Library report shines light on developing world

Fresh light on how academic libraries in low- and medium-income economies are contributing to universities has been shed in a new report.

August 6, 2013

Library Value in the Developing World, released today and written by Nell McCreadie, group marketing manager of publisher SAGE, draws on surveys and interviews with librarians in 11 countries ranging from Honduras and Indonesia to Uganda, Ukraine and Zimbabwe.

She notes that while initiatives to provide electronic access to journals in developing countries “have resulted in substantial availability of scholarly information”, the downside is that “e-resources are not always being accessed and used”.

According to the report, a fifth of faculty surveyed “do not use, or are not aware of, their electronic resource collection”. Half are unaware of services available from their library other than “access to resources”. A sixth do not even know who to contact within the library.

Since some of the problems are structural, the report points to the need for “more developing country voices in international debates on availability, access and use of research”.

On the ground, however, what is often needed is “an increased level of investment in marketing the library”, leading to “increased engagement between individual libraries and their academic staff…Developing research partnerships, integrated teaching, research services and literacy instruction were all considered part of the ‘reinvented’ librarian role, beyond providing access to resources.”

Library Value in the Developing World builds on SAGE’s 2012 report, Working Together: evolving value for academic libraries, which presented the findings of eight case studies from the UK, the US and Scandinavia.

matthew.reisz@tsleducation.com

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