I’ve been in Borås attending the IFLA/ALISE/EUCLID Satellite Conference on Cooperation and Collaboration in Teaching and Research: Trends in Library and Information Science Education, which was held in the Swedish School of Library and Information Science. I kicked off the program with a presentation, co-authored with Johannes Britz, on “Internationalization of LIS education: practical partnerships and conceptual challenges” (http://conf.euclid-lis.eu/index.php/IFLA2010/IFLA2010/paper/view/1). In it I continue my exploration of conceptual issues in comparative librarianship, and extend the discussion to international LIS research, education and community service more generally.
After the coffee break I faded out somewhat due to lack of sleep (jetlag), but in Session 2B I heard Jagtar Singh (Punjabi University) speaking about trends and issues in LIS education in India. He reported on India’s plans for a ginormous expansion of higher education in his country, which aims to set up 1500 new universities by 2015. (I’m pretty sure I got the number of zeros right.) For LIS the problem is not so much the number of schools and places, but quality control. He mentioned that there is scope for international collaboration.
Also in Session 2B, Pauline Rothstein spoke about “The dual master’s degree program as a model for educating subject librarians for academic libraries”. This is an interesting and apparently successful initiative which enables students who intend to make a career as subject librarians to obtain two master’s degrees while studying for them concurrently, one in LIS and the other in another discipline. There may be possibilities here for students wanting to go into area studies.
Elisam Magara (Makerere University, Uganda) gave a comprehensive report on the program to upgrade LIS in Southern Sudan: “Regional collaborative LIS education programme: a roadmap for educating librarians in Southern Sudan”. This complements a report given by Ane Lanøy (University of Bergen, Norway) and Maria G.N. Masoke (University Librarian, Makerere University, Uganda), on “Skills acquired and passed on: the collaboration between the University of Bergen and Makerere University and their new partners in the North and South” at the IFLA Pre-conference on LIS Education in Developing Countries, in Milan, Italy, August 2009. In the case of assistance to very poor developing countries I have long advocated the formation of library triplets in preference to twinning. By a triplet I mean collaboration by a developed country and a relatively advanced developing country to assist a less developed country. In this case the triplet consist of institutions from Norway, Uganda and Southern Sudan. The involvement of Uganda means that the assistance is mediated by an institution in a developing country located in the same region which faces comparable challenges. Not only does this reduce project costs, but it also ensures that the assistance is offered at an appropriate level by colleagues who understand the situation of the recipients.
There was more of interest, of course. Most of the presentations can be found on the pre-conference website at:
This was a small conference with about 60 participants, paced in such a way that we were able to communicate with one another. Borås was a pleasant (albeit rainy) venue, and not to far from Gothenburg. Well organized by our hospitable Swedish colleagues. Thank you!