Parliamentary library services in South Africa

  • B.J. Mostert Department of Library and Information Science, University of Zululand
Keywords: Parliament libraries, South Africa


Parliamentary libraries are important in their principal role as information providers to parliamentarians. They are expected to offer a wide variety of specialized services, often under very pressing conditions. Despite not being very effective on the African continent, the South African parliamentary libraries are valued service centers known to actively disseminate information. This study aimed to determine their role as information providers. A survey, in the form of a questionnaire, was used to obtain data about the libraries and the services they provide. It was found that depending on the staff available the libraries offered a number of services to parliamentarians, which ranged from lending services to providing in-depth reports on issues of the day. Library collections ranged from printed sources to electronic and audiovisual records. Computers are used in all the libraries, both for administrative purposes and for information acquisition and dissemination. Numerous innovative methods have been adopted to inform users about the available services, and presently, the electronic medium is also used as an alerting tool.
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