Library value in the developing world, new study published

SAGE, in consultation with Claire Creaser of LISU the national research and information centre based at Loughborough University (UK), and Lucy Browse of International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP) have published the results of a research study, Library Value in the Developing World.

The final report has been published and can be downloaded for free here.  Below is a summary of the study and findings, from the SAGE website.

Raising awareness of how the library supports teaching and research staff is key to demonstrating library value in developing countries, concludes a new report published today. The findings are the result of a six-month research study with twelve developing country institutions conducted by SAGE exploring perceptions of the value of academic libraries by teaching and research staff in developing countries.

‘Library Value in the Developing World’ reports that developing country librarians are beginning to recognize the importance of evaluating their value for research and teaching staff. Communicating the value of their role however remains a key challenge. Librarians noted that whilst they receive positive feedback about the resource collections they provide, there is limited awareness of how librarians can better support research and teaching staff beyond these traditional parameters.

Chief considerations

Outlined in the report are examples of best practice from the case study institutions, along with recommendations on how working relations between academic libraries and stakeholders could be enhanced. These include:

  • Communication
    The report highlights the value of increased engagement between individual libraries and their academic staff to help reinforce their changing role in supporting academia and in supporting training and advice. Developing research partnerships, integrated teaching, research services and literacy instruction were all considered part of the ‘reinvented’ librarian role, beyond providing access to resources. The report suggests that librarians are building an increased understanding of marketing skills, as well as developing external relationships with the scholarly community to promote advocacy for the library.
  • Support from the university
    Universities can also help to build awareness of the role of the library, the report advises, by investing in the professional development of librarians in both their provision of research and teaching skills, and by enabling librarians more contact time with research and teaching staff. It also advises that the University provide internal marketing support to help raise the status and recognition of librarians and the value they add to the work of academic colleagues and senior managers.
  • Collaboration with publishers
    There are also considerations for publishers. The report advises that further research be conducted to understand the ongoing needs of developing-country libraries and their work. Part of this includes the adaptation of marketing and online resources to enable greater access for those in developing countries.

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Library Value in the Developing World, a follow up to the 2012 study conducted with LISU “Working together: evolving value for academic libraries”, was undertaken by SAGE, in consultation with Claire Creaser of LISU the national research and information centre based at Loughborough University (UK), and Lucy Browse of International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP).

The findings are based on a series of surveys, interviews and case studies with twelve developing country institutions; Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Honduras; Indonesian Research Institute; University of Cape Coast, Ghana; National Scientific Library, Georgia; Maseno University, Kenya; Convenant University and Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria; University of the Philippines Visayas, Philippines; University of Thies, Senegal; Makerere University, Uganda; Institute of Intellectual Property of National University Kiev, Ukraine, and the University of Zimbabwe.