Now into big strides: report on statutory status for the South African Library and Information Services sector

12 Mar 2013

The road to acquiring statutory status for the Library and Information Services (LIS) sector in South Africa has been traversed numerous times over the last sixty to seventy years. In more recent years, there has been renewed vigour to explore the acquisition of statutory status for the sector in South Africa. As part of this process of acquiring statutory status, a number of studies have been conducted. This paper examines the latest drive by the Library and Information Association of South Africa (LIASA) to solicit the views of a cross section of LIS personnel with regard to the sector acquiring statutory status. This issue of the acquisition of statutory status is earmarked as a priority in the recently developed Strategic Directions 2010-2014 document of LIASA. At the 2009 LIASA Conference, a clear mandate was given for a national survey to be conducted to solicit the views of personnel that work in the LIS sector with regard to the said issue. The authors administered a short questionnaire to a sample population representing all categories of staff irrespective of whether they belonged to an association or not. The questionnaire was administered using Survey Monkey. This paper reports the results of that survey. Given the overwhelming support for the acquisition of statutory status, the authors examined significant elements that would need to be crafted into the governance structures of a statutory body for the sector.