A Proposed Partnership Model for University Libraries in Zimbabwe

A Proposed Partnership Model for University Libraries in Zimbabwe

Blessing Chiparausha (Bindura University of Science Education, Zimbabwe) and Collence Takaingenhamo Chisita (Harare Polytechnic, Zimbabwe & University of South Africa, South Africa)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-0043-9.ch001
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Literature suggests that partnerships among libraries are important as they help with resource sharing and cost-cutting in the areas of expertise, information and communication technologies, library resources, subscriptions, publications, and library space. The chapter explores the literature on how libraries have been partnering for strategic reasons. Challenges and opportunities related to partnerships were also identified. The article seeks to find out whether there is a need to conduct further studies on the reception of the proposed Creative Library Partnership model by ZULC. Borrowing from success stories realized elsewhere, the authors make recommendations for the Zimbabwe University Libraries Consortium (ZULC) and other library consortia to adopt the Creative Library Partnership model. A follow-up survey asks: how Zimbabwe university libraries have been partnering, challenges, and opportunities associated with those partnerships.
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Introduction And Background

The twenty first century has seen the proliferation of library consortia as a response to the complexities and instabilities of the information landscape. Even though library consortia are more pronounced in developed and resource endowed countries, Africa has not been spared as evidenced by the growing number of such institutions. The twenty-first millennium has been characterised by the increased changeover from exclusivity to inclusivity as proven by the heighted momentum of libraries coming together for a common cause. Sacchanand (2012) views collaboration as a partnership ranging from simple or informal to more formal approaches, necessary, desirable, inevitable, and a key initiative and strategic management to cope with changes and challenges in the digital world. The author states that collaborative partnerships that are efficient and effective are critical in building world libraries and developing futuristic and sustainable programmes. Giordano, (2017) highlights that state of progress and the details of implementation in various countries of initiatives to share digital information resources are dependent upon current investment policies to develop the information society on many factors of a historical, social, and cultural nature that have determined the evolution and consolidation of cooperation practices specific to each context.

The purpose of this study is to examine the current partnership model among academic libraries in Zimbabwe and propose an alternative model to spur innovation with regards to resource sharing.

Research Questions

The study was guided by the following research questions:

  • 1.

    What is the current model of partnership among academic libraries in Zimbabwe?

  • 2.

    What are the challenges and opportunities of partnerships among academic libraries in Zimbabwe?

  • 3.

    Which model of partnership can leverage academic libraries in Zimbabwe?

  • 4.

    How can such a model be applied to the Zimbabwean academic library scenario?

Statement of the Problem

The knowledge dispensation and its ubiquitous information and communication technologies (ICTs) are providing libraries with opportunities to reinvent themselves through partnerships. The United Nations Sustainable Development (SDG) goal number 17 acknowledges the interconnectedness of the world and the need to improve share knowledge to foster information. Even though this goal is concerned with the North –South cooperation it is also applicable to cooperation among libraries at various levels. Currently, academic libraries in Zimbabwe partnered to create a collaborative forum known as the Zimbabwe University library Consortium (ZULC). Cooperation in ZULC is based on an alliance model of partnership whereby members pursue a set of agreed upon goals to actualise business goals. Hirsch (2016) views alliances as more or less formalised groupings of convenience formed to achieve collective change or to defend a status quo. Bailey-Hainter, Beaubien, Posner and Simpson (2014, 7-12) urges librarians to rethink current policies, procedures, and practices, and advocate for creative resource sharing through national and international library associations. The authors also emphasize the need for librarians to educate themselves as to the best practices, and partner with other libraries. Currently library partnerships among academic libraries are centred on resource sharing and access to electronic resources, yet there are opportunities to broaden these to cover community engaged scholarship, storage, continuums professional development and internet connectivity among other issues. The adoption of a creative library partnership model will transform. Libraries are likely to benefit if they adopt a creative partnership model that transcend beyond general and traditional resource sharing involving inter-library loans.

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