From borders and landscape to ecosystem: reconfiguring library services to meet the needs of South African youth

  • Genevieve Hart Dept. Inofmraiotn and Library Science, UWC
  • Mary Nassimbeni University of Cape Town, South Africa
Keywords: South Africa, library as ecosystem, public libraries, school libraries, collaboration


In this article we consider the configuration of the South African library and information services (LIS) sector, and analyse the extent to which its structuring facilitates or hinders optimum service to the children and youth of South Africa. The background to our investigation is the crisis in public schooling and the plight of South African youth who suffer disproportionate rates of poverty and unemployment. In our investigation we examine the planning and practice in two new libraries one a community library, and one a joint-use library for learners and local residents in an effort to establish the extent to which libraries may partner with schools to take advantage of new thinking that recommends a whole system approach, encapsulated in the metaphor of LIS as an ecosystem. We conclude that this new approach might generate models of service delivery that transcend boundaries that traditionally delineate and confine sub-sectors in the LIS sector.

Author Biographies

Genevieve Hart, Dept. Inofmraiotn and Library Science, UWC
Lecturer, Dept. Inofmraiotn and Library Science, UWC
Mary Nassimbeni, University of Cape Town, South Africa
Lecturer in the Library and Information Studies Centre, University of Cape Town
Research Articles