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Progressive Librarianship

Perspectives from Kenya and Britain, 1979-2010

by Shiraz Durrani

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.

ISBN 9781869886202 | 446 pages | 234 x 156mm | 2014 | Vita Books, Kenya | Paperback




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