The New Medical Library at the Copperbelt University, Zambia

The Copperbelt University School of Medicine Library was established in February 2012 along with the establishment of the School of Medicine of this University. It is a Branch of the University Main Library located on the ground floor of Ndola Central Hospital adjacent to the Doctor’s lounge. The Library is still a work in progress with space anticipated to be split into a reading area to sit about 70 users, the main stack area with a partition of an office for the Librarian, an E-resources section and a serials section.

At present, the medical library structure comprises of four (4) members. One (1) Assistant Librarian who is in charge with One (1) Senior Library Assistant and Two Library Assistants as support Staff.

The library is offering borrowing, reference, user education; and internet literature search services primarily for the Staff and Students of the School. The current statistics of the Staff and Students the Library serves stand at: 22 Academic Staff and a current total of 118 Undergraduate and 5 Postgraduate Students. However, the number is expected to increase by October 2013 when the School receives its 3rd intake of Undergraduate Students. Additionally, though not formally, the library also serves external Students from the health training schools within the locality of the School as well as the hospital community of Resident Doctors and Staff.

Currently, the Medical Library has various information resources provided both in print and electronic formats. The print resources include a growing collection of 2042 textbooks, journals, School of medicine staff papers and reports. The library also provides access to various health online resources such as electronic journal databases and electronic books, though this service is not fully functional as the technological base of the Library is still under construction. The library’s internet connection is very slow due to limited bandwidth and the Library only has 3 computers dedicated for the User’s access of the above resources.

By and large, the library has made positive strides in setting up the facility to respond to its mandate. However the services the library is offering have been at the minimum, partly due to limited budgets and lack of exposure. It is therefore at this stage that the library is embarking on various ventures to partner, collaborate with and solicit from well established medical libraries within and outside Zambia in order to consolidate and take the library to a level comparable with other reputable medical libraries.

The library’s vision is to become the Copper belt’s major health information hub.

Virginia Hamwela (15/07/2013)

Assistant Librarian (Copper belt University Medical School Library)

With apologies from Jean Shaw for the delay in publishing this post


About jgreigshaw

I work with Partnerships in Health Information which promotes partnership between libraries in Africa and the UK with an emphasis in African leadership. I have visited Kenya, Mali, Uganda and Zambia though Phi has contacts in many more African countries.
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2 Responses to The New Medical Library at the Copperbelt University, Zambia

  1. Walter says:

    It is a common situation in developing world to have those challenges you have mentioned. We normally start small and grow slowly like that. I have that same experience when we opened Gulu University Medical Library. We started small in 2004 with about 1000 books and 2 computers but now we have over 7000 books, about 4000 ebooks, 50 titles of CD/DVDs and about 2000 journals collection. The computers have risen now to 30 with Internet connection. Most of these progress however came through donations from partners. My experience is that government support may not move things faster, that is why I recommend that you engage in grant writing to improve the medical library.

  2. Virginia Hamwela says:

    Thank you Walter. Quite incouraging and well noted.

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