International assistance and national and individual contributions in the development of education for library, information and archival studies: some evidence from a case study.
Johnson, Ian M.
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JOHNSON, I.M. 2016. International assistance and national and individual contributions in the development of education for library, information and archival studies: some evidence from a case study. Libri [online], 66(1), pages 3-12. Available from: https://dx.doi.org/10.1515/libri-2015.0110
This is a very brief summary of a study that focused on the development of education for library, archive, and information services (LIS) in Iraq, where significant progress seemed to have been made before the Second Gulf War, despite the country's increasing economic problems and political isolation in the last decades of the twentieth century. It drew evidence from the published literature, previously unexplored archival material, and discussions with some of the participants. The study examined professional education for librarianship, documentation, information and archives work against the background not only of the evolution of LIS, but also in the broader context of the country's national, economic, and social development. It examined trends in international assistance for library development, and briefly reviewed parallel developments in other Arab countries to provide a benchmark. Based on this wide ranging examination, it drew some tentative conclusions about the issues that fostered the development of LIS education in Iraq, including: the attitude of government and university officials; the organisation and allocation of state finance; the development of literacy and the education system; the duration and nature of external support; the activities of foreign experts; the development of the cadre of teachers of LIS; the role played by advocacy and opportunism. The study also identified a number of factors that have held back development, including: the pressures on the state budget; the absence of a comprehensive government strategic plan to develop a culture of reading and independent learning; and a lack of flexibility in the management of the state education system. An understanding of these factors, and the approach to identifying them, may contribute to strengthening the foundations of LIS education in both developing countries and those that have an established infrastructure.