Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

The Status of Librarians' Communication Skills and the Effective Factors in Public Libraries

Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

The Status of Librarians' Communication Skills and the Effective Factors in Public Libraries

Article excerpt


Establishing effective communication is not only one of the key elements of individual life, but it is also a significant element in organizational success because "communication skills" refer to the establishment of relationships with others in an efficient and appropriate way to achieve the desired goals (Wood, 2010). In this case, the success of an organization depends on the communication skills of all its employees because their communication skills are related to the attitude and satisfaction of their customers. In other words, effective communication leads to enthusiasm and positive thinking in customers. However, ineffective communication in commercial markets leads to inattention and negative attitudes and creates a state of violence in customers (Percy & Rossiter, 1980). In addition, having communication skills in the workplace can increase the quality of the relationship, the satisfaction of the audience and his/her attraction and ultimately contribute to the increase in productivity in the profession and organization. Mathis (2007) mentioned that lack of communication skills increases costs and ultimately reduces the effectiveness of the organization. Hence, Artur (1999) described the existence of communication skills for those dealing with clients highly significant. Therefore, one of the significant points for organizations, and in particular public libraries dealing with a wide range of clients, is the communication skills of their employees which can play an important role in the success of the organization. Service organizations, which are always seeking to provide maximum satisfaction to their clients, are no exception to this. Such organizations highly consider the communication skills of their employees and continually train these skills to their employees because when employees have these skills, they will feel more job satisfaction and will have more effective performance (Karimi et al., 2012).

Library is one of the service organizations and librarians are a group of service professionals. Based on Ranganathan's laws, the main mission of library is to serve people and the quality of their relationship with their clients is one of the factors that can be useful in advancing this mission (Ashrafi Rizi et al., 2012). Since the clients of public libraries are heterogeneous and their librarians face a variety of interactions, having communication skills for librarians in public libraries are very important. Meanwhile, previous studies showed that librarians are ineffective in communicating effectively with users which can affect their performance and, as a result, they cannot be successful librarians, despite having sufficient knowledge. As Karimi et al. (2012) concluded half of the users' complaints were due to a weakness in the relationship between librarian and user and indeed because of a misunderstanding between them. Hua (2011) observed that more than 80% of complaints from library were due to the lack of appropriate communication between librarians and users. Accordingly, the study of the status of communication skills of librarians and its effective factors is of great importance that the present study aimed to investigate it.

Literature Review

Several studies have been conducted on interpersonal and communication skills among different groups of individuals, such as management students (Srivastava, 2018), pharmacists and pharmacy students (Aghakouchakzadeh et al., 2018), medical students (Vogel, Meyer, & Harendza, 2018), nursing students (Oliveira & Braga, 2016), accounting students (Oussii & Klibi, 2017), and physicians (Kee, Khoo, Lim, & Koh, 2018). However, a brief review of the related studies regarding the librarians and LIS professionals is given blow in a chronological order.

The analysis of 220 job advertisements during 1973-1998 carried out by Lynch and Smith (2001) showed that until 1998 all academic library jobs generally contained communication skills, particularly verbal and written communication skills. …

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