n Mousaion - Key professional principles for South African academic librarians

Volume 31, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0027-2639



This article examines academic librarianship in South Africa; general trends and challenges in academic librarianship; and the higher education (HE) environment in which academic libraries exist. The authors propose that South African academic librarians adopt several key professional principles to best support the priorities of their institutions. Academic librarians who understand and respond to trends occurring in the larger context of HE will continue to have a critical role in their institutions. As libraries have continually adapted to the information needs of their institutions and stakeholders in the past, they can continue to adapt by embracing these principles:

Be institution-centric, rather than library-centric.
Use existing research and theories to develop and provide services and resources that will make the most effective use of staff and financial resources. Make assessment an integral part of library operations.
Conduct practice-based research.
Engage in ongoing professional development.

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