n Innovation : journal of appropriate librarianship and information work in Southern Africa - Factors influencing public librarians’ contribution to research and scholarly publication in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Volume 2019 Number 58
  • ISSN : 1025-8892


Research and publication in accredited journals by librarians in the public library sector are crucial for knowledge production, making informed decisions, service delivery improvement and future planning. This study examined the contribution of public librarians to research, with a view to developing a research and publication strategy. The study was guided by the following objectives: to determine the perceptions of public librarians in KwaZulu-Natal towards research and publication; to establish the challenges faced by public librarians when conducting research and publishing, and to offer strategies for public librarians in KwaZulu-Natal to conduct research and publish. An open-ended questionnaire was used to collect data from 28 purposively selected librarians from public libraries in KwaZulu-Natal. The results were analysed using descriptive statistics. The results showed that a significant percentage of public librarians do not conduct research and do not publish in accredited journals even though some understand the benefits of doing so. It was also revealed that the majority of public librarians use newsletters and workshops to communicate their research. In addition, time, competencies, resources and motivation, among other factors, were found to influence librarians’ decisions to study further or embark on research. If afforded the time, resources and opportunities for further study, re-skilling and training, there could be a marked improvement in the contribution of public librarians to research and scholarly publication in the library and information services (LIS) profession. The study recommends that there should be a speedy rolling out of country-wide training to address research and publication challenges for public librarians in South Africa.

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