Troubles In Handling Government Publications In Educational Libraries In Sierra Leone


In Sierra Leone the phrases ‘official publications’, formal documents’, and ‘public documents’ are synonymous with federal government publications. Government publications, just put, are documents made by governing administration and community and quasi-authorities bodies detailing and integrating sights and polices. They symbolize the historical and recent improvement authorities of governing administration and present information on a vast variety of topics to involve Political Science, Economics, Finance, Statistics, Labor, Industry, Background, International Relations, Agriculture, Geology and Meteorology. Katz (1997) classed these publications into: (1) documents of authorities administration (2).investigation files for professionals together with a significant variety of stats and details of worth to science and business (3).preferred resources of data. Their actual physical form remaining possibly a ebook, pamphlet, journal, report monograph or electronic, particularly CD-ROM (p.387).

Bibliographic command in lots of parts of the entire world is seemingly unsatisfactory due mostly to absence of recognition of the significance of bibliographic equipment in investigate in authorities publications. The United States of The us, for example, was for a extensive time a pioneer in this subject. As far again as 1895 the Printing Act of January 12 of that year (28 statute, 601-624) not only founded centralized printing and distribution of federal documents but also instructed the Superintendent of Documents to offer correct equipment for bibliographic regulate of the documents printed. Great Britain is an exceptional exception for as far back again as 1807 collections of parliamentary papers were printed. Countries these as Sweden, Italy, Netherlands, Germany and Japan began separating govt doc bibliographies mainly in the 1920s and 1930s (Palic,1975). Nonetheless a terrific need for the use of federal government publications was felt adhering to Planet War 11 (1939-1945), when there was an elevated desire in the authoritative facts contained in this sort of publications as posited by kid’s (1942) in his introductory notes that ‘more and a lot more the worth of authorities documentation is remaining acknowledged despite the refractory character of some of these materials’

In parallel the emphasis made on the usefulness of authorities publications in Sierra Leone is associated with the improvement of printing which can be traced as much back as the founding of the Colony of Sierra Leone in 1787. Although the market did not survive the French assault of 1794 the basis stone of what later turned acknowledged as the Federal government Printing Division was laid in 1925 when it was charged with the manufacturing of modest notices for formal use. Now the Section prints all government publications and supplies stationery and office environment tools of government departments. It also undertakes a reasonable sum of business printing as profits making measures.

Federal government publications normally have the gain of currently being between the finest in their issue fields typically not conveniently obtainable to others (Smith, 1993). In lieu of the extent and complexity of authorities things to do there is a require for the popular dissemination of information and facts about these routines and for well-liked integration of governing administration coverage. No marvel why federal government publications have specific price to educational library collections and their authority is long lasting. In academic libraries in Sierra Leone these publications are place apart into a specific selection manned by a curator as at Fourah Bay College or university Library. Some are kept in vertical files some others are put in pamphlet boxes, even though those people like maps and surveys are specified specialised storage. These publications are acquired mainly by order, deposit, donation, trade and photocopying. The Authorities Printing Section is accountable for their publication


The expansion of government in Sierra Leone’s publish-war reconstruction period at nearby, nationwide and worldwide degrees has resulted in expanding her impact on the daily life of the citizenry. Concurrently with this expansion is the proliferation of formal and semi formal businesses, commissions and bureaus which proceed to publish will work such as directories, laws, stories, payments, Functions and complex literature which a lot of a scientists, educators, general public assistance functionaries, welfare recipients and the unemployed can not do devoid of reference to these publications. Considering that librarians provide as interface between users and federal government they have for prolonged recognized the complications which these types of a plethora of collection can pose and have been creating remarkable strides to deal with the situation. The essence in this article is to provide systematic controls to prevent the disappearance, into oblivion, of vital official publications.

In Sierra Leone authorities publications drop within a few common lessons: Govt, Legislative ands Judicial. The Government publications incorporate those issued by the Offices of the President and the Vice President, and numerous unbiased workplaces and establishments these as Nationwide Commission for Social Action (NaCSA), Countrywide Earnings Authority (NRA), Anti Corruption Fee (ACC), National Fee for Privatization (NCP) and the Office environment of the Ombudsman. Also provided are govt ministries such as the Ministries of defense Instruction, Youth and Sports Foreign Affairs and Worldwide Co-procedure Tourism and Cultural Affairs Neighborhood Govt and Community Growth Agriculture, Forestry and Foods Safety Trade and Industry Interior Affairs labor and Industrial Relations and Improvement and Financial Arranging.

The Ministry of Trade and Industry, for illustration, is accountable for both equally internal and global trade and the marketing of exports. It has powers in excess of customs and excise, tariffs, insurance policy, patents, logos, criteria, weights and steps. The Ministry of International Affairs and International Cooperation is liable for Sierra Leone’s connection with overseas and Commonwealth international locations whilst the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Foods Protection is liable for administrating governing administration plan on agriculture, horticulture and foods protection. This Ministry gives simple advice to farmers, commercial producers of horticultural crops and research.The Ministry of Inside Affairs deals with the maintenance of regulation and buy, the Law enforcement and Fire Forces, administration of the prisons and the therapy of offenders. Other miscellaneous matters dealt with by this ministry incorporate explosives, firearms, risky medication, prisons, shops, community safety, leisure, cremation, bylaws and fantastic rule and formal enterprise. The aforementioned features and very similar kinds carried out by other ministries have to have the creation and servicing of publications. There is also documentation of push briefings offered by the assorted heads of ministries and newsletters, which are channels for respective ministries there-by producing them a lot more public-relations mindful.

Legislative publications include the data and debates of Parliament and the studies of hearings of the different Parliamentary Committees. Integrated here also are a number of plan statements in reply to parliamentary inquiries. The Hansard is a further wealthy source for general public matters as it supplies official info and views about parliamentary debates.

Publications from the Judiciary branch of authorities consist primarily of studies of government conclusions by the Justice of the peace, Appeals and Supreme Courts. Uncovered in this arm of government are legislation textbooks, ‘annual registers’, condition trials and rulings, the constitution, worldwide treaties, protocols, peace accords, Acts, payments and digests of neighborhood newspapers. These publications give the judiciary with pertinent details on multifarious lawful issues. Such information and facts is demanded to be factual and politically neutral.

The Metropolis and District Councils, being quasi-govt establishments, provide files categorized as govt publications. These incorporate constructing codes, academic improvement, wellbeing and sanitation, regulations on waste disposal, use of firearms and fireplace machines. Also there are governing administration departments which supply statistical details on a vast vary of economic, industrial and social demographic data. Of central significance are Data Sierra Leone (formerly Central Studies Office environment-CSO), accountable for national inhabitants census and house surveys the Business of Births and Fatalities which registers and generates once-a-year figures of births and fatalities in the region the Place of work of the Registrar Standard dependable for statutory registration of marriages, patents and trademarks the Chamber of Commerce which specializes on organization information. These places of work provide collectively significant financial and social data supplied by federal government departments. Other significant federal government departments are the Meteorological Office, which proceeds to give pertinent weather details, and the Nationwide Archives, which serves as repository of all non-latest authorities publications inclusive of countrywide newspapers. The afore-stated government publications change in dimension and size. Prepared by professionals in the subject matter, authorities publications are not only authoritative but also well timed posted and offer with subjects of existing interest. Their reason, according to Katz (1969), is to deliver details and answer concerns and not to provoke dialogue or organizational cataloging and administration. They are valuable main reference resources.


Academic libraries in Sierra Leone are all those in the constituent units that form the country’s two universities, namely the University of Sierra Leone and the University of Njala. These libraries signify the bibliographic foundation of the nation’s research fascination. They participate actively in the distribution and trade of ebook and non-guide supplies to sister establishments all about the nation. Collectively these establishments provide pupils, faculty, students and researchers that are engaged in function in the sciences and humanities as very well as the general community. These libraries have merged sources of above 500,000 volumes, most of which are of one of a kind scope and excellent. Included in these enormous collections are authorities publications this sort of as treaties, Acts, statistical tables and compilations, conventions and information of diplomatic relations, reviews of federal government departments, committees, bureau and commissions, census schedules, proclamations and legislation. The routine maintenance, preservation and progress of these publications are obligations shared by academic librarians as their libraries proceed to serve as nationwide methods.


Assorted good reasons have been advanced for the inclusion of governing administration publications in academic libraries in Sierra Leone. The applications of the country’s universities are educating, provider, research and interpretation and dissemination of investigate. Society views government as a reliable and impartial source of authoritative info that must be available to its citizens via its several publications. Because educational institutions deal with pupils who in change will be future citizens these must be educated appropriately. Government’s stance ought to be acknowledged when there is community discussion on overall health, intercontinental relations, instruction, agriculture, social safety and trade, to cite a couple illustrations. Thus the need to have for the growth of authorities publications in tutorial libraries as these types of resources could converse for the governing administration in various things to do. Further more educational libraries have the goals of preservation, conservation and assistance. And government publications variety part of society’s cultural heritage which will need conservation and preservation not only for research reasons but also for posterity as tangible key sources of details which lecturers can constantly refer to. Small ponder why as a measure of bibliographic command of these publications librarians continue to offer catalog’s, checklists, guides, indexes, accessions lists and selected common bibliographies containing considerable information and facts on government publications.

1991-2001 was a period of time of doom in Sierra Leone as it marked the civil war. Fought as a outcome of poor governance, nepotism and significant corruption it led to the un-wanton destruction of lives and homes. Essential federal government buildings0 ruined to reckless abandon integrated the Nationwide Treasury, Sierra Leone Police premises, law courts and the workplaces of the Freetown Town Council all of which housed significant paperwork continually consulted by scientists, federal government functionaries and the general public. Not withstanding the place is step by step recovering with the re-establishment of neighborhood authorities, multi-celebration democracy, enhanced human, females and child rights, the provision of a conducive atmosphere to expense, and a new program of schooling (6-3-3-4), to cite but a couple developments, the productive operation of which demands constant use of authorities publications.

The wide systems in tutorial establishments incorporate many spots of lifestyle with the training of historical and geographic ideas scientific scientific tests are carried out for improved health and fitness and foodstuff protection intercontinental relations and inter-spiritual comprehension are fostered. Also modern neighborhood lifetime and the philosophy of democracy, peace and conflict resolution, great governance, human rights and other ideologies are taught in purchase that intelligent decisions could be drawn. These developed academic packages deliver enrichment and info to college students in this sort of fields as economics, governing administration, wellbeing and sanitation, agriculture, worldwide relations, human rights and diplomacy. In assist of these varied disciplines tutorial libraries deliver big collections to incorporate local resources some of which are in the sort of govt publications whereby pupils, school and researches could share their activities and interests and acquire satisfactory particular adjustment with regard various authorities functionaries in society. By so undertaking pupils are supplied the chance to develop in social usefulness and develop their intellectual pursuits and abilities in buy to turn into dependable members of modern society. This in change could aid market nationalism. In lieu of these elements academic libraries endeavor to offer liberal collections to contain guides, serial publications, audio-visuals and authorities publications.


Government publications are between the most practical materials in educational libraries in Sierra Leone. Apart from the general public library, the nationwide archives and parliament library which serve as repositories for these publications tutorial libraries keep on to develop these publications in their enormous assortment. However these moves are not bereft of problems. These range from inadequate formats as a result of deficiency of trade bibliographies to unsatisfactory approaches of distribution. The fundamental issue to all these libraries is the volume of publications been given, considerably of which is practically nothing but uncooked details and data employed to support arguments or gathered extra for the sake of collecting rather than for any particular factors. Considering that these libraries have minimal area to residence their a lot of collections the ongoing acquisition of federal government publications poses troubles to personnel.

Educational libraries acquire government publications generally by donations though a couple of are acquired by invest in, exchange and photocopy. The moment these supplies are received they are predicted to be processed and structured for use in the library. Sadly there has been no fixed sample in classifying and organizing these resources in these libraries. Their firm is both by authorities ministry/department, matter or format which is frequently confusing to users. At Fourah Bay School library, for illustration, these publications are put independently from the typical assortment which frequently constrains end users in obtaining to go away their reading through space to consult these materials with limited sitting accommodation. Libraries at Njala University School, Institute of Community Administration and Management (IPAM) and the College of Medication and Allied Overall health Sciences (COMHAS), which are reasonably modest in dimensions combine the publications in their basic selection thereby posing retrieval challenges to customers.

Preserving track of authorities publications is one more issue as there are no trade bibliographies printed out to assistance trace them. Rarely are these publications described in the national bibliography, Sierra Leone Publications, organized by the general public/countrywide library. Aside from the Govt Printing Division liable for the production of governing administration publications does not have any detailed lists of its publications. Most situations these publications are possibly returned promptly to the respective ministries/departments possessing them upon completion or sent to the Government Bookshop for sale or offered by the Govt Printing Office on completion, therefore creating it challenging to find retrospective publications. Even worse continue to each the Federal government Printing Section and the Government Bookshop are not interested in publicizing these publications and as these kinds of numerous consumers such as tutorial librarians are not conscious of the availability of suitable govt publications for acquisition as a result producing lapses in the progress of these elements in tutorial libraries. In parallel a single would be expecting tutorial libraries to compile thorough lists of this kind of publications but this has not been the situation thanks to the limited amount of workers manning this assortment and the quantum of do the job they have to accomplish primarily for the duration of peak periods when libraries are intensely applied which is time consuming.

There are also challenges of selection growth. Educational libraries are below-funded and thus librarians prioritize their assortment development wants. Acquiring govt publications has not been a precedence for academic librarians as they generally glimpse ahead to the Government Printing Section for donations which are commonly not forthcoming. For this reason quite a few relevant authorities publications are not discovered in tutorial library collections. What is additional this limited collection is grossly misused and abused by users (particularly undergraduate pupil users) in their academic pursuits. Hence most of these publications have dingy handles other people have a pair of internet pages either prepared on or pilfered while some are deliberately mis-shelved to deprive colleagues of utilizing them.


The incorporation of federal government publications in the mainstream of academic library products and services should really be regarded as a priority by college authorities and educational librarians in providing obtain to authorities-generated details in Sierra Leone. Symbolizing a substantial and integral section of the national methods federal government publications are key sources of info in basically just about every area of endeavor and are very important to knowledgeable public-decision producing. Educational librarians should really as a result review their assortment progress techniques and processing and business methods of these products if they are to be persistently utilised by their various clientele. Especial thought really should be offered to amplified funding, source sharing, compilation of lists and ample staffing, sitting lodging and storage house if they are to maintain criteria in serving their numerous clientele.

Writer Observe

John Abdul Kargbo is Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Library, Facts & Interaction Studies at Fourah Bay College or university, University of Sierra Leone. Mail can be despatched to him on