Emerging Initiatives In Reference And Information Services In University Libraries In South-South, Nigeria

Abraham Tabor Etebu and Godwin Obirheri Orumah
Keywords: Chat-based reference, Emerging initiatives, Reference services, Social media, University libraries, WhatsApp, Nigeria
Journal of ICT Development, Applications and Research 2019 1(1), 20-32. Published: July 29, 2019


This study explored technologies and initiatives arising from ICT transformation with attendant challenges and how they are being applied to reference and information services in university libraries in South-South, Nigeria. A self-constructed questionnaire was used as instrument of data collection from library reference personnel in twelve university libraries. Frequency counts and percentages were used for analysing the data obtained. Findings revealed that, among other social media, chat-based reference interaction is now the order of the day as most students and clientele prefer using WhatsApp for immediate response than face to face reference interview. Despite the high use of the various kinds of social media by university library personnel in Nigeria, the application of the media for reference services in the libraries was quite low. Though most of the personnel regularly used social media platforms, they did so for reasons order than reference services. The findings identified various kinds of problems inhibiting the use of social media by the staff. Such impediments included: lack of awareness of the various social media and their application to reference services, dogmatism on the part of some library personnel (inability to conform/adapt to changes), infrastructural and technological challenges amongst others. This study has added to the growing number of literatures on social media use in libraries in Nigeria.