Collaboration on Public Programming by Memory Institutions in Botswana: Factors for Consideration

Collaboration on Public Programming by Memory Institutions in Botswana: Factors for Consideration

Olefhile Mosweu (University of South Africa, South Africa)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7429-3.ch006
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Public memory institutions such as libraries, archives and museums (LAMs) are mandated to preserve the cultural and documentary heritage of their nations for posterity. Such preservation is not an end in itself but the means to make holdings in their care, regardless of format, accessible to the public. However, studies have revealed that although LAMs are annually funded and they may also have rich accessible collections, they are underutilised and generally invisible. Funding from national coffers has dwindled since the global economic recession and the LAMs experience difficulties in attracting and retaining users. This chapter seeks to determine strategies deployed by LAMs to increase usage of their collections, establish the benefits of LAMs public programming and highlight challenges encountered in public programming. Also described in this chapter are some factors to consider when memory institutions undertake public programming initiatives in a collaborative manner. The data collected through desktop research was analysed using content analysis.
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Public Programming By Libraries, Archives And Museums

Libraries, museums and archives play a prominent role in the preservation of their nations’ cultural heritage and history. IFLA (2001) defines a public library as an organisation established, supported and funded by the community, either through local, regional or national government or through some other form of community organization. According to Reding (2005), public libraries play a significant role in society. As collectors and managers of heritage, they organise knowledge in the books they continuously collect by cataloguing, classifying and describing them. That is not an end in itself as they provide access on an equal basis to citizens and residents. Basically, libraries expose past and present knowledge and lay it down for the future. Without access and use of library collections, the mandate of the library ceases to exist. Libraries provide access to their collections on an equal basis and without due regard for race, nationality, age, gender, religion, language, disability, economic and employment status and educational attainment (IFLA, 2001).

The word archives have different meanings. Archives can mean a place where records with continuing value are kept (Duranti, 2007). Archives are “materials created or received by a person, family, or organisation, public or private, in the conduct of their affairs and preserved because of the enduring value contained in the information they contain or as evidence of the functions and responsibilities of their creator, especially those materials maintained using the principles of provenance, original order, and collective control (Pearce-Moses, 2005:30). Without an (s), the same author defines the word archive as the act of transferring records from the individual or office of creation to an archival repository authorized to appraise, preserve, and provide access to those records. In the context of this chapter, the word archives is taken to mean a place where archival records are kept for posterity. Archives are therefore valuable to nations and regions, organisations, communities, and individual people. They serve as custodians of recorded memory and form an important part of our community, cultural, official and unofficial history (UK National Archives, 2016).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Collaboration: Working together to achieve a common purpose. In the context of this chapter, it means Libraries, Archives and Museums working together to achieve a common goal which is public programming for purposes of luring potential consumers of services offered by the three institutions.

Cultural Heritage: It is the legacy of physical artifacts and intangible attributes of a group or society that are inherited from past generations, maintained in the present and preserved for the benefit of future generations. It includes both tangible and intangible culture. Museums are normally entrusted with the management and preservation of cultural heritage.

Memory Institutions: Institutions such as Libraries, Archives and Museums whose collective mission is to manage the documentary and cultural heritage of their nations

Public Programming: Planned activities whose purpose is to promote services usually provided by libraries, archives and museums. The promotional activities have also been referred to as outreach programmes. The promotional activities include lectures, seminars, workshops, exhibits, displays, tours newsletters and film shows. Public programming activities are meant to inform the wider community about heritage assets and the need to utilise them.

Documentary Heritage: A document which has recorded something with a deliberate intellectual purpose. Through their support and content, documents reflect the diversity of peoples, cultures and languages, and become part of the heritage of humanity. Libraries and Archives manage documentary heritage.

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