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|Bangani S.; Dube L.
|Birds of a feather: partnerships towards community engagement in South African academic libraries
Bangani S.; Dube L. Birds of a feather: partnerships towards community engagement in South African academic libraries,Journal of Academic Librarianship 48 6
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|This paper adopted a qualitative research approach to assess the formation of partnerships towards community engagement (CE) in South African public university libraries. Online interviews with Library Heads and Community Participants as well as focus group discussions with Librarians were the two data collection methods used. Data were collected, analysed and interpreted thematically using ATLAS.ti. Findings revealed that in conducting CE, South African libraries foster several internal and external partnerships. These partnerships help the libraries to bridge the gap between the university libraries and the external communities as well as to strengthen bonds between the libraries and internal communities. Barries to partnerships include lack of commitment, non-sustainability of some partnerships, differences in organisational culture and internal processes, and poor or lack of communication. Strengths include sharing responsibility and resources, and an opportunity to create long-lasting bonds based on mutual benefits and trust. None of the academic libraries have an explicitly stated exclusion criteria for partners which may expose them to the danger of partnering with unscrupulous organisations and individuals. Therefore, it is recommended that, in forming partnerships, academic libraries should develop clear guidelines on the type of organisations and individuals to collaborate with to protect themselves from the possibility of partnering with unscrupulous organisations. Therefore, all academic library partnerships must be based on shared vision and values. © 2022 Elsevier Inc.