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Contemporary academic library users in Kenya: their needs and preferences in access and use of information resources

Tandy M. Ombogo (Department of Library and Information Sciences, Kenyatta University School of Education, Nairobi, Kenya)
Ben W. Namande (Department of Library and Information Sciences, Kenyatta University School of Education, Nairobi, Kenya)

Global Knowledge, Memory and Communication

ISSN: 2514-9342

Article publication date: 26 February 2021

Issue publication date: 28 May 2021

338

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to assess the influence of generations on information behavior and needs to access and use of library resources and how well academic libraries in Kenya are simultaneously serving both generations. From literature reviewed, a study on the Kenyan scenario on generational behavior and needs was not identified and this study sought to fill that gap.

Design/methodology/approach

Data collected were done through mixed-methods research using observation, structured interviews and questionnaires. The sample included 143 students and faculty within different generations, and three library staffs at The United States International University-Africa’s Library. Quantitative data were analyzed through SPSS and Excel, while qualitative data were analyzed according to the theme of this study. Likert-scale responses were used to measure information behavior of users’ needs and preferences.

Findings

Findings showed that the library is serving two distinct generations with different needs: out of a mean score of 5.00 of sample surveyed; digital immigrants need information resources mainly for research at an aggregate 3.93 while digital natives need information resources mainly for examinations at an aggregate 4.01. Both generations need to use technology to access and use information resources at 94% of digital immigrants and an aggregate 81.5% of digital natives surveyed. The library is training both user groups accordingly. This answered the research problem this study sought to assess.

Research limitations/implications

The generation of users was known only after administering the questionnaires. Consequently, the researcher targeted them using the status of respondents, faculty or student, to maximize sampling for each generation. Undergraduate and master’s students were used to target digital natives, while the faculty was used to target digital immigrants. PhD students were used to target both digital immigrants and digital natives. This study was done only in one location, USIU-Africa’s Library.

Originality/value

This study assessed how different generations within academic libraries in Kenya could be guided to effectively and efficiently adapt to global changes. This study assessed generational influence on needs and preferences in access and use of information resources, and assessed how academic libraries are concurrently and successfully serving variant user needs in Kenya,

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Gratitude to the Faculty and Staff of Kenyatta University; and Faculty, Staff and Students of United States International University - Africa.

Citation

Ombogo, T.M. and Namande, B.W. (2021), "Contemporary academic library users in Kenya: their needs and preferences in access and use of information resources", Global Knowledge, Memory and Communication, Vol. 70 No. 4/5, pp. 399-417. https://doi.org/10.1108/GKMC-01-2020-0008

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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