Meeting the information needs of remote library users: the case of University of Maiduguri Distance Learning Programme
Many higher educational institutions now offer distance academic programmes through the Internet and the World Wide Web, to cater for the needs of growing numbers of distance education students. Before an academic library can adequately address the needs, preferences, and expectations of its remote patrons, however, it needs to understand the peculiarities and challenges of serving patrons at a distance. The Distance Learning Unit of the University of Maiduguri is one of the leading distance education institutions in Nigeria, and its library is among those actively engaged in ascertaining the needs of remote library users and developing services and resources to meet these needs. A portrait of library resources and services available to distance learning students is presented, and results of a survey conducted to assess the distance learning students’ perceptions, expectations and use of library resources are reported. A key finding is that students are pleased with the quality and availability of library services, but not full partakers of the vast array of services and collections.
Keywords: information needs, distance learning, remote library users, distance education