Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

Academic Librarians Perception and Attitude towards Marketing of Library Services in Delta State, Nigeria

Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

Academic Librarians Perception and Attitude towards Marketing of Library Services in Delta State, Nigeria

Article excerpt

Introduction

Information and communication technology and the internet have brought several opportunities as well as challenges to how effective library and information services are rendered. Patrons can now access information online irrespective of their location and visit private information providers, cybercafé and no longer solely rely on the library. Further, with mobile smart phones in the hand of many students academic libraries are now experiencing less patronage.

As librarians understand the confusion associated with information overload, it is their responsibility to device means to keep the students aware of the shortcomings of unevaluated internet information. To ameliorate some of the consequences of ICT resulting in underutilization of academic libraries, effort directed to promoting and creating awareness of library services is imperative. Librarians can promote the use of the library through other means such as marketing of library services to its users.

Marketing of library services according to Jestin and Parameswari (2002) involves activities such as identifying user's needs, designing suitable services or products to meet their needs, communication and distribution to inform, motivate and serve the users. It is a systematic process which entails the combination of planning, concentrating on customer needs and satisfaction with appropriate products and services (Kendadamath, n.d.). According to Broady-Preston and Steel (2008), it encompasses staff within the organization, product perception within the society and any potential method of customers receiving a message about the organization, its products and services.

The challenges in library services such as decline in library budget, change in user's mode of satisfaction, rising cost of books, serials and electronic resources; emerging new technologies and services, widely available information services and sources and competition from private information providers make marketing essential to improving user satisfaction and promoting the use of library services by current and potential users.

The main objective of marketing library services to customers is to initially identify current and potential users and begin to develop a relationship with them. Academic libraries can achieve such relationship with users through the application of marketing strategies in rendering library services. Marketing strategies are processes that allow an organization to concentrate its resources on the optimal opportunities with the goal of increasing patronage and achieving a sustainable competitive advantage (Kendadamath, n.d.). Without marketing strategies, library users are unlikely to be fully aware of what the library can offer them.

Various factors however have been identified as militating against the marketing of library services in academic libraries. Such factors include perception and attitude (Alemna, 2001; Al-Bahrani,Gray, 2004; Estall & Stephens, 2011; and Pathak & Jain, 2013).

Perception according to Gray (2004) refers to the recognition, organization and meaningful interpretation of sensory stimuli. It is a tool used to understand and make sense out of the countless sensation that is continually experienced because without perception even the most mundane tasks would become impossible. Perception is a pre-requisite to the subsequent application of marketing in libraries unless an individual applies it unknowingly. Some may be aware or interested in marketing but have misunderstanding about it. According to Alemna (2001) many librarians still hold myopic view that their services and products are so essential and that people will still use them as they have always done without additional effort on their part. They erroneously assume that user's needs are also satisfied because they come to use the library. Some librarians tend to think that marketing is all about selling and promoting, not realizing that marketing refers to a total organizational effort to attract, satisfy and sustain the interest of library users. …

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