COTUL is an acronym for the Consortium of Tanzania University and Research Libraries. It is a strategic alliance among academic and research Institutional Libraries in Tanzania aimed at improving access to information resources in different disciplines.
How it started
The 2009 global financial crisis had an economic effect on academic and research institutions across the world. Such a financial crisis encouraged institutions to create strong collaboration among academic and research institutions in order to acquire the educational resources that support the core functions of teaching, learning, and research.
In Africa, and specifically in East Africa, the idea of library consortiums evolved as one way of addressing some of the major deficiencies in the provision of adequate educational resources, partly as a result of financial constraints facing various institutions. The initiative to establish library consortia in East African countries was given further impetus at the Eldoret meeting in Kenya, where it was resolved that each country should establish a library consortium and thereafter grow into an East African consortium bringing together public and private universities.
Therefore, the formation of the Consortium of Tanzania University and Research Libraries (COTUL) emerged as a result of the Eldoret meeting in Kenya on the importance of library consortia to address the financial issues facing individual institutions. Similarly, COTUL's establishment was triggered by the need to build capacity to enhance the effective and efficient acquisition of scholarly information resources (e-resources) from reputable publishers that were deemed critical to the attainment of academic excellence in teaching, learning, and research in Tanzania.