Changing economic conditions for libraries: Fundraising performance in the University of Malawi libraries

Patrick Mapulanga (Chancellor College Library, University of Malawi, Zomba, Malawi)

The Bottom Line

ISSN: 0888-045X

Publication date: 16 August 2013



The purpose of this paper is to look at the impact of the Government subvention to the University of Malawi (UNIMA) from 2004 to 2009 financial years on its libraries and assess levels of fund raising initiatives in the libraries.


The study adopted a case study approach. Interviews were conducted with five college librarians in the University of Malawi libraries. University budget estimates from 2004/2005 to 2009/2010 financial years were used to assess the amount of income generated by the libraries. Data are presented in the form of tables and analysed by calculating percentage increases and decreases.


UNIMA as a whole has done extremely well in generating income equivalent to subvention. On the other hand, UNIMA libraries are on the receiving end. From 2004/2005 to 2007/2008 financial years, no income was captured in the university budgets from the libraries. In the 2008/2009 and 2009/2010 financial years, UNIMA libraries realised 7.2 per cent and 5.4 per cent of the income. This means UNIMA libraries were heavily dependent on government subvention for their operations. Fundraising is not emphasised despite being an appropriate and alternative source of funding.

Practical implications

The study recommends that college librarians should consider diversifying income‐generating activities and consider fund raising activities as well. Heavy reliance on government subvention is not sustainable. Libraries should seriously consider fundraising.


There is an information gap on fund raising activities in UNIMA libraries. This information bridges the gap on sources of income for UNIMA libraries and provides an assessment of fund raising initiatives taken by UNIMA libraries.



Mapulanga, P. (2013), "Changing economic conditions for libraries: Fundraising performance in the University of Malawi libraries", The Bottom Line, Vol. 26 No. 2, pp. 59-69.

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