Assessing Information Needs of Final Year Diploma Students at Kitale Polytechnic Library, Trans-Nzoia County, Kenya
This study assessed information needs of final year diploma students and the aspects explored were the adequacy, relevance, access and challenges faced in the use of the information resources. The study was limited to Kitale polytechnic library and the focus was the information that students seek to satisfy their information needs. The theory adopted for this study was the Principle of Least Effort that was developed by George Kengsley and explored in a study of library use of graduate students by Zao Lang. The independent variable was information needs and library user satisfaction was the dependent variable. Access and use of information resources, information literacy level and staff skills and competencies were the intervening variables. A descriptive research design was adopted to describe the level of students’ information needs and use of the library. Qualitative method was used to collect textual data and quantitative method was used to collect numerical data. The target population of 426 library staff members and final year diploma students based on the polytechnic management records was purposively sampled for study. A sample size of 68 participants was selected for study. The main data collection tools were a structured questionnaire and an interview schedule which targeted students and key informants (library staff) respectively. A pilot study was conducted at Eldoret National Polytechnic. This involved four library staff members and four diploma students who were in their final year of study. Validity was sought by use of expert knowledge in the field of information science to ascertain accuracy of the research instruments and the split half method was used to achieve reliability of the instruments and information collected. The researcher used interview to collect data from the library staff and questionnaires were employed to collect data from the sampled students. Qualitative data was analyzed thematically while quantitative data was analyzed to generate percentages, frequency distribution tables and charts. The results established that majority of students need information for academic purposes while others use it for other information related requirements. The study also revealed that the library collection does not adequately cater for the information needs of students and it was further established that most of the library information resources are rarely relevant to students’ information needs. The study concludes that most polytechnics are not keen on issues related to limited resources, staffing and the quality of information resources and services which negatively affect students in the library. The study recommended that polytechnic policy developers should formulate library policies that are not only academically inclined but also aimed at promoting other information related purposes. The study also recommended that the Institutional management should increase library allocation of resources to ensure improved equipping of a balanced library collection that addresses the diverse information needs of students. The study further recommended that polytechnic library management should enhance its acquisition policy to help acquire information resources from publishers that are more relevant to students’ education and courses of study. The study should be useful to TVET department of the Ministry of Education in their quality assurance programs to formulate policies for polytechnics that maintain high standards of libraries and quality information services for students. The study further recommended that another study should be undertaken to explore more on the use of Wi-Fi in the provision of information services for polytechnic students; an area that deems necessary based on the studies that have been highlighted in this research.
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