oa South African Journal of Libraries and Information Science - The use of libraries and information centres by agricultural researchers and extension workers in Zimbabwe

Volume 80, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0256-8861



Access to information through libraries and information centres, among others, enhances the timeliness and quality of such information. This study sought to establish how agricultural researchers and extension workers in Zimbabwe utilise libraries and information centres in the course of their work. Data was collected through a questionnaire which was distributed to agricultural researchers and extension workers. Data was analysed using SPSS and content analysis. The results showed that the majority of researchers have access to libraries within the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development's research and extension divisions, while the majority of extension workers do not have access to these library services. The absence of access to libraries confirms why the majority of extension workers consult print sources and departmental collections first, and their preference for using publications in disseminating information to farmers. The respondents also utilise alternative sources of information, including circulars from the Ministry of Agriculture's head office, personal and departmental collections, media sources (newspapers, radio, audio materials), and other libraries. University libraries are the most-utilised alternative choice. Libraries in non-governmental organisations (NGOs) were also mentioned as alternatives. The libraries of the Ministry are generally not adequately equipped to support the information needs of researchers and extension workers and, although the Central Library's strength is reflected in the availability of and access to databases, the inability of users to access these resources from other centres or institutes cancels this advantage. The Ministry of Agriculture does not have a "visible policy" regarding the management of information generated by its departments and resources are only concentrated in one locality. The study recommends the allocation of resources, both human and material, and the maximisation of the use of available electronic resources, which are otherwise underutilised.

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