Access to relevant and up to-date information is essential for achievement of a sound socio-economic development. FRIM Library is a focal point for forestry science information in Malawi. Its mandate is to provide up to-date and timely forestry information to forestry research scientists and the public with interest in forestry and environmental sciences. FRIM subscribes to about 25 forest science journals and receives several regular free publications.
There is no regular budget for the purchase of books, but largely depends on donations from various donor agencies. FRIM is a beneficiary of the African-Caribbean Literature Service which facilitates access to published information for African and Caribbean research scientists. Through this FRIM scientists are able to request for relevant articles from the search profiles generated by CTA.
Considerable investment has been made in library facilities and training in information retrieval. The following computerised databases are available:
- CAB International TREE CD ROM database
- ICRAF’s Multipurpose Tree and Shrub database
- CDS/ISIS database
These are frequently consulted by scientists, Forestry Department staff, students andlecturers from the University of Malawi and the public interested in any forestry or environmental data. The CDS/ISIS database currently holds more than 100 bibliographic records of FRIM. The Library is one of the input centres for the Agricultural Information Systems/Current Agricultural Research Information System (AGRIS/CARIS) database on research projects in grey literature form (unpublished) which is forwarded to FAO in Rome. Other databases are kept in the various sections at FRIM. For example the National Seed Centre now keeps a SISTEM+ database for business management purposes.