Open Journal Systems

World Libraries Editorial

As a pause for breath, as it were, between two special theme issues, vol. 12, no. 1 on indigenous library and information services, and the forthcoming issue of vol. 13 that will focus on Cuba, we present herewith a general issue, covering a variety of subjects, from personnel issues in digital libraries to civil war and post–war reconstruction, and geographical areas, from the Americas to Asia and Africa. At the same time, we are anticipating the 71st IFLA General Conference and Council in Oslo, Norway, in 2005, by presenting in our regular Pioneers feature, a father and son, Wilhelm and Gerhard Munthe, both of whom were involved in the organization of an IFLA conference in Oslo. [i]

Yet, despite being a "general" issue, there are several themes that run through the articles. Two of the six discuss African concerns: Kargbo's discussion of the aftermath of the civil war in Sierra Leone [ii] and Peterson's report of her research demonstrating barriers to access to African research and scholarship. [iii] Two of the six articles cover the Americas: Wagner and Rickert on the development of collaboration between two academic libraries in North and South America [iv], and Renwick on the position of publishing in the Caribbean countries. [v] At the same time, all of the articles deal with what has been a central issue for this journal since its first appearance under the title Third World Libraries, namely, librarianship in developing countries. Curry et al. opens the discussion with some reflection on the role and responsibility of librarians in wealthier countries in providing aid to their sisters and brothers in less well developed nations [vi], a theme we will be returning to in the coming issue on Cuba, and which is clearly represented also in Wagner and Rickert's article. Sierra Leone represents another nation that is slowly recovering from a devastating civil war, and Kargbo emphasizes forcefully the role of libraries and librarianship in reconstruction. In the same way, Renwick portrays librarianship in countries that were lately colonies (many of Great Britain) struggling to gain access to literature, that in many cases is meagerly described or publicized, or even available, in economies that are themselves besieged. Finally, Aman and Norliyana present concerns that at one and the same time are universal, namely the importance of people–oriented strategies in an inherently impersonal medium, namely digital librarianship, but at the same time are exacerbated in countries, as in Asia, where digital media and digital access in libraries are still a young phenomenon, and libraries are very much still associated with books and paper. [vii]

End Notes

[i] "The Pioneers: Wilhelm and Gerhard Munthe" by Johan Koren

[ii] "Effects of the Civil War and the Role of Librarians in Post–War Reconstruction in Sierra Leone" by John Abdul Kargbo

[iii] "Using the Ghanaian Journal Research Review as an Example for Demonstrating Access to African Research and Scholarship" by Lorna Peterson

[iv] "Academic Libraries in Two Hemispheres: Different Cultures and a Shared Vision" by Mary M. Wagner and Kathleen D. Rickert

[v] "What Caribbean Librarians Want From Caribbean Publishers" by Shamin Renwick

[vi] "Library Aid to Developing Countries in Times of Globalization: A Literature Review" by Ann Curry, Tanya Thiessen, and Lorraine Kelley

[vii] "Excellent People–Oriented Strategies for Digital Libraries" by Mohammed Aman and B. Norliyana

About the Author

Johan Koren is Assistant Professor, School Library Media, Department of Early Childhood and Elementary Education, College of Education, Murray State University, Murray KY, USA.
Email: johan [dot] koren [at] coe [dot] murraystate [dot] edu

© 2002 Johan Koren


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