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SOAS Library – an Open Letter from SCOLMA

                                                                                                                  9th January 2019

 

Dear Baroness Amos,

Re: SOAS Library – Open Letter

I am writing on behalf of SCOLMA (the UK Libraries and Archives Group on Africa) to express our deep concerns about the proposed cuts to SOAS Library.

SOAS Library holds one of the most important African Studies collections in the UK, widely used by its own students and academics and by researchers from around the world, including Africa. The proposed cuts will have an adverse effect on the ability of researchers to access the collections and on the Library’s ability to continue to acquire and process archives and publications. The loss of subject librarians in one of only five National Research Libraries is particularly to be deplored and the loss of frontline library staff will adversely impact on all library users. Given the proposed overall cuts to staff numbers and the additional work which will fall to remaining staff, we do not see how meaningful area specialist posts will continue to exist. We are also particularly concerned about the implied dependence on externally funded posts in the Archives and Special Collections department rather than on permanent staff with overall knowledge of the collections.

We urge you to reconsider the proposed cuts and to explore other options to maintain the library at current levels as one of the pre-eminent collections on Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

Yours sincerely,

Lucy McCann

SCOLMA Chair on behalf of the Committee

lucy.mccann@bodleian.ox.ac.uk

 Copied: Dawn Wright, Subject Librarian (Africa), SOAS Library; Professor Ambreena Manji, ASAUK President;  savesoaslibrary@gmail.com; onepsconsultation@soas.ac.uk

Call For Papers – ‘Decolonising African Studies: questions and dilemmas for libraries, archives and collections’

SCOLMA Annual Conference

 Decolonising African Studies : questions and dilemmas for libraries, archives and collections

 Monday 10 June 2019

 University of Edinburgh

Appleton Tower 2.12, 11 Crichton Street, Edinburgh EH8 9LE

 

CALL FOR PAPERS

There has been an increasing call for the decolonisation of the curriculum across the disciplines in Northern institutions and elsewhere, notably recently South Africa. Librarians and archivists should be actively involved in this process but little attention has as yet been given to practical implications for libraries: acquisitions, cataloguing, resource allocation, information literacy, and the need for continuing professional development.

European institutions hold rich resources on Africa. How are these collections being used from the decolonisation point of view and what is research on these collections uncovering?

How are libraries and archives seeking to open up their collections, how are they responding to the different demands and requirements of scholars and restitution activists and what sort of partnerships are they developing in African countries and elsewhere?

In order to increase access to African-authored knowledge and perspectives how are libraries discovering what is being published in Africa and acquiring it? How are international journals being opened up to African academics?

Librarians, archivists, researchers, teachers and students are invited to submit abstracts of up to 350 words for consideration to Sarah Rhodes (sarah.rhodes@bodleian.ox.ac.uk) by 4 February 2019.

 

African Research and Documentation 132 – 2017/18, Contents

Article

Hans M. Zell

Publishing in African Languages: a review of the literature

Obituary

Alan Bell. Terry Barringer

Book Review

African, American: From Tarzan to Dreams From My Father – Africa in the US
Imagination, by David Peterson del Mar. Terry Barringer