PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to explore the challenges and opportunities for Zimbabwe’s academic libraries in their endeavour to provide quality services. It will examine how library consortia, namely, the Zimbabwe University Library Consortium (ZULC) and the College and Research Libraries Consortium (CARLC), have been able to provide for the information needs of their users at a time when budgets are inadequate and subscription costs to journals remain unaffordable. It will examine how academic libraries, through resource sharing platforms, have been able to exploit ubiquitous technologies and build on from the traditional interlibrary loan (ILL). The paper will recommend a strategy based on a model to strengthen access to scholarship through resource sharing.Design/methodology/approachThe researcher opted for a qualitative research design. A purposive sample of 32 participants drawn from ten academic librarians located in Zimbabwe was used to collect the information. The participants were chosen because of their involvement in resource-sharing activities. The participants were drawn from the two library consortia, namely, CARLC and ZULC. Data for the study was collected using structured interviews.FindingsThe findings revealed that resource sharing was critical for the survival of academic libraries in Zimbabwe. The study found out that resource sharing was the only option to overcome the challenges of the paywall. It highlighted the need for a concerted effort of all academic institutions in adapting a model that provides for the diverse needs of members with regard to widening access to scholarship. However, in spite of the success of library consortia in enhancing resource sharing in Zimbabwe, there are challenges that require the concerted effort of all academic institutions in coming up with a model that best provides for the diverse needs of members with regard to resource sharing.Practical implicationsThe results of the study will be useful in providing a long-term strategy for enhancing resource sharing among academic libraries in Zimbabwe in their endeavor to support teaching, learning and research.Originality/valueThere is a scarcity of scholarly studies on resource sharing initiatives among academic libraries in Zimbabwe. This study is unique because it tackles the experiences of the academic libraries in overcoming the challenges of the paywall.
Information Discovery and Delivery – Emerald Publishing
Published: Mar 30, 2020
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