The prime aim of any academic library is to satisfy its users by providing materials to meet their educational, research, information and recreational needs. The library cannot achieve these aims without ‘good will’ and co-operation of its public. Thus, the library needs public relations in its effort to achieve its aims.
The importance of public relations in academic libraries are as follows:
1.Public relations influences and create confidence for library services in the public in various ways, such as making the public aware of the services and policies of the library. Develop knowledge and understanding of a new reorganization or new initiative introduced by the library.
2.Public relations helps in opening up the world of books and knowledge better and more completely than would otherwise be possible by bringing together clientele, collections and services. It helps to make better contact between the library staff and the public, so that what is known can be enlarged upon and used more fully.
3. Public relations bring about co-operation among professional colleagues creating a sense of oneness thereby improving relationship. This relationship can lead to mutual collaboration wherein one library receives and extends help from and to another library.
4.Public relations helps to make better contact between the librarians and the public, this give the librarian opportunity to create a good image of the library which can lead to an increase in the utilization of library services and resources.
5. In academic institution, there is a tendency for people especially students to be stuck in grooves and become dull and lazy about the academic work. A public relations that is well conceived and carried out can help correct such negative tendencies and become a means for energizing people to creating better harmony.
6. Public relations help to keep tab on the external environment so as to gather outside opinions/comments and pass on this information to the library management for possible consideration.
7. Public relations in an academic library will help to keep the various publics informed about policy, functions and services of the library as well increase the staff knowledge and understanding.
8. Good public relations will help librarians get more support from their parent organizations and the public in terms of personnel, budgets and equipment. It is believed that improving librarians living and working conditions depends to a great extent on librarians themselves persuading, explaining and bargaining.
9. Quite a number of new students do not know what a library is, what services it provides, or what benefits they can gain from it, public relations will help to publicize and market the functions and services of the library.
10. In Bangladesh, most academic library’s social image is not very good. Public relations as the art of portraying an image should change what people formerly thought of the library by improving our services and communicating with readers, in order to enlarge the library’s influence within society.