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Service delivery is the primary function of any university library. The cumbersome nature and the inadequacies of traditional library services have prompted university libraries to adopt social media in library service delivery. Observations have shown that globally, many university libraries have embraced the use of social media in their library services. However, the pace of integrating the use of social media in library by librarians in Nigerian University libraries is slow. Could this low usage be attributed to lack of ICT skills to incorporate social media use? Therefore, this study investigated the influence of ICT skills and social media use on library service delivery by librarians in the Federal Universities in South-West, Nigeria.
The survey research design was adopted for the study. The population was made up of 126 librarians from Federal Universities in South-West, Nigeria. Total enumeration sampling technique was used to cover all the librarians from five out of the six Federal Universities. Data was collected through a structured questionnaire. The Cronbach’s alpha reliability coefficient for ICT skills was 0.93, Social media was 0.83 and library service delivery was 0.73. A response rate of 95.4% was obtained. Data was analyzed using descriptive statistics and inferential statistics.
Findings showed that librarians were skilled in ICT. It was also shown that the extent of use of social media tools for library services was generally low. Findings also revealed that the most popular social media tool used was Facebook, followed by WhatsApp, You-tube and Instant Message (IM). It was also revealed that librarians made a very low use of Pintrest, Flickr and Podcast. Erratic power supply, poor internet access, and inadequate ICT facilities were some of the constraints in the use of social media. Significant relationships between ICT skills and library services (r = 0.677, p < .05) and Social media and Library services (r = 0.415, p < .05) were found. The two variables jointly influenced librarians’ library services which accounted for 98% variance in the dependent variable (R2 = .98, F (1,56) = 56, p < .05). It was found that ICT Skills positively influenced Library services (β = .256) as well as Social Media Use (β = .163)
The study concluded that majority of the librarians were skilled in nearly all the ICT skills. However, the use of Social Media by librarians in library services proved to be very low. The study recommended that awareness in the use of social media should be created for effective library services. Also, the library management in conjunction with the management of these Universities should create an enabling environment for the training of librarians on web technology (Web. 2.0), provide adequate internet access points and tackle erratic power supply. These could motivate the librarians in using social media tools which, in turn, would lead to the enhancement of library services.
Keywords: ICT skills, Social media use, Library services, Librarians, Federal universities
1.1 Background to the Study
University libraries support the university community by delivering services to meet the teaching, research and learning needs of staff and students. They play a key role in the educational system of their parent institutions by providing a variety of services to a wide range of users in the academic environment. University libraries acquire, process, manage and disseminate information resources through which their parent institutions conduct research and produce high-level manpower (Nnadozie & Onah, 2016). They provide access to information resources in diverse formats to users. They provide timely and relevant information in support of teaching and research needs of their parent institutions. The university library is a repository of information resources. These resources are the traditional information resources which include books, journals, maps, encyclopedia, dictionaries, newspapers and periodicals. Some of the services provided are reference services, technical services, current awareness services, selective dissemination of information, lending services, bibliographic services, reprographic services, inter-library loan services, indexing and abstracting services. These services are provided to keep their patrons abreast of the latest developments in their disciplines.
Edewor, Okite-Amughoro, Osuchukwu, and Egrejena (2016) opined that libraries are veritable information providers rendering strategic services. According to them, libraries are finding new ways of serving users effectively. Library services, before the advent of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), were essentially delivered manually and the library materials were primarily in print format. These services were only available during the open hours only. The staff, students and other users had no option but to use the library in the open hours. These libraries depend highly on print resources and manual interlibrary loan system. Most times, the information resources available in the library are inadequate to meet the information that is needed by the patrons. Many of the services that were delivered by the librarians fall short of the roles librarians play as information providers.
The scenario is different in many libraries around the world today as ICTs have affected delivery of information service. ICTs have had tremendous impact on almost every sphere of activity including the services provided by librarians in university libraries. The emergence of ICTs and the accessibility of information resources online have transformed the services that university libraries provide to their patrons.
With the introduction of ICTs, a lot of library services are delivered digitally. Kemdarne (2013) defined (ICT) as the combination of telecommunication and computer technology to facilitate transmission, collection, processing, interpretation and distribution of information. ICTs are the applications of modern technologies to the collection and dissemination of information. The application of ICTs in university libraries has enabled timely and rapid and timely access to information. The introduction of ICTs has significantly affected almost all library functions. ICTs have brought tremendous changes to information service delivery. Librarians in university libraries have realized the importance of ICTs in facilitating service delivery. Information and Communication Technologies are used in library services such as acquisition processes, circulation services, reference services, serials management, cataloguing and classification. ICTs help libraries in providing broad access to a variety of information resources and provide a way to improve teaching and research in universities. New web-based services like virtual reference services, online reservation services, online-public access catalogue (OPAC), news clipping scanning services and Internet services are some of the newly introduced services using ICT applications to respond adequately to the changing information seeking pattern of library users (Akande, 2014).
Information and communication technologies which are used interchangeably with Information Technology are useful in this information era. The use of ICTs in the library is tremendous, ranging from routine duties such as users’ registration to more complex ones such as cataloguing and digital institutional repositories (Gakibayo, Ikoja-Odongo&Okello-Obura, 2013). Globally, several university libraries are employing information and communication technologies to improve the delivery of their information services to their patrons. They use these technologies to enhance the traditional library service delivery. For university libraries to be relevant in this information age and as their services are now focusing on Information Technology, librarians need to acquire Information and Communication Technology skills to enhance the delivery of their duties. These skills include basic computer operating skills, use of electronic mail, posting messages to sites, and creating blogs among others. Librarians cannot fully exploit ICTs if they lack these basic skills.
However, one of the challenges facing library services in university libraries in Nigeria is the unwillingness of the librarians to incorporate ICT in terms of knowledge and skills to implement the modern library services (Ojedokun &Ayoka, 2015). Studies have shown that ICT skills of librarians in Nigerian universities are inadequate. Nkamnebe, Okeke, Udem, and Nkamnebe (2015), in their study found out that librarians were weakly skilled in information and communication technologies. Ojiegbe (2010) notes that many library staff in academic institutions rely only on the manual ways of rendering library services and do not bother acquiring competencies to incorporate the fast-growing technological trends in the profession. Okon and Ogbodo (2014) also pointed out that that one of the factors that hinders ICTs adoption by librarians in university libraries in Nigeria is low ICT skills. Ekoja (2007) states that ICT skills of librarians in Nigerian university libraries are inadequate. According to him, many librarians are unable to use ICTs even when ICT facilities are available. He opines that this poses a serious setback to service delivery.
There is no doubt that the traditional library and information services need improvement as a result of their limits and inadequacies. As a result of this, university libraries are incorporating new technologies such as social media in order to remain relevant in their universities and to meet the information needs of their patrons. Use of social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, Wikis, RSS feeds, YouTube, etc. in the delivery of library and information services has become necessary for the survival of university libraries. Facebook is used for communication between librarians and their patrons. Library patrons can communicate with librarians for enquiries. They also receive information on their enquiries. Facebook is used for sharing of information and marketing library services. It is also used to forge collaboration among librarians; this helps them to know one another more. It is also used to search online public access catalogs (OPACs).
Twitters allows library patrons to be kept updated on the activities of the libraries, new information resources received, and provide announcements on conferences and seminars. Twitter is popularly used to broadcast information about the library, promotion of library and its services. It is an effective tool for disseminating information about the libraries. Rich site summary (RSS) is used by librarians to provide current awareness services to their patrons. Updates on library services, events exhibition can also be accessed by subscribing to RSS. You tube is used to share video conferences, workshops and library events. Blogs provide links to the library catalogues, marketing library and information services. Instant messaging (IM) is used to enhance reference service delivery processes. It allows immediate response to inquiries from library patrons.
Web technologies such as social media are becoming popular in the delivery of library services. Social media are web-enabled interactive tools which make room for communication among people. Social media enable the creation, sharing and exchange of information and ideas. They are new forms of communication and their uses cut across people from all walks of life. Social media tools such as Facebook, Blog, and Twitter allow individuals and organizations to actively engage in communication process not only as information receivers but also as message generators. They are online platforms designed to facilitate information sharing and exchanges of views. Social media are gradually being used in libraries all over the world. By using social media, libraries can connect to their patrons outside the physical buildings and build relationships with them. They enable communication among libraries and their users thereby serving as an opportunity for information dissemination and the marketing of new services. Social media are used for marketing of library products and services, announce news and for fund raising. Instant messaging (IM) is used to enhance reference service delivery processes. It allows immediate response to inquiries from library patrons.
Akporhonor and Olise (2015) stated that social media are tools that librarians can use for library services in order to maintain their relevance in this century. They added that social media are new media for effective promotion of library and information services in the technological era. Social media have become a global phenomenon with websites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn reporting number of users in millions (Atulomah & Onuoha, 2011). Online social networks (OSNs) which are used interchangeably with social media are used in university libraries mainly to provide timely and relevant information, market services and information resources to patrons. By reading blogs, group posting, and messages, the librarian becomes an active member who is able to anticipate and advise users as need arises ( Ebele & Oghenetegar, 2014). Social Media are new technology offering new options for African academic librarians in their research support role (Owusu-Ansah, Goutshi, Mutibwa & Ukwoma, 2015). Social media are communication platforms through the Internet that enable social relations. Social media such as Facebook, Blog, and Twitter allow individuals and organizations to actively engage in communication process not only as information receivers but also as message generators. They are online platforms designed to facilitate information sharing and exchanges of views.
Libraries could connect to their patrons outside the physical buildings and build relationships with them using social media. They are platforms that enable communication among libraries and their users thereby serving as an opportunity for information dissemination. They are used as tools by librarians and other information professionals to reach their patrons irrespective of their locations. They are platforms to share information, promote and market new services. Many organisations are applying social media to improve their services and interact with their clients. Social media have become tools used in university libraries to market their services and provide information resources to patrons. Olajide and Alao (2016) opined that the latest ideology of libraries all over the world to take library services to users and not necessarily users coming to physical libraries necessitate the need for academic libraries to incorporate social media. According to them, social media are the most versatile tools for collaboration, communication, and creativity. University libraries in developed countries have taken the lead in embracing diverse social media tools to provide quality services to their users. Librarians in South Africa used Web 2.0 tools more often than the librarians in university libraries in Nigeria. ( Baro, Ebiagbe, Godfrey, 2013).
The low usage might be as a result of lack of skills to incorporate social media in library and information services. Librarians need skills in order to adopt social media to provide better services and continue their role as information professionals. These skills include ability to create pages, groups, and profiles. Abilities to navigate, browse within sites, upload messages, download messages, forward messages are also vital. The extent to which librarians in federal universities in Nigeria possess these skills is not known. Also studies have shown that librarians in Nigeria were not using frequently social media tools like their counterpart in other countries (Baro, Ebiagbe &Godfrey, 2013, Omeluzor &Bamidele, 2014) and that they lacked web 2.0 technologies skills (Gani, Whong, Esew, Barua & Kasa, 2015). It is against this backdrop that this study investigates ICT skills, social media use and service delivery by librarians in federal universities in South- West, Nigeria.
Federal Universities in South-West, Nigeria are public institutions of higher learning established by the Federal Government. They contribute extensively to the political, individual and cultural growth of the country by offering academic programmes in various fields of knowledge. These universities like other universities in the country have learning, teaching, and research as their primary functions. They have libraries saddled with the task of ensuring the delivery of information services to staff, students and others in the university community. These libraries play a crucial role in satisfying the information needs of the university community and assisting in locating current information resources and materials. They are charged with the task of acquiring, storing, organizing and disseminating information. They provide information materials required to support the learning, teaching, and research needs of their universities. University libraries, however, do not exist in isolation and must to a reasonable extent reflect the society. While manual methods of information delivery were fully accepted in the past, advancement in technological in this age demands that libraries embrace the use of ICTs in service delivery.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Service delivery from inception has been the bedrock of libraries’ existence since libraries are established for the sole purpose of providing information services. University libraries in Nigeria provide wide range of services such as reference services; inter library loan, selective dissemination of information service, current awareness service, and indexing and abstracting services. Many of these services are delivered manually and the delivery of these services through traditional means has been cumbersome and time-wasting. Traditional library services restrict users to the available resources available within the library collections only. Moreover, access to information is limited to print resources and this places the patrons at disadvantage with limited information resources. There is no doubt that the traditional library and information services need improvement as a result of its limitations and inadequacies. There is need for re-designing the services to meet the demands of their users and remain relevant and retain their place as information providers in this technology age. The inadequacies of traditional library services prompted university libraries to adopt information and communication technologies in library services.
Advancement in ICT has brought changes in the way libraries operate thereby demanding new skills from librarians to provide services relevant to the needs of today’s users who have the option of either visiting the library physically or virtually. The virtual nature of today’s libraries, however, demands that librarians are not only skilled in the use of ICTs but are also knowledgeable in the use of social media tools for information dissemination among users. However, studies have shown that librarians in university libraries in Nigeria are not willing to integrate ICT in terms of abilities to adopt the contemporary library services. Although literature suggests that libraries in developed countries have embraced the use of social media in service delivery, the pace of application of modern technologies such as social media in university libraries in developing countries particularly Nigeria is slow. One of the probable reasons for this might be lack of knowledge and skills involved in the use of social media. The literature also shows there are no empirical studies correlating ICT skills and social media use for service delivery by librarians in federal university libraries in South-West, Nigeria. This study, therefore, investigated the relationship between ICT skills, social media use and services by librarians in federal universities in South-West, Nigeria.
1.3 Objective of the Study
The general objective of this study was to investigate the relationship between ICT skills, social media use and library services of librarians in federal universities in South-West, Nigeria. The specific objectives are to:
1. determine the level of ICT skills of librarians in federal universities in South-West, Nigeria,
2. find out the frequency of use of social media for service delivery by librarians in federal universities in South-West, Nigeria,
3. find out the extent that librarians in federal universities in South-West, Nigeria deliver services using social media,
4. determine the relationship between ICT skills and service delivery by librarians in federal universities in South-West, Nigeria,
5. ascertain the relationship between social media use and service delivery by librarians in federal universities in South-West, Nigeria,
6. examine the influence of ICT skills and social media use on service delivery by librarians in South-West, Nigeria and
7. find out the challenges librarians in federal universities in South-West, Nigeria face when using social media to provide services.
1.4 Research Questions
The following research questions guided the study:
1. What is the level of ICT skills of librarians in federal universities in South-West, Nigeria?
2. How often do librarians in federal universities in South-West, Nigeria use social media for service delivery?
3. What are the services that librarians in federal universities in South-West, Nigeria provide using social media?
4. What challenges do librarians in federal universities in South-West, Nigeria face when using social media to provide services?
The following null hypotheses were tested in the study at 0.05 level of significance:
Ho1 There is no significant relationship between ICT skills and service delivery by librarians in federal universities in South-West, Nigeria.
Ho2 There is no significant relationship between social media use and service delivery by librarians in federal universities in South-West, Nigeria.
Ho3 ICT skills and social media use will not jointly influence service delivery by librarians in federal universities in South-West, Nigeria.
1.6 Scope of the Study
The study focused on the influence of ICT skills and social media use on service delivery by librarians in South-West, Nigeria. It covered the librarians in the six federal universities in the South-West Geo-political zone of Nigeria. These universities are Federal university of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Federal University, Oye Ekiti, University of Lagos, University of Ibadan, Federal University of Technology, Akure, and Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife. Librarians in state and private universities are excluded in the study.
The researcher covered the essential areas of this work which comprised the following: ICT skills of librarians in the federal universities South-West, the various services available in these university libraries, the use of social media, the extent to which they used social media for library services in these university libraries and the challenges involved in the use of social media in these libraries. The ICT skills that are covered by this study included basic computer operating skills, using e-mail, posting messages to chat sites, setting up discussion list and creating blogs. It did not cover ICT skills required for resolving technical issues such as troubleshooting as this was most likely outside the scope of librarians. Considering the volume of social media applications available online, the study concentrated on the social media that are used mostly for information exchange such as Facebook, Twitter, Wikis, Youtube, Instant Messaging (IM) and Blogs. Moreover, the study did not cover social media applications dealing with games (such as four square) and related issues as these might not be relevant to the delivery of library services.
The study covered all librarians in the Federal universities in South- West, Nigeria. The reason for limiting this study to federal universities was based on the fact that these universities were financed by the federal government. As a result of this, it was assumed that they had more ICT facilities to incorporate social media in order to link up with many staff and students. Also, they are relatively old and are likely to be technological driven. In addition, since they have a large population of staff and students, social media will help them to reach to these staff and students and provide quality service to them.
1.7 Significance of the Study
This study is significant as the findings would create awareness about ICT skills and social media use for improved information service delivery. It would help them to develop strategies that would guide them in the use of social media for library services. The findings of this study would be useful to librarians by exposing them to the types of competencies they need to possess in order to use social media to provide better and quality services to their patrons. Findings of this would assist library administrators in identifying skills needed for improved service delivery as a result of which adequate strategies may be developed to improve service delivery. Library management in university libraries especially university libraries in federal universities in South-West, Nigeria would find the findings helpful in deciding on the kinds of social media to utilize.
Moreover, the findings could be used by library administrators to organize regular training programmes to train librarians with the latest development in web technologies. The findings of this study would also be of benefit to library science schools as it can spur the redesigning of the curriculum to provide students with the essential skills required to use social media. Also this study serves as a contribution to existing knowledge on ICT skills, social media use and service delivery in tertiary institutions in Nigeria. Although there are studies on social media use for service delivery by librarians, this is the first attempt to the best of researcher’s knowledge to study social media use for service delivery as it relates to ICT skills in Nigerian university libraries especially in federal universities in South-West, Nigeria. This study would also contribute to the existing knowledge on ICT skills and social media use for service delivery by librarians in tertiary institutions in Nigeria.
1.8 Operational Definition of Terms
The following are the definitions of the basic concepts and terms as used in the study:
Information and Communication Technologies: refer to technologies that allow users to process, disseminate, and store information.
Information and Communication Technologies Skills: These refer to abilities that librarians in federal universities in South-West, Nigeria need to communicate, create process, disseminate, store and manage information electronically.
Social Media: Online tools that allow creation, sharing, and exchange of information among people especially people with common interests.
Service Delivery refers to the act of providing information services by librarians in federal universities in South-west to clients.
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