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Job prospects for Mzuzu university library and information science graduates

Aubrey Harvey Chaputula (Library and Learning Resources Centre, Mzuzu University, Mzuzu, Malawi)

New Library World

ISSN: 0307-4803

Article publication date: 5 November 2014

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to report on the findings of a study that was conducted to find out the employment prospects of Mzuzu University (Mzuni) library and information science (LIS) graduates.

Design/methodology/approach

The study made use of a survey designehil it was mainly quantitative in nature. A census of all LIS graduates from 2006 to 2013 was taken. The study also purposely sampled some major employers of LIS graduates. Self completion questionnaires were administered to both study groups by the researcher personally, and also through emails. Data were collected between September and October 2013, and SPSS was used to analyse the data. Findings from the two questionnaires were discussed in relation to prevailing literature in the field.

Findings

The study established that there are few job opportunities for LIS graduates in the library sector. This came about because libraries have not taken deliberate steps to recruit LIS graduates while opportunities in the private sector were limited. Consequently, some LIS graduates were unemployed, while the majority had taken up alternative jobs. Nevertheless, LIS graduates had the requisite skills and attributes required for the job. Absence of a career structure for LIS professionals in the public sector, failure to recognise role of librarians and LIS qualifications and lack of training opportunities were some of the challenges which LIS graduates faced.

Research limitations/implications

The study covers all LIS graduates who graduated from Mzuni between 2006 and 2013. However, lack of updated contact information means that the researcher had challenges to reach out to most of the graduates save for those working in the major libraries. Furthermore, a good number of the graduates did not respond to the questionnaire sent, particularly those who graduated from the generic programme. This led to a lower than anticipated response rate. This implies that some of the study findings may have some bias towards the LIS graduates in the mature group.

Practical implications

The research findings have a big bearing on policy formulation and decision making in government, the public and private sector players, professional associations and LIS training institutions.

Originality/value

No formal studies have been done to determine the employment prospects for Mzuni LIS graduates ever since the diploma and degree programmes were launched. This research is, therefore, the first of its kind, and could help shape the future of the programmes in terms of curriculum content and methods of delivery. Recommendations made could also help the Malawi Library Association, the Mzuni’s Department of Library and Information Science, and relevant government ministries and departments to come up with appropriate interventions to the challenges being faced.

Keywords

Citation

Harvey Chaputula, A. (2014), "Job prospects for Mzuzu university library and information science graduates", New Library World, Vol. 115 No. 11/12, pp. 571-587. https://doi.org/10.1108/NLW-11-2013-0089

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited