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Knowledge without boundaries. Public libraries in Africa Perceptions of stakeholders

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Presentation on theme: "Knowledge without boundaries. Public libraries in Africa Perceptions of stakeholders"— Presentation transcript:

1 Knowledge without boundaries

2 Public libraries in Africa Perceptions of stakeholders

3 EIFL EIFL enables access to knowledge through libraries in developing and transition countries to contribute to sustainable economic and social development EIFL currently works with national library consortia in close to 50 developing and transition countries in Africa, Asia and Europe

4 Research context EIFL Public Library Innovation Programme PLIP supports innovative use of technologies for public library services PLIP is funded by BMGF Gap in knowledge about perceptions of public libraries in African countries Source: Sesigo project,Source: Sesigo project, Botswana

5 Why do the study? To understand the perceptions of different stakeholders on public libraries in Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia and Uganda about the potential of public libraries so as to understand how these stakeholders could best be positively influenced to create/fund/support or use public libraries.

6 Other motivations for the work To inform a communications campaign in one or more of these countries To provide a basis for possible local awareness raising and advocacy activities by librarians in these countries To provide local library managers with facts to help strengthen evidence based management

7 Study on the Perceptions of Public Libraries General state of public libraries Current awareness, perceptions and attitudes towards public libraries Role of librarians in local community development Source: Flickr, Book Aid International

8 Methodology A call for expression of interest was sent to market research firms active in the region Technical specifications were developed and sent to those firms that responded suitably to the EoI – TNS and Harris Int. Proposals were evaluated and negotiations entered into with the firm that provided the most competitive offer

9 Perceptions study Carried out by a local market research company –TNS RMS with offices in many countries, including African countries. Led by TNS Nairobi office. Kick off meeting November Final report accepted July 2011 Budget just under $200k. Initial quote by TNS over $400, by Harris over 1 m

10 Methods Personally administered questionnaires and in depth interviews Questionnaires provided by EIFL based on existing good practice in public library research Instruments were slightly adapted by TNS. Translated as needed and piloted locally. African demographic classification used in all countries [LSM]

11 Target groups 1 A survey of users of public libraries [2000]-500 in each of 4 countries A survey of non users of public libraries [1200] -300 in each of 4 countries. A survey of public librarians and library officials [283 in all].

12 Target Groups 2 A survey of local stakeholders. The target population was experts [officials or elected members] related to local authorities/municipalities. Detailed structured interviews with open ended questions, with the stakeholders from the ministries, national agencies and national media

13 Planned Samples

14 Actual Samples

15 Lessons Learned It is very important to give the contractor very clear technical specifications Contract negotiations can significantly influence the price and the details such as sampling It all takes longer than planned! Having local EIFL library coordinators was helpful to the market research firm

16 Lessons Learned Although the structure and content of the final reports must be specified clearly at the start, the client has to get involved in drafting the report to be sure of sensible messages Senior stakeholders can be hard for librarians to identify and hard for interviewers to reach

17 Use of the findings Broad dissemination to the library community nationally and internationally Articles and presentations (IFLA, Ariadne, African Library Summit, IGF) Presentations of findings to media and stakeholders in Ghana, Kenya, Uganda Regional workshop on how to use the findings for awareness raising in 3 countries and 1 year activity planning

18 Evaluating perception change There will be a communications campaign targeting policy makers at local, regional and national level – those that do and those that could fund libraries We plan to do an evaluation of any perception change following the communications campaign

19 Overall findings Awareness of libraries is high even among those not using them General perception about libraries is positive across all groups surveyed Libraries are largely perceived as offering academic related information and therefore seen as an extension of academic study

20 Overall findings Librarians are competent in traditional roles but have limitations in ICT, and in advocacy and fund-raising Libraries need to engage with the community at a more tangible level that goes beyond passively providing books information only Local stakeholders need to evaluate and build on the findings

21 Reports are at

22 Some key findings

23 Associations Libraries are associated with books as well as places for storing and accessing knowledge/information Source: Survey of library users, non users and local officials, EIFL and TNS Research International, 2011

24 Importance Libraries are valued and are seen as important The degree of individual importance of library among non users is slightly lower Source: Survey of library users, non users and local officials, EIFL and TNS Research International, 2011

25 Awareness 53% of library non users are aware of local library 64% of non users claim being too busy 37% could be motivated with more books, more convenience and more technologies Source: Flickr, Book Aid International

26 Purposes The key reason for using libraries is educational There is a gap between reality and expectations Source: Survey of library users and non users, EIFL and TNS Research International, 2011

27 Satisfaction Users satisfaction levels with the library services are fairly high Satisfaction of local officials is slightly lower Source: Survey of library users and local officials, EIFL and TNS Research International, 2011

28 Funding There is almost unanimous agreement that libraries deserve more funding Source: Survey of library users, non users and local officials, EIFL and TNS Research International, 2011

29 Education Libraries potential contribution to learning, literacy and employment is widely accepted Source: Survey of local officials, EIFL and TNS Research International, 2011

30 Economic development Libraries potential contributions to various aspects of economic development are recognized by the vast majority Source: Survey of local officials, EIFL and TNS Research International, 2011

31 Health Libraries potential contributions to various aspects of health improvement are recognized by the vast majority but there are some doubts about their ability to act as venues for health related events Source: Survey of local officials, EIFL and TNS Research International, 2011

32 Communication It is widely recognized that libraries provide a forum for meeting and building relationships even online Source: Survey of local officials, EIFL and TNS Research International, 2011

33 Culture Whilst libraries contribution to culture is widely recognized, there is skepticism about their potential to act as a venue for local cultural events Source: Survey of local officials, EIFL and TNS Research International, 2011

34 Social Inclusion and Community Development Potential to contribute to social inclusion and community development is recognized but there is some skepticism regarding providing event venues and helping the disadvantaged Source: Survey of local officials, EIFL and TNS Research International, 2011

35 Citizen Empowerment, Democracy and E-Government The idea that libraries could disseminate government information is accepted, but the minority disagreement expressed could be an indication that the some governments dont have such services Source: Survey of local officials, EIFL and TNS Research International, 2011

36 Agriculture About three quarters of respondents can see a potential role for libraries in supporting agriculture Source: Survey of local officials, EIFL and TNS Research International, 2011


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