The legal implications of providing information services in PUL in Kenya

Salome Waigumo Mathangani, Japheth Otike

Abstract

This is a research paper on Public University Libraries (PULs) which are charged with the responsibility of providing the university community with information for the parent institutions’ core activities of teaching, learning, study and research. In carrying out this responsibility, PULs have to address issues of law as these relate to the provision of information services. The purpose of this study was to investigate the legal implications of providing information services in public university libraries in Kenya. The study applied the qualitative methodology but also used a limited application of quantitative approach with issues of statistical significance. Basing on a sample of 77 librarians from public universities libraries, data was collected and analyzed using the narrative method. The study established the actual and potential implications of laws that support information (UDHR, CK, FOI, IFLA and WSIS declarations) and those that put limits to information (Copyright law, penal code, Official Secrets Act). Although librarians were knowledgeable and had skills regarding their work, evidence from the study showed that they needed to extend their knowledge and understanding in the area of laws that have implications on the provision of information as a way of enhancing their work. In conclusion the paper notes that there is scope for librarians, using their wealth of knowledge and expertise, to seek interaction with policy makers and make relevant and useful contribution on law and information. These findings are significant in that they give general direction with regard to law and the provision of information services. The research highlights the importance for librarians to create links with policy makers in order to set up a relationship with mutual benefits.