Accessibility and utilization of information resources in the post COVID-19 era
A case of selected university libraries in Kenya
Keywords:COVID-19 pandemic, Information Resources, Information Access, Information Utilization
University libraries play a pivotal role in fostering teaching, research, and innovation by offering essential information resources. However, patrons often encounter challenges in using these resources. The research aimed to examine the factors influencing the utilization of information resources in university libraries at Kenyatta University Meru University of Science and Technology and post-COVID-19. The objectives were to: determine the skills needed by librarians in supporting utilization of information, analyse the innovative methodologies used to facilitate access to library resources/services, examine the challenges faced by librarians and patrons and determine the importance of Information Communication Technology (ICT) in improving information resources usability and consumption. The study adopted a descriptive survey research design with quantitative research methods. The study was conducted at Kenyatta University and Meru University of Science and Technology libraries. Simple random and purposeful sampling techniques were used to distribute questionnaires to patrons and librarians, respectively. Data was collected from 20 librarians and 309 patrons, out of whom, 26 librarians and 357 patrons were sampled. The questionnaires underwent expert review to ensure their validity and reliability. The study found that 81% of librarians prefer online search resources, while 41% prefer physical textbooks. 16.5% of patrons preferred e-books and e-journals, with inadequate computers (32%) and unreliable networks (25.7%) as challenges affecting access and utilization of resources. The librarians identified lack of cooperation, inadequate digital library skills, understaffing, and poor network as major obstacles to facilitating access and utilization of library resources. The study recommends that university management should enhance librarian capacity building, training, and reengineer ICT infrastructure to enhance access and utilization of resources in the post-COVID-19 era. The study's findings will aid librarians in redesigning library functions to enhance the efficacy of library services in meeting user information needs.