The Impact of Public Relations Practices on Information Service Delivery and the Perception of Librarians in Federal University Libraries in North-Central Nigeria

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Abstract

This research investigated the impact of public relations practices on both information service delivery and the perception of librarians in federal university libraries located in North-central Nigeria. The study was guided by five distinct objectives, each accompanied by corresponding research questions. These objectives encompassed various aspects, such as determining the types of information services provided by federal university libraries in North-central Nigeria, recognizing how public relations practices contribute to a positive perception of librarians among library users, and identifying the challenges that hinder the effective implementation of public relations strategies to enhance information service delivery and the perception of librarians in federal university libraries within the region.

Employing a descriptive survey research design, this study focused on a population of one hundred and thirty-eight (138) librarians drawn from the university libraries under examination. The researchers opted for a complete enumeration approach given the manageable size of the population. Data collection was facilitated through the use of a questionnaire. From the one hundred and thirty-eight (138) distributed questionnaires, one hundred and twenty-one (121) were retrieved and subsequently used for analysis, constituting 88% of the sample.

Descriptive statistical methods, including frequency counts, percentages, and charts, were applied to analyze the collected data. The findings of the study indicated that the library services offered to users included lending services, inter-library loan services, exhibition displays, user education services, library publications, referral services, selective dissemination of information, consultancy services, reference services, and others.

Additionally, the research demonstrated that public relations practices played a pivotal role in enhancing the image of librarians among library users. These practices achieved this by improving librarians’ job performance, fostering positive interpersonal relationships between librarians and users, raising awareness about the range of information services available in the library, increasing library patronage, promoting the utilization of information resources by users, and ultimately enhancing user satisfaction. Furthermore, public relations efforts were found to facilitate the identification of users’ information needs and the creation of a conducive environment for users.

The study also unearthed various obstacles that hindered the effective implementation of public relations strategies to enhance information service delivery and the image of librarians in the federal university libraries examined. These obstacles encompassed issues such as the use of ambiguous language terms, dissatisfaction due to suboptimal working conditions, inadequacy of listening skills, insufficient funds, lack of enthusiasm for public relations activities, poor communication skills, and deficient interpersonal skills.

Among the recommendations put forth by the study were suggestions for university library management to organize seminars and training sessions for librarians, focusing on topics such as work etiquettes, effective communication skills, and interpersonal relations. Additionally, the study advised the establishment of platforms that allow library users to voice their concerns and dissatisfaction with the services provided by librarians. The study also underscored the importance of providing ongoing motivation and incentives to librarians to ensure optimal performance.

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