Pailet Chewe


Library associations are organisations where library and information workers come together to share knowledge and experiences and move the profession forward. They lay down standards for performance, provide a range of services to their users and are responsible for looking after their interests. This study investigated visibility of the Library and Information Association of Zambia with the view of ascertaining whether the association’s activities were having any positive impact on the Zambian society. The survey targeted Library and Information Science professionals who had gathered for an Annual General Conference from 18 to 21July, 2017. Adopting a survey research design, the study used questionnaires and interviews to elicit data from a sample of 82 information science practitioners. The Statistical Package for Social Science was used to analyse quantitative data while qualitative data was analysed using content analysis. The study established that visibility of the Library and Information Association of Zambia was poor and that the association had a mammoth task to try and raise its visibility. A non-visible association like LIAZ cannot effectively engage in advocacy with key stakeholders regarding the role of libraries in national development. Therefore, the findings in this study are useful for the purpose of raising visibility of national library associations in Africa and reposition them for advocacy. To try and reverse the negative trend of poor visibility, the study suggests that Librarians and other information providers in Zambia need to proactively publicise the association and the profession as well. The paper provides opportunities for other associations grappling with similar challenges to learn and improve their own activities. Findings add to the limited body of knowledge on visibility of library associations and the imperative of having strong library associations in Africa.


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