Partnerships for broadening access to information: the case of University of Zimbabwe Library

KUSEKWA, Lovemore and MUNYORO, Jonathan and CHIKONZO, Agnes, C. (2016) Partnerships for broadening access to information: the case of University of Zimbabwe Library. 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

Partnerships for broadening access to information: the case of University of Zimbabwe Library

Libraries have for long considered partnerships and collaborations as vital strategies to use in achieving their goals and objectives. The need for African libraries to focus on collaborations is even more imperative in the 21st century environment characterized by dwindling library budgets and rising costs of acquiring core textbooks and journal subscriptions. Academic Libraries are pressed with the need to provide a new approach to reach out to diverse groups of library users who include people with special needs and a new generation of young students. The task of libraries in Zimbabwe is not made easier by the persistent harsh economic conditions and competing institutional financial priorities. This paper profiles how the University of Zimbabwe Library has managed to establish and equip a Disability Resource Centre Library with assistive technologies such as pearl reading camera and book embossers for users with special needs and remodel its spaces to include facilities such as the Collaborative Learning Centre and postgraduate laboratory meant to provide postgraduate students with a dedicated environment where they can do their research. Collaborative Learning Centres are becoming an important feature in 21st Century libraries as they allow students and staff to be involved in collaborative learning and research activities and encourage students to reach out to one another to solve research problems and share knowledge that will help build collaboration skills and lead to better research. The paper will also profile how the seminar room in the library was remodelled and equipped with state of the art equipment and a sound system. All these developments were made possible courtesy of collaboration with a local bank and a philanthropic organization. The concept of using partnerships and collaborations to broaden access to information and provide inclusive library and information services should inspire other academic libraries in Africa.

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