Professor Archie Dick’s, former head of department of Information Science, influential work on book and reading culture is renowned. His book, The Hidden History of South Africa’s Book and Reading Culture published in 2012, was again used to demonstrate the command Prof Dick has in this area, in an essay titled, Of libraries, books, and reading: a journey of meaning making by Edwin Smith, published in the journal Tydskrif vir Letterkunde at the end of 2020.
Smith explains that reading this important work through a life history lens, provides understanding of the lived experiences of South Africans, especially during the era of continued struggle against Apartheid. He confirms Prof Dick’s insistence that South African liberation history must include the contributions of librarians, books, as well as the lived experiences of South Africans, to provide a better understanding of the various influences of South Africa’s past.
Professor Vasu Reddy, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities at University of Pretoria, is quoted as saying the following on Prof Dick’s and Smith’s work:
Beyond Prof Dick's pioneering text (groundbreaking in its intellectual depth of insights and contributions to the study of the history of the book and cultures of reading) which I read a view years ago, your reading re-emphasises the role of books and libraries, including why they are often absent in contemporary discussions.