Can Benevolence and Technology Bridge the Divide between Developed and Developing Countries’ Libraries?

  • Jennifer Papin–Ramcharan University of the West Indies
  • Richard A. Dawe University of the West Indies


The resources needed for research literature in science and technology (S&T) are the same regardless of location. However, access to the needed information resources is dependent on the budget of the research library. There is therefore a very large gap between the leading information–rich libraries and those of lesser–developed countries, which are financially limited and probably have information–poor libraries. There are now a number of initiatives for correcting this divide, but all stakeholders — publishers, vendors, and libraries of developed countries — have to work to ensure that there is equitable access to information for research. We suggest that some international organisations such as the United Nations should be given a mandate to supervise a free library service to developing nations whereby these nations can have free (for them) access to many of the library facilities enjoyed by a first class industrialised nation library. The cost should not be large. Additionally, librarians in developing countries must do more to inform themselves of those initiatives that exist, and then make full use of them. This paper discusses these issues using the perspective and experiences of the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus Main Library as background. It however confines itself to S&T information resources.

Author Biographies

Jennifer Papin–Ramcharan, University of the West Indies
Main Library, University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad.
Richard A. Dawe, University of the West Indies
TTMC Chair in Petroleum Engineering, Chemical Engineering Department, Faculty of Engineering, University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad.