National library in the 21st century - dinosaur or dynamo

P. J. Lor


This article explores the future of national libraries in a time when rapid developments in information and communication technologies, far-reaching political and social changes in many countries, and financial constraints give rise to questions about their survival. Important current trends are identified on the basis of a number of authoritative literature reviews and the author's own experience. These trends are dealt with under the headings: Legislation, Management, Finance, Buildings, Information technology, Functions, and Clients, products and services. In the light of the planned amalgamation of South Africa's two national libraries, the South African Library and the State Library, to form the National Library of South Africa (NLSA), South African perspectives on challenges and opportunities facing the national library are discussed, and strategic directions for the future positioning and role of the NLSA are proposed.

Die artikel verken die toekoms van nasionale biblioteke in 'n tydvak waarin daar as gevolg van snelle ontwikkeling in die inligtings- en kommunikasietegnologiee, verreikende politieke en maatskaplike veranderinge in baie lande, en finansiele beperkinge, vrae ontstaan oor die oorlewing van nasionale biblioteke. Op die basis van 'n aantal gesaghebbende literatuuroorsigte en die outeur se eie ervaring, word belangrike huidige tendense ge'identifiseer. Die tendense word behandel onder die opskrifte Wetgewing, Bestuur, Finansies, Geboue, Inligtingstegnologie, Funksies, en Kliente, produkte en dienste. In die lig van die beplande samesmelting van Suid-Afrika se twee nasionale biblioteke, die Suid-Afrikaanse Biblioteek en die Staatsbiblioteek, om die Nasionale Biblioteek van Suid-Afrika (NBSA) te vorm, word Suid-Afrikaanse perspektiewe op uitdagings en geleenthede vir die nasionale biblioteek bespreek, en word daar strategiese rigtings vir die toekomstige posisionering en rol van die NBSA voorgestel.

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