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In Memoriam: First Library School Chair Deon Kesting

7 Sep 2016 - 15:15
Deon Kesting
UCT Library School founder Deon Kesting

It is with great sadness that the Library and Information Studies Centre at the University of Cape Town writes about the sad passing away of Emeritus Professor Deon Kesting on Wednesday, 17 August 2016 in Somerset East, Western Cape.  Professor Kesting held the first Chair of Librarianship, at the University of Cape Town, of the then School of Librarianship, now known as the Library and Information Studies Centre (LISC). He served the School in this capacity from 1977 until his retirement at the end of 1991.

Under Professor Kesting’s academic leadership, the School grew rapidly and by 1988, when it celebrated its 50th Anniversary, a total of 849 students had obtained their first professional qualification in Library Studies (as it was known then)  from the University of Cape Town. Emeritus Associate Professors Mary Nassimbeni and Karin de Jager, and Dr Gretchen Smith, all of whom who are still contributing to the School,  were fortunate to have taught and researched under Professor Kesting and owe much in the development of their academic and research careers to his leadership and mentorship. Emeritus Professor Peter Underwood succeeded Professor Kesting in the Chair of Librarianship at the University of Cape Town and in the years to follow developed a warm and collegial relationship with the Kestings who remained in the Cape after Professor Kesting’s retirement. The current School is grateful to Professor Underwood for maintaining, over the years, a link between the School and Professor Kesting after his retirement.

Professor Kesting supervised the studies of the first two PhDs awarded by the School  (to Emeritus Associate Professor Mary Nassimbeni and Professor Archie Dick).  He was responsible for writing the standard reference source on libraries in South Africa which was published in 1980 by Kent and Lancour in the seminal  Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science (New York: Dekker, 28:129-259).

While the LIS School at the University of Cape Town is saddened by the passing away of this notable LIS scholar and former colleague, it takes this opportunity to celebrate his significant contributions to LIS professional education and to the academe at the University of Cape Town as well as the wider university community. The LIS School at the University of Cape Town, which recently celebrated 75 years of service in LIS education in Africa, will continue to build on the foundational work done by Professor Kesting and his colleagues, to maintain the quality of LIS education and research that they strove for.

The School conveys its deepest sympathies to Professor Kesting’s wife, Helene, and to his family, friends and former colleagues. His contribution to academia and to the LIS School at the University of Cape Town will always be remembered.