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|Academic libraries’ support for quality education through community engagement
Bangani S. Academic libraries’ support for quality education through community engagement,Information Development
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|This paper reports on a study which sought to assess the community engagement (CE) initiatives of academic libraries in South Africa. The research approach adopted was qualitative using online interviews with 20 heads of libraries in South Africa and 8 online focus group discussions with library staff as data collection methods. It was found that South African academic libraries’ CE initiatives can be construed as support for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG 4 on quality education and life-long learning in the context of this study. Initiatives that were interpreted as a contribution to SDG 4 were the imparting of information literacy skills to schools and librarians from other sectors, promotion of reading and writing, library visits by school learners, donation of school shoes and uniforms to learners, as well as donation of computers and computer literacy training to schools. The results of this study are a testament to the potential of academic libraries to change lives of ordinary citizens beyond the academy through CE. They provide fresh insights on the contribution of academic libraries to SDGs. This study can open new avenues for studying the contribution of academic libraries in the SDGs. Given that the phenomenon of CE is itself a fairly new area of study in academic libraries, this study will add a lot of value in this niche. © The Author(s) 2023.