Distance librarianship in Kenyan universities
Murumba, Joan Wakasa
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Rationale of study – Many institutions of higher learning in Kenya are now delivering their programmes through distance learning and the library is providing support by offering information resources and services to students who are off campus. This research sought to establish the effectiveness of libraries in providing information resources and services to open and distance learners (ODLs). Methodology – The research used a descriptive survey design to analyse the effectiveness of information resource and service provision to ODLs by university libraries in Kenya. Data was collected using interviews and questionnaires from 179 ODLs and 83 librarians in selected universities in Kenya offering ODL programmes. The data collected was edited, organised, analysed quantitatively using descriptive statistics. Findings – The study found that academic libraries were generally effective in delivering services to ODLs. This was exemplified by the existence of institutional repositories where research papers were available to ODLs; the majority of the students were trained on basic computer skills enabling them to use digital resources effectively; as well as collaboration during information repackaging between faculty, ICT staff and ODL personnel. Implications – This study is of importance to university libraries, librarians, ODLs and administrators in universities in Kenya. The findings can be used to develop policies, programmes and infrastructure in academic libraries in Kenya to enable them to support distance learning effectively. Originality – This paper highlights the role libraries can play to ODL university students, an aspect that can greatly influence information resource and service delivery. It makes a significant contribution to the distance librarianship practice and policy.