The Act repealed the Public Libraries Act, 1964 which had established the Public Libraries Board, charged with the responsibility of establishing, equipping, managing and maintaining libraries in Uganda.
Following the enactment of the Local Governments Act 1997, this responsibility was decentralized to the local governments. The Public Libraries Board and later the National Library of Uganda retained the responsibility of laying down national policies in regard to these libraries, giving advice, issuing standards, norms, guidelines and work manuals, providing technical and professional advisory services and coordinating and carrying out advocacy for these libraries at local and international levels. With the enactment of the National Library Act, 2003, the National Library of Uganda became the National Bibliographic Control Agency responsible for ensuring legal deposit of materials by publishers, publishing the National Bibliography of Uganda, allocating the International Standard Book Numbers (ISBN) and International Standard Serial Numbers (ISSN) and establishing and managing a National Collection of Uganda
Mandate: To Collect, Organize, Preserve and Disseminate Uganda's Documented Heritage and to oversee Local Governments and Communities in the establishment and management of Public and Community Libraries.
Vision: To be a leading institution of excellence in preserving Uganda's documented heritage and the provision, and delivery of library and information services.
Mission: Collecting, Preserving and disseminating Uganda's documented heritage and providing professional leadership in the delivery of library and information services to public and community libraries.
- To develop national policies on public libraries;
- To provide to local governments standards, advice, norms, work manuals and guidelines in respect of public library buildings, staffing, stock and information processing, storage and retrieval;
- To inspect and ensure that public libraries conform to national policies, guidelines and;
- To provide technical, professional and advisory services in the field of librarianship to government departments, local governments, and the public sector;
- To carry out research in the field of library and information provision and disseminate results of government, local government and the public;
- To design and carry out pilot projects in new areas of library and information provision and disseminate results to local government and other organizations;
- To carry out and coordinate staff development programs for people working in libraries and information services;
- To support and promote adult literacy and education through identification and stocking post-literacy reading materials;
- To support the setting up of rural community libraries;
- To promote the habit and culture of reading through reading campaigns and book exhibitions;
- To carry out advocacy at the local and international level in matters relating to libraries;
- To acquire and organize for use, a comprehensive collection of library material published in Uganda, by Ugandans, and on Uganda;
- To act as a depository for the national and foreign governments’ publications as well as for United Nations and other International Organizations for purposes of promoting research and scholarship and for the preservation of published national culture and intellectual output;
- To compile and publish the national bibliography of books published in Uganda as a means of promoting the awareness of the availability of these books and encouraging the sale of these books in the country and abroad;
- In collaboration with publishers in Uganda to carry out the cataloging of books before they are published so as to ease the processing of these books by various libraries;
- To establish and maintain a national union catalog of holdings of major libraries in the country and to provide information and referral services, including specialized information services, at the national and international level;
- To allocate international standard book numbers and international standard serial numbers to the publisher in Uganda;
- To act as the agency for national and international lending and exchange of library materials;
- To act as a national, regional and international information system;
- To create electronic databases in areas of national interest;
- To acquire at a fee, from any person or institution, any manuscript or literature that may be considered to be of interest to the country;
- To carry out any other function that may promote the above objectives.
Office of the Director
The office of the Director is responsible for Board matters, policy formulation and execution, finance, overall administration, staff matters and liaison with other Government agencies. The Department is headed by the Director who is assisted by the Deputy Director, Senior Accountant, Office Superintendent and Support staff.
Technical Services Department
TSD is responsible for acquiring and processing information materials for the National Library of Uganda through purchase, donations or exchange and legal deposits. It also coordinates book donations for public and community libraries throughout Uganda. Donations are also extended to other libraries in the country. TSD compiles and publishes the National Bibliography of Uganda, maintains the National Library website and creates and manages National Library databases.
Inspection, Research, and Extension Services Department
Inspection Research and Extension Services department is responsible for promoting the reading culture through libraries and other reading activities, monitoring of library services, developing guidelines and standards for public and community libraries and publishing for the National Library of Uganda.
Information and Referral Service Department
The Information Referral Services Department is responsible for maintaining and preserving the library collection and providing reference services to Patrons. National Library of Uganda is a Legal Depository of all works published in Uganda including Government Publications. All these works are preserved in the National Collection. The library collection also comprises of the Africana Collection, and the General Reference and Special Collection. Furthermore, the Library has a rich Newspaper Collection that dates back to Pre-Independence, with Newspapers such as The Uganda Argus, The Uganda Herald, Voice of Uganda, The Weekly Topic, New Vision, Daily Monitor, Bukedde, The East African, Red Pepper etc.
The functions of the board are too --
- to establish, manage and maintain the National Library of Uganda.
- to implement the functions of the National Library;
- and to put in place procedures for the collection, preservation and use of the National Library Collections.
The National Library of Uganda is managed and administered by a Director who is appointed by the board, with the approval of the Minister. The Director is the Secretary, Chief Executive and Accounting Officer of the board. The Director is also the chief inspector and coordinator of public libraries under local governments on matters relating to library and information services.