1.1 Background of the Study
University libraries are libraries that are dedicated to aid in university education and teaching. It serves the knowledge and information needs of the university community and the general public. A university library is the part of the university with the responsibility to provide information services to actualize the goals and objectives of the university at large. Just as the name implies, university library is a type of Academic library attached to the University Institution to support the school curriculum and to support teaching, learning and research process in the university.
Libraries are the nerve-centre of educational institutions especially the universities. It is also a crucial centre in the educational development of man at any level and more particularly so in any academic pursuit. The purpose of the library is the purpose of its institution, hence they has set its objectives to meet with the objectives of the parent institution. The output of information has reached an exponential rate, the reason why the users needs to be more education on how to benefit from the proliferated resources. If the users are educated on basic common practices they will save their time and avoid much frustration. So, they therefore need to acquire the requisite knowledge of library methods to facilitate their effective use of library (Olanlokun&Saliso, 2000). Hence library education is very vital for library users achievement.
To have access to library information, the user has to know the arrangement of materials in the library, types of information resources available and how to conduct library search. The information user therefore has to be instructed in the use of library through the process known as user education. Library user education involves a process of making library patrons learn how to make effective and efficient use of library resources through the acquisition of skills in the identification and retrieval of information. Based on the opinion of Aina (2004), user education is to help library users get information they desire as well as developing the skills to use the resources of the library independently and appropriately.
It is important to note that various terms have been used denoting ways of imparting knowledge on how library users can utilize library resources. Some of the terms that have been used are reader instruction, user instruction, library orientation, library instruction, use of library, library and information skills, user and staff education and information literacy (Akalumhe, 2006). Upon all the different terms, there is one thing that is common and that is the fact that they all refers to formal and informal library programme of educating and enlightening users on how to maximally utilize library resources. The process concerned with the entire information and communication process involving the whole interaction of the user and the library. This study will therefore consider user education practices in NyongEssien library of the University of Uyo.