Once upon a time in Zimbabwe

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to create a parallel timeline between the Zimbabwe Librarian, the national trade journal for librarianship during the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, government statistics, non-governmental information, media reports, and other secondary sources to determine the effects of Zimbabwe's political and economic fortunes on libraries. Design/methodology/approach - The primary methodology is a review of secondary sources in the form of trade journals, economic data and media reports. The approach of the paper is to compare the state of libraries in Zimbabwe during the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and 2005, showing the change in librarianship and library services as economic prosperity changed dramatically. Findings - The policies of three successive governments have promised support for libraries but have ultimately been unable to implement a national library system. Libraries in 2008 have fewer resources available than they had in the 1960s. Research limitations/implications - This paper is based on media sources as well as statistical data. The Zimbabwe Librarian ceased as a quarterly journal in approximately 1997. Since 2000, it has been issued as a semi-annual journal. The author had access to a limited span of the Zimbabwe Librarian; therefore, this article focuses on the period from 1969-1995. Media sources available in Zimbabwe after 2001 are frequently propaganda organizations. Originality/value - This article provides an overview of historical and current events in the Zimbabwe library community in the light of political and economic events.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)419-430
Number of pages12
JournalNew Library World
Issue number9-10
StatePublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Economics
  • History
  • Libraries
  • Politics
  • Zimbabwe

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Library and Information Sciences


Dive into the research topics of 'Once upon a time in Zimbabwe'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this