ASSESSMENT OF PUBLIC RELATION STRATEGIES FOR INFORMATION SERVICE PROVISION IN KASU
This study was carried out to investigate Public Relation Strategies for Information Service Provision in Kaduna State University (KASU) Library. Four research questions were raised from the objectives of the study to identify the strategies used in promoting the image among the customers in KASU Library, find out the public relations techniques employed by the library staff, identify the medium through which KASU Library communicate with their customers for public relations service, and identify the types of ICT tools available and used in the provision of public relation services in KASU Library. A survey research method was used for the study. One hundred questionnaires (100) were administered to the users and staff of Kaduna State University Main Library out which 90 were found valid. The questionnaire was used to collect data for the study. The data collected were presented and analyzed using frequency distribution tables and percentages. The result of the analysis revealed that communication skill, exhibition of library material, handling customers problem, providing current information, adequate reading facilities, and library amnesty are the public relations strategies adopted by KASU … . Based on the findings, conclusion was drawn and recommendations given such as that Every library staff, especially those in reference services Division, customer services Division, Serials Division and information and communication technology (ICT) respectively should be trained and retrained to possessed public relations strategies, such as interpersonal skills, Strategic marketing planning, communication skills, promotion strategies, customers behaviour skills, to serve as public relations point man of the library at all times and in all situation … .
1.1 Background of the Study
Public relations is a planned management function, through which public and private organizations such as libraries seek to win and retain the understanding, sympathy, and support of their potential and active customers. It is a deliberate planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain mutual understanding between the library and its customers. Public relation activities help to provide a coordinated effort to communicate a positive image of the library and promote the availability of the library’s resources, programs, and services. According to Dodworth (2012) university libraries assist the universities in the discharge of their functions by acquiring all relevant information resources necessary for sustaining the teaching, learning, research and public services functions of their universities. The objectives of any academic Library cannot be achieved without effective public relations. Any library activity, directly or indirectly, is an act of public relations, in as much as it is done to promote the library image and use. The librarian plays the role of public relations officer for the library. He goes outside the confines of the library to carve a good image of the library in the minds of the potential users. Atitufe (2006) says a good number of libraries especially academic libraries offer so many commercial services unknown to users; it is the duty of the librarian to inform the public about these services. The librarian may use handbills to pass on information to people and advertise library services.
The librarian is part of the overall professionals working to bring and therefore has a lot to contribute to make the services of the library a success. The librarian is the image booster of the library is working for because of his duties, deal directly with the users. He is the intermediary between the users and the library. He can easily know what the users need and what the library has. Therefore, the role of the librarian in academic libraries and its relationship with the public relations activities cannot be overstated. Chen (2007) stated that having services that no one knows about is as good as having no service at all. Academic libraries are very important in educational institutions. No matter how libraries respond to the needs of their users, their values will not be appreciated without an aggressive, systematic and determined programme of publicity to stimulate, inform and attract the information seeker/users. Academic libraries have to convey signals and projected images to their users through public relations that accurately reflect what they are and what they do. It is true that all library professionals should be involved in public relations activities, but those professionals whose work is directly related to the users perform more of public relations activities than the others. The public relations officer in any organization is the image maker and image-bearer of such organization and therefore has many roles to play in order to ensure a good image for the organization. This will involve their relationship with those who deal with the organization and also their behavior. However, Olusegun (2005) opined that, the librarians are the image makers, and indeed, the gateway through which people get in contact with the information rich environment of the library. Therefore, the researcher will access public relation strategies in Kaduna State University (KASU) Library.
1.1.1 Historical Background of Kaduna State University (KASU) Library
The library started in a two classroom block building that housed only the information resources. Most of the staff including the University Librarian employed at that time had to manage offices far away from the library. Apart from the fact that the two classroom block was seriously inadequate both in terms of spaces for shelves and seating capacity, supervision and administration of the library suffered greatly because of lack of presence of supervisors at the library always.
However, to trounce this problem, in 2009, the library moved to a new restructured building that is made up of staff offices, four large reading halls and large circulating area. In the new library building structure, divisions such as reference, readers’ service and serial were created. In addition to this, two large halls were designated as reading areas and one small room serving as information resource development and cataloguing & classification divisions.
Again, in order to meet the growing needs of our teaming users, the library was in 2015 expanded to provide more staff offices, reading areas, achieves, bindery unit and Postgraduate sections. Furthermore, the Library collection is growing rapidly cutting across all disciplines, so also staff strength.
Establishment of Satellite Libraries
The University witnessed within the period of ten years the establishment of satellite libraries in Kafanchan Campus, faculties and departments.
Kafanchan Campus Library
The first library to be established at Kafanchan Campus was the College of Basic Studies library, which was created to take care of remedial programme. Two new libraries were set up along with the new faculties of Agriculture and Environmental studies in the following year.
There are now two faculty libraries in faculty of Pharmacy and faculty of Medicine. The faculty of Medicine library is divided into two; preclinical and clinical located at Barau Dikko Teaching Hospital. Both libraries have e-library component.
College of Basic Studies (CBS) Library
The College of Basic Studies (CBS) Library is also located outside the main campus. It is located at Maiduguri road, Kaduna. The Library is set up to take care of information needs of basic and remedial students.
The University has a total of 29 departmental libraries and each departmental library is a hybrid of conventional and e-resources. Each library is equipped with shelves, reading carrels, file cabinet, computers, and other library and office furniture. In addition to this, at least a copy of every title available in the main library that pertain a department is sent to the library.
Establishment of E-Library
Like the conventional library, the e-library started in single hall that still exist and now referred to as old e-library. In addition to this another building was restructured and converted to another, now referred to as new e-library. Both libraries have a combined seating capacity of 114. Having current network capacity in the E-Library is put at (40) Real-time On-line Systems with power and data backups, the library has a lot of e-resources; internet, offline, online, subscribed and open access databases.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The main objective of any academic library is to satisfy its users by providing resources to meet their educational, research, information and recreational needs. The library cannot achieve these aims without ‘good will’ and co-operation of its stakeholders. Thus, the library needs public relations in its effort to achieve its aims. Therefore, high quality information resources and services supplemented by personal contact through public relations is a necessary requirement. Public relations influence and create confidence in the management and library customers in such a way that they become aware of the services and policies of the library, develop knowledge and understanding of a new reorganization or new initiative introduced by the library. It helps to establish better contact between the library staff and the customers, so that what is known can be enlarged upon and used more fully. Omoba (2007) stated that Public relations bring about co-operation among professional colleagues creating a sense of oneness thereby improving relationship. This relationship can lead to mutual collaboration among university libraries. Therefore, despite the advantages of public relation in academic Libraries as enumerated above, most academic libraries are not making use of public relation as a strategy to secure mutual understanding and promote or build the image of the library for effective service delivery. For this reason, the researcher seeks to access public relation strategies in Kaduna State University (KASU) Library.
1.3 Research Questions
The following are the research questions raised for this study:
- What are the public relation strategies adopted by Kaduna State University (KASU) Library for information services provision?
- How effective are the public relation strategies adopted by Kaduna State University (KASU) Library for information service provision?
- What are the medium through which Kaduna State University (KASU) Library communicate with their customers for public relations services?
- What type of ICT tools used for public relations for information service provision in Kaduna State University (KASU) Library?
1.4 Objectives of the Study
The objectives of this study include:
- To identify the strategies used in promoting the image among the customers in Kaduna State University (KASU) Library.
- To find out the effectiveness of public relation strategies adopted by Kaduna State University (KASU) Library for information service provision.
- To identify the medium through which Kaduna State University (KASU) Library communicate with their customers for public relations services.
- To identify the types of ICT tools available and used in the provision of public relation services in Kaduna State University (KASU) Library.
1.5 Significance of the Study
The essence of public relations is mutual understanding between the management and its customers. This research would be of immense benefit to many libraries. However, these will only be possible if Nigerian Federal University libraries understand and apply it.
One of the major objectives of academic libraries is to support teaching and learning and to communicate and create awareness on the importance of their services or products, and to have the target audience to patronize them. This study intends to acquaint libraries and information centres with basic strategies and techniques of public relations in the achievement of such objectives or goals. In addition, it would help libraries and information centres build their corporate image in a way that would project their resources and services favourably. It will add to the number of studies and literature on public relations.
1.6 Scope and Delimitation of the Study
The study covers public relations strategies for information service provision in Kaduna State University (KASU) Library.
This study was limited to shortage of funds required to tour the study area, time within which to complete the project and the delay caused by respondents.
1.7 Operational Definition of Terms
The following terms are defined operationally to ease their understanding and usage in the study.
Information Resources: information resources are materials which they are found in various formats which includes book and non-book materials, electronic resources and of course resources accessible on the internet.
Information Service: information service is any service intended to provide information for the customers.
Libraries: is a building or room containing collections of books, periodicals, and sometimes films and recorded music for people to read, borrow, or refer to.
Public Relation (PR): is the act of creating and cultivating a good relationship with the user in the Library.
Strategies: is a careful plan or method for achieving a particular goal.