Transforming libraries in a sharing economy: “Ubuntu” as a professional leadership concept from/for Africa, Asia and Oceania, Latin America and the Caribbean

HERNÁNDEZ-CARRIÓN, José-Rodolfo and CHU, Clara M. (2019) Transforming libraries in a sharing economy: “Ubuntu” as a professional leadership concept from/for Africa, Asia and Oceania, Latin America and the Caribbean. Paper presented at: IFLA WLIC 2019 - Athens, Greece - Libraries: dialogue for change in Session S13 - Division V (Regions) with Management of Library Associations and LIS Education in Developing Countries. In: Leadership roles in international librarianship: how can information professionals from Africa, Asia & Oceania, Latin America & Caribbean be part of it?, 20-21 August 2019, Alexandria, Egypt.

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Language: English (Original)
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Abstract

Transforming libraries in a sharing economy: “Ubuntu” as a professional leadership concept from/for Africa, Asia and Oceania, Latin America and the Caribbean

The way that individuals obtain and share information has changed in the current century and libraries need to consider their roles in the context of globalization, social inequality and the digital revolution. The library of today is in a favorable position to expand on its role as one of the original, effective and successful illustrations of a sharing economy. This paper will introduce the sharing economy as a model that provides opportunities for innovation by libraries, resulting in their transformation as leaders, their services to users, and the communities’ use of libraries. First, it will introduce the sharing economy in practice in libraries that are responding to their community’s increasing need to access information resources for everyday information needs with new media and formats that they can’t easily afford, to have free and reliable internet connection, to access computers with licensed software, and to use spaces for meetings, social activities, cultural programs, conference calls, etc. To meet the needs of increasing vulnerable populations, public libraries will need more than ever, staff equipped with strong technical, pedagogical, and community organizing skills as today’s libraries not only nurture the mind, but the soul. Confronting inequality is integral to the social responsibility of all libraries. Second, the leadership needed in the sharing economy is presented and parallels are drawn to the concept of “Ubuntu” as a professional leadership model for library and information professionals in Africa, Asia & Oceania, Latin America & the Caribbean. Rather than an individualistic, competitive model of leadership in international librarianship, a collective approach is proposed that focuses on process and collective goals, and re-positions professional influence, success and transformation, not on individual leaders (i.e., singular voices) but on leaders, collectively acting in chorus on the global professional stage.

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