THE STUDY OF STRATEGIES AND CHALLENGES OF PUBLIC RELATION PRACTICE IN UNIVERSITY LIBRARY (A CASE STUDY OF FUTO LIBRARY)

Project code: LIS765329   |   Pages: 66   |   Words: 8,146   |   Characters: 51,002   |   Format: Word & PDF

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.

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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 distinctive 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 warning 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.
Onwubiko (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 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 OBJECTIVES 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
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 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.