EXPLORING OUTSOURCING OPTIONS FOR TECHNICAL SERVICES IN UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES: CASE OF UNIVERSITY OF NAIROBI LIBRARY SYSTEM
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The study assessed and evaluated the practices of outsourcing at University of Nairobi’s library technical services section with the main objective of finding out the outsourcing options available for such a library system. Considering that the University of Nairobi is the first public university to be established in Kenya, the study aimed at exploring the outsourcing issue in a university library setting and at the same time provide quantifiable data which could be used to formulate and uncover useful research insights. Other objectives included finding out possible implications of outsourcing in university libraries with reference to the University of Nairobi library system, establishing the challenges facing libraries in relation to outsourcing of technical services and giving suggestions on how to implement outsourcing practices that could enhance the value of library services in the university environment. This study used a case study research design involving both qualitative and quantitative. Case study method was used to study the problem because of the small size of the target population. The sample for the research comprised of the total membership of staff from the technical department of the library, all the branch librarians, all the deputy directors and the university library and information director. The study used open-ended and closed questionnaires to collect data from the respondents. The data collected from the research was analyzed against the objectives and the results presented by the use of tables, charts, pie-charts, and narrative for documentary information collected from both the secondary and primary sources. Quantitative data was analyzed using descriptive statistics and prose discussions. The study findings revealed that outsourcing is not practiced at the University of Nairobi library system. There is need for the university library system to establish outsourcing as a means to supplement existing services. The library system should strategically assess its partners with a view of not only reaping the fruits of cost reduction but also benefiting from cutting-edge technology available elsewhere. There is also need to have an outsourcing policy in place, and re-engineer the acquisitions function in the light of new technologies. Outsourcing should be re-defined in the whole university in order to improve productivity.

 

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