Evaluating Lubuto Library Collections: A Case Study in Dynamic and Strategic Children’s Collection Development

GILES, Elizabeth (2015) Evaluating Lubuto Library Collections: A Case Study in Dynamic and Strategic Children’s Collection Development. Paper presented at: IFLA WLIC 2015 - Cape Town, South Africa in Session 162 - Libraries for Children and Young Adults.

Bookmark or cite this item: http://library.ifla.org/id/eprint/1095
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Language: English (Original)
Available under licence Creative Commons Attribution.

Abstract

Evaluating Lubuto Library Collections: A Case Study in Dynamic and Strategic Children’s Collection Development

Collection development in African public libraries is often dependent upon book donation programs from Europe and the United States, a reality that prevents many libraries from serving their communities with relevant and current resources. Children’s collections are often the most neglected, and research evaluating the efficacy of children’s collections in African countries is largely non-existent. Consequently, children’s librarians seeking to strategically improve their collections have limited information upon which to base collection development aims. There is a critical need for libraries serving children to explore the unique needs, interests, and perceptions of their users in order to develop collections that are holistic, responsive, appealing, and child-centered. The focus of this research is preliminary data from an exploratory, mixed-methods study being conducted at two children’s in Lusaka libraries run by Lubuto Library Partners. Lubuto Library Partners is a non-profit organization that creates open access libraries for children and youth starting in Zambia. The study, comprised of interviews, focus groups, and use tracking, provides insight into collection strengths and weaknesses, use of the collections, and factors impacting utilization. This paper makes use of the preliminary in-house use data to illustrate the existing collections and current usage patterns. The preliminary data shows wide variation in usage patterns between the libraries, providing early insight into the significance of strategic and locally responsive collection development aims based on the unique needs of children and their communities. The paper also discusses interview findings from 34 interviews conducted with library users. Insights and recommendations derived from this research will inform the development of a well-defined core collection for African children and youth. It also provides a valuable guide for collection development throughout the continent and strengthens the case for increased investment in improving the quality and impact of library services for young people.

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