World Libraries Editorial — Marjorie Bloss
This issue of World Libraries features four articles from opposite sides of the Atlantic — two from Nigeria, one from St. Croix (U.S. Virgin Islands), and one from Barbados. Both articles from Nigeria concentrate on digitization but from two very different perspectives. The articles from St. Croix and Barbados examine libraries and learning from more social perspectives: the first describing a project dealing with increasing literacy through the arts; the second, a look back to the creation of the Carnegie Free Library in Barbados.
Emmanuel Ifechuba and Godwin Shoki examine the acceptance of electronic publishing and digitization by the publishing industry in Nigeria. Their article, “Patterns of Adoption of Electronic Publishing Innovations among Nigerian Publishers” details an investigative study. In it, the authors surveyed Nigerian publishers in order to determine how quickly electronic publishing innovations were being adopted. The authors note the importance of having an appropriate infrastructure (such as software, hardware, reliable Internet access) to support e–publishing. They suggest that perhaps such support might come from the Nigerian government as well as from the publishers themselves. Regardless, based on the authors’ description, the move to adopt new technologies seems to be playing out in Nigeria as it is in many countries, in many industries. Those considering adoption of new technologies first need to have assurance that these innovations are necessary and will be used before adopting them. Most interesting are the authors’ recommendations for advancing electronic publishing innovations in the Nigerian publishing industry in which they take into account the political, economic, social and technical issues affecting the country.
In their article “The Need for Digitization of Special Library Materials in Nigerian University Libraries”, J.U. Igbeka and Christopher O. Ola address the issue of digitization from the perspective of preserving materials in the Kenneth Dike Library at the University of Ibadan. They point out the benefits of digitization as a means of preservation and access but acknowledge that it is important to establish priorities when selecting materials to digitize. Their selection criteria for digitizing library materials are an excellent checklist for any library or consortium developing a digitization project.
In “Promoting Information Literacy through the Arts”, Judith V. Rogers and Meerabai Gosine–Boodoo report on a literacy pilot project that was conducted in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. The project was initiated due to unsatisfactory literacy performance by St. Croix’s students. The authors identify the reasons for this and then detail an afterschool program focusing on arts and crafts that captured the imaginations and creativity of the students. Most impressive (after the success of the project itself) is the coordination of the diverse groups and individuals who worked together for the benefit of the children. This article describes not only the success of the project from an educational perspective but also how effective projects can be when different organizations, institutions, and individuals work collaboratively.
Many of us assume that all of the libraries established from funding by Andrew Carnegie were and are located in the United States. Thus it came as a surprise, at least to this naïve reader, to learn that Carnegie’s reach to establish libraries extended beyond the continental United States to include Scotland, Britain and its colonies, Australia, and New Zealand. Beverley Hinds in her article “Historicising the Carnegie Free Library: The Case of Barbados” describes the impact of Carnegie’s philanthropy in establishing the first public library outside of the Americas or the United Kingdom. She provides both biographical information about Carnegie and insight into library development in Barbados, tying them together with the creation of the Carnegie Free Library in Barbados.
While the four articles that comprise this issue of World Libraries are quite different from one another they have an underlying thread emphasizing the importance of providing access to information. Those involved with libraries and the information communities can be proud of the fact that we work towards providing our citizens with information and knowledge whether as a publisher, a university library, a project that increases literacy in a creative way, or a library that was established in the early 1900s.
About the author
Marjorie E. Bloss is a Lecturer in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at Dominican University, River Forest, Illinois, USA.
E–mail: mbloss [at] dom [dot] edu
© 2010 Marjorie E. Bloss.