Where is librarianship going?

“The nature of professional library and information work is changing fast … it’s becoming much more digital”  Well, is it? Perhaps change is slower in Africa at the moment, but it is changing.

Let’s take a leap into the future – traditional skills are still wanted in the academic and research sectors, and other organizations are recruiting to manage information or face a disastrous overload.  Specialization seems to be the order of the day even in Public Libraries where ‘community development’ and ‘local studies’ are incorporated into a special Skills Programme.

Courses in the UK are being designed for those already in information work – digital library management, digital asset management, digital curation etc. There is one on ‘information governance and security’ in records management which looks at the design of informations system and gives training in risk assessment. Data security is an area in which most organizations of any size have an interest and librarians can be found in software houses and project management.

So perhaps it is not a dramatic change in our traditional skills, but a change in our traditional jobs with the addition of new skills which will be ‘snapped up’ as a result of an ever expanding information environment. Continuing professional development is the key to the spread of our profession into new areas in a world where “there is too much not to little [information]”.

Based on an article by Elspeth Hyams in CILIPUpdate February  2012, p. 24-27.

Jean Shaw, Phi


About jgreigshaw

I work with Partnerships in Health Information which promotes partnership between libraries in Africa and the UK with an emphasis in African leadership. I have visited Kenya, Mali, Uganda and Zambia though Phi has contacts in many more African countries.
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