The purpose of this paper is to determine the current state of financial support of African university libraries, and explore non‐traditional methods of providing funding for them.
The paper takes a comparative look at the funding pattern of library and information services in Africa, particularly academic libraries, over the past two decades.
The paper finds that the national governments, the main financial providers, are usually held liable for the continuing inadequacy of the financial support and are, therefore, seen as having ignored their financial responsibility toward libraries. This financial neglect negatively impacts the quality of services provided by the university libraries and, consequently, the quality of teaching and research programs at the universities served by them.
As a possible way of breaking away from the complete and absolute reliance on government funding which has proved to be unreliable, alternative ways of funding are suggested. These include information consultancy and brokerage services and other income‐generating activities.
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