Academic journal article Journal of Education for Library and Information Science

Addressing Information Resource Issues through LIS Education in Honduras

Academic journal article Journal of Education for Library and Information Science

Addressing Information Resource Issues through LIS Education in Honduras

Article excerpt

Honduras faces numerous challenges in providing library service to its citizens, including not having indigenous educational programs to train and educate librarians. The purpose of this paper is to provide a model of international LIS education collaboration by providing a brief overview of the current library and information context of Honduras, discussing ongoing efforts to develop advanced library training there, and focusing on the collaborative efforts between Hondurans and external inputs. The article touches upon current supports and barriers to information access found in Honduras, with a particular focus on how LIS education can help build a library and information culture that promotes information access, information and communication technology use in libraries, and fosters the perception that LIS professionals are indeed professionals.

Keywords: LIS education, developing nations, international collaboration, library culture, human information resources, information access

Introduction

Honduras, like many other developing countries, faces numerous challenges in providing library service to its citizens. The National Library of Honduras (Biblioteca Nacional de Honduras) oversees more than 100 public libraries around the country; most universities and many schools, especially in and near the larger cities, have libraries; and there are a number of special libraries, document centers, archives, and museum collections as well. Thus Honduras does have a functioning system of libraries and information centers; however, as is the case in many developing nations around the world, Honduran libraries face a problem of not having indigenous educational programs to train and educate librarians. Thus, those working in libraries as either staff or administrators really do not have a well-defined concept of the complexities of contemporary information service provision. In fact, most do not consider the work of librarians and archivists to be professional, but rather regard as the work as duties that take little knowledge beyond housekeeping skills and a willingness to discipline errant users if books are manhandled or go missing.

There is impetus within Honduras to address this situation by developing graduate level education in librarianship. Accordingly, the authors each worked in Honduras in two consecutive Fulbright efforts: Dr. Denice Adkins in 2008 and Dr. Kim M. Thompson in 2010. Both worked closely with Dr. Nitida Carranza of the National Pedagogical University Francisco Morazán (UPNFM) and others affiliated with the design of a Master's of Library and Information Science curriculum. While in the country, the authors were repeatedly informed by individuals of all ranks and profiles that there was a lack of national support for, and use of, libraries in Honduras because "we are not a library culture" or "we are not an information culture." These statements sounded disturbingly fatalistic, particularly as we were in the midst of designing a library science curriculum, seeped in literature expounding the notion that the current era is the Information Age (Tofflcr, 1980), wherein global standing and political, economic, and social competitive advantage is based on the ability of individuals to access, transfer, and manage information freely. If, as Porat (1977), Castells (1998), Webster (2002), and others argue, economic advances today are increasingly reliant on the information skills and knowledge of the labor class, inability to keep pace with the information society has weighty economic, political, and social implications for Honduras and the Honduran populace, furthermore, this idea of libraries not being used or well supported for cultural reasons is not singular to Honduras. The same sentiment has been expressed to the authors by individuals from other Central American countries, the Caribbean, African nations, Polynesia, and elsewhere, usually with an inference that there is nothing that can be done to remedy library and information apathy because it is ingrained in the culture. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.