The Goethe-Institut and the National Museums of Kenya are organising a Post-SCECSAL-Conference on ‘LIBRARIES AS COMMUNITY MEMORY’ in Nairobi, Kenya. The purpose of this workshop is to explore ways in which African libraries – through various initiatives – can play an active role in collecting, processing, disseminating acting as repositories of indigenous knowledge. This is in cognisance of the fact that most of the cultures on the African continent are largely oral-based and information that would be useful for posterity is not documented in written form. The eThekwini Municipality’s Ulwazi Programme will be used as the case study.
While librarians are not necessarily the ones who would be expected to go out into the field to collect this information, they need to work closely with community field workers, who must be trained on how to gather information and present it to the librarians for processing and dissemination. The documentation/dissemination can be in different forms: book, CD-ROM, website, brochure, or a combination of two or more of these. The basic approaches in dealing with this phenomenon are numerous and we hope that the workshop can identify the most practical, sustainable and cost-effective approaches.