2ND NOVEMBER 2020
Information has constantly been regarded as the life blood of any individual and organization. Unarguably, it is the fifth factor of production after land, capital, labour and entrepreneurship. Not minding this, studies and research have proved overtime that many people and organisations haven’t accepted the fact that information is essential for their day to day sustenance.
The current pandemic ravaging the world has terribly shaken many organizations resulting into mergers, downsizing and pay cuts. Many library and information centers are not left out of this ugly trend. This is probably to stay afloat and maintain their objective of providing and disseminating timely, quality and relevant information to their clients both real and virtual.
Consequently, many librarians have been thrown out of jobs and are thus made to wander endlessly in the labour market which according to reliable statistics is over-saturated. There are several reasons which can cause this. However, human resources experts have postulated that the lack of relevant skills is one major factor which has resulted in the large scale downsizing recorded by many organizations, the library inclusive.
There are several skills needed by librarians in the post COVID-19 era. One important skill which hasn’t been effectively leveraged on is the information marketing skill.
Information marketing is the process of providing useful and relevant information to information seekers. This is to assist them meet their information needs. Information marketing can be for profit or non-profit. This depends on the rationale guiding them establishment of the library. Information marketing isn’t a standalone concept as it is connected with other concepts and discipline which includes but not limited to:
This helps to understand and give an in-depth analysis of the user characteristics as well as the type of information they need as well as their response to the information they receive.
This has to do with providing relevant avenues which could serve as drivers or vehicles to ensure that the information that has been packaged is distributed speedily and effectively and also reaches the final consumer.
By conducting relevant studies, a library is able to give a vivid and accurate profile and description of its users.
Other associate areas relating to information marketing are consumer behaviour, purchasing and bargaining power among others. This is because information is a commodity which apart from the fact that it can be bought and sold, also has its relative usage and cost benefit analysis. Information marketing can be done through several avenues. This has been outlined overtime to include: face to face or physical interaction, social media, e-book publishing inter alia.
The current demand for information has put librarians at a vantage point and placed them on a strategic area in which they can function not only effectively but maximally. This is largely due to the fact that the importance of information cannot be overemphasized. Its value also, cannot be quantified. We could therefore say it is valuable and essential.
Experts have warned that the post COVID-19 era is one with a myriad of challenges. Hence, only the prepared will be able to scale through. How then can librarians survive if they are not armed with the relevant skills needed for their day to day operations?
Information marketing provides a plethora of advantages to librarians. It affords them the relative opportunity of gaining relevant skills especially in the competitive job environment. Information marketing helps in widening horizons, boosting knowledge and a giant step towards career progression and development. This makes the level of versatility.
“The future is bright and clear for any librarian who wants to diversify into information marketing.”
Several organizations and establishments who initially despised librarians, libraries and information marketers are now changing their mode of operation by putting out adverts for information managers to assist them in getting access to relevant information. The onus is binding therefore on librarians to hone their information marketing skills. This is to be able to meet the information requirements of their users at a peak level.
In our next blog, we shall delving deeper to focus on addressing what information can be marketed, to who as well as the craft of actually selling information. Stay tuned!!
Folorunso, Abubakar Lanre is a PhD holder in the field of librarianship. He has authored articles that are available in reputable journals and databases. He is currently the Librarian at National Institute for Sports, Lagos State, Nigeria. You can reach Folorunso via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Momoh, Emmanuel Omeiza is a Bachelor of Science degree holder in Librarianship and a recent fellow of the Young African Library Leaders Fellowship (YALLF). His area of expertise covers information literacy/management and library development. He is an author of research articles available on reputable journals and databases and can be reached via e-mail: email@example.com
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