(197 1) 3, 89-95
(3) South Africa: Professional Education of Librarians in South Africa R. F. M. IMMELMANT Modern library development in South Africa dates from 1928, when the Carnegie Corporation of New York sent two commissioners to investigate library conditions in South Africa. Advantage was taken of their visit to hold the first national library conference in Bloemfontein. In their report the commissioners (S.A. Pitt, City Librarian, Glasgow, Scotland, and M. J. Ferguson, State Librarian of California, U.S.A.) laid strong stress on the need for qualified librarians and for providing facilities for training.1 One immediate result of their report and of the national library conference was the establishment in 1930 of the South African Library Association (hereinafter called the S.A.L.A.) and the launching in 1933 of its quarterly journal SouthAjicun Libraries.An Education Committee was also set up by the S.A.L.A. for the purpose of establishing professional qualifications, drawing up courses of professional training and providing the facilities for acquiring them.2 In 1962 a second National Library Conference was called in Pretoria, because librarians felt that the time had come to take stock of what had been achieved during the previous 34 years and to work out a blueprint for future library development. In order to make the Conference as effective as possible a series of 12 comprehensive surveys was undertaken by various librarians. These reports were made available before the Conference, including one on a survey of library personnel, the qualifications oflibrarians and their professional training.3 Both at the Conference, 7 University of Cape Town, J. W. Jagger Library, Rondeboscb, C.P., South Africa. 1 S. A. Pitt and M. J. Ferguson (1929). Libraries in the Union of South Africa. New York: Carnegie Corporation of New York. s Scheme of Examinations and Syllabuses. In Handbook of Librarianship in South Africa. Johannesburg: S.A.L.A., 1950, pp. 6045. 3 Asp&s of South AfriGnn Libraries. Potchefstroom: S.A.L.A., 1962. Including: Books for Study and Research (R. F. Kennedy) ; Survey of Library Services in South Africa: Skool- en Kollege-biblioteke (E. C. Groenewald); Die universiteitsbiblioteek (P. C. Coetzee); Introduction to Subject Libraries (R. B. Zaaiman) ; Public Libraries (R. F. Kennedy) ; Nasionale
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at subsequent professional gatherings and in South African Libraries the problems of the professional education of librarians were critically scrutinized.’ LIBRARIANS
Between 1933 and 1965 the S.A.L.A. conducted correspondence courses and examinations in librarianship. 2 After 1952 only graduates were admitted to its final examinations, and in 1965 it discontinued its courses. Special facilities for non-white library workers were, however, continued to enable them to acquire basic professional training, after which they could continue their studies at the University of South Africa. The latter is the only university (since 1955) offering training courses by correspondence, both for degrees and diplomas in librarianship. Universities at which library schools3 have been established (giving the year in brackets in which each started training librarians) are: Pretoria (1938)) Cape Town (1939)) Potchefstroom (1956), Stellenbosch ( 1958), Witwatersrand (1958), Orange Free State ( 1964), Rhodes (1966)) and Randse Afrikaanse Universiteit (1969). The newer universities for non-whites, too, offer library training courses: Universities of the Western Cape (1964), Zululand (1964) and Durban (1965). All these library schools are small, with between 25 and 70 students (except the University of South Africa which has some 500 students), but because the students are taking courses spread over 3-5 years, the actual number qualifying annually remains small. The library schools are widely scattered over a very large area, besides serving various sections and language-groups of the population. All librarians in South Africa must be bilingual, that is, be able to speak both Afrikaans and English, but some receive their training predominantly in Afrikaans, others in English. Then again, librarians trained at Zululand University, for Continuedfrom p. 89 biblioteke (H. D. K. Zastrau) ; Pliglewering Personnel in South African Libraries, and South Africa” (R. F. M. Immelman); Die materiaal (J. Willemse) ; Die gesamentlike leensentrum (H. J. Aschenborn and T. Friis) Library Services to the Blind and Otherwise C. J. Fourie).
in Suid-Afrika (J. Willemse) ; The Provision of questionnaire: “The Training of Librarians in bewaar van kinematografiese en fonografiese katalogus in die Suid-Afrikaanse nasionale ; Bibliographical investigation (D. H. Varley) ; Handicapped Persons (F. G. van der Riet and
1 P. C. Coetzee (1962). Voorraad en personeel in die Suid-Afrikaanse biblioteekwese: biblioteekkundige opleiding en navorsing. S. Afr. Libr. 29, 138-148. s R. F. Kennedy (1964). Reflections on the History of Education for Librarianship in South Africa. S. Afr. Libr. 22, 52-59. s R. M. Wertheimer (1963). Education for Librarianship Abroad: South Africa. Libr. Trends, 12, 260-272.
example, could be trained in English, but would have to be able to speak Zulu to provide library service to the Zulus. The University of South Africa1 offers all its courses in both English and Afrikaans. Its students, too, are spread all over South Africa (and even beyond) and students may elect through the medium of which language they wish to study. This university also caters for all racial groups. At a first glance it might appear that there are too many library schools for a population of 15 million, but the great distances between the towns must be borne in mind, for example, 1000 miles between Cape Town and Pretoria, or 600 miles between Grahamstown and Cape Town, as well as the wide diversity of racial and language groups. Libraries during the past 20 years have been continually expanding, both in extent and in number, so that at no time has there been any danger of an overproduction of librarians. 2 On the contrary, most large libraries continue to experience great difficulty in filling senior professional posts. Many students in library schools are women, so that there is some wastage through marriage, although many of them do return to library work after an interval of years, when their children are growing up. RECRUITING
One effect of the existence of so many library schools has tended to improve the image of the library in the eyes of the public. Because librarianship has become a discipline studied at universities, library work has today been generally accorded professional status, much as any other profession .a As a career it has become acceptable enough to be included among the possible vocations considered by young people when deciding on a career. The very fact of the existence of library schools in different parts of the country catering for various sections of the population, has tended to bring library work more pertinently to the attention of students as a possible profession.* The fact, too, that the provincial library services in each of the four provinces have branch libraries in practically all towns and villages has also been the means of making many more people personally aware of library work and con1 H. J. De Vleeschauwer (1956). The Univenity of South Africa and its Department of Library Science. Mousaion, no. 12. a H. C. Van Rooy (1959). Opleiding van bibliotekarisse in Suid-Afrika. S. Afr. Libr. 26, 84-95. a National Conference of Library Authorities, Pretoria, 5-6 November 1962. Programme for Future Library Development in the Republic of South Africa. Potchefstroom, S.A.L.A., 1963. 4 R. F. M. Immelman (1948). The Status of Librarianship as a Profession and its Bearing on the Education of Librarians. In Aspects of Library Work in South Aftia. (D. H. Varley and H. Holdsworth, eds.) pp. 28-30. Cape Town: Balkema.
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sequently as possible careers. Each library school and each local library has become additional recruiting agencies and in this way many more young people are electing to enter the profession than heretofore. Some of the library schools have bursary or study loan funds to assist students to qualify. Other methods of recruiting have also been employed, such as vocational guidance talks to schools; articles in a wide diversity of periodicals and newspapers in all the various languages of the countryAfrikaans, English, Zulu, XHosa and Sotho; radio talks; displays in libraries or at many kinds of exhibitions; leaflets, brochures and lantern slides. Press publicity accorded to specific achievements of a particular library has also helped to make the public more aware of librarianship as a career. PROFESSORS
In most universities in South Africa the library schools function as departments of librarianship with, in some cases, their heads having the designation of professor. In others, the university librarian (with the academic grade and status of a professor) is also director of the library school. Staffs in most library schools consist of a professor or senior lecturer, as well as lecturers. In some cases librarians from other libraries in the town are appointed as part-time specialist lecturers, each in a particular subject, for example, bibliography or library administration. In other instances a librarian may be invited to give a few lectures on a particular aspect of a subject on which he is an authority; for example, on government publications, or photocopying services, or non-book materials, or information retrieval. Lecturers are all graduates with professional qualifications, frequently with an advanced degree and with a certain amount of library experience.1 Some lecturers continue their own personal studies for higher degrees and engage in research and professional writing. As a result ofthe establishment of so many library schools, in addition to the expansion of existing libraries and the establishment of additional ones, it has often proved very difficult to find sufficient lecturers of good quality and adequate experience. Being so far from the main centres of library thought in Europe and the U.S.A., the lecturers have to make a conscious effort to try to keep up-to-date by studying the professional literature of other countries and to aim at visiting at least once or twice during theirs careers the library schools of Europe and the U.S.A. 1 R. F. M. 64,313-320.
schools in South Africa, generally speaking, offer several courses.
(1) A post-school two-year course leading to a lower diploma. The admission qualification is a school-leaving certificate. In their first year, students take general academic courses and in the second year, professional subjects at a more elementary level than for the higher diploma. This course provides training for subprofessional library workers. (2) A post-graduate one-year course leading to a higher diploma (i.e. taken in the fourth year of university study). Most basic courses train librarians for work in all types of libraries, but there is opportunity for specialization after the initial diploma or degree. In addition, at five of the library schools, after the first degree required for admission, candidates may proceed to advanced degrees in librarianship. This is becoming the general trend, so that an honours degree, an M.A. or Ph.D. in librarianship can be obtained. For the M.A. and the doctorate a thesis based on original research on a specific subject is required.1 A number of senior staff in libraries and library schools are enrolled for such degrees. The subjects of the curriculum are generally the same as in other countries : library administration, bibliography, cataloguing, classification, book selection, reference books. At different schools these subjects may occur in varying groupings or with particular stress on certain aspects, but the fundamental subjects are found in all schools. In some schools there may be particular stress on the bibliographical or historical approach, while in others there may be more attention to the bookish content. An introductory course stressing the sociological and historical approach is found in a few schools, but the history of libraries in Western Europe in general and in South Africa in particular is given much attention. Africana forms an important part of the book selection course, that is, the study of important books, in many languages, on sub-Saharan Africa in general, and on South Africa in particular, including South African life and culture throughout the centuries since in 1492 Vasco da Gama discovered the seaway to India. Some schools have courses on children’s literature, besides which such modern concepts as documentation, information retrieval, communication, mechanization and automation, receive attention. Some schools have specialized courses for work in technical libraries, or music libraries 1 P. C. Coetzee
op. cit., pp.
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or school libraries. It would be true to say, in general, that more and more attention is being paid, in the education of librarians, to the library in its South African setting and general African environment. METHODS
Tuition in library schools is conducted by the lecture method, allied with an extensive amount of reading of professional literature, followed by written exercises thereon. In the case of the technical subjects, such as cataloguing, classification, reference work, and some aspects of library administration, laboratory practice for two to four hours per week in each subject, follow each lecture. Observation visits to other libraries take place regularly on one afternoon every fortnight, as well as visits to printing works, binderies and other relevant places. Field work is a requirement in all library schools in South Africa and lasts for a period of four weeks. The students are assigned by the library school to work in particular libraries and this is arranged in collaboration with the libraries concerned. Students work under professional librarians and are required to record what they have done and observed during this period. The aim of field work is to give the student, during his period of training, some practical experience of actual library work. Field work also provides students with an opportunity of getting a close-up view of how various types of library differ. Library schools in South Africa are convinced of the benefits of field work to balance on the practical side the more theoretical approach of the lecture ro0m.l A comprehensive collection of professional literature, including journals from many countries, is to be found in all library schools, while access to a large reference and bibliographical collection in the main university library is essential. FURTHERING
The Carnegie Corporation of New York provided an endowment, the interest on which has enabled the S.A.L.A. to hold vacation schools annually for the past 30 years. In the first 20 years these vacation courses were attended mainly by small-town librarians and generally lasted one or two weeks. The aim was to give a little instruction in very elementary professional techniques to people who never had had the opportunity of attending library schools. 1 R. F. M. Immelman (1946-47). Training S. Afr. Libr. 14, 53-57 and 14, 97-103.
in Cape Town,
Of recent years the courses have been adapted to changing conditions, and have included courses, for example, for special librarians, children’s librarians, as well as for African librarians who are working for professional qualifications and who are coached by qualified white librarians. The University of South Africa also holds vacation courses in librarianship, both for its African and white students. PROFESSIONAL
Because library school staffs have been small and have carried such a heavy teaching load, research in the early years was limited but has over the past ten or more years been increasing in quantity and consequently the number of resulting publications has grown in amount. From the University of Cape Town in 1942 came a handbook on school libraries,’ while the University of Pretoria produced a publication on cataloguing.2 A doctoral dissertation from the latter, too, has seen the light of day.3 A guide to administrative practice has emanated from the former4 and an analysis of subject cataloguing from the latter.5 For the final diploma in librarianship at the University of Cape Town each student has to complete a bibliography on a special subject. Since 1945 some 150 such bibliographies have been issued in a photo-offset form in the Bibliographical Series of the School of Librarianship. A complete catalogue of these bibliographies on a wide diversity of subjects has appeared. The University of the Witwatersrand’s Department of Librarianship, Bibliography and Typography has in recent years also been issuing similar bibliographies. A thesis for M.A. at the University of the Orange Free State’s Library School has been recently published.6 A guide to the compilation of a bibliography written by a member of the staff of the University of Cape Town School of Librarianship was issued by the School in 1963 and then published in 1966 by Clive Bingley of London.7 1 R. F. M. Immelman and D. H. Varley (Eds.) (1942). The School Library, a Handbook for Teacher-Librarians. Cape Town: Maskew Miller. a P. C. Coetzee, J. P. Louw and H. J. Aschenborn (1956). Titelbeskrywing. In samewerking met ander lede van die Departement Biblioteekkunde van die Universiteit van Pretoria. Kaapstad: Balkema. 3 T. Friis (1962). The Public Library in South Africa: an evaluative study. Cape Town: Afrikaanse Pers, and London: Deutsch. 4 R. F. M. Immelman (1947). Foundations of Library Management, Organization from the Administrative Angle. Cape Town. 5 P. C. Coetzee (1952-58). SaakkatalograJic, vols I and II. Pretoria: Univenitas. a W. W. Dummy (1968). Die Interne organisasie en beheer van univeraiteitsbiblioteke in Suid-Afrika. M.A. proefskrii, Universiteit van die Oranje-Vptaat. 7 A. M. L. Robinson (1963). Systematic Bibliography, a Practical Guide to the Work of Compilation. Cape Town: University of Cape Town School of Librarianship. Revised edition 1966. London: Clive Bingley.