Library and Information Services for Rural Community Development in Africa: Problems and Prospects

NWOKOCHA, Udo and CHIMAH, Jonathan Ndubuisi (2016) Library and Information Services for Rural Community Development in Africa: Problems and Prospects. 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.

Bookmark or cite this item: http://library.ifla.org/id/eprint/2081
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Language: English (Original)
Available under licence Creative Commons Attribution.

Abstract

Library and Information Services for Rural Community Development in Africa: Problems and Prospects

The African population is still predominantly illiterates and rural dwellers. That majority of these group of people are not educated does not imply that they do not have information needs. The information service delivered to the grassroots in Africa is poor and adversely affects their life pattern. Librarians, particularly those in public libraries that might have received adequate training in library schools on community information service are therefore challenged. Libraries in Africa provide information in order to educate, inform, entertain, recreate, and enlighten the users. Their social, cultural, craft and technological needs are identified through their information seeking behaviour. Libraries facilitate the provision of information needs for development of the rural communities by the involvement and use of human and material resources. However, the satisfaction of information needs of the rural communities depends on the extent or adequacy resources and effectiveness of staff in utilizing available resources. This ultimately enable the users acquire greater skills and experiences for development of the rural communities. Adequate provision of library services is a fundamental determinant of the extent to which information needs are provided for grass-root development of every rural community in Africa. Rural dwellers have need for information services which will impact their social, cultural, demographic, educational, craft and technical challenges to promote community development at the grass-root level. It is against this backdrop that this paper attempts to explore rural libraries in Africa with a particular reference to history, characteristics, challenges and prospect of library services towards socio-economic development. Subsequently recommendations based on findings are made for enhanced library and information services in the community libraries which eventually will foster socio-economic development in Africa.

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