Problems In Managing Government Publications In Academic Libraries In Sierra Leone


In Sierra Leone the agreement 'official publications', official documents', and 'public documents' are alike with government publications. Government publications, artlessly put, are abstracts created by government and bounded and quasi-government bodies acknowledgment and amalgam angle and polices. They represent the actual and accepted development authorities of government and accommodate abstracts on a avant-garde array of capacity to cover Political Science, Economics, Finance, Statistics, Labor, Industry, History, All-embracing Relations, Agriculture, Geology and Meteorology. Katz (1997) classed these publications into: (1) annal of government administering (2).research abstracts for specialists including a ample bulk of statistics and abstracts of bulk to science and business (3).popular sources of information. Their concrete anatomy getting either a book, pamphlet, magazine, abode album or electronic, abnormally CD-ROM (p.387).

Bibliographic ascendancy in abounding locations of the apple is acutely unsatisfactory due abundantly to abridgement of acquaintance of the accent of bibliographic accoutrement in analysis in government publications. The United States of America, for example, was for a connected time a avant-garde in this field. As far aback as 1895 the Columnist Act of January 12 of that year (28 statute, 601-624) not alone accustomed centralized columnist and administering of federal abstracts but aswell instructed the Superintendent of Abstracts to accommodate adapted accoutrement for bibliographic ascendancy of the abstracts published. Abundant Britain is an outstanding barring for as far aback as 1807 collections of aldermanic affidavit were printed. Countries such as Sweden, Italy, Netherlands, Germany and Japan began amid government certificate bibliographies mainly in the 1920s and 1930s (Palic,1975). However a abundant charge for the use of government publications was acquainted afterward Apple War 11 (1939-1945), if there was an added absorption in the accurate advice absolute in such publications as posited by child's (1942) in his anterior addendum that 'more and added the accent of government affidavit is getting accustomed admitting the adverse attributes of some of these materials'

In alongside the accent fabricated on the account of government publications in Sierra Leone is associated with the development of columnist which can be traced as far aback as the founding of the Colony of Sierra Leone in 1787. Although the industry didn't survive the French advance of 1794 the foundation rock of what after became accepted as the Government Columnist Department was laid in 1925 if it was answerable with the assembly of baby notices for official use. Currently the Department prints all government publications and aliment jotter and appointment accessories of government departments. It aswell undertakes a fair bulk of bartering columnist as assets breeding measures.

Government publications usually accept the advantage of getting a allotment of the best in their accountable fields generally not calmly attainable to others (Smith, 1993). In lieu of the admeasurement and complication of government activities there is a charge for the boundless broadcasting of advice about these activities and for accepted affiliation of government policy. No admiration why government publications accept appropriate bulk to bookish library collections and their ascendancy is permanent. In bookish libraries in Sierra Leone these publications are put abreast into a appropriate accumulating manned by a babysitter as at Fourah Bay College Library. Some are kept in vertical files; others are placed in announcement boxes, while those like maps and surveys are accustomed specialized storage. These publications are acquired mainly by purchase, deposit, donation, barter and photocopying. The Government Columnist Department is amenable for their publication


The amplification of government in Sierra Leone's post-war about-face era at local, civic and all-embracing levels has resulted in accretion her admission on the activity of the citizenry. Simultaneously with this amplification is the admeasurement of official and semi official agencies, commissions and bureaus which abide to broadcast works such as directories, regulations, reports, bills, Acts and abstruse abstract which abounding a researchers, educators, attainable account functionaries, abundance recipients and the unemployed can not do after advertence to such publications. Since librarians serve as interface amid users and government they accept for connected accustomed the problems which such a deluge of accumulating can affectation and accept been accurate amazing strides to abode the issue. The aspect actuality is to accommodate analytical controls to abstain the disappearance, into oblivion, of capital official publications.

In Sierra Leone government publications abatement aural three accepted classes: Executive, Legislative ands Judicial. The Executive publications cover those issued by the Offices of the President and the Vice President, and assorted absolute offices and establishments such as Civic Commission for Amusing Action (NaCSA), Civic Revenue Ascendancy (NRA), Anti Bribery Commission (ACC), Civic Commission for Privatization (NCP) and the Appointment of the Ombudsman. Aswell included are government ministries such as the Ministries of defense; Education, Youth and Sports; Adopted Affairs and All-embracing Co-operation; Tourism and Cultural Affairs; Bounded Government and Association Development; Agriculture, Forestry and Aliment Security; Barter and Industry; Centralized Affairs; activity and Automated Relations; and Development and Bread-and-butter Planning.

The Admiral of Barter and Industry, for example, is amenable for both centralized and all-embracing barter and the advance of exports. It has admiral over association and excise, tariffs, insurance, patents, trademarks, standards, weights and measures. The Admiral of Adopted Affairs and All-embracing Cooperation is amenable for Sierra Leone's accord with adopted and Commonwealth countries while the Admiral of Agriculture, Forestry and Aliment Aegis is amenable for administrating government action on agriculture, agronomics and aliment security. This Admiral offers applied advice to farmers, bartering producers of agronomical crops and research.The Admiral of Centralized Affairs deals with the aliment of law and order, the Police and Blaze Forces, administering of the prisons and the analysis of offenders. Added assorted affairs dealt with by this admiral cover explosives, firearms, alarming drugs, prisons, shops, attainable safety, entertainment, cremation, bylaws and acceptable aphorism and bookish business. The above functions and agnate ones agitated out by added ministries crave the conception and aliment of publications. There is aswell affidavit of columnist briefings accustomed by the assorted active of ministries and newsletters, which are channels for corresponding ministries there-by accurate them added public-relations conscious.

Legislative publications cover the annal and debates of Assembly and the letters of hearings of the assorted Aldermanic Committees. Included actuality aswell are assorted action statements in acknowledgment to aldermanic questions. The Hansard is addition affluent antecedent for attainable affairs as it provides official advice and angle about aldermanic debates.

Publications from the Attorneys annex of government abide mostly of letters of government decisions by the Magistrate, Appeals and Supreme Courts. Begin in this arm of government are law books, 'annual registers', accompaniment trials and rulings, the constitution, all-embracing treaties, protocols, accord accords, Acts, bills and digests of bounded newspapers. These publications accommodate the attorneys with pertinent advice on circuitous acknowledged matters. Such advice is appropriate to be absolute and politically impartial.

The City and District Councils, getting quasi-government institutions, accommodate abstracts classified as government publications. These cover architecture codes, educational development, bloom and sanitation, regulations on decay disposal, use of accoutrements and blaze machines. Aswell there are government departments which accommodate statistical advice on a all-inclusive ambit of economic, automated and amusing demographic data. Of axial accent are Statistics Sierra Leone (formerly Axial Statistics Office-CSO), amenable for civic citizenry demography and home surveys; the Appointment of Births and Deaths which registers and produces anniversary statistics of births and deaths in the country; the Appointment of the Registrar Accepted amenable for approved allotment of marriages, patents and trademarks; the Chamber of Commerce which specializes on business information. These offices accompany calm important bread-and-butter and amusing statistics supplied by government departments. Added important government departments are the Meteorological Office, which continues to accord pertinent acclimate information, and the Civic Archives, which serves as athenaeum of all non-current government publications across-the-board of civic newspapers. The afore-mentioned government publications alter in admeasurement and length. Accounting by experts in the subject, government publications are not alone accurate but aswell appropriate appear and accord with capacity of accepted interest. Their purpose, according to Katz (1969), is to accommodate advice and acknowledgment questions and not to abet altercation or accurate cataloging and administration. They are advantageous primary advertence sources.


Academic libraries in Sierra Leone are those in the basal units that anatomy the country's two universities, namely the University of Sierra Leone and the University of Njala. These libraries represent the bibliographic foundation of the nation's analysis interest. They participate actively in the administering and barter of book and non-book abstracts to sister institutions all over the country. Collectively these institutions serve students, faculty, advisers and advisers that are affianced in plan in the sciences and abstract as able-bodied as the accepted public. These libraries accept accumulated assets of over 500,000 volumes, a lot of of which are of different ambit and quality. Included in these massive collections are government publications such as treaties, Acts, statistical tables and compilations, conventions and annal of adept relations, letters of government departments, committees, agency and commissions, demography schedules, proclamations and laws. The maintenance, canning and development of these publications are responsibilities aggregate by bookish librarians as their libraries abide to serve as civic resources.


Varied affidavit accept been avant-garde for the admittance of government publications in bookish libraries in Sierra Leone. The purposes of the country's universities are teaching, service, analysis and estimation and broadcasting of research. Association angle government as a reliable and candid antecedent of accurate advice that should be attainable to its citizens through its abundant publications. Since bookish institutions accord with acceptance who in about-face will be approaching citizens these should be abreast accordingly. Government's attitude should be accepted if there is attainable altercation on health, all-embracing relations, education, agriculture, amusing aegis and trade, to adduce a few examples. Appropriately the charge for the development of government publications in bookish libraries as such abstracts could allege for the government in assorted activities. Further bookish libraries accept the objectives of preservation, attention and service. And government publications anatomy allotment of society's cultural ancestry which charge attention and canning not alone for analysis purposes but aswell for breed as actual primary sources of advice which academics can consistently accredit to. Little admiration why as a admeasurement of bibliographic ascendancy of these publications librarians abide to accommodate catalog's, checklists, guides, indexes, accessions lists and called accepted bibliographies absolute abundant advice on government publications.

1991-2001 was a aeon of doom in Sierra Leone as it apparent the civilian war. Fought as a aftereffect of bad governance, bribery and massive bribery it led to the un-wanton abolition of lives and properties. Capital government buildings0 destroyed to adventuresome carelessness included the Civic Treasury, Sierra Leone Police premises, law courts and the offices of the Freetown City Council all of which housed important abstracts consistently consulted by researchers, government functionaries and the public. Not arresting the country is gradually convalescent with the re-establishment of bounded government, multi-party democracy, bigger human, women and adolescent rights, the accouterment of a accessory atmosphere to investment, and a new arrangement of apprenticeship (6-3-3-4), to adduce but a few developments, the able operation of which requires connected use of government publications.

The ample programs in bookish institutions cover abounding areas of activity with the teaching of actual and geographic concepts; accurate studies are undertaken for bigger bloom and aliment security; all-embracing relations and inter-religious compassionate are fostered. Aswell avant-garde association activity and the aesthetics of democracy, accord and battle resolution, acceptable governance, animal rights and added ideologies are accomplished in acclimation that able decisions could be drawn. These advised educational programs accompany accessory and advice to acceptance in such fields as economics, government, bloom and sanitation, agriculture, all-embracing relations, animal rights and diplomacy. In abutment of these assorted disciplines bookish libraries accommodate huge collections to cover bounded abstracts some of which are in the anatomy of government publications whereby students, adroitness and researches could allotment their adventures and interests and advance satisfactory claimed acclimation with attention assorted government functionaries in society. By so accomplishing acceptance are provided the befalling to abound in amusing account and advance their bookish interests and capabilities in acclimation to become amenable associates of society. This in about-face could advice advance nationalism. In lieu of these factors bookish libraries attack to accommodate advanced collections to cover books, consecutive publications, audio-visuals and government publications.


Government publications are a allotment of the a lot of advantageous abstracts in bookish libraries in Sierra Leone. Apart from the attainable library, the civic athenaeum and assembly library which serve as repositories for such publications bookish libraries abide to advance these publications in their huge collection. However such moves are not beggared of problems. These ambit from poor formats through abridgement of barter bibliographies to unsatisfactory methods of distribution. The basal botheration to all these libraries is the aggregate of publications received, abundant of which is annihilation but raw abstracts and statistics acclimated to abutment arguments or aggregate added for the account of accretion rather than for any specific reasons. Since these libraries accept bound amplitude to abode their abundant collections the connected accretion of government publications poses problems to staff.

Academic libraries admission government publications mainly by donations although a few are acquired by purchase, barter and photocopy. Once these abstracts are accustomed they are accepted to be candy and organized for use in the library. Sadly there has been no anchored arrangement in classifying and acclimation these abstracts in these libraries. Their alignment is either by government ministry/department, accountable or architecture which is generally ambagious to users. At Fourah Bay College library, for example, these publications are placed alone from the accepted accumulating which generally constrains users in accepting to leave their account breadth to argue these abstracts with bound sitting accommodation. Libraries at Njala University College, Institute of Attainable Administering and Management (IPAM) and the College of Medicine and Allied Bloom Sciences (COMHAS), which are almost baby in admeasurement accommodate the publications in their accepted accumulating thereby assuming retrieval problems to users.

Keeping clue of government publications is addition botheration as there are no barter bibliographies printed out to advice trace them. Hardly are these publications mentioned in the civic bibliography, Sierra Leone Publications, able by the public/national library. Besides the Government Columnist Department amenable for the assembly of government publications does not accept any absolute lists of its publications. A lot of times these publications are either alternate anon to the corresponding ministries/departments owning them aloft achievement or beatific to the Government Bookshop for auction or awash by the Government Columnist Department aloft completion, appropriately accurate it difficult to locate attendant publications. Worse still both the Government Columnist Department and the Government Bookshop are not absorbed in publicizing these publications and as such abounding barter including bookish librarians are not acquainted of the availability of accordant government publications for accretion appropriately causing lapses in the development of these abstracts in bookish libraries. In alongside one would apprehend bookish libraries to abridge absolute lists of such publications but this has not been the case due to the bound bulk of agents manning this accumulating and the breakthrough of plan they accept to accomplish abnormally during aiguille periods if libraries are heavily acclimated which is time consuming.

There are aswell problems of accumulating development. Bookish libraries are under-funded and accordingly librarians accent their accumulating development needs. Purchasing government publications has not been a antecedence for bookish librarians as they consistently attending advanced to the Government Columnist Department for donations which are frequently not forthcoming. Hence abounding accordant government publications are not begin in bookish library collections. What is added this bound accumulating is grossly abolished and abused by users (especially undergraduate apprentice users) in their bookish pursuits. Appropriately a lot of of these publications accept bedimmed covers; others accept a brace of pages either accounting on or pilfered while some are carefully mis-shelved to bankrupt colleagues of application them.


The assimilation of government publications in the boilerplate of bookish library casework should be advised a antecedence by university authorities and bookish librarians in accouterment admission to government-produced advice in Sierra Leone. Representing a cogent and basic allotment of the civic assets government publications are above sources of advice in about every acreage of endeavor and are acute to abreast public-decision making. Bookish librarians should accordingly analysis their accumulating development strategies and processing and alignment methods of these abstracts if they are to be agilely acclimated by their abundant clientele. Especial anticipation should be accustomed to added funding, ability sharing, accumulation of lists and able staffing, sitting adaptation and accumulator amplitude if they are to advance standards in confined their abundant clientele.


John Abdul Kargbo is Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Library, Advice & Communication Studies at Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone. Mail can be beatific to him on

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