Access and use of print newspapers at Makerere University Main Library Uganda
MetadataShow full item record
The study examined access and use of print newspapers at Makerere University Main Library The objectives of the study were to: establish users’ preference for different types of newspapers; identify the type of information users seek from the newspapers; establish users’ preferences for print or online newspapers, identify the challenges encountered, if any, by both users and staff and propose strategies for improvement. The study adopted a mixed research approach. Convenient and purposive samplings were used to collect data from users who frequently visited the two newspaper sections of the Main Library and staff who worked in those sections. Data was collected using questionnaires and interview methods. Findings showed that participants in this study had different reasons for preferring certain newspaper titles and versions. The New Vision was the most preferred newspaper (43%) followed by the Daily Monitor (33%), then Observer (14%) and Red Pepper (10%). The study participants sought a variety of information from the newspapers that included: current affairs, politics, jobs, business, fashion, lifestyles and leisure. Regarding newspaper formats or versions, the majority of the participants (62%) preferred printed to online newspapers but there were some challenges faced in accessing print newspapers namely: limited copies, missing newspaper issues and or pages, and the newspaper sections’ restricted opening hours. Consequently, 38% of the participants preferred online to print newspapers although the unstable internet, the limited number of computers, abridged online versions and limited internet search skills were major challenges that affected access and use of online newspapers if adopted. They also highlighted the following advantages of online version: multiple access, simultaneous access as well as immediate sharing of views and opinions. The participants recognised the general IT infrastructure improvements at Makerere University Main Library in recent years, such as the Learning Commons and the extended Local Area Network that had greatly increased online access, although the number of students tended to overwhelm the existing facilities. Makerere University in general should revisit its expenditure on print newspapers vis-a-vis subscription to online versions. The savings accrued could be used for other reading or scholarly materials. The study, therefore, further recommended a Return on Investment study at Makerere University Library as an area for further research.