New Imperatives for Librarianship in Africa

Gavin R. Davis
2015 Library Trends  
Africa, in colonial times regarded as the "Dark Continent," faces many challenges, whether infrastructural, cultural, or political. Despite these challenges, countries on the continent cannot afford to be complacent. The digital divide between Africa and the Western world, with its new technological innovations, has been widening. Librarianship as a discipline is invariably affected by this divide. Since having embraced a Western model of librarianship, the question is whether there can be talk
more » ... r there can be talk of African librarianship, or a librarianship for Africa. This conceptual dilemma is further explored by a discussion of development, the role of the library, training in library and information science (LIS), the relationship between librarianship and information science, and imperatives for the future. While it is acknowledged that new information technologies are important for development, this should not be embraced at the expense of traditional values of librarianship. It is argued that precolonial Africa has had a rich heritage of library scholarship; perhaps a rethink of this is needed, as well as a critical theory in LIS, for an understanding of an African-centered approach to librarianship instead of adopting the Western model, as has been the case for decades. It is therefore imperative to prevent LIS isolationism.
doi:10.1353/lib.2015.0034 fatcat:gilsrmeeynfejedlrebnnkegfq