Collection development and cultural context: The accommodation of professional to cultural values among Senegalese Academic Librarians

DIONE, Bernard (2018) Collection development and cultural context: The accommodation of professional to cultural values among Senegalese Academic Librarians. Paper presented at: IFLA WLIC 2018 – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Transform Libraries, Transform Societies in Session 207 - Women, Information and Libraries SIG and LGBTQ Users SIG.

Bookmark or cite this item: http://library.ifla.org/id/eprint/2278
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Language: English (Original)
Available under licence Creative Commons Attribution.

Abstract

Collection development and cultural context: The accommodation of professional to cultural values among Senegalese Academic Librarians

Access to information for all, confidentiality, and protection of reader’s privacy as well as intellectual freedom are LIS core professional values. These values also apply to collections by ensuring their development and their classification are as neutral as possible. Values can be defined as conceptions of the desirable that guide the way social actors select actions, evaluate people and events, and explain their actions and evaluations. And even if human beings share the same values, value systems are different across cultural environments. The value system is the particular way values are prioritized by a social group. In this study, we describe and explore the interactive co-existence and adaptation of professional values within the cultural value system of Senegalese academic librarians. The findings highlight the fact that, on the cultural level, Senegalese academic librarians essentially emphasize, in the value system, the interests of the social group they belong to, the respect of social order and adoption of normative behaviour in order to facilitate their relationships with the other group members. The values favour a strong integration of the individual into a group but do not encourage an action and thought autonomy which may destroy social harmony. On the professional level, they regard access to information, preservation and conservation of heritage and the denial of all sorts of discriminations as essential professional values. As professional values conflict with cultural norms, Senegalese academic librarians often seek a compromise, a balanced position to make decisions which do not basically question their cultural values. When a compromise is impossible, the final decision is made in favour of cultural values. This attitude furthered self-censorship in selecting materials for library collections. Senegalese academic librarians tend to avoid books that might not reflect the beliefs or ideas of their community.

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