The Study Of Strategies And Challenges Of Public Relation Practice In University Library. (A Case Study Of FUTO Library)


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Project and Seminar Material for Library and Information Science

Project and Seminar Material for Library and Information Science


Abstract


Good public relations are a panacea for any good relationship between organization and clients. The library, a client oriented organization is not an exemption public relations popularly known as PR within the Nigeria contexts a prerequisite for the effective functioning of any library, public services librarians in most libraries are the image makers and indeed. The gateway through which people get in contact with the information and reach environment of library.

This research work therefore evaluates the strategies and challenges of public relations practice in academic libraries.


List Of Tables


  • 4.1 Table one
  • 4.2 Table two
  • 4.3 Table three
  • 4.4 Table four
  • 4.5 Table five
  • 4.6 Table six
  • 4.7 Table seven
  • 4.8 Table eight
  • 4.9 Table Nine

Table Of Contents


Preliminary Page(s)

  • Title Page
  • Certification Page
  • Dedication
  • Acknowledgement
  • Abstract
  • List Of Tables
  • Table Of Contents

Chapter One

1.0 Introduction

  • 1.1 Background of the Study
  • 1.2 Statement of the Problem.
  • 1.3 Objectives of the study.
  • 1.4 Research question of the study
  • 1.5 Significance of the study.
  • 1.6 Scope of the study.
  • 1.7 Historical background of FUTO library
  • 1.8 Definition of operational basic concept

Chapter Two

2.0 Literature Review

  • 2.1 library public relations: conceptual analysis
  • 2.2 liaison librarian and public relation
  • 2.3 User Education and Extension Services
  • 2.4 Atmospherics and in-house public relation techniques in university libraries.
  • 2.5 mass media, library week and exhibition in public relations practices in university libraries.
  • 2.6 public relations unit and public relations practices in university libraries.
  • 2.7 problems of and sustainable approach to PRO in university libraries.

Chapter Three

3.0 Research Procedure And Methodology.

  • 3.1 Research design
  • 3.2 The population of the study
  • 3.3 sample size and sampling techniques
  • 3.4 Data needed for the study.
  • 3.5.0 instruments for data collection.
  • 3.5.1 The questionnaire
  • 3.5.2 The formulation interview Schedule
  • 3.5 Validation of instruments
  • 3.6 Procedure for data collection.
  • 3.7 Method of data analysis

Chapter Four

4.0 Data Presentation And Analysis

  • 4.1 Distribution and return of questionnaire
  • 4.2 Liaison librarian and PRO’s
  • 4.3 Extension services and library PR programme
  • 4.4 public relation units in university libraries.
  • 4.5 library user Education and PR programme
  • 4.6 Atmospherics and PR in university libraries.
  • 4.7 Library week and PR programmes
  • 4.8 use of the print and electronic media
  • 4.9.1 Problems of university libraries PR programme
  • 4.9.2 suggested solutions
  • 4.9 Summary of findings of the study.

Chapter Five

5.0 Conclusion And Recommendations

  • 5.1 Conclusion of the study
  • 5.2 Recommendations of the study.
  • 5.3 suggestions for further study
  • Appendix 1
  • Appendix 11
  • Bibliography

Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background Of The Study:

Public relations is defined as a planned and sustained efforts by a library association or a library authority to promote librarianship within a given community or society.

According to Harlow,P.R is a distinticive management function which helps to establish and maintain mutual lines of communication, understanding, acceptance and co-operation between an organization and keep informed on and responsive to public opinion defines and emphasis the responsibility of management to serve the public interest, help management keep abreast of and effectively utilize change, serving as an early warming system to help anticipate trends, and uses research and sound and ethical communication techniques as its principals tools.

A library’s programme of public relations means the concern and the activities of the board, the library committee, heads and staff members to put or place the library into cordial and understanding relationship with all the people of the community.

Onwubiko (2004) sees public relations in libraries as a “two dimensional matter with as much the intention that all its own staff members shall understand and work with the community as that community segment and groups may understand the library and work with it. “ To this end therefore, each librarian needs to “ sixth sense” of the desired goals of what library public relations should set out to achieve in the overall service provisioning of the library.

Onwubike (2004) further states that “ public relations is not in itself a product”. It is a series of steps taken by libraries to create a relationship and awareness to/ with the citizens so that library services can be improved and reach a wide circle.

In the vein, Harrison (1982) opined that the “ultimate objective of library public relations is to ensure that the maximum number of people known of the existence of out libraries, where they are located, what they do, and how thez can help users to acquire more information and generally become more literate and better educated member of the community.

The question now is, what strategies are there to put in place by the library to achieve cordiality, create awareness and provide quality service to clientele? As if proffering answers to this question, Onwubike and Onu (2002) are of the view that public relations programme in libraries is multi faceted. This is due to the nature of the services provided by the library. They therefore opined that for an effective and efficient publicity programme to be achieved, the library should among others, employ the following strategies.

They are the appointment of liaison librarians and effective extension services, employing the dynamics of atmospherics and aesthetics provision of proper shelf guides and wall posters, house to house promotion, speaking to groups and inaugurations of friends of the library, use of print and electronic media, direct printed publicity, exhibitions inside and outside of the library and the execution of library special events (library weeks).


1.2 The Statement Of The Problem

It is indeed a widely held view that as libraries are not profit making organization, librarians managers have not actually considered putting in place relations activities or programme that would attract the attention, support, assistance, or patronage of the government, public and agencies.

To this and public relations practices in libraries has been at a very low ebb with no visible result achieved. Another view or opinion has it that due to the peculiar nature of the operations and services of libraries, their public relations practices is not basically based on print and electronic advertisement alone.

According to this opinion, public relations practices in libraries should loan on the appointment and functions of liaisons librarians and pROs, effective extension services, creation of a PRO unit, library user education, interior and exterior decoration (atmosphere and aesthetics), house to house promotion, inaugurations of friends of the library and speaking to group, organization of special library events(library weeks) and the use of the print and electronic media.

However, it has been ascertained how thee afore -mentioned library programme and activities could be put in place to favour public relation practices in libraries. It has equally not been empirically verified how the above programme could contribute in enhancing the image of the library in the eyes of the community it serves, the sponsoring body, the general public.


1.3 Objective of The Study.

Guided by the statement of the problem, the following have been formulated as the objectives of the study.

  1. To ascertain whether university libraries managers do appoint liaisons librarians and PROs with specific duties of public relations to perform.
  2. To determine if university libraries provide extension services to the host community and faculty users of the library.
  3. To highlight the importance of PRO unit in public relations practices in university libraries.
  4. To ascertain the role of library user education in creating and enhancing the image of the library, its resources and service utilization.
  5. To determine the use made of atmospherics and aesthetics as a public relations approach by the university libraries.
  6. To highlights the importance of library week programme to university libraries.
  7. To determine the use made by the print and electronic media by university libraries as public relations organs.
  8. To identify the problems (inhabiting factors) public of (to) public relations practices in university libraries.
  9. To proffer solutions to identified public relations practices problems in university libraries.

1.4 Research Questions Of The Study

Guided by the objectives of the study, the following are formulated as the basis research questions that would guide the process of data collection for the study.

  1. Do university libraries have liaison Librarians and PROs with specific Pr duties to perform?
  2. Do university libraries provide extension services to the host community and faculty user?
  3. What is the importance of PR unit in public relation practices in University libraries?
  4. What is the role of libraries user education in creation and enhancing the image of the library, its resources and services utilization?
  5. What is the use made of atmospherics and aesthetics as a PR approach by university libraries?
  6. What is the use made of and the importance attached to library week programme by university libraries as PR approached?
  7. Of what use are the print and electronic media as PR organs of University libraries?
  8. What are the inhabiting factors to effective PR practices in university libraries?
  9. What suggestions are there to be made to improve PR practices programme in university libraries.

1.5 Significance Of The Study

The study on completion will basically add to the literature of librarianship especially in the area of public relations practices in university libraries. It will help librarians to realize the PR programme nee to be planned for, and executed to enhance the image of the library and utilization of its resources.

The study will definitely go a long way in providing information to libraries Pr planners as a guide to relation and maintenance of a PR programme that will stand the test of time. It discovering the public relation procedures, techniques, strategies, challenges and available operational tools.

Finally, with its suggested areas for further study, the study will serve as a reference tool and a guide to all those students and scholars who would want to improve on the work by way or replication.


1.6 Scope Of The Study

Owing to the specific requirement of this research work, the study is focusing on strategies and challenges of public relation practices in university libraries with FUTO library as cobe points.

The study particularly is paying attention on the appointment of liaison librarians and PROs provision of extension services and the establishment of PRS units as sign posts to effective PR practices in university libraries. The study will identify the inhabiting factors to effective PR Practices in university libraries and proffer solutions to them. And also the strategies Pr practices officers will apply in order to achieve their goals and the challenges that face PR unit in University Libraries and proper solution to them.

The study in its literature review will cover a good number of opinions based on the availability of current primary secondary and of course online information sources.


1.7 Historical Background Of FUTO Library

The Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO) was founded in October 1980, while the library started functioning in 1981. Before then, the library was initially silted at Lake Nwaebere campus while the permanent campus was under construction in Ihiagwa. Preparation work for the library began in June 1981 with J.C Anafulu as the pioneer librarian. A classroom block was selected and converted into a makeshift library. It was filled with shelves for the ten thousand (10,000) volumes of library materials.

Other members of the library professional staff joined in October to prepare for the opening of the library on the November 1981. At the time of opening of the library, approximately 2,500 volumes were on shelves.
The importance of journals to science and technology oriented university community was recognized at an early stage and a list of about 600 titles were ordered for. In the month of May, 1982 the reserved collection was introduced making the total volume of books held by the library reached size thousand.

After two years of operating in classroom blocks, the university library in the first week of September, 1983 moved to a permanent building. The building which was originally designed as a library for the Federal Government Girls College, Owerri was modified to meet the requirement of a growing university library.

On the 17th of May 1993, the library moved along with the University to permanent site at Ihiagwa on arrival, the pilot planet house of the school of science was immediately converted to a library. In no time, it was realized that the building was too small to accommodate the ever- increasing stock, staff and library users. As such, the library moved partly to the library phase iv in 1995, thereby making available two library building for use.


1.8 Definition Of Operational Basic Concepts

Public Relations:

the management functions which evaluates public attitudes, identifies the policies and procedures of an individual or an organization with the public interest and executes a programme of action to earn public understanding and acceptance. (Onwubike and Onu , 2002)

Strategies:

This is a plan intended to achieve a particular purpose. It is also a process of planning something in a skillful way.

Challenges:

A demanding task or situation. It is a new or difficult task that tests somebody’s ability and skill.

Academic Library:

According to the librarians glossary they are libraries established, maintained and administered by a university or any other tertiary institution of learning to meet the educational objectives of the institution.


Chapter Five


5.0 Conclusion And Recommendations

5.1 Conclusion

With regard to the first objectives of the study the data collected and presented has indeed revealed that the objective has been achieved. The study has identified the non- appointment or existence of a liaison librarian PRO in the office of the university librarian. In view of this revelation, we can conclude that the issue of public relation is not given the due attention it deserves in university libraries. Also the managers of these librarians are not being challenged like their public libraries directors to embrace changes in the practices of librarianship.

Based on the third objective of the study, highlighted by the third objective research questions, the objective has been achieved.

The findings of the study revealed that there is no PRO unit in the university librarian’s office. we can conclude that the issue of PR in university has again not been given the priority it deserves. In line with the demands of the fourth objective as highlighted by the same four research question, the study revealed that FUTO library do not organize library user education for their students.

The data collected and analyzed for the realization of objective five in line with research question five showed that no special care is taken by the library to beautify the inside of the library as to make it most conducive for academic research.

In respect of the sixth objective ands research question of the study, the findings revealed that thus objectives has been achieved. The library do not organized any special library event or week to show case its programme and activities. Based on this, we can conclude that, the university library do not care about any extra library activity or programme that would enhance its image and attract friend and business association to it.

The findings for objective seven has revealed that the university library do not use either the print or electronic media for any programme promotion.

We can in fact conclude that librarians only stay aloof waiting for students to come without creating the awareness on them to embrace academicism through the print and electronic media.

In realizing objective eight of the study, findings revealed that there are many problems militating against PR programme in the university libraries.

Prominently among these problems are lack of PR policy, attitude of management and staff of the university libraries, towards the evolution of PR programme the non existence of PR unit, PR, liaison library and personnel for library PR programme in the university librarians office.


5.2 Recommendation Of The Study.

Having presented and analyzed the data collected, upon which conclusions have been drawn, and based on the ninth objective of the study, the researcher is making the following recommendations. These recommendations. it is hoped would immensely lead to the improvement of the operations and functioning of the library studied with regard to their PR programme.

Since it has been revealed that there is no liaison librarian, PRO and PRO units in the office of the university librarians, this study is hereby recommending that the university library studied should endeavor to care|create a PRO unit under their supervision, This will consequently bring about the appointment of a liaision librarian or pro who would work comparatively with the university’s PRO to highlights the programme and problems of the library.
This will also enhance library relationship and interaction with students on their information and invariably satisfy their needs. Taken together, the study revealed that the library studied do not pay any attention to extension services organization of library week or events.

In special and public libraries these are PR programme that make these libraries tick. This study is therefore recommending that university library managers should pay attention to those programme and get them instituted rather than their present attitude and thinking that the library is popular with the students. In addition to the above, the study is further recommending that university libraries evolve a PR policy have changes of attitude towards library PRO programme, and try to convince the sponsoring body for adequate funding and support its programme. If university libraries are at least funded to the tune of 10% of the university’s budget for a year as agreed upon by both the FGN and ASUU in 1992, university libraries would be the better and more effective and efficient in the discharge of their all inclusive responsibilities.


5.3 Suggestions For Further Study.

Based on the understanding that knowledge is dynamic, and that, this study is not the end of research in public relation programme in libraries, the following area are being suggested for those who would want to replicate this work with the intent of improving on it.

  1. PR practices in polytechnic and colleges of education libraries ( comparative study)
  2. PR practices in special libraries.
  3. PR practices in university and public libraries (comparative approach)
  4. Library co-operation and resources sharing as tool for PR in university libraries.

In fact, the catalogue, if I would go on, is endless.


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