An assessment of resource sharing activities among libraries in Zambia

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Zulu, Zachary
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The University of Zambia
Due to the exponential growth and the increasing cost of information resources, it is difficult for a library to acquire all the documents, which are required by the users of a library. Libraries in Zambia are no exception to this paradox. The only way developed by libraries to improve their services to the library user, is by broadening the base of information availability through resources sharing. Sharing of library resources which is an aspect of inter library cooperation means that one library uses the resources of their libraries and vice versa. It is for this reason that this research was conducted. The purpose of this study was to assess the state of resource sharing activities among libraries in Zambia. The study objectives were to establish the state of resource sharing activities obtaining among libraries in Zambia, to ascertain the challenges faced by libraries in resource sharing and to establish whether a policy framework on resource sharing existed in Zambia. Methodology: A survey method was used to collect data from selected libraries in Zambia through self-administered questionnaire and interviews. A purposive sampling procedure was used to select the sample of 41 libraries who constituted past and present members of ZALICO. 7 key informants were targeted for interviews. These included the, the Director National Archives, The president of LIAZ, The Director ZAMREN, The Country representative PERI Zambia, two senior lecturers one each drawn from the UNZA and Evelyn Hone College departments of library studies respectively, and the administrative assistant at ZALICO secretariat, Data collected from the questionnaires were comprehensively analyzed and interpreted using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS). Qualitative data were analyzed thematically as themes and sub themes emerged from the data. Findings: The findings of this study revealed that though some libraries engaged in some form of resource sharing activities the state of resource sharing between libraries was unsatisfactory due to the following factors inadequate funding, lack of a unified national union and institutional framework to promote resource sharing among libraries. The study findings further revealed that libraries would like to share resources within networks in which they had the same preferences. Further, the study identified lack of awareness and sensitization on the importance of resource sharing among libraries and limited education and training among librarians as other forms of obstacles to effective resource sharing. However, the study findings also established that inadequate funding was also a major hindrance to resource sharing activities between libraries in Zambia. High subscription fees demanded by ZALICO were also identified as an obstacle. Conclusions: The study concluded that the state of resource sharing in Zambia is not very satisfactory. In view of these findings, it is therefore recommended that an institutional framework to support resource sharing activities needs to be put in place by LIAZ.LIAZ and ZALICO should step up their efforts in lobbying government to expedite the enactment of the Libraries and Information bill through parliament. This is an important ingredient in operatiolizing the resource sharing institutional framework. There is also need for the ZLA and ZALICO to ensure a national Union catalog is activated and focal points identified as well as raise awareness through workshops and seminars on the importance of resource sharing among libraries. Keywords: Library Consortia, Networking, Resource sharing, Zambia, ZALICO
Interlibrary loans--Zambia , Library cooperation , Library information networks