The provision of quality information has remained the hallmark of the library profession since the introduction of the concept of service, which in turn is powered by the various technological and paradigmatic shifts that have permeated the profession for some decades now. Whereas these changes have phenomenally rendered the old concept of the library as a “warehouse of knowledge” inadequate and unacceptable, Library and Information Science professionals have kept their eyes peeled for emerging technologies for professional relevance and sustainability. With the emergence of Covid-19 and its attendant restrictive protocols on physical movement, the library may have to seek better service provision models to retain its pride of place as an information provider.
Libraries in the developed economies have continued to leverage the advantage that technology offers to innovatively align the library profession to international best practices despite the growing encroachment concerns of allied professions. In contrast, the libraries of the less developed countries (that are merely surviving) appeared stuck on conventional models at the expense of impact. How the latter libraries will survive and thrive during pandemics and their resultant lockdowns hanged in the balance if the status quo is maintained. This is because the knowledge of information-seekers about information sources and their modes of retrieval has increased astronomically today than it was half a decade ago.
For the libraries in the less-developed climes to adequately and proactively respond to the information yearnings of patrons in times of physical restriction, this paper proposes the deployment of social media tools for the following reasons: (i) there is a growing preference for information disseminated through social media platforms over the conventionally transmitted ones, (ii) the unprecedented popularity of social media and its growing usage statistics are indications of patrons’ migration from the conventional library environment to one that is digital, (iii) with internet-based information services, users may never feel the need to use the physical library or consult a librarian for social, academic, and research engagements anymore, and (iv) service provision models that offer customers multiple options of service delivery garner greater acceptance support than others.
Consequently, the paper would present the strengths and weaknesses inherent in social media and the traditional models of information service provision with a view to drawing logical conclusions. Furthermore, the paper would present some social media usage statistics and highlight the rationale for the growing preference and popularity of information transmitted over the platform against those disseminated physically. Also, strategies for ensuring the virtual return of lost patrons and the survivability of libraries in the developing worlds would be discussed.
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