An analysis of the library and information science (LIS) job market in South Africa

Dennis Ocholla, Mzwandile Shongwe


This paper explores and discusses the library and information science (LIS) job market in South Africa through an analytical literature review and the content analysis of recent longitudinal newspaper scanning (2009 - 2012) of LIS job advertisements in the country. We note that the LIS job market in South Africa experienced steady growth from 2009 to 2011, but declined in 2012. The results reveal that the public sector is still the main employer of LIS professionals. We also note the growing number of new job titles and functions relevant to the information/knowledge economy. Furthermore, information technology (IT) has become an important skill for LIS professionals to possess. We conclude that the study could inform curriculum review in LIS schools in South Africa, and recommend that LIS schools explore and exploit new directions and ideas as they prepare students for the library and general information service sector. The paper is divided into three parts: i) an overview of LIS education in Africa; ii) the LIS job market in Africa and South Africa; and iii) job trends in South Africa. Suggestions for further exploration are provided.


Adverts; content analysis; newspaper scanning; library; LIS; job market

Full Text:



Adkins, D. 2008. Changes in public library youth services: a content analysis of youth services job advertisements. Public Library Quarterly, 23(3/4):59-73.

Aina,L.O. 2005. Towards an ideal library and information studies (LIS) curriculum for Africa: Some preliminary thoughts. Education for Information, 23 (3):166-185.

Aina L. O. and K. Moahi, K. 1999. Tracer study of the Botswana library schools graduates. Education for Information, 17: 215-245.

Alemna, A. A. 1999. Career development: follow-up studies of former graduate students of the Department of Library and Archival Studies University of Ghana, 1991/1992 to 1996/1997. Education for Information, 17:35-42.

Alemna, A. A. 1991. Characteristics and careers of Past Postgraduate Diploma Students of the Department of Library and Information and Archival Studies of the University of Ghana: 1981/88 -- 1987/88. African Journal of Library, Archives and Information Science, 1:45-50.

Anadiran, G. T. 1988. Reaction of the past Students to bachelor of Library Science Graduates of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria. Education for Information, 6:39-59.

Clyde, L.A. 2002. An instructional role for librarians: an overview and content analysis of job adverts. Australian Academic & Research Libraries, 33(3):1-8.

Cukier, Wendy, Ngwenyama, Ojelanki, Bauer, Robert and Middleton, Catherine 2009. A critical analysis of media discourse on information technology: preliminary results of a proposed method for critical discourse analysis. Information Systems Journal,19:175196.

Elo, S. and Kyngas, H. 2008. The qualitative content analysis process. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 62(1): 107-115.

Hair, J.F., Black, W.C., Babin, B.J., Anderson, R.E. & Tatham, R.L. 2006. Multivariate Data Analysis (6thed). New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall.

Ikoja-Odongo, R. 2009. School Libraries in Africa. In: Abdullahi, I. (ed.), Global Library and Information Science: a handbook for Students and Educators, 91-107. Mnchen, K.G. Saur Verlag. (IFLA Publications).

Issak, A. 2000. Public libraries in Africa: a report and annotated bibliography. Oxford: International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP). [Online]. (accessed 1 May 2006).

Kisiedu, C. O. 1993. A survey of Past Postgraduate Diploma students of the Department of Library and Information and Archival Studies of the University of Ghana: 1970/71 -- 1980/81. Journal of Information Science, 481-487.

Loughridge B., Oates J. and S. Speight, S. 1996. Career development: follow-up studies of Sheffield MA graduate 1985/1986 to 1992/1993. Journal of Librarianship and Information Science, 28 (2):105-117.

Lutwana Edith and Kigongo-Bukenya, I. M. N. 2004. A tracer study of the East African School of Library and Information Science Graduates 1995- 1999 working in Uganda. South African Journal of Libraries and Information Science, 70 (2):99-109.

Marcum, D.B. 1997. Transforming the curriculum; transforming the profession. American Libraries, 27 (1):35-37.

Minishi-Majanja and Ocholla, D. N. 2004. Auditing of Information and Communication Technologies in Library and Information Science Education in Africa. Education for Information, 22(2):187-221.

Ngulube, P. 2010. Mapping mixed methods research in library and information science journals in Sub-Saharan Africa. The International Information & Library Review, 42:252-261.

Ocholla, D. N. 2009. Introduction. In Abdullahi, I. (ed.), Global Library and Information Science: a handbook for Students and Educators, 10-20. Mnchen, K.G. Saur Verlag. (IFLA Publications).

Ocholla, D. N. 2000. Training for Library and Information Studies: a comparative overview of LIS education in Africa. Education for Information, 18: 33-52.

Ocholla, D. N. 2001. Curriculum Response to a Changing National and International Information Environment: Theoretical and Methodological Paradigms on Review and Revision. Education for Information, 19(2):143-168.

Ocholla, D.N. 2005. Job Opportunities for LIS Students in the workplace. A paper presented at

LIS Society Seminar, 11th August 2005. [Online]. (accessed 20 November 2011).

Ocholla, Dennis N. and Ocholla L. 2007. Research in Library and Information Science in South Africa: an analysis of journals research output from 1993-2006. South African Journal of Libraries and Information Science, 73(2):109-118.

Ocholla, D. N. and Bothma, T. 2007. Trends, challenges and opportunities for LIS education and training in Eastern and Southern Africa. New Library World108, (1/2):55-78.

Ocholla, Dennis N. 2005. An Analysis of the Job Market in Library and Information Services in South Africa. Some Thoughts and Empirical Evidence: A paper presented at the 8th LIASA (RETIG) Annual Conference, Nelspruit, Mpumalanga, 25th-30th September.

Ocholla, DN. 2008. The current status and challenges of collaboration in library and information studies(LIS) education and training in Africa. New Library World, 109(9/10): 466-479.

Onyancha, O. B. 2007. LIS research in Africa: how much is it worth? A citation analysis of the literature, 1986-2006. South African Journal of Libraries and Information Science, 73(2): 95-108.

Quarmby, K. L. Willet, P. and Wood, F.E. 1999. Follow-up study of graduates from the MSc. Information Management Programme at the University of Sheffield. Journal of Information Science, 25 (2):147-155.

Raju, R. 2006. Investigation into the acquisition of statutory status for South African LIS sector. South African Journal of Libraries and Information Science, 72(2):131-140.

Reeves, R.K. and Hahn, T.B. 2010. Job Advertisement for Recent Graduates: Advising, Curriculum, and Job-seeking Implications. Journal of Education for Library and Information Science, 51(2):103-118.

Rosenberg, D. 1994. Achieving the optimum curriculum. A survey of BSc in Information Sciences curriculum in the context of market needs in Kenya. Eldoret, Moi University -- Faculty of Information Science, (a research report), pp. 56.

Rosenberg, D. 1989. Survey of the Skills and Training Needs of Information Professionals in Kenya.Eldoret-Kenya, (a research report).

Rosenberg, D. 1997. University libraries in Africa: a review of their current state and future potential. London: International African Institute.

Rugambwa, I. 1998. Brief Communication: Regional Programme in Information Science in Sub-Saharan Africa: Follow-Up Studies of SISA M.Sc.I.S. Graduates1990/92 to 1994/96. The International Information and library Review, 30(3):267274.

Schumm, R.W. 1994. Periodical Mutilation Revisited: A two-year Follow up Study. The Serials Librarian, 25 (1/2): 201-205.

Shongwe, M. and Ocholla, Dennis N. 2011. A tracer study of LIS graduates at the University of Zululand, 2000 -2009. Mousaion, 29(2): 227-238.

Stilwell C. 2004. Alumni perceptions of a post graduate Information and Library Science Education programme at the University of Natal, South Africa. South African Journal of Libraries and Information Science, 70(1): 20-29.

Snyman, R. 2000. Employment market for information professionals in South Africa. A paper delivered at LIASA Conference, Durban, 26-29 October.

The Press in South Africa (n.d.). [Online]. (accessed 27 July 2011).

Van Aswegen E.S. 1997. Menials or managers? A decade of library and information science education at Cape Technikon. South African Journal of Library and Information Science, 65(2):53-59.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

ISSN 2304-8263 (online); ISSN 0256-8861 (print)
Powered by OJS and hosted by Stellenbosch University Library and Information Service since 2012.


This journal is hosted by the SU LIS on request of the journal owner/editor. The SU LIS takes no responsibility for the content published within this journal, and disclaim all liability arising out of the use of or inability to use the information contained herein. We assume no responsibility, and shall not be liable for any breaches of agreement with other publishers/hosts.

SUNJournals Help

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.