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Interpersonal relationships: students, teachers and librarians in university libraries of Pakistan

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Purpose ‐ The purpose of this paper is to assess students-teachers-librarians interpersonal relationships; and to assess student attitudes towards library staff attitudes, library services and user-education programmes in the university libraries of Pakistan. Design/methodology/approach ‐ A multi-disciplinary approach is used. Questionnaires and semi-structured interviews are utilised in the study together with discussions under interview conditions with the experts. Findings ‐ The literature shows the librarians' slightly negative attitude to relationships, but interestingly students and teachers' responses reveal a much more positive view of support and accessibility by the library staff. The majority of students' written responses point out more positive interpersonal relationships than the literature indicated. Verbal responses show antagonistic attitudes in some cases towards library staff. It is shown that interpersonal relationships are not as disappointing as shown in the literature and the qualitative study of experts' views, but still there is much to be done to improve the meaningfulness of the educational use of the library by improving the interpersonal relationships. It finds the factors affecting the successful interpersonal relationships as: lack of professional training, collaboration and satisfactory working conditions seem to be crucial for the meaningful interpersonal attitude. Research limitations/implications ‐ The study examines the interpersonal relationships in the ten university libraries of Pakistan. Practical implications ‐ The information can be useful for librarians and information specialists for developing positive working relationships. Librarians can play their role effectively in attracting and educating the users to wealth of information contained in Pakistani libraries. Originality/value ‐ Very few studies on interpersonal relationship have been conducted in Pakistan. The key points that emerge that interpersonal relationships play a major part in developing attitudes towards library services and user education; antagonistic attitudes are evidenced in some cases towards library staff in the verbal responses from students (strongly) and teachers (less strongly). The myth that librarians are uncooperative with students and teachers is not well supported by the research.
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Keywords: Interpersonal relations; Pakistan; University libraries

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2009-05-22

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