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May 27, 2022 Comments Off on UTILIZATION OF SPECIAL COLLECTIONS OpenBook



The primary aim of this research is to examine utilization of special collections in Federal University of Technology (FUT) Library, Minna. Four objectives were raised to guide the study. The research design adopted was the survey method using the questionnaire as the instrument for data collection. The population of the study comprised of students/researchers in Federal University of Technology (FUT) Library, Minna totaling 250.The sample was 100 represented by 40% of the total population 100 questionnaires were administered to the respondents and out of which 90 were considered valid. In analysis of the study, it was revealed that government documents, United Nation Publications, archives, theses and dissertations and serials publications are the types of Special Collections available in FUT Library, Minna. Findings also revealed that: the purpose for which students/researchers utilize Special Collections is for vital information in the areas of research, specific bits of statistical data, international perspective on particular issues, and administrative records; the proplems encountered by students/researchers of FUT Library Minna are absence of network with other Special Collections resources worldwide, catalogue not up-to-date, non-availability of current material needed, absence of photocopying services within the division, and difficulty in use of catalogue …. Conclusion was drawn and recommendations were given that the library should establish a good network with other Special Collections resources worldwide so as to enhance effective utilization of Special Collections resources in academic library. ….



1.1       Background of the Study

Universities are institutions concerned with teaching, learning and research. Since the library’s objective is to assist what goes on in the parent institution, it has to provide adequate, quality and quantity of information resources in relation to demands of various levels. Of these levels, the postgraduate programmes have the largest research components, followed by final year first degree students.

These resources are usually organized according to their degrees of likeness- by subject or by form. Okoye and Ekere (2016) noted that “resources are organized using specific types of classification scheme to collocate materials in a given subject together. However, university libraries in most cases provide and organized separately another category of materials called special collections”.

Special collections are created by individual universities who own it. Special collections according to Harrod’s Librarians Glossary (2018) is “a collection of books connected with local history, celebrities, industries etc or a certain subject or period or gather for some particular reasons in a library, which is general in character”. Special collections are considered as materials, which are distinguished by their age, provenance, subject matter or some other defining characteristics. “They are traditional features of many academic libraries, and an important resource for primary research in the humanities and historical social sciences” (Love and Feather, 2015). Special collections in university libraries require some special attention to be given to it in terms of organization and preservation.

Special collections usually contain highly valuable materials that could aid in teaching, learning and research. A good number of resources in special collection divisions in many university libraries are primary literature which because of their currency, are used in updating knowledge. Some of the materials have local or international dimensions, which are suitable for various kinds of research. One other valuable component of the special collection is a number of statistical information materials that present current data on almost all aspect of human activities.

In view of the forgoing the study seeks to investigate “Utilization of Special Collections in Federal University of Technology (FUT) Library Minna”.

1.1.1    Historical Background of Federal University of Technology (FUT) Library Minna

Federal University of Technology Minna (FUTMINNA) is a Federal Government owned university located in Minna, Niger State, Nigeria. The university specializes in technological education. It was founded in 1983 and the main campus Gidan Kwano which is sited on 10,650 hectares of land is located along the Minna – Kataeregi – Bida Road.

The University Library Services is on both campus of the University. The main campus library Gidan Kwano is called Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida Library while the branch Library in Bosso campus is called Auwal Ibrahim Library.

The University Library now has a digitalized section connected with internet to cater for 200 students at a time. Through TETFund support, the University Library procured large volume of books and journals as well as subscribed to several online platform libraries with the aim of boosting research.

The Library is subscribed to different electronic resources database to enhance teaching, learning and research of the university community. The Library has over 80,000 collections of print resources made of books, periodicals and other materials.

The library provides 24/7 internet services to students and staff of the University which is powered by the Information Technology Services Unit. The library has over 350 desktop computers with internet connectivity to provide access to electronic resources for use by the university community.

The first floor of the main Library houses part of circulation unit, serials units and government document and thesis unit while the second houses the remaining part of circulation, elibrary, digital library and multimedia and reprographic units.

Special collection resources are in most cases house in a closed access room. In Federal University of Technology (FUT) Library Minna, Special Collections Division contains Government Documents and Archives as well as United Nations Organization Documents, and so on.

In spite of the closed access nature of the special collections division and its resources,  students are given access to the collections may be as a result of their level of maturity not to mishandle the special collections within the library or the library has identified the materials therein as relating much to their research needs. (https://futminna.edu.ng).

1.2       Statement of the Problem

Special collections are an essential part of university library collections because they are an assemblage of materials that are highly useful for teaching, learning and research. The materials are particularly valuable to students who need current, up to date and precise information and data for their research. The staff of the university library assumes that the students know how to use the special collections and therefore leave them on their own. But the questions are: Are the students making optimal use of the special collections? Do they need assistance from library staff?

These are the questions that need to be investigated. If nothing is done to find out whether the students actually made use of the materials, they may be suffering in silence and their research may be hindered. The result may be either difficulty in completing their research work or producing poor quality of research work. This therefore, calls for urgent investigation into the utilization of special collections by students/researchers, problems they encounter in using the materials and ways of solving these problems.

1.3       Research Questions

The study was guided by the following research questions:

  1. What are the types of special collections of information materials available in Federal University of Technology (FUT) Library, Minna?

  2. What is the purpose for the utilization of special collections in Federal University of Technology (FUT) Library, Minna?

  3. What are the problems encountered by students/researchers of Federal University of Technology (FUT) Library, Minna in utilizing the special collections?

  4. What strategies are to be adopted to bring about effective utilization of the special collections by students in Federal University of Technology (FUT) Library, Minna?

1.4       Objectives of the Study

The main objective of the study is to investigate the utilization of special collections in Federal University of Technology (FUT) Library, Minna.

Specifically, the study sought to

  1. Identify the types of special collections information materials available in Federal University of Technology (FUT) Library, Minna.

  2. Ascertain the purpose for utilization of special collections in Federal University of Technology (FUT) Library, Minna;

  3. Determine the problems encountered by students/researchers of Federal University of Technology (FUT) Library, Minna in utilizing the special collections;

  4. Determine the strategies to be adopted to bring about effective utilization of the special collections by students.

1.5       Significance of the Study

The study is essential because it is hoped to provide an insight into availability of special collections in Federal University of Technology (FUT) Library, Minna. The study would reveal the effects of non-availability and low usage of special collections by students/researchers. The recommendations that may be given would be important to our government policy makers at the Federal, States and Local Government levels on how to improve special collections unit in government owned library.

The study will provide lecturers, school authorities and government the dangers and damage of special collections and its effects on the academic research of students. Finally, it shall serve as a veritable source of information to students and researchers. Also, school authorities would find the finding of this study useful. They could use them to detect and prevent such symptoms that are likely to make students’ low academic research in the selected tertiary institutions

1.6       Scope and Delimitation of the Study

This study is restricted to the Utilization of Special Collections in Federal University of Technology (FUT) Library Minna only.

The project work of this kind cannot come up without some delimitations. The major delimitations of the study is finance, limited time at researcher’s disposal, and because of these delimitations, this study was only able to select one academic library in Niger State. Despite these delimitations, due care was taken not to sacrifice quality and in-depth of this study on the iota of time, data and money.

1.7       Operational Definition of Terms

Researchers: These are people who carry out academic or scientific research.

Special Collections: These are resources or information materials organized in a special place in library for specific purposes.

Students: These are people who go to school and are learning something. Students can be children, teenagers, or adults who are going to school, but it may also be other people who are learning, such as in college or university. A younger student is often called a pupil.

Utilization: An act that brings something into services for a particular purpose.


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