The Future of Readership Development: How ICTs Have Influenced User Habits and Library Acquisitions

The Future of Readership Development: How ICTs Have Influenced User Habits and Library Acquisitions

Elisam Magara (Makerere University, Uganda)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-335-5.ch010
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Abstract

Libraries play an important role in development of human kind, especially in the development of readership among the users. In particular, the development of ICTs has opened up new horizons for the creation, storage, access, distribution, and presentation that has significantly imparted and dramatically changed the fabric of the library user habits. It remains a challenge, however, to most of the libraries regarding which acquisitions models would be adequate for the user’s needs. This chapter attempts to analyse the changing user habits and library acquisition trends and their contribution to the readership development within the ICT environments in developing countries. The chapter attempts to assess how academic libraries, with examples of Makerere University Library, have applied the library acquisition models to address the changing user habits and their implications. The chapter gives strategies for readership development to meet the socio-economic demands of the society.
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Introduction

Libraries play an important role in the development of human kind. To utilise the use of such libraries within the organizational context, the selected and acquisition of information resources have to be evaluated and negotiated for effective use. This is more so with the technological advancements that have opened up new horizons for the creation, storage, access, distribution and presentation of information. This makes the provision and use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in academic libraries a critical issue that requires attention.

ICTs offer today's library users different opportunities compared to their predecessors. ICTs have enabled libraries to transform themselves into digital libraries. For instance, the potentials delivered by African Digital library have demonstrated that People in African region can access information on the Web (Tibenderana, 2004:243).The emergence of World Wide Web (WWW) is perhaps the greatest symbol of the shift in scholarly communication, the new role of management of library resources, the approaches to library acquisitions and to access of the library resources (Magara, 2002:241). This has seen libraries in a shift of storing, managing and using the electronic resources. Electronic resources open up the possibility of searching multiple resources at a time - a feat accomplished more easily than when using the printed equivalents. Electronic resources can be printed and searches can be saved so that they can be repeated at a later date. In addition, electronic resources are convenient to use as users are able to access information from the library; from Internet cafés; from their offices; and - at times - from the comfort of their own homes at any time of the day. Thus, the emerging role of ICTs, and in particular use of e-resources is significantly imparting and dramatically changing the fabric of the library user habits. This Chapter explores the challenges and opportunities of readership development within the ICT environments of the changing user habits and library acquisition trends. It attempts to:

  • Explain the impact of ICTs on the changing user habits

  • Analyse the various acquisition models for libraries

  • Assess how academic libraries have integrated the above models to address the changing user habits and their implications

  • Suggest a readership development model to meet the socio-economic demands of the society

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