Mitigating the Infodemic Associated with the COVID-19 Pandemic: Roles of Nigerian Librarians Copy

10.22492.ijl.10.1.04

Authors:
Afebuameh James Aiyebelehin, Ambrose Alli University, Nigeria
Faith O. Mesagan, University of Nigeria, Nigeria
Email: [email protected]
https://doi.org/10.22492/ijl.10.1.04

Citation: Aiyebelehin, A. J., & Mesagan, F. O. (2021). Mitigating the Infodemic Associated with the COVID-19 Pandemic: Roles of Nigerian Librarians. IAFOR Journal of Literature & Librarianship, 10(1). https://doi.org/10.22492/ijl.10.1.04


Abstract

This study investigates how Nigerian librarians are mitigating the infodemic caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The descriptive survey design was adopted for the study. The entire population of Nigerian librarians in major social media platforms of the Nigerian Library Association and its sections were used for the study. An online survey administered through Google forms was used. A total of 186 librarians responded to the survey. The data was analysed with percentages and presented in charts. The findings show that: the majority (80%) agreed that there is infodemic in Nigeria. The major roles played by the librarians in mitigating the infodemic are: correction of misconceptions online (54.8%), posting of official information online(47.8%), and provision of authentic sources to COVID-19 guidelines (39.8%); the majority (91.1%) of the librarians played these roles as personal initiatives; majority (79%) of them believe their roles have been effective; and the major challenges facing their efforts are the issue of low bandwidth (59.1%), distrust for official information (31%) and regard for myths (29%). The implication of these findings is that most of the efforts made by Nigerian librarians to curb the spread of fake news associated with the corona virus were mainly personal initiatives. This further implies that a majority of Nigerian libraries do not have plans and policies in place to ensure service delivery in emergency situations. It was recommended, among others, that Nigerian librarians should go beyond online efforts to use traditional methods in order to reach a larger part of the populace without access to the internet.

Keywords

COVID-19, fake news, infodemic, librarians, Nigerian, social media