Ayanda Lebele is a Library Manager at Botho University, Botswana. She holds a masters in library and information science and another in development studies. She is currently a library and information science Phd candidate, studying with the University of South Africa. She has vast experience in public, academic and special research libraries.
The waves of the “Tiny dot on the beach” are spreading inland towards the Khalahari desert in Botswana. I have also had similar questions “what has internet governance got to do with librarians?”
Being invited to attend the AfriSIG 2014 was so exciting. The thought of going to Mauritius made it even more difficult to contain the greatness I felt. I was overwhelmed by the thought of walking in the beach and even swimming on the Indian Ocean. But instead I found myself swimming in a pond of so many questions. Day and night I kept asking myself the same question that colleagues are now asking me: What has IG got to do with librarians? Are librarians aware of all these Internet Governance Forums? As questions rolled through my mind, I then started swimming in a pool of so many acronyms. This was sad because I had been so much looking forward to swimming in the ocean.
But I tell you, the pools of confusion and acronyms were so much worth it. The librarian in me could not allow myself to swim in yet another pool of questions from those who had not received the enlightenment I got from AfriSIG 2014. I had to do more reading around the concept and relate it to librarianship. Only to learn that the International Federation of Library Association has been participating in IG forums since 2008 and has been continually updating the position of libraries in especially the support of “multistakeholder approach which involves governments, civil society and business and which offers a path for increasing participation by those interests in all countries as the capacity to participate develops”
I am so happy I am finally no longer in the dark. I am so sure of my case and very much charged to share ( and collegues you know what I do when I get excited…. Shshshssh ! please don’t tell). I have just prepared an abstract for a pre-IFLA conference scheduled for next year August. I will be asking the same question “ what has IG got to do with librarians?” and will relate this to the Botswana case.
I am crossing fingers that my abstract be accepted so that I can spread the “tiny dot” further. This was the message I picked from AfriSIG 2014: share the “dot” with those in your profession; your village; your country; then eventually the whole of Africa and the world.