Marketing Indicator And Effective Patronage Of Information Resources In The University Of Uyo Library.
1.1 Background of the Study
Basically, information is said to be knowledge that is gotten about someone or something; facts or details about a subject. It can be seen as a consumable product that can only be consumed together with certain information delivery systems services. It provide access to knowledge, information and works of imagination through a range of resources and services. Information products and services in a multiplicity of formats have made libraries and information centres more competitive and alert. The challenges of budget cuts, increased user base, the rapid growth of material, rising costs, networking demands, competition by database vendors, and complexity in information requirements are forcing the professionals to adopt marketing to improve the management of library and information centers.
Information is an indispensable factor for promoting the development of a society. Rowley (2001) observes, that information has been called, the fifth need of man, ranking after air, water, food and shelter. Luck (2002), adds that information is the life blood of planning, directing, and controlling any enterprise. It makes the satisfaction of the demands of the population possible in an efficient way. Information can therefore be documented in various formats and this builds up the information resources in the library.
Information resource as an element of infrastructure enables the transaction of certain selected significant and relevant data, prepared so as to provide contest and information services that can be used directly by the user. It is necessary to establish some minimum socio-technical requirements for an element of quality as resources. It could also be seen as a collection of valuable information generated by human activities. In a broad sense, it also includes related equipment, personnel and capital. Information in the library that can be marketed are print and non print materials. Printed materials includes reference book, newspapers, magazines, academic journals and books. Non print materials includes audio cassettes, records, video, cassettes, digital Compact Disc (CDs, Display Visual Disc). And other material like maps, films and microform. This is why university libraries depend on their parent institutions for a number of things ranging from funding to the publicity of their services. This, according to Madhusudan (2008) has not been working very well for these libraries. Scholars as well as librarians and information specialists have debated the idea of marketing for the information sector. The reason for the action is that several things have over the time compelled librarians and information specialist to lean towards marketing of information resources and doing it especially now that the whole world have turned to a global arena where time, space, geographical location/distance is no longer a barrier. Libraries are therefore facing variety of challenges such as ongoing budget cuts, application of new information technologies, changing internal and external environments, and changing demands of research and teaching. Based on knowledge of marketing in a library, it is essential to identify users and their discrete information needs and wants. This is when effective marketing of information can succeed in the library.
Marketing generally can be defined as buying and selling of materials or resources. In the context of the library, marketing has to do with the process of giving out information for a fee or making known the available resources. In marketing of library and information resources, there must be an overlap between overall library’s ability to satisfy the users. This same factor guides the library’s objective and that of the parent institution as a whole.
For today’s libraries, marketing is creating a set of activities that will include understanding user’s needs, identifying resources and services, building users relationships and creating ‘marketing mix‘ (Welch, 2006). Unlike the traditional marketing approach that is organization-focused and for a specific product, libraries and information agencies are users –focused. They focused on the users and how to strategies in order to promote information resources to satisfy the users. In order to thrive, University libraries need to attract users, generate awareness, and raise it to the available services and resources. As such, Chartered Institute of Marketing (2009) identifies promotion, public relations and publicity as means to an end for University libraries that would stand the test of time.
Library promotional activities are expected to be used to convey the availability and value of services and resources to target audience and should be designed to cause library users and non-users to act. It is seen as a managerial tool that assist libraries to face challenges now and in the future with regards to effective promotion and marketing. According to Fisher and Pride (2006), library promotional tools that may be used by academic libraries to promote their services and resources include; digital media, such as the library’s Website, e-mail lists, blogs and podcasts. In-addition, print materials such as posters, handouts and giveaways events such as orientation tours and workshops. Other tools as library publications, contests, brochures, direct mail, Web 2.0 applications and displays. Adams (2002) puts it that library promotion arouses interest, creates a reading desire; spark an immediate reaction from general users, students and researchers, for example, book fair, exhibition. The purpose of this type of promotion is to attract more users of library resources thereby increasing the number of clientele.
According to the Association of Research Libraries (ARL, 2010), marketing is the process of planning and executing such aspects of library services as the conception, pricing and promoting of ideas, goods and services to create interaction that will satisfy organizational objectives. For libraries, marketing is about a set of activities including understanding client needs, determining market niches, identifying products and services, building client relationships and creating marketing mix. Marketing library and information services play a major role in creating awareness in library services.
Another marketing strategic factor is public relations. Public relations is a management tool that is increasingly becoming important in the management of organization such as the library, whether private or public, whether they are profit making or non-profit oriented. It is an essential element in the communication system that enables users to be informed on many information resources related to their need.
According to Chai (1996) the term public relation connotes;
i. Information given to the public,
ii. Persuasion directed to modify attitudes and actions and
iii. Efforts to integrate attitudes and actions of an institution with its public and of publics with that institution.
Public relations is a distinctive marketing tool which helps to establish and maintain mutual lines of communication, understanding, acceptance and cooperation between an organization and its publics. It is an activity geared towards human relationship to enhance good and services. World Book Encyclopedia (2002) states that: Public relations are activities aimed at increasing communication and understanding between an organization or individual. Based on this, Odede (2012) maintains that library public relations is a deliberate, planned, and sustained effort to establish and maintain mutual understanding between the library and the publics (users). Public relation activities help to provide a coordinated effort to communicate a positive image of the library and promote the availability of the library’s materials, programs, and services. The importance of public relations activities cannot be overlooked in any library; especially in academic libraries. The significance of academic libraries specifically university libraries cannot be over emphasized as university libraries assist the universities in the discharge of their functions by acquiring all relevant information resources necessary for sustaining the teaching, learning, research and public services functions of their universities. This is to say that the objectives of any academic institution cannot be achieved without the presence of public relations. Any library activity, directly or indirectly, is an act of public relations, in as much as it is done to promote the library image and use.
In addition to the aforementioned, publicity is another strategic factor. Publicity is given to products and services by various advertising methods. For example, the University library uses the University bulletins, websites and general study courses titled “Use of Library and Study Skills” to disseminate information related to programmes and activities in the library. For libraries and information services to stay viable in the current climate, it is important that they adopt marketing strategies to help meet organizational mission, goals and objectives. Marketing has long been associated with the selling of a product in order to make a profit, but was extended to the non-profit sector including libraries (Enache, 2008). This study therefore seeks to find out how marketing indicators influence effective promotion of information resources in the University of Uyo library.
1.2 Statement of the problem
It is obvious that university libraries are experiencing rapid change in the use and mode of access to their resources and services. This has been attributed to emerging information technologies which has led to the creation of a new gateway for delivering information services to library clientele. Therefore, information professional in academic libraries are expected to provide information service of the highest standard to meet the expressed and anticipated need of the students and other users. However, it has been observed that there is low patronage of information resources by the users in University of Uyo library. This problem is being attributed to a number of factors such as ignorance of the users and poor information delivery services. These problems has therefore raise varied opinions in the minds of the people, some people believe that ignorance of the users depends on lack of publicity and accurate public relations between the user and the staff while some assume that poor information delivery is as a result of lack of promotion of the resources for open accessibility. The question now is could low patronage of information resources in the library be as a result of inadequate publicity and inaccurate public relation? Or could it be as a result of lack of promotion of the resources by the library? In view of the above statement, this study therefore seeks to investigate library marketing indicators and effective patronage of information resources in University of Uyo library.
1.3 Objectives of the study
The main aim of the study is to examine marketing indicators and effective patronage of information resources in the University of Uyo library. Specifically, the following objectives are formulated for the study:
1) To determine the influence of resource promotion on effective patronage of information resource in University of Uyo library.
2) To determine the influence of library public relations on effective patronage of information resource in University of Uyo library.
3) To assess the influence of library publicity on effective patronage of information resource in University of Uyo library.
1.4 Research Questions
The following research questions will be answered in this study:
1) What is the influence of resource promotion on effective patronage of information resource in University of Uyo library?
2) What is the influence of library public relations on effective patronage of information resource in University of Uyo library?
3) What is the influence of library publicity on effective patronage of information resource in University of Uyo library?
The following null hypotheses were postulated to guide the conduct of the study with intention to be tested:
1. There is no significant influence of resource promotion on effective patronage of information resource in University of Uyo library.
2. There is no significant influence of library publicity on effective patronage of information resource in University of Uyo library.
3. There is no significant influence of library public relations on effective patronage of information resource in University of Uyo library.
1.6 Significance of the Study
The findings of the study would be significant to the following group of people and organization: library management, librarians/ information specialists, students and researchers.
To the library management, the result of this study will help them realize the importance of marketing in library. This would challenge them to improve their marketing strategies to motivate more students to use library resources. With respect to the Librarians/Information Specialists, the promotional strategies program will help them develop their own effectiveness in information resources and motivating more users to use library resources.
To the students, there is cordial public relation between them and the library staff, they will be aware of the resources and will be motivated to use them in satisfying their information need. For the researchers, this study will help them, especially those in the field to expand their knowledge not only themselves but other persons in the larger community as well. Finally it will serve as an additional literature to the topic.
1.7 Delimitation of the Study
This study was carried out in the University of Uyo library. The study is also delimited to marketing indicators namely: resource promotion, public relation, publicity and effective patronage of information resource.
1.8 Definition of Terms
The following variables are defined as used in this study:
Marketing: Generally marketing can be defined as buying and selling of materials or resources. Marketing is the study and management of exchange relationships. Marketing is used to create, keep and satisfy the customer. It could also be seen as the action or business of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising.
Resource promotion: Resource promotion involves using several communication activities that attempt to provide added value or incentives to library clienteles’ that will stimulate immediate patronage.
Library Public Relations: A Library public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics. In this case between the library staff and clientele
Library Publicity: This is a marketing vehicle that involves conveying information of library services to the general public through the media (print and electronic media).