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Innovative financing for university libraries in sub-Saharan Africa

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Purpose ‐ The purpose of this paper is to review the different sources of financing university libraries in Africa and the challenges faced by libraries in sourcing for funds, with a view to suggesting innovative ways through which the library can raise additional funds. Design/methodology/approach ‐ The paper reviews the literature on different sources of financing libraries globally, especially alternative sources of funding outside government grants. It identifies the challenges faced in sourcing for funds, best practices in raising additional funds and makes suggestions on non-conventional ways that can be used by libraries to address the challenge. Findings ‐ The paper finds that government provides about 90 per cent of the funds for university libraries in Africa. However, the funding is not only inadequate, but is also usually provided on an ad hoc basis. It notes that, in spite of the fact that the literature reveals that librarians are aware of the danger inherent in depending so much on one source of funding and the need to seek alternative sources, they have not done much to overcome the challenge. Originality/value ‐ In reviewing the various sources of financing university libraries, the paper notes that government allocation remains the major source of revenue; notes the alternative sources of revenue in different countries and describes some of the best practices available. The paper also updates the literature on the subject by discussing current practices, and makes a case for the establishment of a Business and Public Relations department in libraries, an increase in public-private partnerships and greater efficiency in managing library resources.
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Keywords: Africa; Economic conditions; Financing; Fundraising; University libraries

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2010

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