I’m attending the 2015 Symposium of the International Map Collector’s Society (IMCoS) in Cape Town, South Africa. The conference is a medium to get rare maps collectors together from different parts of the world and walks of life, but with one objective in mind: preserve their cultural artifacts (rare maps and books, manuscripts, prints, oral history, and other material) that are endangered at the present time (as the fate of the 2013-destroyed historical manuscripts of Timbuktu proves).
Why are these cultural artifacts endangered? Because society always evolves and what was acceptable in the past becomes no more acceptable, and some people think that needs to be destroyed. The second reason is that we live through a technological revolution — similar to what happened about 500 years ago — and the function of libraries is shifting from physical spaces to digital-networked ones. The function of librarians also needs to change, and the function of the communities need to support more than ever with funds for this change. Is every society prepared? Afriterra Library is here to do its part, and to contribute with its resources and expertise. We must work together. Thanks for the inspiring conference.