is hostile to their yearnings and aspirations.
Lawal-Solarin (2010) in an article titled Banks and the Physically Challenged quoted MSN Encarta Dictionary which defines physically challenged as an inability to perform some or all the tasks of daily life or a medically diagnosed condition that makes it difficult to engage in the activities of daily life. According to the World Book Encyclopaedia (2004), ''some people are born with disabilities, while others develop them later in life. There are however, many types of challenges or disabilities; both physical and mental, and they vary greatly in causes, degrees and treatments. Common disabilities include blindness, deafness, and deformity, loss of limbs, mental illness, mental retardation, muscular, nervous and sensory disorders''.