Vol. 8 No. 1 (2017)

Contemporary librarianship and special collections issues: a case study in manuscript collections of Timbuktu and other Malian cities

Maria Luisa Russo
University of Hamburg, Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures Germany

Published 2017-01-15


  • Special collections; Librarianship; Manuscripts; Preservation; Access

How to Cite

Russo, Maria Luisa. 2017. “Contemporary Librarianship and Special Collections Issues: A Case Study in Manuscript Collections of Timbuktu and Other Malian Cities”. JLIS.It 8 (1):39-49. https://doi.org/10.4403/jlis.it-384.


The article addresses the issues and challenges of special collections management through the case study of Timbuktu manuscript collections. The dual issues of preservation and access are presented in the light of current librarianship trends, highlighting the potential weaknesses of special collections libraries when faced with new missions. Given that inclusion and civil growth are part of Lyon’s declaration on libraries, we should check to which extent we are able to comply with these requirements also with respect to special collections. The Malian projects provide a good point of view because of the number of activities that are currently being performed: the main activities and the way the work is organised are described, addressing at the same time the issue of access and scholar needs. A reflection is developed on the role of special collections in the changing landscape of libraries’ activities and missions.


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