The African Renaissance and children's literature: is South African librarianship abdicating its role?

Genevieve Hart


Traditionally, the library profession has taken a leadership role in the domain of children's literature - as
part of its social mission. In apartheid South Africa, librarians were responsible for research units, for
prestigious awards andfor the professional competencies of children's librarians. In championing children's
literature, librarians might contribute to the African Renaissance - the nation-building ideology being
promoted in post-apartheid South Africa. The project that prompted this paper investigated the position of
children's literature in the education of librarians within 15 universities and technikons. It found children's
literature education to be in a precarious position with most of the historically advantaged institutions having
dropped it. Those that retain children's literature modules have inadequate resources. The apparent low
priority given to children's literature within the profession might be due to an unfortunate combination of
pressures - within library employing organisations, the professional association and tertiary education.

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