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Library cooperation in Zimbabwe: in search of a suitable model to underpin national development

Collence Takaingenhamo Chisita (Department of Information Science, University of Pretoria, South Africa)
Archie Dick (Department of Information Science, University of Pretoria, South Africa)

The Electronic Library

ISSN: 0264-0473

Article publication date: 19 September 2018

Issue publication date: 29 October 2018




The paper explores library cooperation in Zimbabwe and gathers views from librarians on the need for a library consortium model to underpin national development. This study aims to investigate the development of library consortia in Zimbabwe and then propose a model that will both accelerate their development and support the country’s national development agenda.


The paper opted for an investigative study using a multi-method research design. Data on existing library consortia, namely, Zimbabwe University Library Consortium (ZULC) and College and Research Library Consortium (CARLC), were collected through questionnaires and interviews. The data were complemented by documentary analysis including primary sources of information, for example, annual reports and brochures. Data were analysed qualitatively and quantitatively.


The paper provides empirical insights on how ZULC and CARLC are transforming the provision of library services in several ways, for example, providing for the dynamic needs of users and strategizing on overcoming rising costs of scholarly content through resource sharing. The proposed model effectively elevates the fundamental library consortium principles of cooperation and sharing onto the national development stage, and it is novel and pioneering. The gestures and general remarks made recently by Zimbabwe Library Association and some ZULC members about national development and ZIMASSET are given rigorous and scholarly expression in this model.

Research limitations/implications

Because of the chosen research approach, the research results may lack generalisability beyond Zimbabwe. It is therefore imperative for researchers to test the proposed propositions further.

Practical implications

The paper includes implications for the development of a library consortia model to underpin national development in Zimbabwe. The existing academic sector library consortium still excludes other types of libraries from participating in resource sharing and promoting access to information on a national development scale. The proposed library consortium model providing for nation-wide access to information is critical in realising national development goals in Zimbabwe. Currently, academic library consortia are contributing immensely through supporting learning, teaching and research in their respective institutions. Such benefits can also be extended to all institutions through a national library consortium to support development in Zimbabwe.


This paper fulfils an identified need to study how the development of a nation-wide library consortium model can be realised. There is relatively little researched information on library cooperation and library consortia and national development in Southern Africa with specific reference to Zimbabwe. The paper seeks to close the gap by providing information on library cooperation and library consortia and national development in Zimbabwe.



Chisita, C.T. and Dick, A. (2018), "Library cooperation in Zimbabwe: in search of a suitable model to underpin national development", The Electronic Library, Vol. 36 No. 4, pp. 633-649.



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