Episode 2: How iAfrika is Helping Local Public Libraries Bridge the Digital Language Divide | Urban Limitrophe Podcast | www.urbanlimitrophe.com | #podcast #Africancities #publiclibraries #cities #digitallanguagedivide

In this episode, I discuss the role public libraries have in cities with Professor Lia Frederiksen. I also chat with Grant McNulty of McNulty Consulting a company that works on "creating and promoting access to digital cultural resources in Africa," and developed iAfrika. 

iAfrika is a new mobile-friendly platform that provides libraries and their patrons a unique service, that allows them to create content in their own languages, and contribute to closing the digital divide all the while teaching valuable digital skills. And by making library materials accessible on a mobile phone, iAfrika just might be the future of library access on the continent because instead of bringing libraries and knowledge to the community or vice versa, the community is the library.

In this episode, you'll learn about:

  • the roles public libraries play in cities
  • the digital language divide
  • what the future of public libraries across Africa looks like
  • and much more!

Powered by RedCircle

You can listen to the podcast on Spotify Google Podcasts | Stitcher | RSS | Apple Podcasts 


Lia Frederiksen, PhD, is a Visiting Scholar in the Department of Geography and Environmental Management at the University of Waterloo where she is conducting research on precarious employment in public libraries. She writes and teaches widely on labour, economic restructuring, and cities. 

Grant McNulty runs McNulty Consulting and is an experienced researcher and project manager. He focuses on making cultural content in African languages available online. He has held various positions at University College London and the University of Cape Town (UCT) including a post-doctoral research fellowship at the Archive and Public Culture Research Initiative. He has an MA in Zulu (University of KwaZulu-Natal) and a PhD in Social Anthropology (UCT).

    Connect with Lia 

    Connect with iAfrika


    •  00:43 | The role of public libraries in cities
    •  07:46 | My experience working at the Toronto Public Library
    •  13:45 | Introduction to iAfrika
    •  17:00 | The surprises and challenges of implementing iAfrika 
    •  21:35 | About the digital language divide
    •  23:33 | How iAfrika gets submissions to its platform
    •  26:56 | The benefits of iAfrika for public libraries
    •  30:52 | The benefits of iAfrika for the local communities
    •  33:29 | The future of African libraries in the digital age
    •  39:25 | What it takes to expand iAfrika
    •  43:47 | How people can get involved with iAfrika 

    Show Notes

    Want to learn more? Check out this episode's references!

    Ethnologue. (2020).  Africa. In  D. M. Eberhard, S. F. Gary, & F. D. Charles (Eds),  (2020). Ethnologue: Languages of the world. Twenty-third edition. SIL International. Retrieved from https://www.ethnologue.com/region/africa

    Internet World Stats. (2020, March 31). Top 10 languages used in the web. Internet World Stats. Retrieved from https://www.internetworldstats.com/stats7.htm

    Ocholla, Dennis. (2014). Are African libraries active participants in today's knowledge and information society?. South African Journal of Libraries and Information Science. 75. doi: 10.7553/75-1-1270. 

    Young, H. (n.d.). The digital language divide: How does the language you speak shape your experience of the internet? The Guardian. Retrieved from http://labs.theguardian.com/digital-language-divide/

    Stay in the loop!

    If you would like to be interviewed, have an interesting idea to share for an episode, or have any feedback on the podcast, please send me an email at hello@urbanlimitrophe.com.

    If you enjoy the show, please share it with your family, friends, cameraman, coach, chiropractor... and leave a review on Apple Podcasts! Make sure to subscribe to the newsletter and follow the podcast on Instagram to stay in the loop

    Episode 2: How iAfrika is Helping Local Public Libraries Bridge the Digital Language Divide  | Urban Limitrophe Podcast #cities #libraries #podcast
    Like it? Pin it! Share it!