The effects of budgetary constraints on the operation of academic libraries in Ghana.

Author:Asante, Edward


The central purpose of libraries is to provide access to information to support the objectives of their parent institutions or interests of the communities they serve. Information has become a key resource in contemporary social and economic life upon which countries, organizations, and individuals depend in managing their affairs. It is an indispensable ingredient in educational and professional development and also a medium of leisure and source of knowledge, which enables people to manage and enrich their lives. At the same time the advancement of research cannot take place without adequate availability of the relevant information. In this sense libraries take part directly in research process and hence are components of knowledge innovation, and are involved in the diffusion and conversion of knowledge thereby acting as bridges for turning the results of knowledge into realistic productive entities (Yi, 1999). Therefore libraries as centers for collection, processing, storage and distribution of information and knowledge represent a crucial link in the development of knowledge and are important ideological and cultural force with far reaching implications for the society (Robert, 1996).

Information may be obtained in various ways: orally, through lectures and personal contact, purchasing documentary materials, through electronic networks and by access to libraries and information services. However libraries are perceived to be not only important but also cost-effective mechanisms for delivery of essential information and literature (Wolpert, 1998). After acquiring carefully selected books, journals and other formats, library services make these materials widely available and foster their intensive use. They also add value by organizing information for effective use, providing guidance on the range of information that exists and by providing mechanisms to access the required materials from other sources (Kavulya, 2004).

Statement of Problem

The effect of budgetary constraints cannot be over emphasized in public institutions of which the library is inclusive. The operation of libraries for some time now seems to have dwindled due to the cumulative effect of budgetary constraints on operations. The library though, not a profit oriented social institution needs a budget to support its operations. Budgetary constraints seems to have affected the operations of libraries including academic libraries, if care is not taken, the role of the library could not the recognized. Budgetary constraints, have perhaps, affected virtually all the services thus collection development, acquisition and selection, as well as technical and reprographic services. Since the libraries cannot function as expected this has affected the patronage of clients. It is against this backdrop that is why the researcher consider, it prudent to conduct this study to address the situation with Koforidua Polytechnic in context. This is one of the young and fast growing Polytechnics in Ghana situated in the Eastern part of the country.

Purpose of the Study

The focus of the study is to assess the effect of budgetary constraints on the operation of Academic Libraries in Ghana with Koforidua Polytechnic as the study setting. Koforidua Polytechnic is taken into consideration because is its one of the young and fast growing tertiary institution in Ghana, and its proximity to the researcher.

Objectives of the Study

The specific research objectives of the study are;

To assess the relationship between collection development and budgetary constraints

To establish relationship between acquisition and selection and budgetary constraints

To evaluate the association between service provision and budgetary constraints

To examine the association between patronage and budgetary constraints

Research Hypothesis

H1. There is a correlation between collection development and budgetary constraints

H1. There is a correlation between acquisition and selection and budgetary constraints

H1. There is a correlation between service provision and budgetary constraints

H1. There is a correlation between patronage and budgetary constraints

Significance of the study

The study work will uncover both theoretical and empirical thought that will provide a good insight into budgetary constraints that could be addressed to avert drastic implications on the operation of Academic Libraries in Ghana. It is believed that, the revelation of this study will serve as a measure for Librarians to undertake a cost-benefit analysis and to make an informed decision regarding budgetary allocations for Libraries in Ghana. Finally, it will eliminate all prejudices and misconceptions on the role of Libraries in a developing country like Ghana.


Issues of budget and budgetary constraints

A budget is a guide or directive for fiscal management. Libraries need funds for services, and these services must be budgeted for. Fletcher (1990) gives two definitions of a budget, calling it "the overall picture of and allocations (for expenditure) and income," as well as "the financial allocation for specific purpose or purposes during a given period." Although Libraries are service-oriented and have little or no revenue-generating motives or objectives, they still obviously require a budget. Technical services are not a significant source of income in the library system. Very small amounts of income are made from reprography and binding, but the amount is infinitesimal compared to the funds expended on technical services (Oyelude & Ola, 2008).

Libraries of all types have been struggling with materials budgets for many years and especially so in the recent economic recession. As a result, Libraries have developed a number of strategies for dealing with budget constraints. The professional literature provides many examples of what collections Librarians are doing to cope with the budget constraints, for example, cooperative collection building (Collins, 2012; Kieft & Payne, 2012; Pan & Fong, 2010; Nous & Roslund, 2009), patron driven acquisitions (PDA) (Fisher et al., 2012; Herrera, 2012; Sammonds, 2012; Schroeder, 2012; Schroeder and Wright, 2011), and floating collections (Johal et al., 2012).

The African continent is the contextual framework for examining the challenges confronting us in the attainment of MDGs by 2015 with particular reference to health (Ojogwu, 2009). However, Africa has 52 independent countries. Each country is different in many respects, yet they all fall within the category of developing or underdeveloped countries. While the countries are plague by socio-economic and political problems, the educational sector and the Public Library in particular suffers neglect or little attention from the government. As a result, they are challenged with the provision of such services as envisioned by the goals setting up the Libraries (Omotosho & Okik, 2012).

Collection development

A collection development policy is intended to provide guidance, within budgetary and space limitations, for the selection and evaluation of materials which anticipate and meet the needs of every library users. It directly relates the collection to the library's mission statement, and defines the scope and standards of the various collections in the library....

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