Library funding : a study to identify reliable and equitable sources of public library funding in Kenya

Doctoral Thesis


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University of Cape Town

The premise from which this research project begins is that public libraries particularly in the developing world, are unable to fully finance their services and thus should seek alternative sources of funding. This project attempts to identify sustainable funding options for the Kenya National Library Services (KNLS) with specific reference to user fees for library services. In order to put the study into perspective, an outline of library history in Kenya is presented together with an overview of social, economic, technological, and social factors which influence the provision of library and information services. The literature review traces the origin of the user fee debate and summarises the arguments for and against fees in libraries. It also attempts to determine whether economic theory could present a theoretical perspective in reconciling the divergent views. The review shows that the issue of charging for library services is hotly contested within the LIS profession and that there is no easy solution. The position of the public libraries within the African continent is contextualised by briefly detailing prevailing conditions, particularly the pressures brought to bear in library budgets during difficult economic periods. An overview of user fee policy in Kenya and the current position of library funding and income generation in South Africa are presented.

Includes bibliographical references.