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KIU: The Making of a Magnificent Intellectual Hub in Africa

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By Prisca Adaeze Nenger

In a bid to fulfil its vision and mission, Kampala International University (KIU) at the time of its inception in 2001 developed library services to support teaching, learning and research (http://library.kiu.ac.ug/). The library services which were initially accommodated in an ‘L” shaped first floor of the University’s Administration Block, were soon considered inadequate for the many thousands of students who flocked the university from all over Africa in search of academic excellence. In 2010 however, KIU Management thought it appropriate to put up a befitting structure, big enough to accommodate the growing number of staff and students. This dream became a reality in August 2013 when the magnificent multi-billion dollar library opened its doors for use.

An integral part of KIU, the library is the treasure home of human knowledge. It is the intellectual hub of the University that supports study, teaching, research and social information needs. Guided by its motto ‘To serve with Utmost Gusto’, the library has grown over the years from one large room that was manned by one member of staff and a seating capacity of 1,000 users, to an eight floors ultra-modern building that serves over 30,000 users and employs over 40 professional and support staff.

Currently rated as the best University Library in Uganda and among the biggest University Libraries in Africa after Cairo University’s Library and University of Dar es Salaam Library. The state of art eight-floor building measures 15,700 square meters, with a seating capacity of 5,500 users. The library’s facilities are modern, designed innovatively to facilitate the new information technology trends.

Floor by Floor Description:

The entrance to The IBML is on the Upper Ground Floor which accommodates The Open Lounge, Exhibition Area, Cloak Room, Control Desk, University Bookshop, Reference and Circulation Desk, On-line Public Access Catalogue (OPAC), University Librarian and Deputy Librarian’s Offices, The Library Board Room, Security CCT Offices, Coffee Room, a Courtyard, Newspaper Display Racks and Shelving Space. Under the current situation, the Eastern Wing of the floor houses the Reserved Books Section where recommended text books are shelved and loaned out In-house for a duration of three hours.

The Lower Ground Floor houses the Loading and Unloading Bay, Server Room, Book Binding Section, Technical Services Section, University Archives and the Security Control Unit. This is Technical Services Section responsible for receiving, processing, labeling and providing access to all information materials to library users. The section is also charged with automating the library collections and maintaining an efficient Open Public Access Catalogue (OPAC) System. Within the section is a Bindery Unit where damaged books are repaired. The section is out of bound to non-library staff.

On the First Floor are offices for the Readers’ Services and the Periodicals’ Librarians, Current Journals Display Racks and Journal Back Issues storage space. This is a general reading area for any library patron with books in Humanities, Classes A to P. This floor is planned to house a Children’s Library.

The Second Floor houses the Law Library Collection in closed access.  There is a reading area for library patrons interested in law-related books. The Law Library (Closed Access) provides information services to all students, lecturers and researchers studying or interested in law and related fields. The Law Library has a collection of over 1200 volumes of books and periodicals. These include statutes of different countries, local and foreign law reports, and law students’ research reports. Popular local authors available in the collection include Prof. G. W. Kanyeihamba, former Chief Justice B. J. Odoki, D. J. Bakibinga, L. Tibatemwa-Ekirikubinza, J. P. Omony among others. Law Library collections are kept in Closed Access. To use the materials, patrons need a valid library card. The books are loaned out for duration of three hours. If no other person has requested for such a book, the same material can be re-borrowed. Most common free online legal information that is accessed by KIU community can be found on http://www.ulii.org; http://www.kenyalaw.org; http://www.zimlii.org; http://www.saflii.org; and http://www.nigeria-law.org.

The Third Floor houses Post Graduate Library with reading materials both closed and open access. It also houses a Special Collection that includes: Theses, Government Publications and Kanyeihamba Collection, all in Closed Access.

The Forth Floor, which is not yet fully complete, is expected to house Study Carrels, Study Rooms, and a general reading space.

The Fifth Floor is planned to have reading space and two computer laboratories where electronic literature will be accessed by undergraduate students.

The Sixth Floor, when complete will house a big state of art Tele-Conferencing Facility equipped to seat over 100 patrons, two small conference facilities, a multimedia research center,  Faculty Staff Study Rooms, Study Carrels (eight lockable and twelve open), four smart card operated photocopiers and two also smart card operated printers.

There is an Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC) Computer terminals conspicuously located in the centre of each floor thus, making the entire library building to be wired with power and data connection points for easy access of materials by users.

Services Offered:

The IBML being an automated ultra-modern library provides a wide range of traditional and non-traditional services, which include reference and information services, lending, multimedia access and information literacy instruction.

The library has a well-stocked collection with over 80,000 print books covering all academic disciplines KIU offers. The books are carefully selected and systematically organized according to the Library of Congress Classification Scheme (LCC); the scheme that meets the needs of large academic libraries. Unlike most university libraries in Uganda, which use Dewey Decimal Classification Scheme (DDC) that is limited to 10 Arabic Numerical 1 to 10, LCC uses letters A to Z that represent the world’s subjects of knowledge; thus being more specific in directing library users.  In addition to book stocks, the library has several print journal titles, magazines, newsletters, government and institutional publications.

Being a modern library, The IBML subscribes to a wide range of multidisciplinary electronic resources; electronic journal databases most which provide full-text articles and e-books. This provides more than enough scholarly information to support teaching, learning and research requirements at the university.

E-journals databases include Emerald, Cambridge journals online, Sage publications, EBSCO host, Oxford University Press, JSTOR, among others. For a complete list of e-journals and e-books available to KIU community. E-resources are accessible both On-Campus and Off-Campus. For Off-Campus access, one needs to have login details of username and password. The IBML implemented Off-Campus access to e-resources using EZproxy connection in October 2016.  Login details were sent to individual students and staff by e-mails. If you are a member of KIU community and do not have login details, kindly contact the E-Resources Librarian or send an email to ibmlsadmin@kiu.ac.ug.

The library conducts training sessions for both students and staff each semester in Information Search Strategies, Evaluation of Information Sources, Reference Management tools, mobile tools for information access, etc. These training sessions are aimed at equipping students and staff with Information Literacy Skills for lifelong learning. Library users can photocopy limited pages of information materials available in the IBML at a small fee. Photocopiers are found on 1st and 2nd Floors; patrons are encouraged to observe the copyright laws when photocopying from any information material.

Special Features:

Among the special features found at The IBML is the News Room that is equipped with a television set, a radio, and houses major local and regional dailies together with easy chairs and tables where library users sit to update themselves on current affairs. The room is very popular especially at 1.00 p.m. the local news time. Next to the News Room is the Staff Lounge where eats and drinks are served during lunch time.

Postgraduate Students and Researchers

Postgraduate & Research Library is mainly for Postgraduate students and researchers. The Library houses a special collection consisting of books on a wide range of postgraduate courses, especially in research methods and statistics. There are also Government of Uganda Publications, Journals of different types and news-papers. The Library offers two types of services: Open Access and Closed Access. The major collection in Closed Access is students’ dissertations and theses. These are loaned out on presentation of a valid library card and must be read within the library.

KIU Institutional Repository (KIUIR):

The IBML is home to KIU Institutional Repository (KIUIR) development, using D-Space software. This is a digital collection of over 700 research publications output from KIU stakeholders, hosted at www.ir.kiu.ac.ug, which contains journal articles, conference papers, Masters and Doctoral theses. A variety of rare materials such as reports and dataset are also included.  The repository serves as an avenue for KIU to display her research outputs on the web and a permanent preservation.

Also in the offing is an equally important part of the IBML–printing, which is due to be commissioned soon. KIU acquired high-class printing machinery for printing most KIU works. Once this is up and running, the library will boast of first class printing services at the campus.

The IBML is presided over by a dedicated vibrant trained staff who are ever available to assist with both online and offline reference services and other information needs throughout the year. The Board of Trustees, The University Council, The Senate, The Management and all staff fraternity are excited about the future of KIU and all its campuses libraries; a future that is very bright and largely depends on mutual trust and collaboration.

‘TO SERVE WITH UTMOST GUSTO’