Optimizing New Technologies, Knowledge Management and Service Delivery in Public Libraries
Oluyemi Folorunso Ayanbode
Optimizing new technologies, knowledge management (KM) and service delivery are like triplets sharing the same placenta. So, the aim of this article is to illustrate the connections among optimizing new technologies, KM and service delivery in the context of public libraries. Let’s define the first concept. What is technology optimization? Technology optimization is the process of making adequate use of available technologies, in order to enhance business operations and processes. Importantly, users must understand how a particular technology works, in order to make optimal use of it. Consequently, the level of such understanding accounts for the limited or extensive use of the same technology by different people in organizations. Significantly, ”Technology optimization leverages human factors, principles, and best practices to ensure that technology solutions meet and exceed business objectives through proper planning, operational preparation, organized deployment, and ongoing performance measurement” (NCR Corporation, 2019). Hence, optimization of new technologies is both individual and organization dependent.
—Technologies are drivers of efficiencies and productivity in different organizations.—
Moreover, technologies are drivers of efficiencies and productivity in different organizations. Also, they promote competitiveness by which organizations thrive. Therefore, public libraries need to constantly audit the level of compliance, assess, fine-tune, and improve the use of technologies to derive maximum added values. According to Mittal (2017), the emergence of new technologies has put a great impact on libraries. As a result, people have changed the way they think, behave, communicate, and work. The operations and processes in libraries have also changed to the extent that the working of libraries has totally moved from service-oriented to user-oriented.
In public libraries, the optimization of new technologies for effective service delivery usually depends intricately on KM. More so, that the creation, capturing, use, reuse and transfer of explicit and tacit knowledge during service delivery demands collaboration among service providers. Complementarily, technologies foster the sharing and management of such information and knowledge. Therefore, repositioning public libraries for effective library service delivery demands adopting a holistic approach. To this end, there should be a synergy between the approaches to effective service delivery, and the approaches to optimizing technologies. Above all, the deployment of appropriate KM strategies is crucial to using new technologies for effective service delivery. Why?
This is because KM involves strategic creation, transfer of best techniques, and best practices of technologies use among personnel in an organization. It also involves retaining this knowledge so that other stakeholders and employees in the organization can reuse the knowledge in the future. Similarly, Ayanbode and Nwagwu (2020) opine that KM encompasses a deliberate and strategic cross-fertilisation of ideas, intuitions, skills, expertise, information, and knowledge for effective personal, collective professional development and efficiency.
Although strategies employed in managing knowledge include codification, building of knowledge repositories, collaboration, communities of practice (CoPs), teaming, and human resource management (Omotayo, 2015), it is possible to deploy technologies in all the strategies. In short, if public libraries in Nigeria are to stand the test of time, all stakeholders must rethink harnessing the best practices of technologies use for effective KM and service delivery. Certainly, optimizing old and new technologies is critical to fostering effective codification and personalization among library personnel.
Approaches to effective library service delivery
The scope of library and information services is changing significantly and is moving parallel with technological advancement. In the same vein, obvious changes are taking place in library and information centres as well as products and services they offer, so much that the waves of new technologies have the potential of placing higher demands on librarians and information professionals (Anyanwu, Uche & Ossai-Onah, 2014). More so, there is a need for re-designing and transforming library and information centres and their services, to meet the demands of contemporary societies.
Presently, we cannot afford to use the same old methods and strategies of offering services to library users and expect them to be effective. Hence, approaches to effective library service delivery in public libraries should include: KM, information marketing, formulation of viable library policies, formulation of viable ICT policies, acquisition and provision of relevant and functional ICT facilities, and the use of technology to foster library services delivery (Onuoha, Anyanwu, Ossai-Onah, & Amaechi, 2015; Amaechi, Enweani & Eke, 2018; Kumar, 2013; Kumarjit & Mohan, 2014).
Technology options for effective Knowledge Management and service delivery in public libraries
According to Garland (2018), libraries have always been about sharing knowledge, culture, and skills, so the new digital services are just one way of engaging with customers and providing them with services. Firstly, to help them, and secondly, to make their lives easier. Therefore, there are many new technology options available to public libraries to achieve their goals. Nevertheless, technologies do not automatically deliver unless one fully integrates them into the operations and processes. Moreover, there are proofs that well-integrated technologies will not only positively impact effective KM among library personnel, they equally have a great and positive impact on effective service delivery.
Specific examples and the implications
For instance, modern libraries have also started web-based services to provide more comfortable services to library users. These services include web access to e-materials like e-books, e-journals, e-thesis, and so on. Basically, users can get the user id and password from the library and can access the material on the library website via their user id and password. In like manner, users can even make queries, see any notification from the librarian, and chat with the librarian and so on on using the Web 2.0 services. Therefore, optimizing Web 2.0 tools for service delivery in the libraries include their use in creating and fostering communication of news and information to users, and marketing library services, events, and resources (Chua & Goh, 2010; Li, 2013; Muruli & Gireesh Kumar, 2013; Okite-Amughoro, 2017).
For example, New York Public Libraries are using Blogs significantly for social-content marketing (Dankowski, 2013). For this reason, librarians in public libraries in Nigeria should be proactive in creating specific subject blogs that capture the need of users, and trigger their interest. Evidence has equally shown that Wikis are used in libraries to enable personal and group learning and knowledge sharing. Likewise, public libraries in Nigeria can use Flickr to share photo collections of workshops, conferences, and different programmes they organise. Furthermore, some other technologies used in libraries as identified by Garland (2018), Kowalczyk (2018), and Mittal, (2017) include: Intelligent Return and Sorter System, Web OPAC, (Online Public Access Catalogue), RFID (Radio Frequency Identification), Virtual reality, Open Libraries, Cloud printing, copying, and scanning, Free WiFi, Robots, Kinetic bikes in the library, Streaming services, Microbits, Blockchain technology, Drones and so on. So, what approaches to technology optimization should libraries adopt?
Approaches to technology optimization
One of the crucial approaches to technology optimization is effective KM or KM optimization, though. Such must entail, first, making adequate use of the codification and personalization strategies and other KM initiatives of the libraries, and second, leveraging human factors, technologies, principles, and best KM practices to ensure that the goals of the public libraries are met. For instance, constant collaboration: Librarians and other library staff should constantly network to share expertise and skills needed, to effectively adopt and use technologies. Moreover, other approaches to technology optimization include: innovativeness in the application of available technologies, innovativeness in the creation of new applications or websites, augmentation of old technologies, and the full deployment of new technologies (Anthony, 2014; Onuoha et al., 2015; Potnis et al., 2019). So, any connections between technology optimization, knowledge management and service delivery? Figure 1 further answers the question.
Figure 1 presents the connections: optimizing new technologies for effective knowledge management and service delivery in public libraries.
This paper argues that optimizing new technologies for effective KM and service delivery in public libraries demands stakeholders’ understanding of the nexuses among new technologies optimization, effective KM, and library service delivery. Moreover, understanding that effective knowledge management is indispensable to effective use of new technologies, and also to library service delivery cannot be overemphasized. Hence, there are clear connections as illustrated in Figure 1. In short, the insights provided by this paper could be useful to the public libraries’ management in making policies on how to better reposition their libraries for effective knowledge management and library service delivery.
Besides, this paper has proposed a framework that could be tested empirically, and be useful to scholars, researchers and policy makers. More implications include: first, Library personnel should assess their KM activities with a view to re-engineering their KM initiatives for effective service delivery. Second, there is a dire need for mind re-orientation of Library and Information Professionals (especially in a developing country like Nigeria) to change from being conservative to being innovative. Third, constant training and retraining on the use of new technologies should be encouraged among public library staff.
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Cite this article in APA as: Ayanbode, O. F. (2022, February 10). Optimizing new technologies, knowledge management and service delivery to public libraries. Information Matters, Vol. 2, Issue 2. https://r7q.22f.myftpupload.com/2022/02/optimizing-new-technologies-knowledge-management-and-service-delivery-in-public-libraries/