Bringing Out the Best in Professional Library Staff in Sierra Leone


Bringing out the best from library agents has been an affair for the able activity of librarians in Sierra Leone (SL). Librarians, according to Crosby (2008) are advice experts in the Advice Age. Their ability in the administration of advice has not been apparent or realised, even admitting these professionals acquire been about for a continued time. Librarians and advice professionals acquire not accomplished the cachet and position they should accurately absorb in society. In a lot of Ministries, Departments and Government Agencies (MDAs), area advice administration and annal befitting are key functions, librarians, annal managers and advice professionals acquire not been alive to do these jobs. Instead, added professionals, mostly humans with accounting and business administration backgrounds acquire been employed. In essence, the plan of librarians has not been so abundant acquainted and appreciated.

Library and advice casework in Sierra Leone

Information is a axiological asset for any association to advance able-bodied in this 21st century. It is the apparatus by which acquirements takes abode and decisions are made. It provides the bare answers to people’s requests and longings from all walks of life. Therefore, the accouterment of library and advice casework to all is undisputable. About all types of libraries abide in SL, because no alone library can accommodate all the advice bare by every abeyant user. In this regard, altered libraries abide to serve altered users and their needs.

The Sierra Leone Library Board (SLLB) serves as both the National and Accessible library in the country. There are mainly nine (9) Bookish libraries advertisement throughout the country, all of these are begin in the tertiary institutions (Universities, Colleges, Institutes and Teacher Training Colleges) accouterment college education. Academy libraries are begin in a lot of Primary, Junior and Senior Secondary Schools. However, a all-inclusive majority of these are not functional. Special libraries are begin in MDAs, clandestine companies and alone accustomed libraries. In accession to these are analysis and affidavit centres, such as the Medical Analysis Centre; Advice Ability centres, such as that accustomed by the Embassy of the United States of America; and abounding baby association advice centres. These advice centres are broadly acclimated by advice seekers due to the capital actuality that they accommodate online casework for about chargeless of charge.

The SLLB serves as the cardinal point for the accouterment of library and advice casework in the country. It is accessible to all: professionals, academics, researchers, students, pupils and for all children. There also, the accustomed association advice needs are catered for. All of these are geared appear affair our civic needs for information, education, research, ball and leisure activities.

Staff in libraries and advice account institutions in Sierra Leone

There are two ample classes of agents alive in our libraries as is the case for libraries all over the world: those circuitous in library and advice work, and those who accommodate back services. Library and advice agents functions at altered levels from non-professional, Para-professional, professional, specialists to managerial. At the abutment level, there are aswell manual/care demography staff, clerical/secretarial, abstruse and computer staff, and specialist staff. These all play a allotment in accouterment the advice that users’ desire.

Library agents should action aloft the accustomed advice accouterment role. Added important functions are:

I. Guide – accouterment physical, abstruse and bookish guides to advice assets in assorted formats;

ii. Collaborate – with others, accustomed users as able-bodied as users who appear for some abode of casework over and over again, and even bound users;

iii. Prioritise – be adjustable in assuming new functions in adjustment to absorb new demands in procedures, structures and directions;

iv. Empower – agent albatross thereby allotment colleagues; and

v. Accept amount capabilities – of the library, its environment, colleagues and a lot of chiefly the users.

Training library agents in Sierra Leone

The Institute of Library, Advice and Advice Studies (INSLICS), Fourah Bay College (FBC), University of Sierra Leone (USL), is area Librarians and Advice Professionals are accomplished and able for the apple of work. INSLICS comprises two accommodation that action two audible programmes: the Accommodation of Mass Advice and Library, Annal and Advice Studies respectively. The Mass Advice Division offers bookish courses in the art and science of animal advice and prepares acceptance for career opportunities in accessible advice services, book media, advertisement media, accessible relations, blur production, advertising, marketing, advancement and accompanying fields. While the Division of Library, Annal and Advice Studies caters for the able training of librarians, annal managers, archivists and advice scientists to administrate libraries, ability centres, advice centres and accompanying activities.

The Division of Library, Annal and Advice Studies was formally accustomed in 1986. It aims to accommodate for the training and apprenticeship of Librarians, Archivists, and Advice Scientists at a array of levels, for those alive in both able and non-professional capacities in Libraries, Annal Departments and Advice Centres. Aural the USL it is the accurate mission of the Division of Library, Annal and Advice Studies to brainwash men and women for able careers as librarians and advice specialists and to advance analysis and account programmes apropos to society’s library and advice needs.

Its goals are:

I. To accouter acceptance with the knowledge, abilities and attitudes that are basal to able adequacy and career-long able advance in the acreage of library and advice services;

II. To aggrandize the ability abject of the profession through research; and

III. To allotment its assets by extending casework aural and above SL.

The Division currently offers the afterward courses:

1. Special Affidavit in Library, Annal and Advice Studies – this is a one year full-time advance and is alluringly ill-fitted to those with some acquaintance of library and advice work, who ambition to acquire training in basal library/information skills;

2. Diploma in Library, Annal and Advice Studies – a two-year full-time advance for those who may acquire some acquaintance of library plan and who achievement to authority a Para-professional position in a library/information centre or annal in the future;

3. Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Library, Annal and Advice Studies – a four-year full-time course;

4. Post-Graduate Diploma in Library, Annal and Advice Studies – a one-year programme for graduates;

5. Master of Philosophy in Library, Annal and Advice Studies – a two-year programme, i.e. one year accomplished programme and one year research.

The claiming for library staff

The challenges adverse library agents in SL are numerous. A allotment of them, the afterward are account mentioning: low wages, bound capacity, no able networking, poor infrastructure, users’ benightedness and the argumentation of status.

The claiming of users’ ignorance

An bearding biographer already wrote that “A library is a hospital for the mind.” This agency that the librarian is the accomplished doctor or assistant to administrate analysis to every ailing mind. This aswell agency that the user who needs advice is the ailing apperception that absolutely needs analysis from the librarian. This is the ideal case, but not the businesslike one. For every Sierra Leonean needs advice for adaptation and growth; but traveling to the library is the above barrier. This is due to the actuality that abounding are not able-bodied abreast that the library exists to accommodate the circadian advice they want. As such there are libraries with advice and ability to advice people, but these humans are blind of traveling there for such help. It is accordingly the albatross of library agents to accomplish humans become acquainted that the library can accommodated their circadian advice needs. They acquire to acquisition agency and agency to ability out to the public. Two important agency for every library are through the accessible relations and business library and advice services.

The claiming of the argumentation of status

Wilson (1982) declared that librarians acquire continued apparent a curious, and intense, cachet all-overs that is reflected in the amaranthine argumentation about the able cachet (or abridgement thereof) a allotment of them. Librarianship should be one of those professions gluttonous a apparent cachet in the market. As Harris (1995) mentioned, back the birth of the abstraction of a ‘library’ in the United States, and added significantly, back the average of the 19th century, librarians and accompany of libraries acquire been debating the able role of the library profession. Librarianship is one of those professions that affect on the actual adaptation of any society. The Librarian commands a different cachet alongside with acceptable professions in SL. If we can acquire the adage that “knowledge itself is a anatomy of power,” again the Librarian is the ambassador of that power. He is the babysitter of the nation’s ability base.

A redefinition of the library profession and the librarian in developing countries is actively needed. Just as how Huttemann (1985) mentioned that “self-sustaining and assured Pan-African bread-and-butter advance needs to advance its accustomed and animal resources.” So the plan and role of librarians are keys for SL to realise her abundant envisaged bread-and-butter advance and prosperity. As Huttemann added declared that the advance of socio-economic and cultural development can be conducted appropriately alone if it is accurate by complete advice and affidavit casework bare for sectors like education, bloom services, agriculture, industry and barter alike. In essence, it is a amount of acquire to that librarians should be in the business of accessing, organising, autumn and disseminating advice area and if needed.

It is aswell bright clear that librarians acquire to catechism the analogue they acquire accepted. A absolute compassionate of their role is a sine qua non for a clearer view. They acquire to appear advanced with the ambition of allowance association to accept that they abide to accommodate advice for adaptation and growth. This goal, as insisted by Bundy and Wasserman (1968) and Harris, Hannah and Harris (1998) acquire to be to coin a new able identity.

Librarianship, according to Taylor (1980), is the profession that is anxious with the analytical organisation of ability in all its assorted formats and its broadcasting for the purpose of absorption society’s cultural heritage, announcement scholarship and the bearing of new knowledge. However, this analogue is adopted to the accepted compassionate of abounding Sierra Leoneans. The accustomed appearance is of some bodies sitting abaft abounding books in ample stalks of shelves and cat-and-mouse for assemblage to appear and appeal for assistance. For continued librarians in SL acquire been labeled as “book keepers” and jobs for those agents who acquire been larboard out unnoticeably by the academy curriculum. The profession itself has continued been advancing with Accessible Relations (PR). As Mchombu (1985) put it ” In a lot of developing countries, the allotment of citizenry which are alive library users is still actual low… it is, therefore, important to animate abounding added humans from all walks of activity to access their use of Libraries so that absolute advice assets can be absolutely exploited” (p.115). In essence, as Mchombu added asserted library agents can no best allow to sit and delay for a few aware readers to appear to them, they acquire to be added aggressive, be able to go out and seek for and animate all abeyant readers to appear to the library because it has advice which can be activated to what they are accomplishing to advance final results.

To this, librarians acquire to ensure that they emphasise on creating amount from ability and expertise. Bell (1973) has continued back fabricated this blaring alarm that the axial amount in the post-industrial association will be the advice professional. For as Bell insisted what counts is not raw beef power, or energy, but information. The axial accepting is the professional, for he is equipped, by his apprenticeship and training, to accommodate the kinds of accomplishment that is more accepted in the post-industrial society.

Bringing out the best in library staff

The library profession acquire to be able to affected its challenges. A abiding way of accomplishing this is to actuate every library staff. If library agents are appropriately motivated, the best from them can be realised. Library managers should as a amount of must, accomplish action for agents an affair of importance. Motivating agents in any organisation is apparently the a lot of difficult assignment of the manager. Not alone do humans acknowledge abnormally to the aforementioned stimuli but the action action is absolutely complex. It is anxious with those factors that activate animal behaviour, how behaviour is directed, and how it can be maintained. Agents can assume at times to behave illogically, perversely and unpredictably. Contrary to the acceptance of some, the acceptable administration of agents is not just a amount of accepted sense. To administrate agents requires a academic accomplishment to butt these influences so that our alone attitudes can be controlled and developed to accommodated the day to day agents bearings in a way in which accepted faculty will acquire adversity (Shimmon, 1976).

It is decidedly important that the administrator of a account organisation like a library/information assemblage makes this accomplishment for two reasons: Firstly, his product, accepting account is carefully affiliated with the attitudes of confined agents themselves and it is not accessible by analysis to acknowledge a adulterated account in the simple way that adulterated abstracts can be detected; and secondly, the amount of labour is acceptable to abide ascent at a greater amount than that of the manager’s added capital tools, accouterment and materials, and he acquire to accordingly use the agents he absolutely does charge to best advantage (Webb, 1985). Some of the agents may be motivated by money and what it will buy, others by accomplishing anytime college casework year afterwards year, and some by the “thrill of the change.” Thus the manager, will charge to abode action in some abyss by belief speculations such as organisational approach and behaviour.

The claiming for bringing out the best

Someone has said unofficially that Sierra Leoneans by itself are not difficult to please. Sierra Leoneans are about motivated if the two everyman layers of Maslow’s pyramid are satisfied. One of the basal problems in this association is a acceptable accomplishment amalgamation that can yield affliction of the basal needs of people. In this allotment of the apple 5 basal needs are evident: food, shelter, clothing, busline and medical. If absorption is paid to these needs for every library staff, we acquire apparent abundant of the problems affecting them and we are on the border of accepting the best from them.

So a acceptable amalgamation acquire to accommodate basal pay and allowances that will awning rent, transportation, and medical. The Government of Sierra Leone (GoSL) appear minimum allowance pay is 5 Hundred Thousand Leones (SLL 500,000.00), agreement it at Eighty United Dollars (US$ 80) at the accepted barter amount (2016). This will not accommodate the acceptable pay that librarians will wish to plan for. The ascent amount of basal necessities, decidedly aliment items, due to aggrandizement in the country, agency that this minimum allowance is not encouraging. Accordingly libraries acquire to ensure that they go two times above this minimum allowance pay in adjustment to accommodated their agents basal need.

Furthermore, agents should be beatific to the library academy for training and development. Longer-serving agents after abilities can be encouraged to do affidavit programmes. Reference and added able librarians are to be beatific for refresher courses and barter programmes for accommodation development.

Conclusively, the best from library agents can be added if the challenges adverse them are dealt with and if they are appropriately motivated. Amongst the several challenges, user benightedness and the argumentation of cachet are to be baffled by librarians. Furthermore, they should be adequately motivated to yield on their able roles. In this sense, their accomplishment bales as able-bodied as advance for career developments and trainings acquire to be abounding to. The library academy should advice in this direction.