Making connections in the library and archive environments

I am responding to the monthly discussion by the International Librarian Network about making connections between people from different cultural and heritage backgrounds.

Sally Pewhairangi talks about the Maori worldview, and how different it is with regards the Western worldview. And how we communicate with each other…
She can be found at Finding Heroes.

In South Africa we are peoples from different cultural and heritage backgrounds. We refer to ourselves as the Rainbow Nation.

We had to learn to communicate with each other, and especially to make space for the Western world-view and way of doing things, vs. an “African” way of doing and understanding things. I am not always sure that we “understand” each other, but at least in a day-to-day working environment we are getting to know each other much better!

I have found that we really try to accommodate each other, and that we can joke about our differences!
The western world-view wants something to be done yesterday, coming in direct opposition with a world-view that tomorrow is another day to accomplish things! (To name but one of the differences of how we communicate…)

In the library and especially the archive environment it is essential to remember that there is not only one way to communicate and do things. But the more we work and deal with our customers who communicate from different perspectives, the more we are able to accommodate their perspectives as well.

With regards the archives: we have a number of cultures that are becoming obsolete and the languages and cultures are fighting a losing battle with regards the English and westernised culture.

We need to record and preserve what is left of these cultures for future generations!
The job of an archivist is to identify these pressing issues and to address it while there is still time!


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