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This study on the Use of Interpersonal Communication Skills by Reference Librarians in Federal Academic Libraries in Kogi State, Nigeria was carried out. Four research questions were raised which soughtto find out the types of reference and information services provided by librarians in federal academic libraries, the interpersonal communication skills possessed by librarians for reference and information services in federal academic libraries, the interpersonal communication skills utilised by librarians for reference and information services in federal academic libraries in Kogi State among others. Quantitative research method was adopted using survey design. The target population of the study consisted of all librarians of the three academic libraries of federal tertiary Institutions in Kogi State with total number of 47. The instrument for data collection was the questionnaire. Data collected were descriptively analyzed using frequency tables, simple percentages mean and standard deviation. The findings of the study revealed among others thatassisting users in using the library and information and referral service were the major types of reference and information services provided by librarians, The ability to serve the users with the right information was the major interpersonal communication skills the librarians possess for the provision of reference and information services, ability to speak fluently to the users, the ability to understand the users‟ query were the major interpersonal communication skills utilised by the librarians for reference and information services in federal academic libraries in Kogi State. It could be concluded that there exist interpersonal communication between reference librarians and library users but not very effective and could be one of decline in reference patronage in the Federal University Lokoja, Federal Polytechnic Idah and Federal College of Education Okene. It was recommended among others that the reference librarians should provide morereference services to the users in satisfying their needs. Reference librarians should adequatelyserve their users with the right information, at the right time so that the users would be satisfied with the reference and information services provided by the reference librarians and reference librarians should be adequately trained to be able to use the ability to speak fluently to the users, the ability to understand the users query as parts of interpersonal communication skills they utilised in the provision of reference and information services in federal academic libraries in Kogi State.


Title Page i
Declaration ii
Certification iii
Dedication iv
Acknowledgement v
Abstract vi
Table of Contents vii
List of Tables x
List of Abbreviations xi

1.1 Background to the Study 1
1.2 Statement of the Problem 6
1.3 Research Questions 7
1.4 Objectives of the Study 7
1.5 Significance of the Study 8
1.6 Scope of the Study 8
1.7 Operational Definition of Terms 8
References 10



2.1 Introduction 11
2.2 Concept of Reference and Information Service Provision 11
2.3 Concept of Reference librarians 13
2.4 Concept of Interpersonal Communication 15
2.5 Interpersonal Communication Skills Possessed by Reference Librarians 20


3.1 Introduction
3.2 Research Method Adopted
3.3 Population of the Study
3.4 Sample and Sampling Technique
3.5 Instrument for Data Collection
3.6Validity of the Instrument
3.7 Reliability of the Instrument
3.8 Procedure for Data Collection
3.9 Procedure for Data Analysis References
2.6Interpersonal Communication Skills Utilised by Reference Librarians in Academic Libraries 26
2.7 Effectiveness of Interpersonal Communication Skills by Reference Librarians

2.8 Summary of Literature Review




4.1 Introduction 42
4.2 Response Rate 42
4.3 Descriptive Analysis 43
References 56


5.1 Introduction 57
5.2 Summary of the Study 57


5.3 Summary of the Major Findings 57
5.4 Contributionsto Knowledge 58
5.5Limitations of the Study 58
5.6 Conclusion 59
5.7 Recommendations 59
5.8 Suggestions for Further Studies 60
Bibliography 61
Appendix 66






1.1         Background to the Study


Reference and information services are central tasks of any standard library and information center. Reference and information services are primary services of the librarians irrespective of the type of library and information center. Reference department serves as the link between the library and its immediate clientele be it public, community or groups of specialist users.Reference and information services cannot stand alone. The library clienteles are the hub of reference service. However, the reference librarian and the clientele belong to different communities. The process which integrates the duo and makes reference service happen is interpersonal communication (Kemoni, 2014). When the user expresses his/her needs, the reference librarian considers what resources to use to meet them. Reference interview is the crux of interpersonal communication in reference transactions.


The reference librarian is an intermediary between the library collection and the library user. The assistance rendered by professionals in the reference section of the library is better appreciated by someone who has experienced frustration when in need of information, and being overwhelmed somewhat or confused by the amount available and the complexities of shifting, through what is available to find what is needed (Keyton, 2011). The experts, however, work with the patrons through the intricacies of the available information. Such personal assistance is the essence of reference services and it is the fundamental role of the reference librarian (Bopp R. 2014). The reference librarian originally answers questions and assist library user from the reference desk and the users‟ advisory desk. Often times, the reference librarian prepared query slips and handed them out to the library users to ascertain their information needs. The major





constraint of this process is that the presence of users at the reference desk is required for the service to be effective. In recent times, the situation has changed. Library clientele are scattered all over and yet, most have needs that can only be attended to by the services provided at the reference section of the library. The need for media in this instance becomes imperative.


Communication is the process of sharing ideas, feelings, thoughts and messages with others (Ojomo, 2014). Rothwell (2014) sees communication as a transactional process of sharing meaning with others. Communication involves the giving and receiving of information, signals or messages by talk, gestures and writingKemoni (2014). As a result, communication effectiveness becomes a very vital factor in determining the efficiency with which reference unit performs as a whole. When two or more people are in the same place and are aware of each other being there, then communication is said to be taking place, no matter how subtle or inadvertent it may be. Even without vocalizations, an onlooker may be using prompts of stance (posture), facial manifestation, and garb to impact other‟s role, poignant situation, persona or intents. The basic process of communication initiates when a fact is perceived or an idea devised by a single person. That person (the sender) chooses to decipher the perception into a message, and subsequently conveys the message through some communication medium to another person (the receiver). The receiver then must construe the message and supply feedback to the sender indicating that the message has been comprehended and fitting action taken.


Interpersonal communication involves sending and receiving of messages between two or more people. DeFleur and Dennis (2012) conceptualized interpersonal communication as a process of using language and non-verbal cues to send and receive messages between individuals that are intended to arouse particular kinds of meaning. Rothwell (2014) postulate that interpersonal communication is dyadic communication According to him, it is a transaction that





takes place between two people. Interpersonal communication is the procedure by which people swap information, feelings and impart through verbal and non-verbal messages. This definition underlines the crucial fact that interpersonal communication is not only apprehensive about „what‟ is pronounced, i.e., the language employed, but „how‟ it is pronounced, e.g., the nonverbal messages sent, such as tone of voice and facial expressions. Interpersonal communication can be seen as the process of interacting simultaneously with another and mutually influencing each other, usually for the purpose of managing relationships.


Interpersonal communication can be media mediated or take place face to face between the librarian and the library user. Media mediation in reference service has been branded as mediated communication. Mediated communication is viewed as a situation where a technological medium is employed into face to face interaction. Telephone conversations, letters, electronic mail, instant messages, multimedia messages, faxes, etc. are modes of interpersonal mediated communication. The application of these technologies in reference interaction has impacted greatly on relationships and made face to face contact dispensable. Although immediacy of feedback is ensured, however privacy and communication control is alteredKemoni (2014).


It is common knowledge that the non-verbal aspects of communication are often more important than the verbal. That is, what is said is less important than how it is said. The reason for this is that the non-verbal techniques indicate exactly what interpretation should be put on the words that are uttered. However, According to Texas Association of Police Explorers (2009) we rarely examine exactly what factors in our non-verbal communication are most important.









Interpersonal communication processes are crucial in elements in functioning of libraries in general and in the reference interaction in particular. Interpersonal communication is used in sharing ideas, knowledge, skills and strategies among personnel managing reference collections. It is also used in fostering good relationship between library personnel and information seekers (DeFleur and Dennis,2012).


According to KreitnerandBuelens(2002), effective communication occurs when the richness of the medium is matched appropriately with the complexity of the problem or situation. Furthermore, they state that ineffective communication results when the medium is either too rich or insufficiently rich for the comprehension of the problem or situation, both types of media are found in libraries and only the appropriately rich are required for successful academic services. In their own assessment of effective communication, Tubbs and Moss (2013) stated that it is a situation that occurs when the stimulus as it was initiated and intended by the sender or source corresponds closely to the stimulus as it is perceived and responded to by the receiver.


Effective communication is the process by which information is appropriately transmitted and understood between two or more people. While communicating, we rarely reach a level of perfect sharing but we aim for it when trying to reach library clientele and achieve academic library objectives. According to Ugwuanyi (2014), an academic library is a library that takes care of the people engaged in academic and research work in the institutions of higher learning. Such institutions include the libraries found in universities, colleges of education, colleges of technology and polytechnics. It is a melting point for different people requiring the services of libraries. They require good service through effective communication and services delivery. The main aim is to provide a wide range of services and facilities, which will enhance exploitative use of the literature through the concepts of assistance and self-direction





The growth of learning today, according to Katz (2012), no longer can be termed gradual. He noted that finding specific bits of data among the mass of undifferentiated information is a great challenge, and the reference librarian is in the best position to meet this challenge. Relationships thrive on the maintenance of a good communication link between the parties involved, the reference librarian is expected to be a good communicator who links library users to the resources of their choice.


An effective interpersonal communication enhances the quality of services rendered to clients by the reference librarian. For reference librarian to effectively meet the information needs of its clients, effective interpersonal communication is needed. It is most important and relevant to librarians and workers whose basic instrument and stock-in-trade rests on continuous exchange of information with their clientele. Effective interpersonal communication between reference librarian and library patrons is one of the most important elements for improving user satisfaction (Ojomo, 2014). Academic libraries are to survive the present global organizational competitiveness and be able to make an indelible impact on their clientele,their workers must have good understanding of the indispensable need for communication proficiency and effectiveness. This is because much of what the library workers do on daily basis to accomplish their tasks and maintain balance is communicating at all levels.Ifidon andIfidon(2012) stated that communication is such an important element of management that it deserves a special treatment. People communicate every day from when they wake up in the morning until they go to bed at night. This process goes on in every unit of society and in every discipline, including librarianship. Consciously, communication involves sharing of ideas, feelings, thoughts, and many other things that humans share. In fact, what the reference unit requires mainly is








communication. It is an inseparable, essential and continuous process just like the circulatory system in the human body.


1.2         Statement of the Problem


Interpersonal communication encompasses many kinds of relationships from the most casual to the most long-lasting, Good interpersonal communication in reference section creates good relationship between patron and reference librarians, it makes the patrons feel free to express their feelings and their information needs to reference librarian for anticipation. A reference service is referred to as one of the most professional aspects of the librarian‟s responsibilities, which every prospective librarian must properly grab. Nwalo (2010) observed that the primary function of reference unit of the library is answering reference questions and user education. Reference librarians are the image maker for the library and the link between the library, library resources and library patrons. Reference librarians are to assist patrons when they do not know who to ask or need to look for specific information and do not know where to begin.



Despite the relative assistance reference librarians render to library users, the preliminary investigation carried out by the researcher inFederal Academic Libraries in Kogi State shows that there is low patronage in the reference section of the libraries based on the statistics and report taking on daily, weekly and monthly basis of users in the reference section. In relation to this observation, scholarssuch as Tubs and Moss, (2013) also observed similar situation,which could also be due to problems associated with interpersonal communication skills. It is based on this observation,preliminary investigation and support from literature that the researcher carried out this study on the use of interpersonalcommunication skills by reference librarians in Federal Academic Libraries in Kogi State, Nigeria.





1.3         Research Questions


The following research questions were formulated to guide the study:


  1. What types of referenceservices are provided byreference librarians in federalacademic libraries in Kogi State?


  1. What interpersonal communication skills do librarians possess forreference and information services in federal academic libraries in Kogi State?


  1. What interpersonal communication skills areutilised by librarians forreference and information services in federal academic libraries in Kogi State?


  1. How do interpersonal communication skills possessed by librarians affect reference and information services in federal academic libraries in Kogi State?


1.4         Objectives of the Study


The following objectives guided this study:


  1. To find out the types of reference and information services provided by librarians infederal academic libraries in KogiState.


  1. To identify the interpersonal communication skills possessed by librarians forreference and information services in federal academic libraries in Kogi State.


  1. To find out the interpersonal communication skills utilize by librarians forreference and information services in federal academic libraries in Kogi State.


  1. To determine theeffect of interpersonal communication skills possessed by the librariansfor reference and information services in federal academic libraries in Kogi State.










1.5         Significance of the Study


This study would be significant to the following by providing an insight to the immerse benefit, importance, the role and how to improve interpersonal communication effectiveness:


  1. Management of the Federal University, Lokoja


  1. Management of the Federal Polytechnic, Idah


  • Management of the Federal College of Education, Okene


  1. Academic librarians


  1. Library clientele/users


  1. Reference and information services systems of academic libraries studied


  • Management of institutions


  • Other academic libraries


  1. Students researching in Library and Information Science



1.6         Scope of the Study


This study covered the library of Federal Institutions in Kogi State cutting across university, polytechnic and college of education, namely; Federal University Lokoja, Federal Polytechnic Idah, and Federal College of Education, Okene respectively. However, it excluded state and private institutions in Kogi State. The reason for excluding these libraries was that the state and private institutions had limited funds to finance their library compare to federal institutions.














1.7         Operational Definition of Terms


The terms used are defined operationally as follows:


Academic Libraries: These are libraries that are attached to a higher education institution which serves two complementary purposes to support the school‟s curriculum and to support research work.


Information Services: Assistance rendered to library clientele/users that are or can be known about a given topic, communicable knowledge of something by reference librarians


Interpersonal Communication Skills: The ability of reference librarian to carry out one to one conversation with information user within the physical library setting effectively.


Reference Librarian: A librarian employed in a reference department, who is responsible for providing helpful information in response to queries posed by users of the library


Reference Services: Information assistance given to information seeker at the reference section of a library toward where and which information material can meet the user‟s need.































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