A National Library Service:Purpose and Functions with Special Reference to Zambia

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Lungu, Maposa Ben Charles
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The aim of this study is to establish the need for a Nationally oriented library service in Zambia and to recommend a pattern befiting the special Zambian Circumstances.To do this,firstly the concept and definition of national libraries is examined.Although it is established that there is no definite definition for National library.it is through specific types of library functions that those libraries considered as national are identified.These functions are both numerous and in some cases complex.This has led to the hypothesis that for any library to fulfil national library status,it must be considered'as a libary micro-system by itself;as a component part of the library system of the country,and in its interaction with national libraries of other countries,as an element of the new international system being formed.'Against the hypothesis,the study further develops into the examination of current developments regarding national library services elsewhere.International developments like those inspired by UNESCO and INFLA are discussed.Similary,some regional developments within Africa,and especially the eastern,central and southern African region are examined.Certain developments within some national boundaries are also put into perspective.These developments taking place elsewhere are examined against the background of the devlopments taking place in Zambia itself.Due to the scarcity of Zambian literature on the subject,the final assessment of the Zambian situation is based on results of a questionnaire which was completed simulteneously with detailed interviews of the people in the relevant offices.The scanty literature on the topic was also consulted.However,personal experience with the system not only helped to identify human sources of information,but also helped to identify most of the unpublished documentation used in the study.By themselves,the developments in Zambia are shown to be inadquate and so unco-ordinated that they do not meet the national library hypothesis established earlier.Besides,current library services in Zambia are not sufficiently oriented towards meeting the national political and social aspirartions.In view of the implications from international developments and the need at home some specific suggestions have been offered to improve the situation.The National Library service finally proposed is therefore designed to meet the specific information needs of the ZAmbian community,while it will at the same time optimize all the information resources for the benefit of the Nation.Finally it will co-exist smoothly with National Library servises in other parts of the world,thereby satisfying the current international concept of information resources-sharing
National Library Service , Purpose and function of National libraries