Moving Beyond “Outreach”: Reflections on Two Case Studies of Community Library Services in South Africa

  • Genevieve Hart University of Western Cape, South Africa
Keywords: Library outreach services, South Africa, community libraries, public libraries, social inclusion, case study


Abstract The paper examines the contribution, real and potential, of public libraries in South Africa to social inclusion by means of so-called outreach programmes. The discussion is grounded in two case studies of two community libraries - one rural, one urban. The argument is that what are often viewed as outreach programmes point the way to new models of library and information services (LIS), which will be meaningful to far more than the present tiny minority of South African library users and which thus might fulfil the vision of the LIS Transformation Charter of the National Council of Library and Information Services (NCLIS) (2009). The paper explores the meaning of library outreach in the international literature and then uses the insights gained from the outreach literature to examine the two cases.
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