Interrogating the Lesotho Digital Library Ecology with a View to Influencing Policies, Practices and Development: Focus on University and State Library Services

Moshoeshoe-Chadzingwa, MM
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This is a study of, first, the climate, conditions, practices and factors which all converge to constitute the ecology of a digital library in Lesotho in general, and in the University plus State library service specifically; secondly, the developmental consequence of that climate; and, finally, how that ecology may be influenced to give meaning of opportunities offered by technological advancement, to the Lesotho society, especially to the targeted library clients and the marginalized communities. Subsequent to Africa’s visible participation in the World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) in 2005, it is an indisputable fact that Africa, including Lesotho, has entered the digital era. The issue is however the extent to which libraries and archives effectively digitize and provide to their intended clients relevant electronic information that is anchored on firm policies and supported by adequate resources. Focus is put on major overarching national policy frameworks as well as regional and global commitments that could positively influence the course and accelerate the pace of digital library development in Lesotho. At the threshold of the government’s commitments are the WSIS principles; reforms of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) Treaty; ICTs; and HIV/AIDs policies, as well as budgetary conditions. At the institutional level are the University Strategic Plan 2007-2012; Senate-adopted policies on an Institutional Repository, Open Access and use of Greenstone; the newly launched undergraduate Diploma Programme in Library Studies; the Ministry of Culture’s financially supported Lesotho Library Consortium (LELICO); and the reconfiguration of both the University and the State Library buildings.
ICADLA, conference, digital library, archive, Africa, policy, Lesotho