Rural Dwellers and Public Libraries in the North West Zone of Nigeria
This paper investigates the challenges faced by the rural dwellers in seeking and using information from public libraries in the North West zone of Nigeria. A quantitative research method was employed in the study. The population of this study consisted of 5 directors of state library boards and 10 574 registered library users as rural dwellers which comprised both literate and illiterate users. All five directors were chosen to form part of the sample size of the study. Similarly, a sample of 370 was drawn from the registered library users of the libraries under study. Semi-structured interviews were used for the directors. Two sets of questionnaires were used to collect data for the study. These included the English version and the Hausa version for the literate and illiterate library users respectively. The qualitative data were analysed using thematic and content analysis techniques. The quantitative data were also analysed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) computer software and descriptive statistics. Among the major challenges faced by the rural dwellers in seeking information from public libraries were the centralisation of the library services at the local government headquarters, the absence of library services in the rural communities, inadequate information resources, the absence of community information resource centres in rural communities, and the high illiteracy level among the rural dwellers. The study recommends adequate funding of public libraries to provide relevant and adequate information sources and effective services in various formats and languages among others.