Adoption of LibGuides as a reference service in academic libraries: Insights from Aga Khan University, Uganda
Creative ideas and technology across the world for utilization have influenced the ways academic libraries present themselves to their users. Before the digital era, librarians developed print subject guides and pathfinders to highlight important information resources in different fields, and the guides were brought online as libraries created websites and started to depend on web resources.
With the emergence of Web 2.0 technologies, librarians across the globe saw an opportunity to create more appealing and interactive online guides for millennial patrons. These technologies simplified the creation and maintenance of guides such as wikis and FAQ's and subject guides to provide access to electronic resources.
Academic librarians in Sub-Saharan Africa like their counterparts in the rest of the world are under pressure to offer relevant information services to satisfy varied client needs. Studies have shown that librarians believe that creating LibGuides enhances their knowledge of subject resources as a reference service. According to Springshare (2020), 6100 libraries in 82 countries have implemented the LibGuides platform. There is however no clear indication of how many institutions in low middle-income countries have implemented libguides. This paper gives insight into the context of Sub Saharan Africa and lists the specific institutions that have adopted libguides. The Aga Khan University in Uganda prides itself as the pioneer of libguides implementation as a reference service. Since its implementation in 2014, usage statistics have shown a gradual and steady improvement in access and use of e-resources such as journals and ebooks. This is largely attributed to the ease of reference and awareness aided by libguided. Many universities in Uganda have benchmarked with the Aga Khan University library and it is hoped that in the near future a number of other libraries will also implement libguides as reference service tools.