Mutilation and Theft of Library Materials: The Perception and Reactions of Students

  • N. A. Ajayi,
  • B. O. Omotayo


Mutilation and theft in libraries is a menace that has persisted, and it is indeed a global problem. However, the worsening state of libraries in Nigeria appears to have aggravated its intensity and the consequent detrimental impact. This study attempts to investigate the perception of students on the dynamics of book theft and mutilation, including its effects and impact on the library, its services and clientele. Using a structured questionnaire distributed to a sample population of undergraduate students of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife and a stratified focus group discussion (FGD), information was elicited on their perception of the methods of theft, attitudes to and perceived implications of theft on academic performance and library use, and suggestions on ways of curbing the menace, as well as on their demographic, economic and social background The results reveal that insensitivity to the need of other users, high cost of books, non-detection of previous acts of theft, incessant power failure are some of the factors responsible for mutilation and theft of library materials. It was also revealed that students are aware that mutilation and theft prevent effective use of the library, deprive users of vital information, including information from recommended texts, and hence impact negatively on the academic life of the users. The library should provide more copies of recommended textbooks, provide more security men who also should be more vigilant, and ensure that stiff penalties are meted out to any offending clientele.

(IFE PsychologIA: 2003 11 (1): 80-87)

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eISSN: 1117-1421