Purpose: The aim of this study is to investigate the nature and extent of public relations activities in academic libraries in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. The focus is on understanding how academic libraries conduct and provide their public relations products and services. Design/methodology/approach: The study reported here used the survey method, done in two phases. The first phase consisted of a questionnaire survey and the second phase was a focus group discussion based on the results of the survey. Findings: Although all libraries indicated that public relations are important, a clear majority (72.2 percent) does not have a public relations unit or division, they have a very small number of staff involved in public relations work, and half of the responding libraries (50 percent) do not have full-time staff for public relations. Library web site, traditional mail, displays and bulletin boards and library guides/brochures are major channels of communication. The study also reported on the main problems that prevent academic libraries from performing effective PR activities. Practical implications: The results have implications for the planning and development of public relations programs and activities in academic libraries in GCC countries. It also indicates existing obstacles, suggestion and recommendations for further development. Originality/value: This study reports the results of one of the few studies of public relations in academic libraries in developing countries. It increases the understanding and awareness of what public relations encompasses and how it can be utilized. It also advocates that the social media should be used in promoting library resources and services. Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
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