Libraries in the Time of AIDS: African Perspectives and Recommendations for a Revised Model of LIS Education

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Library and information science (LIS) education in Sub-Saharan Africa has its historical roots in colonialism, modeling its curriculum after European LIS training, based upon the information needs of the European cultures. While this model has been useful in building and guiding LIS education in Sub-Saharan Africa, it has not adequately addressed the unique cultural needs of the African societies it represents, particularly in achieving the millennium development goals (MDGs) established by the United Nations. This paper presents a critical analysis of the LIS profession within a Sub-Saharan context. Beginning with an overview of libraries in Sub-Saharan Africa, it proceeds to examine LIS education and practice within a cultural context, critically analyzing existing structures that have their roots in colonialism. It raises questions regarding the adequacy of current LIS education and practice towards meeting development goals, using HIV/AIDS as an example. Drawing from previous research and projects in Africa, recommendations for the future of LIS education in Sub-Saharan Africa are presented. A case study from an existing partnership between academic programs in LIS in Uganda and the United States is used as an example of the benefits to both institutions.