A model for enhanced functionality of public libraries as hubs of information for rural community development: Mutale case study

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dc.contributor.advisor Francis, J.
dc.contributor.advisor Mwale, M.
dc.contributor.author Matodzi, Tsedzeni Annah
dc.date.accessioned 2019-05-21T07:00:52Z
dc.date.available 2019-05-21T07:00:52Z
dc.date.issued 2019-05-15
dc.identifier.citation Matodzi, Tsedzeni Annah (2018) A model for enhanced functionality of public libraries as hubs of information for rural community development: Mutale case study, University of Venda, South Africa, <http://hdl.handle.net/11602/1279>
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/11602/1279
dc.description PhDRDV
dc.description Institute for Rural Development
dc.description.abstract Providing access to knowledge and connecting it to the needs of individuals as well as grassroots community have always been at the centre of the mission and purpose of public libraries. Numerous studies conducted in various parts of the world have shown that public libraries are the anchor of the lives of communities where they are established. These studies have revealed that information needs may not be the same for different age groups and for different genders. For that reason many countries have been investing in the establishment of community libraries. In South Africa, a community libraries conditional grant was introduced in 2007 to build capacity for public libraries through building additional libraries and renovating existing ones so that they provide information that will satisfy information needs of all community members. However, there are still concerns about the functionality of public libraries and need to strengthening their capacity so that they adequately address community information. This study was conducted on rural community libraries in Mutale located in the Vhembe District of Limpopo Province, South Africa. The main objective was to develop a model for enhanced functionality of public libraries for rural community development. The study was conceptualized around the ecological framework (Asselin and Doiron, 2014). The specific objectives were: to identify challenges faced by the library in providing services to adults, youth and children: to establish if information needs of adults, youth and children varied due to age, and to assess the level of satisfaction of adults, youth and children with the services of the local public library. The study used an exploratory sequential mixed method design with the qualitative phase preceding the quantitative phase. The qualitative phase had two phases. In the first, phase fourteen key informants were purposefully selected and engaged in face-to-face interviews as well as one focus group. Qualitative data from this phase were analysed using atlas.ti version 8. Results distilled showed that the library was hampered by centralized library services which were run from the district level, insufficient funding, inadequate library operating hours and lack of ICT support. In the second phase, a total of 150 adults, youth and children were purposefully selected and engaged in face-to-face interviews as well as focus group discussions. An interview guide complimented by camera, and voice recorder were used to collect data from the respondents. Atlas ti version 8 was used to analyse the data. The results showed that information needs of the community were not fully met by provisions in the library. A variety of information resources expected to satisfy the needs of adults, youth and children respectively include increased number of computers with internet connection, extended library opening hours including Saturdays , stakeholder engagement to be recognized, the extensive marketing of the library for it to be used by the community and the need to improve the amenities and library infrastructure. Results obtained in the qualitative phase of the study informed the second quantitative phase . During this phase, an evaluative survey was conducted with adults, youth and children. Convenience and snowballing techniques were used to sample 176 respondents. A questionnaire with a Likert-type ranking scale was used to collect data. The International Business Machines, Statistical Product and Service Solutions (IBM SPSS) version 24 was used to analyse the data. Chi Square and Crammer’s V tests were performed on the data. It was established that more female (59%) than male (41%) respondents used the library. Of the respondents engaged 26% o were children; 30% were youth and 55% were adults. In terms of travelling to access the library services 32% of the respondents travels less than two kilometers while 68% travel more than two kilometers. This indicates that the majority of the users have a challenge of accessing the library due to distance. The majority of the respondents (70%) did not use the library frequently, with only 30% being active library users. Significant differences in accessing library services were observed according to age in terms of “Current books on all subjects”, “Major reference works such as Encyclopaedias and dictionaries”, “Books on arts and crafts”, “Audio-visual materials” and “Electronic databases”. No significant differences according to gender were observed on all aspects on availability of materials except for “Children’s materials”. Only the perception on availability of “Current books on all subjects” showed a moderate relationship across age (based on the Cramer’s V value >.3). However, on all the aspects where the results showed an association by age and gender the relationship was deemed weak as demonstrated by Cramer’ V values (<.3). Generally, all the respondents (adults, youth and children) were not satisfied with the ICTs, availability of information and available services and amenities. Chi-square tests showed no significant associations between age and perceptions on ICT resources of an ideal library, available services, available amenities, marketing of library services, availability of materials in the library and type of information needed to make informed decisions. These results imply that for the library to provide unhindered services, there must be an enabling environment for the smooth running of the library. There is a need for government to review the policy of running the libraries from districts, as this negatively impacts on opening hours, acquisitions of materials and ICTs support. The library needs to do a periodic survey of the information needs of the community so that it responds by providing relevant and current resources. The study proposed a conceptual model that will enhance the functionality of libraries and to enhance their capacity to offer better services to their users. The proposed model is anchored on nine broad areas which are strengthening human resources, funding, access and accessibility, partnerships, infrastructure, ICTs, management, stakeholder consultation and periodic users’ surveys. Thus, if these interventions are heeded to, there is a higher possibility that the library will be more functional and better positioned to close the information gap. The study contributes to the body of knowledge through provision of a conceptual model which highlights factors that hamper smooth provision of library services, and offers pillars (components of the model) that can enhance the functionality of public libraries in rural areas. It further contributes by highlighting those services regard by users to be important for maximal usage of libraries. This study was unique in that as at the time of completion according to the investigator’s knowledge no other study on rural public libraries has looked into the functionality of libraries funded by the conditional grant using a variety of methods, different perspectives through engaging key informants, factoring in the different age groups and bringing in the gender perspective in a single study. Use of different computer assisted software packages (Atlas version 8 and SPSS version 24) over and above the thematic content analysis to analyse the data was also unique as most other known studies only used thematic content analysis for their qualitative data. Based on the findings it was concluded that decentralized services to local municipal level could reduce many of the challenges that hinder libraries from providing smooth and quality services to their communities. Improved materials collections to satisfy individual and communal information needs, user friendly opening hours as well as engaging the community in library decisions could go a long way in ensuring the library is recognized as a community development hub that fulfills its mission of keeping the community informed. It was therefore recommended that the policy on the running of public libraries should be reviewed with the view to decentralize the running of public libraries to local municipalities,. More still, policy on library funding should be reviewed, library opening hours should be extended, better trained ICT technicians should be placed in local libraries, librarians should be appointed on a permanent basis, and a comparative study of all libraries in Vhembe should be conducted to gauge if the community is deriving any benefits from the provision of computers and access to the internet through “Mzansi Online” project. en_US
dc.description.sponsorship Staff Capacity Development en_US
dc.format.extent 1 online resource xvii, 168 leaves, color illustrations, color maps)
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.rights University of Venda
dc.subject Challenges en_US
dc.subject Community libraries conditional grant en_US
dc.subject Conceptual model en_US
dc.subject Information needs en_US
dc.subject Rural public libraries en_US
dc.subject Scholarship en_US
dc.subject User satisfaction en_US
dc.subject.ddc 027.40968257
dc.subject.lcsh Public libraries -- South Africa -- Limpopo
dc.subject.lcsh Public libraries -- Administration -- South Africa -- Limpopo
dc.subject.lcsh Public libraries -- Services to adults -- South Africa -- Limpopo
dc.subject.lcsh Public libraries -- Services to students -- South Africa -- Limpopo
dc.subject.lcsh Community development -- South Africa -- Limpopo
dc.subject.lcsh Rural development -- South Africa -- Limpopo
dc.title A model for enhanced functionality of public libraries as hubs of information for rural community development: Mutale case study en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US

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