Community Partnerships in Selected Public Libraries in Uganda.
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This study examines how community partnerships contribute to the success of public library services in Uganda. It illustrates how community partnerships form solutions to public library challenges. With technological, attitudes and library budgets not expanding to keep up with the growing needs and demands, public libraries cannot successfully drive change in their communities. This study was conducted in two public libraries in Uganda i.e. Lira Public Library and Nakaseke Telecentre. This study was guided by Herbert Spencer (1820-1903) functionalism theory; where institutions survive by adapting to changing circumstances through interdependence on their various branches or partners. The population of the study comprised the librarians, the library committee and the primary assets. The study adopted a multiple case study design using a qualitative approach. Both census and purposive sampling techniques were used to select the samples for the study. The methods for data collection were interview, focus group discussions and document review. The study established that community partnerships existed between public libraries and the community partners known as primary assets. These include individuals, associations, organizations, and local economies. It prove how successful community partnerships can contribute and transform the public library world through improving its services, creating visibility and exposure, and enabling expert and knowledge sharing. Besides their positive outcomes, these relationships were marred by sustainability, communication, financial, and delayed implementation challenges. Public librarians needed to improve on their practice, to create dynamic innovative and inspiring services that would attract more local community partners. These relationships would inevitably transcend the traditional role of libraries as an isolated entity. This study, therefore, recommends enacting bylaws by local governments to allow public libraries charge fees for their services. Continuous advocacy for adequate budgetary allocations from the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, and revising the current decentralization Act of 1997 allowing for the management of public libraries transferred back to the National Library of Uganda because of its professionally suited nature of running public libraries than the local governments.