Communication in the Library for Effective Administration

By Etebu, Abraham Tabor | Library Philosophy and Practice, January 2010 | Go to article overview

Communication in the Library for Effective Administration


Etebu, Abraham Tabor, Library Philosophy and Practice


Introduction

Communication is a social activity. It is carried out in various ways in everyday life knowingly and unknowingly. Communication is carried out through verbal and non-verbal channels. All organisations and institutions have particular goals. Communication is of vital importance, and failure to communicate will give rise to inefficiency and lack of direction, as pointed out by Beeby (1966). Communication is the establishment of meaning and understanding between people (Kpangban, 1995.) Library administration is responsible for the control and supervision of a library, and cannot function without good communication (Reitz, 2004). The library as an organisation is geared toward serving the users. The library needs a way to make meaning and understanding between the clientele and the staff of the library, in order to achieve desired results. Library administration is the control and supervision of a library or library system, including planning, budgeting, policymaking, personnel management, public relations and programme assessment with responsibility for results (Reitz, 2004).

Library Communication

Library communication is carried out within the library and in some cases between libraries. In communicating, meaning and understanding between the people involved has to be established.

Communication in the library has two distinct levels:

* Staff communication

* Clientele/staff communication

Staff Communication

Communication among the staff of the library has an effect on the way the library is managed. Communication must flow upward and horizontally across the organization just as much as it flows downward. Regular meetings are held to discuss library policies and implementation. Because the entire library staff cannot be at those meetings, heads of the various departments, sections or units and other designated representatives will have to meet formally or informally and resolutions or decisions of such meetings made available to other members of staff for them to understand and comply with. Some meetings are solely for the members of the top of the administrative hierarchy, and decisions that affect other staff are made known to them.

Clientele/Staff Communication

The clientele of the library need communication to achieve desired information-seeking goals. Communication is an exchange of information; it takes two or more to exchange information. So when a user visits the library in search of information resources, and is helped by a reference librarian, communication takes place. Information is exchanged and acquired. The reference librarian is an assistant to information seekers, a translator of different information sources, who queries users on what they need, and feeds the information seeker with the desired materials to work with. The circulation desk is another place where significant communication takes place between library staff and users. Users interact with the staff concerning enquiries, and borrowing and returning material.

Another crucial kind of communication between staff and users is the publicizing changes in policies and services. Lectures and exhibitions sponsored by the library are announced in the university gazette and the official newsletters. Suggestion boxes placed at strategic points around the library may yield useful information that can be supplemented by occasional user surveys. The library can also hold meetings with designated university officials when considering a collection building in line with university programmes. The library can also make connections with other university libraries for services like interlibrary loan.

Importance of Communication

No organizational function can be successfully carried out without successful communication. Without effective flowing from the top of the administrative hierarchy to the bottom, i.e., from the university librarian or director to the other managers and to other staff, things will not work properly. …

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