September 22, 2023


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Issues In Controlling Federal government Publications In Academic Libraries In Sierra Leone


In Sierra Leone the conditions ‘official publications’, formal documents’, and ‘public documents’ are synonymous with governing administration publications. Federal government publications, only set, are paperwork made by authorities and neighborhood and quasi-authorities bodies outlining and integrating views and polices. They stand for the historical and present-day development authorities of government and supply information on a large assortment of subjects to contain Political Science, Economics, Finance, Figures, Labor, Business, Heritage, Intercontinental Relations, Agriculture, Geology and Meteorology. Katz (1997) classed these publications into: (1) data of federal government administration (2).analysis files for professionals which include a significant amount of figures and facts of worth to science and enterprise (3).well-known sources of information. Their bodily sort currently being both a ebook, pamphlet, journal, report monograph or digital, in particular CD-ROM (p.387).

Bibliographic regulate in lots of parts of the planet is seemingly unsatisfactory because of mostly to absence of awareness of the value of bibliographic resources in investigate in government publications. The United States of The usa, for instance, was for a extensive time a pioneer in this subject. As significantly again as 1895 the Printing Act of January 12 of that year (28 statute, 601-624) not only recognized centralized printing and distribution of federal files but also instructed the Superintendent of Paperwork to provide proper equipment for bibliographic regulate of the files posted. Good Britain is an remarkable exception for as much back again as 1807 collections of parliamentary papers had been printed. Nations these kinds of as Sweden, Italy, Netherlands, Germany and Japan began separating governing administration doc bibliographies primarily in the 1920s and 1930s (Palic,1975). Nevertheless a wonderful have to have for the use of governing administration publications was felt next Environment War 11 (1939-1945), when there was an elevated curiosity in the authoritative data contained in these publications as posited by child’s (1942) in his introductory notes that ‘more and far more the relevance of federal government documentation is being identified despite the refractory mother nature of some of these materials’

In parallel the emphasis made on the usefulness of govt publications in Sierra Leone is connected with the advancement of printing which can be traced as far back as the founding of the Colony of Sierra Leone in 1787. Whilst the business failed to endure the French assault of 1794 the basis stone of what later grew to become recognized as the Authorities Printing Division was laid in 1925 when it was charged with the generation of compact notices for official use. Presently the Section prints all govt publications and materials stationery and business products of govt departments. It also undertakes a good total of commercial printing as revenue creating actions.

Governing administration publications typically have the gain of becoming amongst the greatest in their issue fields often not effortlessly accessible to some others (Smith, 1993). In lieu of the extent and complexity of govt things to do there is a need to have for the prevalent dissemination of details about these activities and for well-liked integration of governing administration plan. No marvel why governing administration publications have particular value to educational library collections and their authority is everlasting. In academic libraries in Sierra Leone these publications are set apart into a distinctive assortment manned by a curator as at Fourah Bay School Library. Some are saved in vertical files many others are positioned in pamphlet boxes, when those like maps and surveys are specified specialised storage. These publications are acquired mostly by acquire, deposit, donation, exchange and photocopying. The Authorities Printing Department is liable for their publication


The expansion of federal government in Sierra Leone’s put up-war reconstruction period at nearby, national and worldwide ranges has resulted in rising her impact on the everyday living of the citizenry. Concurrently with this enlargement is the proliferation of formal and semi formal organizations, commissions and bureaus which continue on to publish operates these types of as directories, laws, reviews, costs, Acts and technological literature which quite a few a researchers, educators, general public service functionaries, welfare recipients and the unemployed can not do devoid of reference to this kind of publications. Since librarians provide as interface concerning end users and federal government they have for very long recognized the issues which such a myriad of assortment can pose and have been building remarkable strides to tackle the challenge. The essence right here is to offer systematic controls to steer clear of the disappearance, into oblivion, of critical official publications.

In Sierra Leone govt publications tumble within three basic classes: Executive, Legislative ands Judicial. The Govt publications include things like all those issued by the Offices of the President and the Vice President, and a variety of impartial offices and establishments these as National Fee for Social Motion (NaCSA), Countrywide Earnings Authority (NRA), Anti Corruption Fee (ACC), Countrywide Commission for Privatization (NCP) and the Business of the Ombudsman. Also included are govt ministries this kind of as the Ministries of defense Schooling, Youth and Sports International Affairs and Global Co-operation Tourism and Cultural Affairs Area Authorities and Local community Advancement Agriculture, Forestry and Foods Stability Trade and Industry Interior Affairs labor and Industrial Relations and Enhancement and Economic Organizing.

The Ministry of Trade and Market, for case in point, is accountable for equally inner and international trade and the marketing of exports. It has powers more than customs and excise, tariffs, insurance plan, patents, logos, criteria, weights and measures. The Ministry of International Affairs and Intercontinental Cooperation is liable for Sierra Leone’s connection with foreign and Commonwealth international locations though the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food stuff Protection is accountable for administrating govt plan on agriculture, horticulture and food stuff stability. This Ministry offers realistic steerage to farmers, industrial producers of horticultural crops and exploration.The Ministry of Inner Affairs offers with the routine maintenance of legislation and get, the Police and Fireplace Forces, administration of the prisons and the remedy of offenders. Other miscellaneous issues dealt with by this ministry include things like explosives, firearms, perilous medicines, prisons, stores, community safety, enjoyment, cremation, bylaws and superior rule and official enterprise. The aforementioned capabilities and very similar types carried out by other ministries involve the development and servicing of publications. There is also documentation of press briefings presented by the assorted heads of ministries and newsletters, which are channels for respective ministries there-by generating them a lot more general public-relations conscious.

Legislative publications include things like the information and debates of Parliament and the studies of hearings of the varied Parliamentary Committees. Included listed here also are many policy statements in reply to parliamentary issues. The Hansard is one more rich supply for public matters as it delivers official data and views about parliamentary debates.

Publications from the Judiciary branch of govt consist mainly of stories of govt choices by the Magistrate, Appeals and Supreme Courts. Observed in this arm of federal government are regulation books, ‘annual registers’, condition trials and rulings, the structure, worldwide treaties, protocols, peace accords, Acts, expenses and digests of community newspapers. These publications provide the judiciary with pertinent details on multifarious legal matters. Such facts is expected to be factual and politically impartial.

The Metropolis and District Councils, getting quasi-federal government institutions, deliver paperwork labeled as authorities publications. These involve developing codes, academic progress, overall health and sanitation, rules on waste disposal, use of firearms and fire devices. Also there are federal government departments which offer statistical information on a huge variety of economic, industrial and social demographic info. Of central great importance are Studies Sierra Leone (formerly Central Data Place of work-CSO), accountable for countrywide inhabitants census and property surveys the Business of Births and Deaths which registers and produces annual data of births and deaths in the state the Place of work of the Registrar Normal responsible for statutory registration of marriages, patents and trademarks the Chamber of Commerce which specializes on enterprise facts. These places of work convey alongside one another vital financial and social statistics supplied by government departments. Other essential govt departments are the Meteorological Office environment, which proceeds to give pertinent climate information, and the Nationwide Archives, which serves as repository of all non-existing governing administration publications inclusive of countrywide newspapers. The afore-pointed out government publications change in dimensions and size. Prepared by specialists in the subject matter, authorities publications are not only authoritative but also timely released and offer with subject areas of current fascination. Their goal, in accordance to Katz (1969), is to supply details and respond to questions and not to provoke dialogue or organizational cataloging and administration. They are handy key reference resources.


Educational libraries in Sierra Leone are those people in the constituent models that variety the country’s two universities, particularly the College of Sierra Leone and the College of Njala. These libraries symbolize the bibliographic foundation of the nation’s investigate fascination. They take part actively in the distribution and exchange of ebook and non-e book materials to sister establishments all in excess of the place. Collectively these institutions provide students, faculty, scholars and researchers that are engaged in work in the sciences and humanities as nicely as the common community. These libraries have combined resources of above 500,000 volumes, most of which are of special scope and excellent. Included in these enormous collections are authorities publications this sort of as treaties, Acts, statistical tables and compilations, conventions and documents of diplomatic relations, stories of governing administration departments, committees, bureau and commissions, census schedules, proclamations and legal guidelines. The routine maintenance, preservation and progress of these publications are duties shared by educational librarians as their libraries keep on to provide as national methods.


Diverse factors have been innovative for the inclusion of govt publications in tutorial libraries in Sierra Leone. The functions of the country’s universities are instructing, assistance, research and interpretation and dissemination of investigate. Society views federal government as a reliable and neutral source of authoritative info that should really be available to its citizens as a result of its numerous publications. Considering the fact that tutorial establishments offer with pupils who in change will be upcoming citizens these must be educated appropriately. Government’s stance should be identified when there is public dialogue on health and fitness, global relations, instruction, agriculture, social stability and trade, to cite a couple of illustrations. Consequently the need for the progress of authorities publications in tutorial libraries as such resources could speak for the federal government in various functions. Even further academic libraries have the goals of preservation, conservation and service. And government publications form part of society’s cultural heritage which want conservation and preservation not only for investigation uses but also for posterity as tangible primary sources of data which teachers can continually refer to. Minimal wonder why as a measure of bibliographic management of these publications librarians carry on to give catalog’s, checklists, guides, indexes, accessions lists and picked typical bibliographies that contains considerable facts on federal government publications.

1991-2001 was a time period of doom in Sierra Leone as it marked the civil war. Fought as a end result of bad governance, nepotism and huge corruption it led to the un-wanton destruction of life and attributes. Critical governing administration buildings0 ruined to reckless abandon bundled the Countrywide Treasury, Sierra Leone Police premises, legislation courts and the workplaces of the Freetown Metropolis Council all of which housed vital documents constantly consulted by scientists, government functionaries and the general public. Not withstanding the region is little by little recovering with the re-establishment of community governing administration, multi-bash democracy, improved human, women of all ages and child rights, the provision of a conducive environment to financial commitment, and a new system of education and learning (6-3-3-4), to cite but a handful of developments, the powerful operation of which necessitates regular use of govt publications.

The wide applications in tutorial establishments contain lots of spots of life with the instructing of historical and geographic concepts scientific studies are carried out for enhanced health and food stuff security global relations and inter-spiritual knowledge are fostered. Also modern community lifetime and the philosophy of democracy, peace and conflict resolution, very good governance, human legal rights and other ideologies are taught in order that smart decisions could be drawn. These made instructional programs provide enrichment and info to students in these kinds of fields as economics, governing administration, wellness and sanitation, agriculture, global relations, human legal rights and diplomacy. In guidance of these assorted disciplines academic libraries provide massive collections to consist of regional components some of which are in the variety of authorities publications whereby college students, school and researches could share their encounters and interests and produce satisfactory individual adjustment with regard assorted authorities functionaries in society. By so accomplishing learners are furnished the opportunity to mature in social usefulness and build their mental interests and capabilities in get to come to be accountable customers of modern society. This in transform could assist encourage nationalism. In lieu of these factors academic libraries endeavor to provide liberal collections to involve guides, serial publications, audio-visuals and federal government publications.


Govt publications are amongst the most valuable materials in tutorial libraries in Sierra Leone. Apart from the public library, the national archives and parliament library which serve as repositories for these kinds of publications tutorial libraries continue to develop these publications in their big selection. Nonetheless this sort of moves are not bereft of problems. These variety from bad formats via absence of trade bibliographies to unsatisfactory strategies of distribution. The fundamental problem to all these libraries is the volume of publications acquired, considerably of which is practically nothing but raw information and figures used to aid arguments or gathered far more for the sake of gathering rather than for any specific causes. Considering the fact that these libraries have constrained house to household their many collections the continued acquisition of federal government publications poses troubles to team.

Tutorial libraries obtain federal government publications largely by donations while a few are obtained by invest in, exchange and photocopy. Once these elements are been given they are envisioned to be processed and structured for use in the library. Unfortunately there has been no preset pattern in classifying and arranging these elements in these libraries. Their group is either by federal government ministry/section, subject or structure which is usually bewildering to consumers. At Fourah Bay College or university library, for instance, these publications are positioned separately from the common selection which generally constrains buyers in acquiring to go away their looking at place to consult with these resources with minimal sitting down lodging. Libraries at Njala College Higher education, Institute of Public Administration and Management (IPAM) and the College or university of Drugs and Allied Wellness Sciences (COMHAS), which are comparatively small in dimensions combine the publications in their standard selection thus posing retrieval issues to buyers.

Maintaining track of federal government publications is one more problem as there are no trade bibliographies printed out to support trace them. Barely are these publications pointed out in the national bibliography, Sierra Leone Publications, geared up by the community/countrywide library. Other than the Govt Printing Section responsible for the generation of governing administration publications does not have any comprehensive lists of its publications. Most times these publications are possibly returned right away to the respective ministries/departments owning them upon completion or sent to the Govt Bookshop for sale or offered by the Government Printing Section on completion, consequently producing it challenging to identify retrospective publications. Even worse nevertheless equally the Governing administration Printing Department and the Governing administration Bookshop are not interested in publicizing these publications and as such numerous buyers such as educational librarians are not informed of the availability of related authorities publications for acquisition so producing lapses in the advancement of these products in educational libraries. In parallel 1 would be expecting academic libraries to compile complete lists of this kind of publications but this has not been the scenario because of to the minimal selection of workers manning this collection and the quantum of operate they have to complete especially through peak intervals when libraries are seriously made use of which is time consuming.

There are also troubles of assortment growth. Educational libraries are beneath-funded and as a result librarians prioritize their assortment development desires. Paying for authorities publications has not been a precedence for educational librarians as they often seem forward to the Govt Printing Division for donations which are routinely not forthcoming. For this reason several appropriate governing administration publications are not found in educational library collections. What is far more this limited selection is grossly misused and abused by buyers (especially undergraduate college student customers) in their tutorial pursuits. As a result most of these publications have dingy covers other people have a pair of webpages both created on or pilfered even though some are deliberately mis-shelved to deprive colleagues of applying them.


The incorporation of federal government publications in the mainstream of academic library products and services must be considered a priority by university authorities and educational librarians in supplying accessibility to governing administration-created facts in Sierra Leone. Symbolizing a significant and integral element of the nationwide sources government publications are big sources of information and facts in virtually every single subject of endeavor and are important to informed general public-conclusion building. Tutorial librarians must as a result evaluation their collection improvement approaches and processing and business procedures of these products if they are to be persistently utilised by their various clientele. Especial considered should really be given to greater funding, useful resource sharing, compilation of lists and adequate staffing, sitting lodging and storage space if they are to sustain criteria in serving their various clientele.

Creator Observe

John Abdul Kargbo is Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Library, Details & Communication Research at Fourah Bay College, College of Sierra Leone. Mail can be sent to him on