Library collaboration

The inclusion of the African Studies Centre into Leiden University at the start of 2016 also meant a closer cooperation between the ASCL Library and Leiden University Libraries. Both organisations invested time and money in making things work better, in making more information about Africa available, and in making the already available information more useful to students and researchers in Leiden and beyond.

Four highlights from the period 2016 – (early) 2018:

1. Expansion of the digital library 

The ASCL Library bought three new databases with information on Africa (African newspapers, Rand Daily Mail, History & Culture, etc.).

a. a set of newspapers from all over Africa, 1835-1925

b. a complete digital set of the South African newspaper Rand Daily Mail, 1902-1985

c. More than 1,300 fully cataloged and searchable books, pamphlets, almanacs, broadsides and ephemera covering the history, peoples, and social and economic development of the African continent from the 16th century to the early 20th century. All areas of Africa and important adjacent regions are covered. Major subject areas covered include Africana Studies, Atlantic Studies, Ethnic Studies, Gender Studies, Economic Studies, Slavery and Diaspora Studies. Many seminal items published prior to 1800 are included, but the majority of these 1,300-plus works imprints were published in the 19th century.

The three databases are accessible from all Leiden University IP-ranges.

2. Paper library

Both the University Libraries and the Library of the African Studies Centre undertook several book acquisition trips to Africa, to reflect the hearts and minds of African writers, so that the voice from Africa can be better heard in Leiden. The book acquisition trips went to Casablanca and Rabat (2016 and 2018, both UBL + ASC) and Nigeria (1400 books, 2016). In November 2017 the ASCL Library visited the 14th edition of the Foire internationale du livre de Ouagadougou (FILO) in Burkina Faso. Over 400 publications were selected and shipped to the library  for an average of slightly less than eleven euro per item (including handling, shipping and additional costs of food, transport and accommodation). This is a cost effective way of collection development and a valuable supplement to the 258 items from Burkina Faso, already present in the library. Most important subjects turned out to be in the first place (not surprisingly) fiction, followed by religion, history/culture and politics.

The acquisition trips were funded by LeidenASA.

3. Catalogue ASCL Library now in Leiden University Library catalogue

Up until December 2017 the catalogue of the African Studies Centre Library was a separate catalogue from the Leiden University Catalogue. With financial support from LeidenASA the 200,000 items of the ASCL (books, (e)journals, e-docs, films, journal articles) were integrated into the Leiden catalogue. Students and researchers will now be able to find all material on Africa in one online catalogue.

4. Services for Africa researchers

The ASCL Library is used to providing services for researchers and students in African studies in Leiden and beyond. Cooperation with Leiden University Library will help to improve working on the university repository and other services. ASCL will continue to develop new services for researchers on Africa: information alerts on African topics, web dossiers, information about metrics, impact factors, Google Scholar and Open Access, but also finding aids for PhDs and post-docs. LeidenASA will prove to be a good platform for these services.