Public and community libraries in Limpopo Province, South Africa: prospects and challenges
AbstractAcceleration of access to information through the provision of library and information services to rural communities is recognised with much appreciation by the library and information services (LIS) sector in South Africa. As more community libraries are being built and public libraries refurbished, it becomes important to investigate whether these library and information service centres meet the information needs of the communities they serve. This paper is a report of a qualitative and quantitative study that investigated the prospects and challenges for public and community libraries in Limpopo Province, South Africa. For data collection, a questionnaire with closed- and open-ended questions was distributed to staff in selected public and community libraries in Limpopo Province to complete. The study revealed that most of the challenges to the provision of access to library and information services in Limpopo Province are related to outdated and irrelevant materials, small buildings, lack of databases, insufficient internet access and connectivity, as well as lack of materials for people living with disabilities. It seems, therefore, that there are information needs that cannot be met by even newly established and improved libraries and information service centres. Studies of this nature in the country will make it possible to propose possible solutions and strategies for the future improvement of LIS, especially for future implementation of the national LIS policy for South Africa.
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