Liberal arts and LIS paraprofessional education in the knowledge context : the cases of South Africa and Quebec, Canada
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Liberal arts or general education provides students with knowledge, skills and values that enhance their ability to use their minds effectively and to participate in society with critical discretion. In many jurisdictions, however, paraprofessional education has not included any significant component of general education; programmes are, for the most part, focused on technical ‘know how’, despite increasing complexities in the roles of the library technicians brought about by the evolving knowledge context. Such tasks as reference services, cataloguing and systems maintenance require exactly the types of knowledge and abilities that general education fosters. Via a comparison of programmes in South Africa and Quѐbec, Canada, this paper invites discussion on the necessity for, and the modalities of, including substantial liberal arts components within library and information science paraprofessional curricular.