447 Pages
English

Progressive Librarianship

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Public spending is under threat and public libraries are suffering. At a time when libraries can play a critical role in supporting people facing difficult economic and social situations, the dominant conservative model of librarianship has nothing meaningful to say about the role and relevance of libraries. It offers more of the same, but no qualitative change so necessary today. It continues to maintain the myth that there is no alternative to its own policies and practices. There is thus an urgent need to alternative ideas and practices to address people’s needs. The progressive librarianship movement is taking up this challenge. It has also been active in Kenya and Britain but its work is not widely know. The Kenyan movement differed from the others in that it grew within the underground political movement in the 1980s - the December Twelve Movement/Mwakenya. Using original documents, this book records this hidden history. In the process, it examines key concepts such as the role of libraries and the relevance of service. Linking library work with the wider social and political concerns, the book explores issues such as politics of information, the role of activism and “neutrality” in library work. It offers an alternative approach to librarianship, to the training of librarians and to organisational change to make libraries more relevant to people’s lives.

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Published 29 December 2014
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EAN13 9781869886219
Language English
Document size 9 MB

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PROGRESSIVE LIBRARIANSHIP Perspectives From Kenya and Britain, 1979-2010
By Shiraz Durrani
Vita Books Never be silent simama imara VitaBooks86@gmail.com
2014
Vita Books
Never be silent:simama imara
Vita Books P.O. Box 6250100200 Nairobi Kenya
info.vitabkske@gmail.com http://vitabooks.co.uk/
ISBN: 9781869886202 (Print) ISBN: 9781869886219 (Digital)
Vita Books are distributed by African Books Collective Ltd, P.O. Box 721 Oxford OX1 9EN UK
www.african Books Collective.com orders@africanbookscollective.com
C O N T E N T S
List of illustrations
Preface A struggle to liberate minds
v
1 1
Foreword5 1: Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o: Never be silent, never about the library5 2: David Percival6 3: Catherine Lusted9
Acknowledgment
Introduction Concerns and concepts Politics of information If not “progressive”, what? Progressive librarianship in context
A personal
perspective
The Kenyan experience The Library Cell Progressive performative works Never be silent Key issues
The British experience Hackney Public Library Merton Library & Heritage Service Key issues
11
13 13 20 42 52
85
87 94 127 141 164
175 185 273 298
National and international initiatives No change at the Library Association (CILIP) Parliamentary Committee submissions Information for Social Change Open to all? The PALIAct initiative Diversity Council Quality Leaders Project – Youth (QLP-Y) Library skills for a globalised world Library Skills pilot implementation (Phase 2) Teaching and learning progressive librarianship London Metropolitan University
No conclusion, the struggle continues
Afterword: Study & Reflection A. Developing an alternative approach: some themes B. Intertextual reflections: Alice Corble
References
Index
About the author
303 303 305 312 314 319 330 334 355 360 363 370
385
403 403 409
415
429
435
List of illustrations
1. Three definitions of democracy (IIDEA, 2009) 2. Government spending as % of national GDP 3. Moi’s Reign of Terror (Umoja, 1989 4. InDependent Kenya 5. The Politics of Food (Pambana2) 6. Struggle for Democracy in Kenya (Umoja) 7. Register of Resistance (Mwakenya) 1986 8. Pages from the Register of Resistance (1986) 9. Mwakenya’s Draft Minimum Programme (1987) 10. The Library Cell’s “Publishing, a bibliography & study guide” 11. “Open to All?” policy & strategy (PLA: Public Library Authorities) 12. Tunakataa (We say no) resistance poems
13. Nazmi Durrani: Jaswant Singh Bharaj. (Alakmalak) 1986 14. Nazmi Durrani: Katokati no samai (play in Gujarati) 15. Amaro desh, Kenya (children’s play in Gujarati) 1983 16. Publicity for the play “Kinjikitile, Maji Maji” (1984) 17. Scene from the play “Kinjikitile, Maji Maji”. Nairobi (1984) 18. Artwork for Kuvunja Minyororo: Bildad Kaggia by Osswago 19. Artwork for Kuvunja Minyororo: Kumba Karumba - Osswago 20. Artwork for Kuvunja Minyororo: Chege Kibachia by Osswago 21. Artwork for Kuvunja Minyororo: Makhan Singh by Osswago 22. Artwork for Kuvunja Minyororo: Kipande House by Osswago
30 54 62 62 64 65 65 65 96 98 99 107 123 126 128 134 137 139 139 139 139 140
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P R O G R E S S I V E L I B R A R I A N S H I P
23. Shiraz Durrani: Never be Silent (2006) 24. Vita Books posters 25. University of Nairobi Library Magazine. No. 1 (1979) 26. University of Nairobi Library Magazine. No. 2 (1979)
27. Sauti ya Wakutubi. No. 4 (1984) 28. Information is Power (TCLC anniversary event) 1992 29. TCLC launch publicity leaflet (1989) 30. TCLC launch programme (1989) 31. TCLC Anniversary event (1990) 32. Women and liberation (TCLC event) 1993 33. Information is Power (TCLC event) 1992
34. Children’s Day (TCLC 3rd anniversary) 1993 35. Ukombozi: Celebrating African liberation with music (1990) 36. People & languages event
37. Nationality Languages Project launch 38. Africa speaks 39. Black music fiesta
40. Caribbean focus 41. 23 Nisan Cocuk Bayrams - Turkish children’s festival (1991) 42. Nationality languages material launch (1996) 43. Rhythm Fiesta (1996) 44. Leisure Worker No. 1 45. Write Spark launch (1996) 46. Write Spark. No. 2 (1997) 47. Contradictory forces at Merton Libraries (1993) 48. Needs based library service chart (Smallwood) 2003 49. Merton’s staffing structure with Innovations wing (2003) 50. Merton Library Innovation chart 51.Merton Sense(Nos. 1 & 5) 52. Pollards Hill Library’s community Library (2004) 53. London Met. University’s VC congratulates QLP Project 54. CILIP’s Diversity Award “Highly Commended” (2003)
55. QLP News No. 6 (2008) 56. QLP News No. 8 (2008) 57. Open to All? - Public library policy & strategy (2000) 58. Open to All? - Resource strategies & social exclusion (2000)
141 143 152 152 155 188 194 197 201
202 203 203 203 204 204 204 204 205 205 205 205 225 264 264 278 281
282 287 290 292 293 293 294 294 315 316
List of illustrations
59. Open to All? - Service development and excluded social groups (2000) 60. PALIAct logo 61. Information Equality, Africa. No. 2 (PALIAct) 2006 62. Diversity Council conference (2001) 63. Diversity No. 2 (2001) 64. Diversity. No. 4-5 (2002)
65. QLP logo 66. Evaluation of QLP Pilot Project (MRC) 2001 67. QLP Feasibility Report by MRC (2000)
68. QLP Youth Policy Review No. 1 (2007) 69. Readings in information, innovation, power and politics (2007) 70. QLP Youth Ideas and Action No. 11 (2008) 71. QLP Youth Policy Review No. 2 (2008) 72. QLP Final Report update (2010) 73.Yatta!Portsmouth youth magazine 74. QLP-Y extended evaluation (Final) 2009 75. Library skills chart (2009) 76. Library Skills project report (2010) 77. Change Management & leadership Module programme 78. Information Society & Justice. Vol. 2 No. 2 (2009) 79. NVQ training at Hackney Libraries 80. Social information teaching at London Met. University 81. DASS Debates & Lectures: TU, democracy & working class 82. DASS Debates & Lectures at London Metropolitan University 83. DASS Debates & Lecture events
316 319 329 330 332 334 334 335
335 336 339 340 341 342 347 350 355
358 361 361 369 375 376 378 378
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In class society… In class society everyone lives as a member of a particular class, and every kind of thinking, without exception, is stamped with the brand of a class. On Practice,Mao Tse-Tung (1937)
Librarians everywhere have a role to play in eliminating the root causes of poverty, illiteracy, unemployment and inequality. It is no longer acceptable for libraries and librarians to refuse to acknowledge this social responsibility. Shiraz Durrani and Elizabeth Smallwood (2008c)
Capitalist civilization has not only been a successful civilization. It has above all been a seductive one. It has seduced even its victims and its opponents. But if you believe, as I do, that all historical systems without exception have limited lives and must eventually give way to other successor systems, you must assume that our world-system cannot be stable for ever. Wallerstein (2011)
In post-historical perspective libraries will increasingly come to be viewed as mere instrumentalities, facilitators of an “information economy”. If, against this current, libraries are to continue to represent the dimension of human reason, emancipation, possibility that they have represented historically, if the human significance of the library is not to be entirely effaced, renewed effort to create a space for radical reflection on our purposes, our vocation, and our responsibility is required. This is the fundamental task of progressive librarianship. Mark Rosenzweig (1990-91)
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