Go back and get it: Centering local, national, and cultural histories in international LIS Education
Keywords:Cultural competencies, local history, cultural history, caribbean, the university of west indies
Deep knowledge of national and cultural histories, and collections is fundamental for librarians, not only for engaging the “other” but for self-reflection and awareness of one’s culture and values, and how they drive behavior.
In the Caribbean, recent curriculum transformation and renewal have focused on benchmarking North American, and British traditions and practice, in which issues of technology and information were emphasized as against historical considerations, and there remain gaps in the important area of cultural competence (Montiel Overall, 2009; Ouvrard-Prettol, 2017) especially among academic librarians. A new narrative is needed to address this knowledge gap, since for Caribbean LIS professionals, this void relates not to ‘other’ marginalized, diverse cultures, but their own history and culture.
The paper argues that in addition to knowledge of LIS history, there is need to reclaim national, regional, and attendant cultural histories in LIS programs. Strategies for addressing the imbalance in LIS professionals in the Caribbean are detailed.
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