n Mousaion - Intellectual freedom and academic freedom : some challenges and opportunities for academic libraries in Africa




Whenever the issue of academic freedom is raised in African universities, the role of the academic librarian appears unnoticed. This is not surprising since a number of African universities are yet to accord to librarians in their institutions. This article, therefore, aims to bring to the fore the unique role the academic librarian plays in advancing the cause of academic freedom in institutions of higher learning in Africa, and the challenges faced by the profession. It also touches on the available opportunities aimed at enhancing librarianship, and ensuring democracy and good governance in general. Intellectual freedom is one of the most closely held core values of librarianship. The right to think what we please and to say what we think serves as the bedrock principle upon which we base all other freedoms. To the librarian, intellectual freedom takes the form of the right to receive ideas, that is, to access information. The library's quest for intellectual freedom, which encompasses academic freedom, though it extends beyond the academy to the essential principles of freedom of thought, freedom of enquiry and freedom of expression, is enshrined in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Through the introduction of instruments such as the and the , the library profession has been advancing the cause for academic freedom in our universities.


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