Rural Library Services in Zambia:their development and prospects

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Walusiku, Likukela
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Libraries have a potential to contribute to rural development in developing countries.Their role as providers and facilitators for the use of information is an important element in rural development.This potential has not been fully utilised.Using the above assumptions as a starting point,this study will discuss the growth,contribution and the potential of rural libraries in Zambia.An outline of the aims of the study,the methods used in data gathering and description of the study area serve to introduce the study.The concepts and issues which are fundamental to any library in society are eaxmined.The concepts of development and that of information as a national resource are discussed.The role of rural libraries as providers of development information is sketched.These concepts provide the theoretical basis for an assessment of the role of rural libraries in Society.The provision of information in rural Zambia with particular reference to the role of Zambia library Service is discussedThis includes an analysis of the historical foundations of rural libraries in Zambia with a view of putting perspective the current rural library scene.Furthermore,other providers of information in rural Zambia are described.Problems associated with the provision of rural library service in developing countries,with particular reference to Zambia are discussed.Problems include illiteracy,lack of financial support,non existence of a legal framework,retrogressive social and cultural norms,underdeveloped publishing industry,lack of cooperation between rural information providers,marginalisation of library services and the conflicts inherent in Zambian librarianship.A Strategy for running a viable rural library service in a predominantly illiterate society is proposed.The role of a library in a rural setting in terms of combating illiteracy,preservation of indegenous knowledge and provision of information technology provide in light of the Zambian experience and the role of community information centres are discussed.A Concluding section summarises the issues which have been raised by the study and briefly discuss the future of rural libraries in Zambia.Furthermore,possible themes for further study is given.
Library Services , Libraries and rural development