SOCIAL MEDIA USE AS A DETERMINANT OF KNOWLEDGE SHARING PRACTICES AND SERVICE DELIVERY BY LIBRARIANS IN TERTIARY INSTITUTIONS IN LAGOS STATE, NIGERIA
- Background to the Study
In recent times, the use of social media has become a habitual part of everyday life. This is as a result of the proliferation of Information and Communication Technology (ICT). It has taken over the traditional means of communication such as face to face interaction because of its dominant influence on the user community. The term social media is broadly known as computer- mediated tool that allows people to create, share or exchange information, ideas, pictures and videos in virtual communities and networks. Social media is also known as a tool for interaction that gives room for exchange of knowledge between users. In a library environment, social media is viewed as Library 2.0 which is a form of communication and socialization among librarians and patrons while librarians are professionals concerned with the collection, storage, processing and dissemination of recorded knowledge in the library.
Studies have shown that librarians are using different social media tools such as Microblogs, Instant Messaging, Blogs, Wikis and Social Bookmarking for different purposes (Dickson & Holley, 2010). Other social media tools which librarians have been using advantageously include; Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and Google+. However, the extent to which these social media tools are used for knowledge sharing and service delivery is not certain. Library professionals in this information age are expected to take advantage of the influx of technology to exchange knowledge and provide library services to meet up with the information needs of library users; and social media has posed itself as a medium of taking information to the door steps of library patrons in the 21st Century.
Social media is a tool that can flourish in Nigerian academic libraries with the advancement in technology. Nigeria as a developing country has witnessed the establishment of libraries in all the States in the country. Academic libraries in Nigeria are looking out for technology channels to share knowledge and improve library services. Social media are tools that Nigerian libraries can use to reach out to a large number of the user community. Citing Akporhonor and Olise (2015) on their findings on social media use by librarians in South- South, Nigeria revealed that social media enhances communication among librarians and the user community but social media is underutilized by librarians in South-south, Nigeria for the provision of library services. The study emphasized that in order for librarians to reach out to the 21st Century users, social media is a channel of reaching out to the patrons.
Another study on social media use revealed that social media is mostly used for socialization among friends and keeping up to date with current trends, citing reference to Madhusudhan (2012) in a survey on the University of Delhi scholars to ascertain the use, benefits, and defects of using social media. The study found that a large number of Delhi University scholars are aware of social media and some use social media for communication purpose only; others use social media to connect with the academic community and source information and knowledge from others. The study also found that majority of the scholars’ use social media for “lurking” (that is reading the postings in an internet forum without actively contributing) while a few of the scholars use it for the promotion of research.
There is much benefit from connecting with people through social media, whether to network, promote a product or service, or to keep abreast with the latest news (Bell, 2014). The use of social media is a new means by which the library can showcase the services it can render to the user community. This will enhance the reputation of the library in that it gives the library unrestricted interaction between librarians and the patrons. Social media serves as a platform to create a better understanding of the information needs of users and also create an awareness of the services available in the library.
The use of social media is cost effective and enables individuals in terms of communication and information sharing by creating online virtual communities (Fu, Lui & Wang, 2008). Social media use in the library is also relevant because it facilitates communication process between librarians and the patrons, improves marketing of library services, creates awareness of library resources, enhances collaboration among librarians and provides feedback on the services offered to the patrons (Gupta, Uautam & Khare, 2014).
Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL) is a crucial aspect of effective learning that encourages learners to interact with each other through social media (Weinberger & Fischer, 2006). In this modern society, the mere mention of social media springs up excitement especially among individuals who have embraced technology. Among the common social media tools that can be used by librarians to enhance knowledge sharing and service delivery include: Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, YouTube, SlideShare Pinterest and so on.
Zande (2013) noted that the use of social media for work purposes have a positive effect on knowledge sharing within an organization which is influenced by the organizational culture towards its use. Social media, however, enables users to easily share knowledge among themselves with the aid of ICT (Panahi, Watson & Partridge, 2012). Knowledge sharing is an aspect of knowledge management considered as a process of transferring knowledge such as skills, experiences and understanding between individuals, groups and organisations while knowledge sharing practices are diverse personal interactive processes such as discussions, debates and meetings, where one is influenced by other’s experiences (Latupapua, 2016). Other knowledge sharing practices include; verbal discussion, seminars/workshops, mentoring, staff meetings, storytelling, community of practice, and so on. Knowledge sharing practices are means where people share what they know. Knowledge sharing practices in organisations is important because it brings about innovation and creativity.
Knowledge sharing is a new concept and has not been fully integrated in libraries. Today, libraries are becoming more conversant with the benefits of knowledge sharing practices and creating avenues to introduce knowledge sharing in the library, citing reference to Mosha, Holmner and Penzhorn (2015) who conducted a study on the librarians of Nelson Mandela University and found that knowledge sharing practices in the library is low. In Malaysia, the case is the same with reference to Chong (2003) whose findings showed that libraries have not fully implemented knowledge sharing except few government bodies who only use face to face interaction to share knowledge.
The contemporary society has developed huge interest in the area of knowledge due to its benefits to the society and organizations. It is all about bringing and getting knowledge, where individuals learn from experiences from each other through the knowledge shared. On the other hand, the library profession has attempted to identify the means by which librarians can promote knowledge sharing practices among librarians through the use of social media. Knowledge sharing in a social media environment is important among librarians because it gives librarians unique ideas on how to serve the patrons better. Knowledge sharing practices brings out the best from librarians because shared understanding is a driving force for the growth of any organisation. The value of knowledge is viewed in two different ways; knowledge creation and knowledge sharing. Once knowledge is created, it can be used by others for different purposes and once knowledge is shared, new knowledge is created (Alavi & Leidner, 2001). Knowledge creation is achieved using social media through the communication process.
Knowledge is important in organisations because it gives organisations its uniqueness and also makes the organisation outsmart its competitors. Knowledge sharing practices, according to Lam (2000), is influenced by the two broad categories of knowledge which are tacit and explicit knowledge. Tacit knowledge is obtained through experiences and tacit knowledge is difficult to articulate while explicit knowledge is documented knowledge obtained through formal learning. Knowledge sharing is a key concept associated with the conversion of tacit knowledge to explicit knowledge which results in the transfer of knowledge from one individual to another.
Effective knowledge sharing boosts an organisational intellectual capital which is the most important asset of an organisation. MacAdam (1998) noted that knowledge sharing is an essential part of libraries because libraries play a key role in knowledge sharing. Knowledge sharing is achieved in the library when technical and systematic infrastructure is put in place (Seonghee & Boryung, 2008). Harinarayana and Raju (2010) opined that libraries use social media to provide organized resources, arouse user participation and engage in the act of knowledge sharing. Furthermore, librarians can use social media to stimulate users in creating new library services by contributing their knowledge online (Casey & Savastinuk, 2010).
The rate at which knowledge is shared on social media is overwhelming. The use of ICT has made it easy for knowledge to be shared and received by users on social media platform. The library professionals are not left out; one will attest to the fact that even if a library does not create its social media platform, librarians still visit social media sites for their personal interest. Quinn, Anderson and Finkelstein (1996) noted that the challenge to sharing of knowledge by professionals to their peers is insecurity because professionals view their knowledge as most precious asset in their possession which should be guided jealously. Knowledge sharing practices in organisations have a positive effect on service delivery by offering new ways of promoting organisational values.
Libraries today are embarking on new ways to enhance service provision to the users and knowledge sharing practices have the potentials of improving library services using information communication technology. Libraries are becoming more relevant by providing electronic library services to support the physical library. Technology has taken over the world of communication and libraries are taking the opportunity to reach out to users in the electronic environment. Meyega (2008) defined service delivery as a process of making information resources available through library facilities and procedures for onsite use, circulation and inter library loans. Service delivery is also a means that defines the interaction between providers and clients, where the provider offers a service that can be information or a task, and the client either finds value or looses value in the service offered (Tetra Images, 2015).
A library is expected to provide accessible services to its users. Librarians are required to provide services to satisfy the information needs of the user community. Libraries provide a broad range of services depending on the type of library. There are services peculiar to all libraries such as reference service, current awareness services lending services, interlibrary loans and document delivery, literature search, selective dissemination of information, outreach services and so on (Aina, 2004). A library also provides services such as the organization of information and analyses of information needs of users. Meyega (2008) categorized library services into user services and technical services. User services include: circulation, bibliographic instructions, government documentation, special collection and reference services while technical services include: acquisition, cataloguing, classification, interlibrary loan, serial systems and document delivery.
Literature has established that the provision of a technology enhanced library services is low in most libraries, citing reference to Akpoiroro and Okon (2015) in a study on students’ satisfaction with service delivery in federal universities in South-South, Nigeria, revealed that students satisfaction with library services were low due to inadequate information technology facilities in the institution. Mishra (2008) noted that today’s users are anxious in getting handy electronic information resources to meet their needs and the ability to make available speedy and easy retrieval of information resources poses a challenge to library professionals. The traditional library is evolving to the electronic library. The electronic library services are important because it gives libraries the room to attend to users in the global community. Electronic library services commonly used on the Internet and the World Wide Web include; computerized library catalogs, electronic databases, instant messaging services, distance learning services, virtual references and interlibrary loans.
Libraries in this information age offer services in physical and electronic formats. Librarians are extending services beyond the physical walls of a building by shifting from the physical library to the electronic/virtual environment. Libraries in the technology era provide services via the virtual library and also through the Internet. In order for libraries to remain significant towards the provision of quality services; social media is a tool that can assist libraries to meet up with the challenging needs of users in this contemporary society (Meyega, 2008). The findings of the study conducted by Ikonne, Onuoha and Madukoma (2013) on marketing of information services in the social media framework of communication showed that promoting library services is a means of preparing the library to face the technology transformed world. The study revealed that the use of some social media tools is easy and cost effective. The study concluded that using social media for service delivery will make libraries more interesting in the area of library acquisition, organisation and dissemination of library services.
In a study carried out by Ayiah and Kumah (2011) at the University of Winneba on social media tools for effective service delivery found that the idea of social media use by librarians to offer services is embraced by the users who prefer library services on social media sites which will inspire them to learn and also entertain themselves at the same time. The study also found that 72% of respondents’ preferred accessing the library’s web page on social media to enable them make comments on issues confronting them. Islam and Habiba (2015) in a study on the use of social media in Bangladesh found that majority of librarians in Bangladesh were of the opinion that social media use by librarians have expanded in recent times. The study revealed that social media is important in promoting library resources and services which assists students and researchers in the library. Majority of librarians use social media to share library news and events, video conferencing, advertisement and research work. The study concludes that librarians view social media as a means of sharing and promoting library services.
The use of social media has come to stay in the library world. A library as a learning organization can be successful by integrating the knowledge of librarians into the process of promoting library services. Libraries can take advantage of the use of social media for effective knowledge sharing practices and service delivery. Therefore, it is paramount to find out whether social media is used by librarians for knowledge sharing practices and service delivery in tertiary institutions in Lagos Sate, Nigeria.
Lagos State is situated in the South-west Nigeria and considered as the most densely populated States in Nigeria and Africa (Citymayors, 2016). In 2014, Lagos State population was estimated at 21 million. This population is made up of different ethnic groups in Nigeria which includes: the Yorubas’, Hausas’, Igbos’ Fulanis’ and so on. There are also immigrants in the State such as: the Americans, the British, the Chinese, the Lebanese, the Ghanaians’ and so on. Lagos State is considered as the most economic viable states in the country with the largest concentration of industries, sea ports, financial institutions and learning resource centres. The choice of Lagos State for this study is paramount because Lagos as a developed state that has established tertiary institutions with librarians which are expected to take advantage of the influx of technology to share knowledge and provide library services in order to meet up with the information needs of users.
According to World Bank (2015), tertiary institutions refers to any type of education pursued beyond the high school level which includes diplomas, undergraduate and graduate certificates, associate’s bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. Tertiary institutions include universities, colleges, technical training institutes, nursing schools, research laboratories and distance learning centres. This study focused on tertiary institutions in Lagos State.
- Statement of the Problem
The potentials of knowledge sharing practices and technology enhanced service delivery in organizations have raised the consciousness of libraries to adopt technology channels to improve library services in order to meet up with the demands of the 21st Century users. Past empirical research has revealed that knowledge sharing practices are not fully integrated in most libraries and knowledge sharing brings about innovation and creativity in organizations. On the other hand, there seems to be low provision of a technology enhanced library services in most libraries’ which will improve the service delivery of users in this challenging digital environment. As a result of the importance of knowledge sharing and technology enhanced library services in organizations, there is an increase in the number of libraries that are adopting and implementing the use of social media for knowledge sharing and service delivery advantageously. Despite the awareness of the potency of knowledge sharing and service delivery, it is not certain the extent to which social media is used to share knowledge and improve library services in libraries in Nigeria. Therefore, this study investigated social media use as a determinant of knowledge sharing practices and service delivery by librarians in tertiary institutions in Lagos State, Nigeria.
- Objective of the Study
The general objective of this study is to investigate the extent to which librarians are using social media for knowledge sharing practices and service delivery in tertiary institutions in Lagos State. The specific objectives are to:
- find out the types of social media tools used by librarians in tertiary institutions in Lagos State;
- examine the purpose for which social media is used by librarians in tertiary institutions in Lagos State;
- find out the extent of social media use by librarians in tertiary institutions in Lagos State;
- ascertain the knowledge sharing practices among librarians in tertiary institutions in Lagos State;
- ascertain the types of service delivery of librarians in tertiary institutions in Lagos State;
- determine the influence of social media use on knowledge sharing practices of librarians in tertiary institutions in Lagos State and
- investigate the influence of social media use on service delivery of librarians in tertiary institutions in Lagos State.
1.4 Research Questions
- what are the types of social media tools used by librarians in tertiary institutions in Lagos State?
- for what purposes do librarians use social media in tertiary institutions in Lagos State?
- what is the extent of social media use by librarians in tertiary institutions in Lagos State?
- what are the knowledge sharing practices of librarians in tertiary institutions in Lagos State?
- what are the types of librarians’ service delivery in tertiary institutions in Lagos State?
The following null hypotheses were tested in the study at 0.05 level of significance;
H01 Social media use has no significant influence on knowledge
sharing practices of librarians in tertiary institutions in Lagos State.
H02 Social media use has no significant influence on service delivery of librarians in tertiary
institutions in Lagos State.
- Scope of the Study
The geographical scope of this study was limited to librarians in tertiary institutions in Lagos State, Nigeria. This includes seven universities, namely; University of Lagos, Lagos State University, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Pan African University, Lekki, Lagos, Caleb University, Ikorodu, Lagos, Eko University of Medicine, Health Sciences, Ijanikin, Lagos and National Open University of Nigeria, Lagos. The five Polytechnics include; Lagos State Polytechnic, Lagos City Polytechnic, Ikorodu, Isolo and Surulere, Ronik Polytechnic, Ejigbo, Grace Polytechnic, Surulere, Lagos and Tower Polytechnic, Mushin, Lagos while the nine colleges include Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education, Federal College of Education (Technical), Akoka, Michael Otedola College of Primary Education, Lagos, Federal College of Fisheries and Marine Technology, Victoria, Island, Lagos, Yaba College of Technology, Nigerian French Language Village, Badagry, St. Augustine College of Education, Akoka, Lagos, Lagos State College of Health and College of Education, Epe. The twenty one tertiary institutions used in this study are owned and financed by private, state and federal government of Nigeria.
The subject scope of this study is on social media use by librarians for knowledge sharing practices and service delivery. This study covered social media types such as; (Facebook, Twiter, Linkedln, SlideShare, YouTube, Pinterest, Google+, Meebo, De.licio.us, Instagram, Flicker, WhatsApp, LibraryThing, Blogs, Social Bookmarking, Lib.ra.rious, Ning and Wiki), the purpose of social media use, and the extent of use. The study also covered knowledge sharing practices such as brainstorming, seminars/ conferences, staff meetings, storytelling, mentoring and community of practices. The last was on service delivery which covered e-reference services, online user education, online-current awareness services, online interlibrary loans, database search, e-reader services, instant messaging services, distance learning services and selective dissemination of information. The study excluded physical library services and focused more on the electronic services using social media. The study is excluding physical services because librarians in this study are expected to use social media to provide electronic library services to the users.
1.7 Significance of the Study
This study is considered significant because it would enlighten librarians on the potentials of social media use for knowledge sharing practices and service delivery in the library. This study would strengthen library professionals’ knowledge sharing practices and highlight new and unique ways of sharing knowledge in the library. It would also promote effective workforce collaboration in all academic library environments. The study would build up professional librarians who can adapt to enhanced technology based service provision for the library patrons on social media.
This study would showcase various social media types that librarians can use to share knowledge and improve library services. These social media tools would help librarians to reach out to library users in the confines of their homes, thereby, breaking the barrier of time and space. The findings of this study would boost the ability of librarians in Nigeria to compete with other library professionals in developed countries in the provision of a technology enhanced service delivery.
The recommendations of this study would shed light on the perception of librarians on the use of social media in the library which would assist library managers in their implementation of social media use in the library. The study would help to ascertain the extent of social media use for knowledge sharing and service provision of the institutions under study. Recommendations would be made in order to improve knowledge sharing and service delivery using diverse social media tools. The study would unveil the benefits of social media use in the library which would draw the attention of the government and the management of private owned institutions to support tertiary institutions with necessary infrastructure, in order to successfully implement social media use for knowledge sharing and service delivery in tertiary institution libraries in Nigeria.
The study would also strengthen social media use policies for knowledge sharing and service delivery in the library. Finally, this research would serve as a foundation for forthcoming research on social media use for knowledge sharing practices and service delivery in tertiary institution libraries.
1.8 Operational Definition of Terms
The following terms were defined in this study for the essence of simplicity and clear understanding:
Social Media Use: This is a process of using social media communication tools that brings librarians and patrons together for the purpose of interaction, sharing of information, knowledge, pictures and videos in virtual communities and networks. E.g of social media tools include; Facebook Twitter, SlideShare, Pinteret, Google+, LinkedIn, and so on.
Knowledge Sharing: This is a process of exchange of ideas, experiences, skills or expertise between library professionals.
Knowledge Sharing Practices: These are various activities librarians use to exchange knowledge in the library such as brainstorming, seminars, mentoring, community of practices, group discussions, and so on to promote library services.
Service Delivery: This is a process of providing information resources or a task to meet the needs of users through physical and electronic channels such as; reference services, inter library loan, user education, current awareness services, database search, reader services, and so on.
Librarians: They are professionals who are involved with the collection, storage, processing and dissemination of recorded information and knowledge in the library. A librarian is expected to hold a First degree from a library school and also a Master’s degree in Library Science or Library and Information Studies.
Tertiary Institutions: These are types of education pursued beyond the high school level which include universities, colleges of education, polytechnics and monotechnics.