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SALW 2016
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11 March 2016 – 21 March 2016


National Launch

Friday, 11 March 2016
Mandeni, Kwa-Zulu Natal


The Library and Information Association of South Africa (LIASA) is pleased to announce that South African Library Week (SALW) will be observed from 14 to 21 March 2016 with the theme #libraries4lifelonglearning. The national launch event will be held on Friday, 11 March 2016 at Mandeni, Kwa-Zulu Natal.

The theme “#libraries4lifelonglearning” presents a more holistic view of learning by recognizing that this occurs in diverse environments. Lifelong learning is seen as episodic and progressive training within the framework of the formal education system. However, this concept has broader scope and consequences and would benefit significantly from access to well-resourced libraries. The levels of education among South Africans - especially the older generations - vary widely, largely due to a historic politically enforced agenda of inequality. Herein lies the potential to make a difference by bridging the gap between a traditional system of formal education and a broader system of learning. Established schooling infrastructure does not necessarily support adult basic education or other informal learning needs, so a role is opened for libraries to contribute to this effort by providing materials, space, information and professional expertise. The attribute of libraries as socially inclusive spaces is demonstrated here.

The theme slots into South Africa’s National Development Plan 2030 that seeks to eradicate poverty and inequality by 2030 with means such a robust economy among others. To reach this goal, many people – especially the youth – have to obtain skills that will allow entry to the job market. Libraries have a key support role to play in this drive to improve the country’s living conditions being equipped with skilled staff that can innovate and adapt the physical library and its resources to these demands. In this way, libraries share in the responsibility for the development of a knowledgeable nation.

The current global mindset calls for digital literacy as a learned skill that enables people to access, evaluate and apply information within the digital environment. These proficiencies, accompanied by a sense of responsibility for and awareness of the impact of technology on the world are seen as norms of behavior encompassed by the term ‘digital citizenship’.

Our country remains characterized by divisions twenty one years after liberation. Lifelong learning provides opportunities to dissolve boundaries that may be in place among traditional sectors: education, the labour market and industry; or, other facets of society whether these are regional/geographic, socio-cultural or political. Through library services, people have insights to the ways of others which is hoped will lead to understanding and tolerance.

Lifelong learning can be defined as all purposeful learning activity undertaken on an ongoing basis with the aim of improving knowledge, skills and competencies. It contains various forms of education and training, formal, non-formal and informal, e.g. the traditional school system from primary to tertiary level, free adult education, informal search and training, individually, in a group setting or within the framework of social movements. All of these rely on methods that develop the individual’s ability to search for information and actively and independently create knowledge. Innovation - shaping products and services from knowledge acquired through learning contributes to the growth of the economy and social improvement as envisaged in the NDP 2030.

Therefore libraries as physical and virtual spaces for lifelong learning:

  • provide people with learning resources in various formats
  • advance literacy through intellectual and creative support
  • provide access to global knowledge and information to advance research and create new knowledge
  • foster a spirit of enquiry and curiosity
  • create a desire for lifelong learning
  • instill respect for diverse beliefs, opinions and views
  • contribute towards the development of South African’s as an informed nation
  • develops a digitally literate nation
  • empower people for prosperity

The theme “#libraries4lifelonglearning” highlights ways in which learning participation and outcomes are understood and appreciated. It provides guidance on the role of libraries in South Africa and demonstrates how these slot into the objectives of ensuring that all citizens receive equitable access to quality information and receive advice about learning opportunities. This makes libraries complicit in the efforts to realize the vision of an informed nation.  The theme points to the substantial and supportive contribution of libraries to educational, cultural and recreational needs.


LIASA appreciates the support from the following entities:


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