Most people in six African countries believe public libraries have the potential to contribute to community development in important areas such as health, employment and agriculture. However, libraries are small and under-resourced, and most people associate them with traditional book lending and reference services rather than innovation and technology.
These are among key findings of groundbreaking research into perceptions of public libraries in Tanzania, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Zimbabwe and Uganda. EIFL’s Public Library Innovation Programme (PLIP) commissioned the research to deepen understanding of the role of public libraries in Africa and of the vision, aspirations and expectations of the general public, librarians and national and local government. The study was conducted by the social and marketing research company, TNS RMS East Africa Ltd., from December to July 2011.