Enhancing access to library services through the formation of partnerships

GOZO, Agnes Joyce (2016) Enhancing access to library services through the formation of partnerships. Paper presented at: IFLA WLIC 2016 – Columbus, OH – Connections. Collaboration. Community in Session S27 - Africa. In: Building Cross Cultural Capacities for Universal Access to Information and Knowledge in Africa, 11-12 August 2016, Athens, Ohio, USA.

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Language: English (Original)
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Abstract

Enhancing access to library services through the formation of partnerships

The University of South Africa (Unisa) is the largest Open Distance Learning University on the African continent, with a student enrolment of more than 400 000 students. The Library emphasises the importance of access to information resources and services, to students wherever they are. The digital divide on the African continent poses a challenge to achieving this dream. In order to achieve this dream, to date, the Library has established 43 partnerships, which include five international partnerships. The partnerships are governed by a three year renewable memorandum of understanding. The purpose of this paper is to share the Unisa Library’s experience pertaining to the formation of partnerships. The presentation will highlight the types of partnerships which Unisa Library has established; including partnerships with municipalities, public libraries and academic libraries. The purpose of these partnerships is to extend access to library services and information resources to clients in remote and rural areas. The partnership libraries facilitate access to Unisa information resources through the provision of free internet access. Unisa Library has also established courier delivery points at some partner libraries which are far from post offices in order to improve the efficiency of delivering books. Unisa Library adds value to the partnerships by providing continuous staff development training to the librarians of the partner libraries. From the training evaluations, the training is greatly appreciated by the librarians. In one municipality agreement, fifty –six public libraries benefitted from the extensive training that the professional librarians received from Unisa as part of the agreement. Partnership formation has provided great opportunities for the Unisa Library as an ODL Library to extend its services to areas where students do not have access to the internet. Partnerships have also proved to be beneficial to the partner libraries.

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