Job prerequisite – systems librarian?

I was deeply impressed by the call for the 2nd intake of students to the the Masters program in IT for university librarians in Sub-Saharan Africa.   The programme looks interesting, and is highly relevant to regional needs.  Info Tech is now deeply embedded in librarianship, and in so many ways the role of systems librarian/librarian/knowledge management specialist are not dissimilar. Librarians, that is, need to be engaged across the bredth of IT activities relating to the systems their clients use.    Secondment of these systems by IT professionals is not necessarily the best path forward, nor the marginalisation of the library in the management of information resources.   However, continued relevance of the library requires that its advocates are well versed in the technology of today and tomorrow for information systems resource management.   I am glad to see courses such as this focussed on professional development across both the IT and LIS profession – in so many ways now, a job prerequisite is now “Systems Librarian”.

The Department of Information Science at the University of Pretoria, South Africa, received a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York to establish a Master’s program in IT for university librarians in Sub-Saharan Africa working in an IT environment and LIS faculty at LIS Schools in Sub-Saharan Africa. There are two types of intake, namely funded and non-funded. Prospective students can apply for either the funded or the non-funded intake, depending on their country of origin. For funding criteria and financial issues, information on the programme content, selection criteria, application procedures, important dates, etc., please see the University of Pretoria website. The program is a two-year coursework Master’s with a number of coursework modules and a mini-dissertation of limited scope. The program makes use of a blended learning methodology – technology-mediated distance education as well as on-site, face-to-face lectures. Lecturing will take place in Pretoria, South Africa, as well as in the USA at the Universities of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Wisconsin-Milwaukee and in Uganda at the Makerere University.

Edmund Balnaves – ITS Information Officer

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