Libraries at University of Nebraska-Lincoln


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Maned Mhlongo & Patrick Ngulube (2018): Public Libraries as Conduits for Indigenous Knowledge in South Africa. Library Philosophy and Practice


The dearth of indigenous knowledge (IK) in libraries in general and in South Africa in particular is cause for concern as the situation can lead to its demise. Awareness of the usefulness of IK in various aspects of community life is well documented. It is imperative that public libraries, as gateways to information and knowledge should be at the forefront of facilitating access to all knowledge, including IK. The article explores how public libraries in South Africa can facilitate access to indigenous knowledge. Data for this multiple case study was collected through semi-structured interviews with directors of provincial library services. Thematic analysis was used to analyse data. Findings indicate that despite awareness of the value of IK, public libraries have not yet devised mechanisms to enhance its availability and access. It is recommended that partnerships with stakeholders such as communities and archives archival institutions be forged in order to define, capture and preserve indigenous knowledge in order to ensure its accessibility.