Towards a public library system in an urban changing society: A case study of Kampala Library
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The purpose of this study was to propose an appropriate Public Library system for the changing urban setting of Kampala City. The objectives of the study were to identify the fundamental changes in the society having effects on the library operation, the operational structure, services offered, challenges, and recommendations for best practice. Both the qualitative and quantitative approaches were used in the study design. The sample size comprised 5 library staff, 60 library users and 2 key informants. The different research methods and instruments used for the study were questionnaires, interview, observation, content analysis and focus group discussion. The major findings indicate the changes in the society that are having influence over the library’s operation, the various services offered in the library, challenges facing the library, and strategies of overcoming the challenges. The identified changes include technology advancement, population increase, education growth and information growth. Students were identified as the major users of the library services. Some services like convenient space for reading were appreciated but key services such as Interlibrary Loan, CAS, and ICT were missing. Financial and administrative challenges were identified as a big hindrance to the library’s progress. Other significant challenges were inability to maintain the library infrastructure, the inability to adapt to the use of ICTs, insufficiency of staff in both numbers and training. Recommendations made for the library’s development include ensuring adequate support from the parent institution, Kampala City Council (KCC); holding of regular management meeting; drawing of the library’s work plan; carrying out needs assessments; maintaining a balance collection; training for both staff and users; marketing the library; adapting to the use of ICT services; and opening of branch libraries.