Issues In Managing Authorities Publications In Educational Libraries In Sierra Leone


In Sierra Leone the phrases ‘official publications’, official paperwork’, and ‘public paperwork’ are synonymous with authorities publications. Authorities publications, merely put, are paperwork created by authorities and native and quasi-government our bodies explaining and integrating views and polices. They characterize the historic and present growth authorities of presidency and supply information on all kinds of topics to incorporate Political Science, Economics, Finance, Statistics, Labor, Trade, Historical past, Worldwide Relations, Agriculture, Geology and Meteorology. Katz (1997) classed these publications into: (1) data of presidency administration (2).analysis paperwork for specialists together with a substantial variety of statistics and information of worth to science and enterprise (Three).well-liked sources of data. Their bodily kind being both a e-book, pamphlet, journal, report monograph or digital, particularly CD-ROM (p.387).

Bibliographic management in lots of elements of the world is seemingly unsatisfactory due largely to lack of know-how of the significance of bibliographic instruments in analysis in authorities publications. The US of America, for instance, was for a very long time a pioneer on this subject. Way back to 1895 the Printing Act of January 12 of that 12 months (28 statute, 601-624) not solely established centralized printing and distribution of federal paperwork but additionally instructed the Superintendent of Paperwork to offer applicable instruments for bibliographic management of the paperwork printed. Nice Britain is an excellent exception for way back to 1807 collections of parliamentary papers had been printed. International locations corresponding to Sweden, Italy, Netherlands, Germany and Japan started separating authorities doc bibliographies primarily within the 1920s and 1930s (Palic,1975). Nonetheless an amazing want for the usage of authorities publications was felt following World Struggle 11 (1939-1945), when there was an elevated curiosity within the authoritative data contained in such publications as posited by kid’s (1942) in his introductory notes that ‘increasingly more the significance of presidency documentation is being acknowledged regardless of the refractory nature of a few of these supplies’

In parallel the emphasis made on the usefulness of presidency publications in Sierra Leone is related to the event of printing which may be traced way back to the founding of the Colony of Sierra Leone in 1787. Though the trade did not survive the French assault of 1794 the inspiration stone of what later turned often known as the Authorities Printing Division was laid in 1925 when it was charged with the manufacturing of small notices for official use. At present the Division prints all authorities publications and provides stationery and workplace gear of presidency departments. It additionally undertakes a good quantity of business printing as earnings producing measures.

Authorities publications often have the benefit of being among the many finest of their topic fields usually not simply out there to others (Smith, 1993). In lieu of the extent and complexity of presidency actions there’s a want for the widespread dissemination of details about these actions and for well-liked integration of presidency coverage. No surprise why authorities publications have particular worth to tutorial library collections and their authority is everlasting. In tutorial libraries in Sierra Leone these publications are put apart right into a particular assortment manned by a curator as at Fourah Bay School Library. Some are stored in vertical recordsdata; others are positioned in pamphlet containers, whereas these like maps and surveys are given specialised storage. These publications are acquired primarily by buy, deposit, donation, trade and photocopying. The Authorities Printing Division is liable for their publication


The growth of presidency in Sierra Leone’s post-war reconstruction period at native, nationwide and worldwide ranges has resulted in rising her affect on the lifetime of the citizenry. Concurrently with this growth is the proliferation of official and semi official companies, commissions and bureaus which proceed to publish works corresponding to directories, laws, reviews, payments, Acts and technical literature which many a researchers, educators, public service functionaries, welfare recipients and the unemployed cannot do regardless of such publications. Since librarians function interface between customers and authorities they’ve for lengthy acknowledged the issues which such a plethora of assortment can pose and have been making super strides to deal with the problem. The essence right here is to offer systematic controls to keep away from the disappearance, into oblivion, of important official publications.

In Sierra Leone authorities publications fall inside three normal courses: Government, Legislative ands Judicial. The Government publications embrace these issued by the Workplaces of the President and the Vice President, and numerous impartial workplaces and institutions corresponding to Nationwide Fee for Social Motion (NaCSA), Nationwide Income Authority (NRA), Anti Corruption Fee (ACC), Nationwide Fee for Privatization (NCP) and the Workplace of the Ombudsman. Additionally included are authorities ministries such because the Ministries of protection; Schooling, Youth and Sports activities; International Affairs and Worldwide Co-operation; Tourism and Cultural Affairs; Native Authorities and Group Growth; Agriculture, Forestry and Meals Safety; Commerce and Trade; Inside Affairs; labor and Industrial Relations; and Growth and Financial Planning.

The Ministry of Commerce and Trade, for instance, is liable for each inner and worldwide commerce and the promotion of exports. It has powers over customs and excise, tariffs, insurance coverage, patents, emblems, requirements, weights and measures. The Ministry of International Affairs and Worldwide Cooperation is liable for Sierra Leone’s relationship with international and Commonwealth nations whereas the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Meals Safety is liable for administrating authorities coverage on agriculture, horticulture and meals safety. This Ministry presents sensible steering to farmers, business producers of horticultural crops and analysis.The Ministry of Inside Affairs offers with the upkeep of legislation and order, the Police and Fireplace Forces, administration of the prisons and the remedy of offenders. Different miscellaneous issues handled by this ministry embrace explosives, firearms, harmful medicine, prisons, outlets, public security, leisure, cremation, bylaws and good rule and formal enterprise. The aforementioned features and related ones carried out by different ministries require the creation and upkeep of publications. There may be additionally documentation of press briefings given by the numerous heads of ministries and newsletters, that are channels for respective ministries there-by making them extra public-relations acutely aware.

Legislative publications embrace the data and debates of Parliament and the reviews of hearings of the numerous Parliamentary Committees. Included right here are also a number of coverage statements in reply to parliamentary questions. The Hansard is one other wealthy supply for public issues because it offers official data and views about parliamentary debates.

Publications from the Judiciary department of presidency consist largely of reviews of presidency selections by the Justice of the Peace, Appeals and Supreme Courts. Discovered on this arm of presidency are legislation books, ‘annual registers’, state trials and rulings, the structure, worldwide treaties, protocols, peace accords, Acts, payments and digests of native newspapers. These publications present the judiciary with pertinent data on multifarious authorized issues. Such data is required to be factual and politically neutral.

The Metropolis and District Councils, being quasi-government establishments, present paperwork labeled as authorities publications. These embrace constructing codes, academic growth, well being and sanitation, laws on waste disposal, use of firearms and hearth machines. Additionally there are authorities departments which give statistical data on an enormous vary of financial, industrial and social demographic information. Of central significance are Statistics Sierra Leone (previously Central Statistics Workplace-CSO), liable for nationwide inhabitants census and residential surveys; the Workplace of Births and Deaths which registers and produces annual statistics of births and deaths within the nation; the Workplace of the Registrar Basic liable for statutory registration of marriages, patents and emblems; the Chamber of Commerce which specializes on enterprise data. These workplaces carry collectively vital financial and social statistics provided by authorities departments. Different vital authorities departments are the Meteorological Workplace, which continues to offer pertinent climate data, and the Nationwide Archives, which serves as repository of all non-current authorities publications inclusive of nationwide newspapers. The afore-mentioned authorities publications differ in dimension and size. Written by specialists within the topic, authorities publications should not solely authoritative but additionally well timed printed and cope with matters of present curiosity. Their goal, in response to Katz (1969), is to offer data and reply questions and to not provoke dialogue or organizational cataloging and administration. They’re helpful major reference sources.


Educational libraries in Sierra Leone are these within the constituent models that kind the nation’s two universities, particularly the College of Sierra Leone and the College of Njala. These libraries characterize the bibliographic basis of the nation’s analysis curiosity. They take part actively within the distribution and trade of e-book and non-book supplies to sister establishments all around the nation. Collectively these establishments serve college students, college, students and researchers which might be engaged in work within the sciences and humanities in addition to most people. These libraries have mixed sources of over 500,000 volumes, most of that are of distinctive scope and high quality. Included in these huge collections are authorities publications corresponding to treaties, Acts, statistical tables and compilations, conventions and data of diplomatic relations, reviews of presidency departments, committees, bureau and commissions, census schedules, proclamations and legal guidelines. The upkeep, preservation and growth of those publications are obligations shared by tutorial librarians as their libraries proceed to function nationwide sources.


Various causes have been superior for the inclusion of presidency publications in tutorial libraries in Sierra Leone. The needs of the nation’s universities are instructing, service, analysis and interpretation and dissemination of analysis. Society views authorities as a dependable and neutral supply of authoritative data that ought to be accessible to its residents by way of its quite a few publications. Since tutorial establishments cope with college students who in flip can be future residents these ought to be knowledgeable accordingly. Authorities’s stance ought to be identified when there’s public dialogue on well being, worldwide relations, training, agriculture, social safety and commerce, to quote a couple of examples. Thus the necessity for the event of presidency publications in tutorial libraries as such supplies might converse for the federal government in various actions. Additional tutorial libraries have the targets of preservation, conservation and repair. And authorities publications kind a part of society’s cultural heritage which want conservation and preservation not just for analysis functions but additionally for posterity as tangible major sources of data which lecturers can consistently consult with. Little surprise why as a measure of bibliographic management of those publications librarians proceed to offer catalog’s, checklists, guides, indexes, accessions lists and chosen normal bibliographies containing substantial data on authorities publications.

1991-2001 was a interval of doom in Sierra Leone because it marked the civil conflict. Fought because of unhealthy governance, nepotism and large corruption it led to the un-wanton destruction of lives and properties. Important authorities buildings0 destroyed to reckless abandon included the Nationwide Treasury, Sierra Leone Police premises, legislation courts and the workplaces of the Freetown Metropolis Council all of which housed vital paperwork consistently consulted by researchers, authorities functionaries and the general public. Not withstanding the nation is progressively recovering with the re-establishment of native authorities, multi-party democracy, improved human, girls and little one rights, the availability of a conducive ambiance to funding, and a brand new system of training (6-Three-Three-Four), to quote however a couple of developments, the efficient operation of which requires fixed use of presidency publications.

The broad packages in tutorial establishments embrace many areas of life with the instructing of historic and geographic ideas; scientific research are undertaken for improved well being and meals safety; worldwide relations and inter-religious understanding are fostered. Additionally trendy neighborhood life and the philosophy of democracy, peace and battle decision, good governance, human rights and different ideologies are taught so that clever selections may very well be drawn. These designed academic packages carry enrichment and data to college students in such fields as economics, authorities, well being and sanitation, agriculture, worldwide relations, human rights and diplomacy. In assist of those various disciplines tutorial libraries present enormous collections to incorporate native supplies a few of that are within the type of authorities publications whereby college students, college and researches might share their experiences and pursuits and develop passable private adjustment with regard various authorities functionaries in society. By so doing college students are supplied the chance to develop in social usefulness and develop their mental pursuits and capabilities to be able to turn into accountable members of society. This in flip might assist promote nationalism. In lieu of those elements tutorial libraries try to offer liberal collections to incorporate books, serial publications, audio-visuals and authorities publications.


Authorities publications are among the many most helpful supplies in tutorial libraries in Sierra Leone. Aside from the general public library, the nationwide archives and parliament library which function repositories for such publications tutorial libraries proceed to develop these publications of their enormous assortment. Nonetheless such strikes should not bereft of issues. These vary from poor codecs by way of lack of commerce bibliographies to unsatisfactory strategies of distribution. The essential downside to all these libraries is the amount of publications acquired, a lot of which is nothing however uncooked information and statistics used to assist arguments or gathered extra for the sake of gathering slightly than for any particular causes. Since these libraries have restricted house to accommodate their quite a few collections the continued acquisition of presidency publications poses issues to employees.

Educational libraries purchase authorities publications primarily by donations though a couple of are acquired by buy, trade and photocopy. As soon as these supplies are acquired they’re anticipated to be processed and arranged to be used within the library. Sadly there was no mounted sample in classifying and organizing these supplies in these libraries. Their group is both by authorities ministry/division, topic or format which is usually complicated to customers. At Fourah Bay School library, for instance, these publications are positioned individually from the final assortment which frequently constrains customers in having to depart their studying space to seek the advice of these supplies with restricted sitting lodging. Libraries at Njala College School, Institute of Public Administration and Administration (IPAM) and the School of Drugs and Allied Well being Sciences (COMHAS), that are comparatively small in dimension combine the publications of their normal assortment thereby posing retrieval issues to customers.

Retaining monitor of presidency publications is one other downside as there aren’t any commerce bibliographies printed out to assist hint them. Hardly are these publications talked about within the nationwide bibliography, Sierra Leone Publications, ready by the general public/nationwide library. Apart from the Authorities Printing Division liable for the manufacturing of presidency publications doesn’t have any complete lists of its publications. Most occasions these publications are both returned instantly to the respective ministries/departments proudly owning them upon completion or despatched to the Authorities Bookshop on the market or bought by the Authorities Printing Division upon completion, thus making it troublesome to find retrospective publications. Worse nonetheless each the Authorities Printing Division and the Authorities Bookshop should not taken with publicizing these publications and as such many shoppers together with tutorial librarians should not conscious of the supply of related authorities publications for acquisition thus inflicting lapses within the growth of those supplies in tutorial libraries. In parallel one would count on tutorial libraries to compile complete lists of such publications however this has not been the case as a result of restricted variety of employees manning this assortment and the quantum of labor they need to carry out particularly throughout peak durations when libraries are closely used which is time consuming.

There are additionally issues of assortment growth. Educational libraries are under-funded and due to this fact librarians prioritize their assortment growth wants. Buying authorities publications has not been a precedence for educational librarians as they at all times stay up for the Authorities Printing Division for donations that are steadily not forthcoming. Therefore many related authorities publications should not present in tutorial library collections. What’s extra this restricted assortment is grossly misused and abused by customers (particularly undergraduate pupil customers) of their tutorial pursuits. Thus most of those publications have dingy covers; others have a few pages both written on or pilfered whereas some are deliberately mis-shelved to deprive colleagues of utilizing them.


The incorporation of presidency publications within the mainstream of educational library providers ought to be thought of a precedence by college authorities and tutorial librarians in offering entry to government-produced data in Sierra Leone. Representing a major and integral a part of the nationwide sources authorities publications are main sources of data in virtually each subject of endeavor and are essential to knowledgeable public-decision making. Educational librarians ought to due to this fact assessment their assortment growth methods and processing and group strategies of those supplies if they’re to be persistently utilized by their quite a few clientele. Especial thought ought to be given to elevated funding, useful resource sharing, compilation of lists and ample staffing, sitting lodging and space for storing if they’re to keep up requirements in serving their quite a few clientele.


John Abdul Kargbo is Senior Lecturer on the Institute of Library, Data & Communication Research at Fourah Bay School, College of Sierra Leone. Mail may be despatched to him on

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