IFLA Journal: Table of Contents
COVID-19 information seeking and utilization among library and information science professionals in Nigeria
IFLA Journal, Ahead of Print.
Like many countries, Nigeria’s library services were affected by COVID-19. This study (conducted in 2020) examined the priorities and barriers for information seeking and use by library and information science professionals in Nigeria, including what type of information was sought, the sources used and how these were evaluated. An online survey, with questions informed by a literature survey, was sent to library and information science professionals in Nigeria with WhatsApp accounts (individual and library and information science group accounts). The responses were automatically collected and saved into Google Sheets for further analysis using descriptive statistics. There were 167 responses (61% response rate). The main information needs were causes of the virus, COVID-19 symptoms, providing library services during physical library closure, the timing of reopening, and staff and user safety measures required for library reopening. The respondents were also concerned about COVID-19 test procedures and transmission mechanisms, treatment (including herbal medicines), vaccines, government policy and restrictions on movement. The main information sources used were the Internet (including government and World Health Organization websites), social media, television and radio. The authority, reliability, currency and relevance of the information were considered when evaluating COVID-19 information consulted, and were using the information primarily to ‘keep safe’ in accordance with government regulations, to provide library services on time and to plan for safe reopening. The barriers to information seeking and use were technical (poor telecommunications), financial (lack of funds to purchase resources) and physical (library closures). One barrier was the volume of information (both reliable and unreliable). Verification was viewed as important but seemingly difficult to do. The respondents were concerned about the safe and effective operation of library services. Library and information science professionals in Nigeria may need advice from health professionals on the most reliable sources of information on COVID-19 and how to use them for themselves and their users.