Relevance of Gifts and Exchange of Gifts in University Libraries

RESEARCH ON RELEVANCE OF GIFTS AND EXCHANGE OF GIFTS IN UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES IN LAGOS STATE: A CASE STUDY OF LASU AND UNILAG.

Despite the proliferation of libraries in Nigeria, the state of our information services still fall below expectation. The need for acquiring materials for the library services received a second class attention from most administrations in this country.

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Only the privileged countries of the world can boast of satisfying the users of its libraries, while developing countries like ours do not appreciate fully the concept and purpose of communication through books and non-book materials in the library.

Information science has grown to be an important discipline and the search for more effective means of communication has given rise to the establishment of gifts and exchanges division in some university libraries in Nigeria, so that the materials that will be acquired can give professional touch to our information services with the above situation. It is not surprising to find out that the writer have devoted time and energy to the study of gifts and exchanges as a solution to the problems of acquiring materials especially in this 21st century, so today much literature abound on this issue.

For simplification of ideals, the writer has chosen to bring this chapter into sub-heading to suit the discussion. They are as follows:

  • Meaning of gifts and exchange
  • Reasons for gifts and exchange
  • Types of materials involved in the programme
  • Advantages of gifts and exchanges
  • Problems of gifts and exchange
  • Solutions to the problems

 

  • MEANING OF GIFTS AND EXCHANGES

Gift could be said to be something given and voluntarily from one person to another without necessarily asking for anything in return, where as exchange means giving and taking something and expecting something in return.

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Library gift could come in form of money, books or non-book materials. It could be in form of endowment donations, request etc and it could be from private individuals, organizations and research institutions.

 

  • REASONS FOR GIFTS AND EXCHANGE

In this era of information explosion, no single library can boast of acquiring all the available published materials on every field of knowledge. At this time of economic crunch, funds for the purchase of books and other information materials are not enough. Libraries as a result of this have developed a system of alleviating themselves of the present day predicament.

This system is no other than what is called “Gifts and Exchanges” programme. Another problem is acquiring materials for the libraries, the unpredictable changes in the national economy which adversely affect purchasing of foreign materials. The depressed state of our economy is responsible for poor communication network.

 

  • TYPES OF MATERIALS INVOLVED IN GIFTS AND EXCHANGE PROGRAMMES

The library as we know could be regarded as a resource centre and as such it should acquire varieties of materials to suit its users. One cannot dictate the kind of materials that should be given as gifts and cannot also violate the guiding policies of their exchanges programme just to suit their condition.

Generally, the kind o

Generally, the kind of materials involved in this programme include: Books and to a very large extent, serials, serial acquisition is simpler to carry out than the acquisition of books. Another reason why serials out number books or monographs is that much publication is done on serials than on books, non book materials, Audio visuals and so on.

 

  • ADVANTAGES OF GIFTS AND EXCHANGES TO THE LIBRARIES
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Gifts and exchange from an important aspect of collection development in the developing countries especially in the present age where people could no longer purchase informational materials. No single library can purchase all the materials it needed and so there is the need for libraries to cooperate and share the burden of cost for library materials.

Gifts and exchanges promote inter-library cooperation, the interaction with several other libraries would go a long way to satisfy library users. Perhaps, one would say that the most beneficiary of gifts and exchanges are the academic libraries, especially those in the developing countries.

Exchange promotes culture since materials in the language and culture of one country could be sent to another country in exchanges of such materials. Through exchanges, urgently needed items or volumes long out of print may be obtained, Exchanges supplement inter-library loans in that libraries that have microfilming facilities use these for providing exchange copies of materials which are not available in their collections.

 

  • PROBLEMS OF GIFTS AND EXCHANGES

“Rogers (1991)” in his work on page 186 has this to say about problem of gifts. “Gifts present a special problem not common to other types of acquisition. It is not enough to say that library will accept only those books, it will be willing to select from a dealer’s catalogue”.

The above statement shows that libraries have not developed the professional policy of rejecting some materials donated to them as gifts even if they know that such materials could not be useful. Coupled with this, it’s fact is that there is no system of appraisal of gift items the result of this is that anything could be dumped into the library as gift.

 

  • SOLUTIONS TO THE PROBLEM

For the libraries to benefit well from gift and exchanges, there must be a written policies. A well written policy will act as a guide or as a watch dog in determining the quality of materials. All libraries should also be interested in gifts and exchanges especially in the austere period.

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Since much use is made of some materials offered as gifts, it has been advocated that acceptance of gifts should be discriminatory. It has also been suggested that some terms of exchange be adopted in the policy, such terms of exchanges could be valued for price, title for title or simple reciprocity.

In this chapter on the review of literature, the researcher has tried to explore the areas of present knowledge with the view to highlight the concept of gifts and exchanges while stressing the need to meet up the user’s need through gifts and exchanges programme.

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