Training needs of general library workers Part 2:challenges facing the public library sector in South Africa

  • Hester W.J. Meyer Department of Information Science, University of South Africa
Keywords: General library workers, public libraries, training needs, education for general workers


This article, the second of two, deals with the training needs of general library workers in the South African public library sector. The first appear in this Journal 76(1). This one considers the types of tasks that general library workers perform, the skills required, and the standards and expectations within the working environment. Data were collected by means of a self-administered questionnaire directed at supervisory staff of provincial and municipal libraries. Interviews conducted with supervisors and a careful study of job descriptions was compared to the results of the survey to ensure validity. The findings revealed that supervisory staff members who used to offer in-service training to general library workers now increasingly have trouble with new entrants who are not "work-ready". The results show a preference for a learning programme either formal or non-formal with a strong vocational component. A need for closer relations between practitioners and educators to negotiate logistics in terms of the completion of the practical component of the programme is envisioned.


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