To read this content please select one of the options below:

Public procurement legislation and the acquisition of library materials in academic libraries in Malawi

Patrick Mapulanga (Kamuzu College of Nursing Library, University of Malawi, Lilongwe, Malawi)

Library Review

ISSN: 0024-2535

Article publication date: 2 February 2015




The purpose of this paper was to examine the challenges and opportunities the new public procurement legislation has created for academic librarians as regards the acquisition of library materials in academic libraries (university/college libraries) in Malawi.


The study used a multi-method approach. Quantitative data were collected through questionnaires. The questionnaires were sent online to the university/college libraries of seven major accredited public universities in Malawi. After an initial analysis of that data, qualitative data on patterns were obtained through a mailing listserve with all the possible 19 librarians. Responses were analysed and categorised using a thematic approach.


Academic libraries (university/college libraries) are involved in the internal procurement committees. Librarians are represented in internal procurement committees, though their representation differs from one institution to another. All the academic libraries (university/college libraries) either use the centralised or independent procurement methods. As a result, the public university libraries deal with agents as independents. Working as independents has negatively affected the libraries, as materials are procured at different prices and sometimes at higher prices, thereby ignoring the value for money.

Research limitations/implications

In academic libraries, the library consortia have pulled resources towards a basket fund for wide access and cheaper licensing. However, for print library materials, a collaborative procurement process in which the academic libraries identify an agent capable of achieving a supplier list and then purchase directly from the preferred suppliers seems not to have been tried in the most developing countries.

Practical implications

The study suggests that academic libraries (university/college libraries) should emulate the library consortia approach when dealing with agents. The academic libraries should consider collaborative procurement models as a means of procuring library materials.


Since the enactment of the public procurement legislation in Malawi, no research has been documented on the challenges and opportunities the public procurement act and the acquisition of library materials. This research seeks to bridge the literature gap.



Mapulanga, P. (2015), "Public procurement legislation and the acquisition of library materials in academic libraries in Malawi", Library Review, Vol. 64 No. 1/2, pp. 101-117.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Related articles