Story by Assoc. Prof. Perpetua Dadzie
I have worked in libraries in Ghana and Overseas in several capacities. In Ghana, I worked as an Assistant Librarian at the Ghana Standards Authority which is a Special Library. In Honduras, I was a Librarian at the Escuela Internacional Sampedrana (American School Library) in La Lima. In Jamaica, I worked as Librarian at the University of Technology, Calvin McKain Library, and came back to my home country; Ghana to work as the University Librarian for Ashesi University.
I was appointed a lecturer at the Department of Information Studies, University of Ghana in 2006. Courses taught included Information Sources, Public relations, and Marketing of Information Services. As part of my duties as a lecturer, I supervised both graduate and undergraduate studies to complete their research projects, and also became the Head of department at a point. It is interesting to know that my promotion from Lecturer to Senior Lecturer to Associate Professor took a period of 9 years (2006 -2015). I currently have to my credit 29 referred articles, 2 Chapters in books, 4 Refereed conference papers and have attended several conferences and workshops both in Ghana and the world.
In 2016, I was appointed the University Librarian for the University of Ghana Library System (UGLS), a position I held up until August, 2021. My core mandate was to direct the affairs of the University of Ghana Library System. The UGLS consist of the Main Library which is the Balme Library, Satellite libraries, Department libraries, Hall libraries, and Institute libraries within the University of Ghana. The Vision for UGLS were: Support for Research, Teaching and Learning; Development of Information Literacy Programme; Scholarly Communication and technology innovation; Staff Development; Collection Development; Partnership and Collaboration; Maintenance and Preservation of our cultural heritage; and Fundraising.
Before starting my work as a University Librarian, I had exploratory interactions with a couple of librarians, who were working at the Balme Library, specifically on challenges the UGLS were facing to come up with feasible strategies to mitigate if not resolve these challenges.
My Leadership style as a university librarian was strictly leadership by example. My key objectives in the short term were geared towards the development of information literacy programmes for Level 100 and 600 students of the University of Ghana and orientations for all members involved; development of research guides by Subject librarian, improvement in Library customer service, improvement in the use of e-resources, attending to the training needs of staff; staff promotion issues, discipline, respect for hierarchy, punctuality and cleanliness of the libraries among others.
At the end of my 5-year tenure as University librarian, a number of changes were implemented in the UGLS. These included: periodic in-house training of staff in areas of cataloguing and e-resources; Library orientation programmes for students; faculty and staff training in the use of e-resources; improvement in subject librarian’s role; improvement in administrative issues; purchase of equipment; acquisition of 200 high speed computers and the setting up of a 32 seater computer lab for training, improvement in infrastructure; tiling of the frontage of Balme Library and the car park at the West Wing of the Balme Library; introduction of the self-check bag system; outsourcing of the cleaning services which improved the sanitary conditions of the Balme Library; painting of the whole of the Balme Library (interior and exterior); acquisition of the state of the art guillotine (the old one was inherited from1948); and acquisition of a mini bus to convey staff (the old bus was 33 years old).
On the subject of human capital development, I have had compliments from some junior and senior staff who have indicated how beneficial the basic training on UGLS practices has been to them. Some never had any training and I hope this will continue especially for these category of staff who are the Face of the Library.
With the help of different Reference Librarians, I formalized a three –month orientation programme for all new employees and a one-month programme for all interns. I hope this continues. With the collaboration and support of the former Head of Cataloguing, Dr. Monica Mensah, I can conveniently say that 80% of the UGLS staff have been trained in the use of the Sierra Management System for cataloguing and classification. The role of Subject Librarians was intensified with senior members visiting their constituents and sending monthly reports and templates of their activities was achieved.
Finally, on a very sensitive note, I supported Human Resource and Organizational Development Directorate (HRODD) to reshuffle staff who had spent more than 6 years at one unit. Indeed, some staff had spent close to 32 years, 28 years and 20 years respectively, at one unit which for me was unheard of in all the libraries. Very soon, an article on Change Management in Balme Library will be published detailing views of library staff who were affected by this change and how some of them found the change beneficial. I will certainly share with you when it is published.