The Use of Digital Devices in Marketing Library Products in an Inclusively Engaged Academic Library

The Use of Digital Devices in Marketing Library Products in an Inclusively Engaged Academic Library

Rhodes Elias Mwageni
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9034-7.ch002
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This chapter identifies critical issues in the use of digital devices, opportunities, and challenges in marketing library products and services in academic libraries. It examines empirical literature as a review method on the use of digital devices in engaged academic libraries in marketing library products and services. From the findings, it was revealed that library products and services are underutilized because of lack of marketing strategies and programs to create awareness of available resources and services in academic libraries. This resulted in negative attitudes and behaviors towards reading culture among library users. Digital devices transform and widen the reach, management, storage, and delivery of information. They make library products and services more interactive and maximize utilization of library products and services. The study shows that digital devices influenced attitudes, behaviors, and perceptions of library users positively, which shows that there is a great need to employ digital devices in marketing library products and services in academic libraries.
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Information is extricable intertwined to any society’s developments. It is assumed a one of the basic needs including air, water, food and shelter. The fact that information plays a great role in all development endeavours makes it special to be stored in libraries. Library is a building where a collection of information materials are kept. The libraries work to collect, organize and make information materials available and accessible to library users. Thus, academic library is a hub of academic institutions and intellectual life. The types of libraries are based on the purpose, functions and the learning community they serve. Libraries can be categorized into four types which are academic libraries, public libraries, special libraries, school libraries and private libraries. Issa (2009) and Bothma, Cosijn, Fourie and Penzhorn (2014) state that libraries are of four types which are public or community libraries, special libraries, academic libraries and national libraries.

This study deals with the use of digital devices in marketing library products in an inclusively engaged academic library which evolved from higher learning institutions. Academic library was established to serve communities of library users in schools, college and universities. The communities served in academic libraries include: students, lecturers, researchers and external users who form the bedrock of academic library users. Amongst the services provided by academic library to intensify the utilization of library products and services are user education, exhibitions, displays and provision of information materials.

In the late 19th and 20th centuries, competitions and evolutions of digital devices led to new systems of creation of library products and services, organization, storage, dissemination and creation of awareness to library patrons on available products and services. In reciprocal, it changed the roles, attitude and behaviours of library staff and library users to inline the drives perpetuated by competitions and evolutions (Tait, Martzoukou and Reid, 2016). Consequently, academic library as an integral instrument of teaching and learning intensified the use of library products and services (Agyen-Gyasi, Lamptey and Frimpong, 2010). In this era of technologies, academic library faces a lot of challenges to effectively satisfy library users’ needs and expectations. The application of digital devices in marketing library products and services have brought about challenges associated to diversity information formats, landscape, needs, expectations, attitude and behaviours of library staff and users. Studies by Madhusudhan (2008), Agyen-Gyasi, Lamptey and Frimpong (2010), Krubu and Osawaru (2011), Odine (2011), Chandratre and Chandratre (2015), Dey and Satpathy (2015) and Khan (2016) show that libraries and academic libraries in particular face a lot of challenges to effectively meet their goals of serving their communities. These include: library users’ over expectations, diverse needs, wants and choices emanated from technological evolutions, poor ICT infrastructures, insufficient bandwidth, lack of knowledgeable librarians and copyright and intellectual property rights.

Rapid growth of technologies led to wide digital split in developing countries compared to developed world. This is revealed in the internet world penetration rates worldwide. Internet regional statistics indicate that internet world penetration rate in North America, Europe and Asia of 95 percent, 85.2 percent and 48.1 percent respectively compared to 35.2 percent in Africa and world average internet penetration rate of 54.4 percent (De Argaez, 2018). This entails internet rate discrepancies and that there is still a wide gap of internet penetration among regions world over. In reciprocal, digital split hinders integrating ICT in academic library in developing countries.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Behavior: Repeated patterns of actions influenced by personal attitude, experiences, environments and cognitive aspects and it is built over a period of time.

Attitude: A perception, belief, feelings which emanate from personal experiences towards behavioral patterns accrued from observations, environments and cognitive domains. In library context, attitude determines personal behaviors.

Digital Device: Physical units of digital equipment including smartphone, smart watch, tablets, desktops, laptops, and computers.

Digital Contents: Refer to both electronic and digital information materials in text formats include books, journal articles, research reports, internet, databases, and eBooks presented in smartphone, tablets, desktops, laptops.

Perception: A set of people’s beliefs, feelings and opinions about a phenomenon which normally influenced by environments, attitudes, previous experiences and cognitive domains. In this study context, perception is an understanding of sensations experienced which necessitate librarians to market library products and services.

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