Wendy Simmons and Ann Carlson Weeks
iSchool at Maryland
Namibia is a democratic, stable nation in southwest Africa that has been independent since 1990. Many African ethnic groups co-exist as citizens of the young country, as well as white citizens of German, Afrikaans and English descent. English is the national language. This Education Abroad course will offer library and information studies (LIS) graduate students and practicing information professionals unique access to Namibia’s leaders in library development, higher education and information infrastructure. Students also will have contact with local citizens and staff at three regional centers at which information services and training are offered for citizens. During their pre-departure orientation, students will meet with American experts on Namibia and Namibians living in the US. They will spend their first week in Windhoek, the capital, meeting local librarians, educators and innovators in the IT sector, and visiting national and local libraries, archives and private sector organizations. During the second week, they will travel to one of two regional centers in northern cities, where they will offer information literacy training for local staff and direct programs for the public.
Students who are interested in international affairs, or who may wish to work internationally in libraries or other information agencies during their careers will have the opportunity to gain experience in a developing country and to understand the reality of this work first hand. Students will gain an understanding from top leaders about the challenges of the digital and urban-rural divides. They will encounter the challenges of climate change, wildlife conservation, HIV/AIDS concerns, and the rights of women and children in traditional societies that must be overcome. The course will also help students who intend to work in the United States with immigrant populations in public, school or academic information services, an appreciation for the background these students bring with them to American institutions.
Asheim, L. 1966. Librarianship in developing countries.