Expanding Roles and Services of Academic Libraries in Achieving Sustainable Development in South Africa
Keywords:South Africa, academic libraries, National Development Plan, impact-based research, Sustainable Development Goals
Education, which is addressed by Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 of the United Nations (UN), is a driving force of nations world-wide. Quality education remains a powerful tool that can be used internationally to entrench socio-economic development. SDGs are particularly significant in enabling poor and developing African countries to work towards achieving these goals by the 2030 target date. In South Africa, the goals of the National Development Plan (NDP) should also be achieved by the same date as SDGs. To achieve the SDGs and chapters of the NDP, equitable access to information is critical. Universities have a fundamental role to play in producing knowledgeable and professional PhD graduates of a high standard, who will work productively to boost weak and slow-performing economies in their respective countries. Academic libraries are mandated to support students in completing their studies. They also need to support researchers in producing impact-based research that is crucial in solving the persistent socio-economic challenges that citizens face daily. Based on the literature review, this study was aimed at highlighting the expanding roles and services that academic libraries can embark on in South Africa in achieving SDG 4 and Chapter 9 of the NDP. The key recommendation is that universities need to provide academic libraries with an increased budget to enable them to expand their roles and services to ensure that SDG 4 and Chapter 9 of the NDP are achieved.
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