Advocating for Library and Information Services by National Library Associations of Africa in the Context of Sustainable Development Goals

Advocating for Library and Information Services by National Library Associations of Africa in the Context of Sustainable Development Goals

Josiline Phiri Chigwada (Bindura University of Science Education, Zimbabwe) and Rosemary Maturure (Solusi University, Zimbabwe)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7429-3.ch012

Abstract

The chapter documents the role that is played by national library associations in advocating for the development of library and information services for the attainment of the United Nations (UN) 2030 Agenda in Africa. A structured records review and literature review was done to solicit information on how national library associations are taking part in achieving the sustainable development goals. Websites of associations were looked at and participants were drawn from national library associations in Africa, Standing Conference of Eastern, Central and Southern Africa Library and Information Associations (SCECSAL), African Library and Information Association and Institution (AfLIA), and the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA). The results indicated that national library associations are facing challenges in their advocacy work and there is a need to offer training to library staff and improve communication between librarians and policymakers.
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Introduction

The adoption of the UN 2030 agenda in September 2015 positioned the library to work with the government in the national development programmes. Libraries have a mandate to show that they are partners in the drive towards the achievement of these goals. In order to achieve these goals, libraries in Africa must communicate with the government leaders on how they can partner to advance national development priorities. Advocacy is therefore needed so that libraries can be recognised as cost effective partners and as engines of local development. This would assist libraries to get the resources that are needed to operate in an economically challenged environment.

Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16 recognises the importance of access to information. Target 16.10 points out on ensuring public access to information and protect fundamental freedoms in accordance with national legislation and international agreements. Therefore, advocacy at national level would ensure the recognition and commitment to support the access to information in libraries as they work towards the attainment of the SDGs. There is need to look at the SDGs and see how libraries can contribute towards the achievement of those goals. It is against this background that the authors sought to study and document how national library associations in Africa are advocating for library services to achieve the SDGs. The objectives that were addressed by this chapter are:

  • 1.

    To identify the role of African national library associations in achieving the sustainable development goals.

  • 2.

    To identify the strategies used by African national library associations in advocating for library services in their countries.

  • 3.

    To assess the challenges being faced by African national library associations in advocating for library services in their countries.

The rest of the chapter is organised into Library and Information Services in Africa, UN 2030 agenda, advocating for Library and Information Science (LIS), library associations, AfLIA, the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), libraries and UN 2030 agenda, strategies for advocating for library and information services, challenges faced in advocating for library services and some areas for further research are suggested.

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Library And Information Services (Lis) In Africa

Libraries can be divided into academic or university, school, public, special, or national (Made, 2000). Mayer (2002) added that there are community libraries as well and these were regarded as part of the public library by Made (2000) which is there to serve the needs of individuals, groups and organisations in a certain area. According to Dent (2014) the distinction between different types of libraries is often based on governance, affiliation and funding. Libraries in Africa provide information in order to educate, inform, entertain, recreate, and enlighten the users as pointed out by Nwokocha and Chimah (2016). Dent, Goodman and Kevane (2013) noted that libraries play an important role in the dissemination of knowledge. Community library and information services play an important role in the rural areas by empowering the rural community members in as far as their basic needs are concerned as pointed out by Mayer (2002). Community libraries can also be regarded as community information centres and their major role is to uplift the living standard of the community with “timely educational, informational, recreational and cultural information, documents or resources” (Mokgaboki, 2002, p. 78). Kernicky (2006) believed that “the rural information centres provide the community with relevant, timely and current information” (p. 31). Community library and information services play an important role in the rural areas by empowering the rural community members in as far as their basic needs are concerned (Mayer, 2002).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Library and Information Services: Provision of access to information in information and knowledge centres to meet the SDGs.

Banding: The process involved in creating a unique name, design and image for a product in the consumer's mind, to attracts and retains loyal customers.

Strategy: A plan of action designed to achieve a certain aim.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): They are a collection of 17 global goals by the United nations that are aimed at ending poverty, protect the plant as well as ensuring that have peace in their countries. They are also known as 2030 Agenda or Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development.

Information Professionals: People responsible for providing access to information and knowledge. These can be librarians, archivists, or records managers who train users on how to access and use information by offering information literacy skills training.

Advocacy: It is an activity that aims to influence decisions by legislators and other influential people towards a certain cause.

Social media: Applications and websites that are used for social networking such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, WhatsApp, Flickr that enable users to create and share content.

Community Development: A process where community members come together to take collective action and generate solutions to strengthen each other in the community where they stay.

Policymakers: People responsible for formulating policies.

Library Associations: An organisation that promotes library and information centres as well as library education. It can be national, regional or international.

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