PROFESSIONAL LIBRARIANS’ PERCEPTION OF SOCIAL MEDIA AS TOOLS FOR INFORMATION DISSEMINATION IN SELECTED UNIVERSITIES IN EDO STATE

ABSTRACT
Trends in global information communication have necessitated that academic libraries resort to the employment of web 2.0 technologies such as Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp etc. in rendering services. Indeed the knowledge and use of such platforms has become critical for the survival of academic libraries globally. For this reason, this research focused on investigating the Professional librarians’ perception of social media as tools for information dissemination in selected universities in Edo state. The main objectives were to determine the level of awareness, extent of use, major social media sites used, the benefits of using social media sites, the challenges as well as the possible solutions to the challenges.


Questionnaire was used in soliciting the views of 38 librarians from UNIBEN (Federal), A.A.U (State), and B.I.U (Private) on their awareness and use of social media. Purposive sampling technique was used in the study. The findings of the study indicate that majority of the librarians were aware and use social media for both personal and work-related purposes. They, however, lacked the skill needed to use the array of social media platforms available to make a difference in service delivery. The study, therefore, recommended re-training and re-orientation of librarians in the use of social media.


CHAPTER ONE
1.0 Introduction
This study attempts to perceive the way the professional librarians view the use of social media for disseminating information in University libraries in Edo state. These views are both in terms of information dissemination pand also the way they receive information (the flow of information) via the social media.
The study, in establishing professional librarians’ perception, establishes a comparison between the use of social media and the business of librarianship. Despite the complexity of librarianship practice between librarians and library staff, this study tends to bring under consideration the use of social media, to see if it has helped make librarianship practice or mar it and how the advent of social media as a tool for information dissemination is being used by professional librarians and to what benefit.

1.1  Background of the study
Librarianship is a profession that is concerned with acquiring and organizing collections of books and related materials in the libraries and servicing readers and others with available resources (dictionary.com).
Since librarianship entails acquiring and organizing the collections of books and related materials in libraries and servicing readers, it is no doubt that information is considered a vital and major ingredient for the survival of man. Following the assertion above librarianship does not entail just acquiring and organizing of materials but such that are information worthy. A worthy information keeps a man abreast of happening around his immediate environment and beyond. Hence, the absence of information and that of half truth can lead to unruly reactions or keep the public in the dark about their environment. It is on this premise that this study seeks to consider the professional librarians’ perception and determine their awareness of social media. It aims to examine the effectiveness of social media in enhancing the librarian’s job.
The dissemination of information is now opened to application of the use of social media through which billions of people get informed, disseminate information, and also interact at ease with the use of these social media such as; Google, Facebook, Whatsapp, 2go, YouTube, Twitter e.t.c.
According to Desale (n.d), a decade ago, social media was seen by many as having little relevance for use in a professional context by librarians. In recent years there has been a sea change in perception. Social media is now widely used by librarians to fulfill a variety of objectives.  Enormous use and advantages of social media tools make it relevant not only for large scale business and marketing activities, but it also opens doors of opportunities in education, research and other academic fields.
The library professionals now, however, see the social media as an opportunity. This positive perspective encompases the social media as a new paradigm, a revolution, a chance for professional development and as the ultimate reference tool in the dissemination of information services.
In this view, people now see social media as a means of creating job for themselves in education, research and other academic areas and also in the business and marketing fields, thereby giving room for people to sell information to information seekers.
In the digital era Internet and mobile technology become more essential part in everyday’s life. The way people access, create and distribute the information results in libraries to reconsider their traditional role as librarian to Cybrarian. In this partaking of information age , library in the community has to change , what used to be a central point for learning and education is now being challenged. In this outset, libraries become more relevant and evolve dramatically in the internet age. Social networking site have given an ample opportunity to get better service models to accommodate for needs of new online patrons. It also induces the librarian to amend their roles as information provider to communicators (Sahu, 2013).
With the rapid growth of social media, librarians now face serious challenges in making sure current and adequate information are rapidly available to students, staff, and researchers. etc. at any point in time. The key to making an impact on users is to raise their expectation of libraries and librarians. This can be done by librarians demonstrating their value directly in the the work and interests of users. Librarians could offer to participate as information architect and manager of specific research or study groups, in a learning environment, or workplace. For example, a librarian could set up highly specific information portals for individual research team, linking them with resources from the library or elsewhere. Librarians could also host blogs for a course of study and contribute to discussion or provide pointers when matters relating to information sources and access surface. They can help individual users set up their own personal virtual libraries to aid them in learning activities and studies.
 A well equipped and organized library should be able to partner with other smaller libraries in the area, Some of these activities can probably be subsidized through federal and states grants. Currently, the challenges for libraries and librarians is to find way to embrace social networking sites and technologies without killing their potential.
According to Akporhonor and Olise (2015), librarians in this digital age, are responsible for a wide variety of resources and services that expand far beyond the typical eight-hour work day. Igun (2010) opines that librarians’ role in the global information environment is unique. His roles are critical for the necessary control of information resources in physical and virtual domains. Notably, the advent of other sources of information like the internet, World Wide Web and even social media that has led to a new challenge for librarians to meet the rapidly changing information needs and expectations of the 21st century users. Librarians now have a challenge of making themselves more relevant in this digital age. Iwhiwhu, Ruteyan and Eghwubare (2010) note that the challenge of most librarians is to attract users to the library and to retain them.
As a librarian, in order to build a networking relationship with users, we must go on social media where the users are and not where we think they should be. They should be able to create workshop addressed information literacy skills. Covering social media in information literacy skill session is a good way of making users aware of the platforms users are using.
The ever increasing contribution of the internet and the revolution of information distribution over the last few decades, has significantly exaggerated the relationship between librarians and library patrons. Now this is the right time to challenge the library professional to create awareness of social networking site among the user and evoke participation with their communities (Sahu, 2013).
A potent means in which librarians and libraries can optimize for their work and services as well as maintain their relevance is through a medium like social media. In this 21st Century, where a paradigm shift in communicating library services to users is evident, a modern and contemporary tool would be needed to promote library and information resources services.  Social media are one modern and contemporary new media for effective promotion of library and information services in the technological era (Akporhonor and Olise, 2015).
These authors further opined that promotion in library and information science has a newer meaning.  It finds deep roots in social media.  It is a set of techniques which is aimed at reinforcing the basic values of the library in a changing environment at the same time meeting the needs of the library clientele.  Essentially, promotion is the means of informing users on what you do and what you can do. The benefits for those who promote their library services and resources include: increased usage, increased value in the organization, education of users and changed perceptions.
Social networking has changed the way we communicate even on a basic and personal level. This is because social media is user friendly, it has exploded in domestic and professional space. With social media, we are able to keep in touch with people who are on the other side of the world and in different time zone.
Moreover, we are becoming an increasing mobile society that send and receive messages wherever and whenever we are and also access information anytime anywhere available to any person having adequate access.
Social Media are computer mediated tools that allow people to create, share or exchange information, ideas, thoughts and pictures/videos in virtual communities. Social media is a group of internet based applications which is build on the foundation of Web 2.0 that helps users in easy information exchange and communication. It is an interactive platform which allows users to create and exchange user-generated content where people can talk, share information, participate and network using technologies (Desale, n.d).
Social media is one such user-friendly communication tool through which the libraries can promote its resources and services to its users with the help of different application tools such as Twitter, Facebook, blogs, YouTube, MySpace, Whatsapp etc. this Social media enables in participatory creation of knowledge and information sharing in simple and convenient ways. Social media is defined as a group of Internet-based applications that is built on ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0 and which allow the creation and exchange of user-generated content (Kaplan & Haenlein, 2010).
These websites work via web 2.0 technology which allows users of the internet to easily save, post and share any information that could be sent to an heterogeneous audience instantaneously.
Akporhonor and Olise (2015) posited that Librarians desiring to connect constantly with their clients with an eye to increasing users’ satisfaction through promotion must make a social presence using social media like Facebook, MySpace, Whatsapp, Microblogging sites like Twitter, blog, etc.  Today, university libraries have created pages on Facebook, like Kenneth Dike Library, Delta State University Library, etc.
As part of a University or organizational set up, the library is seen as the heart of any organization or institution through which information is disseminated to users either in print or non-print format. With the availability of a standard library, an organization or institution can reach its target audience and have a greater impact on policy and programming. Hence, the social networking site can serve as an invaluable tool in this effort to communicate information across a wide audience.
Social media now possesses various websites like Facebook, Whatsapp, Twitter, MySpace etc. that offers great platform for study purpose. Educators can use Facebook to set up pages related to their lesson plans. Using online platform, students can easily collaborate with each other and even shy students can participate more actively. Through various other platforms like Google, Hangout or Skype, librarians can easily initiate discussions or debate.
Libraries, according to Ezeani (2011), should make social networking sites on the internet widely known to patrons and encourage library patrons to use them so as to promote library and information resources and services. It becomes imperative for these university libraries to promote the library effectively which would in turn help in the development of the university as a whole. Akporhonor (2011) stated that a university library, be it federal or state owned, is part of a university set up.
According to Desale (n.d), social media tools have emerged as a very powerful and effective tool for libraries. Librarians have adopted social media tools as a part of Library 2.0 movement to connect with their users. With the help of different social media tools like Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, MySpace etc. it enhances the process of information procurement, sharing and dissemination among users.
More recent studies have contributed on the dichotomy between the perceived benefits of social media and the actual impressions of patrons. Of particular relevance to these studies is the notion of whether social media is cherished more by librarians or by library users (Kim and Abbas, 2010). While librarians have viewed these tools as a method to connect with patrons and in particular students, their sentiments are not necessary reciprocated by them (Chu and Meulemans, 2008; Kim & Abbas, 2010).Although library social media spaces need to remain current, active and relevant in order to retain user interest, previous scholars have suggested that academic librarians need to ensure they do not misallocate personnel and technical resources on an ever-evolving group of technologies that are largely used for non-academic purposes (kim & Abbas, 2010; Jacobson, 2011).
It is largely arguable that, despite the benefits of social media as a tool for information dissemination, it can become a dangerous weapon in the wrong hands. Despite the benefits of social media, there are challenges faced by the librarians while using social media tools for their library. Akporhonor and Olise (2015) posited from their study of Social Media for Promoting Library and Information Resources and Services in University Libraries in South-South Nigeria that privacy concern, low level of technology penetration and network problem are the major challenges facing librarians in the use of social media for promoting library and information resources and services. Some studies have been conducted on social media by scholars. However, much has not been written on Professional Librarians’ Perception of Social Media as Tools for Information Dissemination in Selected Universities in Edo State.

1.2  Statement of the problem
In an ever changing world where skills often become outdated, there is need for re-learning in other to cope with new challenges. Although Librarians have been known to develop themselves professionally through attendance at conferences, seminars, workshops, etc. the internet now offers additional option through social media which enables interaction among users from all parts of the globe but the extent to which librarians in Nigeria avail themselves of these applications remains unknown. It is in view of the foregoing, that the present study aims to investigate professional librarians’ perception of social media as tools for information dissemination and how it has enhances positive benefits against the ills.

1.3   Objectives of the study                                                   
The purpose of this study is to examine the Professional Librarians’ Perception of Social Media as Tools for Information Dissemination in Selected Universities in Edo State. Specifically, the study sets out to:
- Determine professional librarians’ level of awareness of social media as an information dissemination tool.
-  Find out the extent of use of social media tools by professional librarians.
-  Determine social media sites professional librarians use to disseminate information.
- Ascertain the benefit of social media sites that are used by libraries and professional librarians.
- Determine the challenges professional librarians experience in the use of social media for information dissemination.
- Find out possible solutions to the challenges

1.4 Research Questions                                                                       
 - What is the level of awareness of social media as an information dissemination tools by librarians?
- What is the extent of use of social media as an information dissemination tools by librarians?
- What are the social media sites use in the dissemination of information by librarians?
- What are the benefits of using social media by librarians?
- What are the challenges librarians face in their use of social media?
- What are the possible solutions to the challenges of social media?

1.5 Scope of the Study
The study focuses on the Professional librarians’ perception of social media as tools for information dissemination in Universities in Edo State. The scope of the study covers ‘level of awareness of social media as an information dissemination tools by librarians, the extent of use of social media as an information dissemination tools by librarians, the social media sites use in the dissemination of information by librarians, the purpose of using social media by librarians and the challenges face in their use of social media. The study will focuses on librarians in University of Benin, Benin City, Ambrose Alli University Ekpoma and Benson Idahosa University, Benin City.

1.6 Significance of the Study
This study intends to examine Professional Librarians’ Perception of Social Media as Tools for Information Dissemination in Selected Universities in Edo State. The value of this study relates to the level of awareness and use of social media for effective information dissemination by librarians. The findings of this study will be useful to all categories of library staff, students, faculty members and researchers as it will provide literature in this respect. It will also help the University and library management to put in place appropriate measures that will enable librarians strive with regards to social media use for effective information dissemination in meeting the information needs of the user in this 21st century. In a nutshell, the findings of this study will expose librarians on the need to use modern technology (social media) in disseminating information in the library.

1.7 Limitation of the Study
The researcher is out to study Professional Librarians’ Perception of Social Media as Tools for Information Dissemination in Universities in Edo State. However, for the sake of time and financial constraint, only three Universities will be studied. The Universities are University of Benin (Federal), Ambrose Alli University Ekpoma (State), and Benson Idahosa University (Private).

1.8 Operational Definition of Terms
The following relevant terms will be defined as use in the study;
2        Awareness: The state or condition of being aware, having knowledge, consciousness, or idea about something or object.
3        Dissemination: To spread information, knowledge, etc. so that it reaches many people.
4        Information: Fact or details about somebody or something.
5        Librarian: Person who is in charge of or works in a library.
6        Librarianship: A profession concern with acquiring and organizing collection of books and related materials in the library and servicing readers and others with these resources.
7        Perception: The way you notice things, especially with the senses.
8        Professional librarian: Person who is in charge of works in a library and has high level of education, special training and skills providing access to information and sometimes social or technical programming.
9        Social media: Are computer mediated tools that allow people or companies to create, share, or exchange information, career interests, ideas, and pictures/videos in virtual communities and networks.

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Item Type: Project Material  |  Attribute: 94 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Price: N3,000  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.
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