Ageing Librarians and the Disaster of Succession Planning at Fourah Bay School Library

Aging Librarians and the Crisis of Succession Planning at Fourah Bay College Library

INTRODUCTIONThe difficulty of succession planning has been mentioned in a number of library fora. The Educational Libraries Group did a revealing SWOT evaluation throughout its presentation on the Seminar on Library Capability Constructing Interventions for Achievement of the Millennium Growth Objectives (MDGs) in West Africa on the Erata Lodge, East Legon, Ghana in June 2009. Although a number of strengths have been recognized (together with proper calibre of employees, certified professionals, skilled employees, organised constructions, influential place of College Librarians as a part of high administration and the provision of formal skilled committees/organisations/associations), a putting weak spot amongst eight others was that of the ‘ageing librarians’. The Library at Fourah Bay School (FBC), College of Sierra Leone, just isn’t an exception. A major proportion of senior library employees would retire between 2018 & 2026, and solely the implementation of an aggressive succession planning coverage would salvage the crucial scenario. It’s believed that Alexander the Nice by no means had a sturdy succession plan and the bitter consequence was the disintegration of the far-flung empire he struggled to construct.DEFINITION OF SUCCESSION PLANNINGSuccession planning is about changing employees who will finally depart an organisation on account of a number of components together with loss of life, switch, resignation, termination, dismissal, retirement and so on. Based on Blakesley, it “may increasingly be viewed as just a part of strategic planning processes, as we decide what must be done and what can be given up, and how to reallocate, retrain and realign the people who remain in our organizations” (2011 p. 34). The Biblical injunction (Paul to Timothy) is apt: “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.”(2 Timothy 2:2, King James Model).Angela Bridgland (1999) opined that individuals and positions needs to be systematically reviewed to make sure that the strategic plan of an organisation is carried out. Although there’s a lot speak concerning the “graying of our profession” (Blakesley, 2011, p. 32), we’re reminded that “it’s not news that baby boomers are reaching retirement age” (Bermes, p. 66). In 2001, through the joint convention organised by the Standing Convention of African College Libraries, Western Space (SCAULWA) and the West African Library Affiliation (WALA) in Accra, Ghana the writer of this text commented on the fast decline within the variety of skilled librarians in Sierra Leone. The scenario in Fourah Bay School Library is a microcosm of the nationwide drawback. {Many professional} librarians within the nation have retired from the career. A few of these dynamic personalities or family names embrace Mrs. Gladys Jusu-Sheriff, Mrs. Deanna Thomas (late), Mrs. Gloria Dillsworth, Mrs. Olatungie Campbell, Mrs. Marian Lisk, Mr. Victor Coker, Mrs. Alice Malamah-Thomas, Mr. A.N.T. Deen (late), Mrs. Yeama Lucilda Hunter, Mrs. Abator Thomas, Prof. Magnus John and so on. This has left a really broad hole within the career and the present skilled librarians are only a few and much between.STATUS OF AGING FBC LIBRARY STAFF IN RELATION TO SUCCESSION PLANNINGThere are three principal classes of employees at FBC Library, specifically, junior, senior supporting and senior.Senior StaffPerhaps the difficulty of succession planning could be very crucial when one considers the share of senior library employees (educational and technical) that will retire throughout the subsequent couple of years. It should be famous that the retirement age for senior members of employees is sixty-five years.If 5 out of the seven members of employees (that’s 71.4%) will retire in eight years (between 2018 and 2026), or six (85.8%) will depart the system between 2018 and 2030), the strategic significance of succession planning at Fourah Bay School Library can’t be over emphasised. The present head has a bit over a decade and a half to set the home so as earlier than his exit, offered he stays till the tip of his personal tenure in 2033 (after a service of forty one years).The primary to retire in 2018 would have given a complete of forty-four years of service to the School and is at the moment the pinnacle of the Periodicals Part within the Library. He’s unanimously dubbed ‘the Encyclopaedia of Fourah Bay School Library’.Maybe, probably the most damaging loss stands out as the present Ebook Binder whose substitute is now being actively mentioned on the Institute of Library, Info and Communication Research (INSLICS) at Fourah Bay School the place he teaches all of the conservation programs. Who will exchange him when he retires in 2023 after giving forty-five years of service to the Bindery? That’s certainly the query. He has already given 20 years of his profession serving as a Half -Time Lecturer at INSLICS and there’s hardly another tertiary establishment in Sierra Leone with a purposeful bindery unit. Not one of the different 9 members of employees within the bindery at Fourah Bay School possess any qualification in conservation. That very same yr (2023) would additionally witness the tip of forty-five years of service of the pinnacle of one other distinctive part, the Sierra Leone Assortment, which types an integral a part of the nationwide bibliography of Sierra Leone. He’s strategically positioned to coach potential librarians throughout his final six years as he’ll graduate with the M.Phil in Library, Archive & Info Research in 2017.He will probably be adopted by the present head of the Cataloguing Division who would have served for thirty 4 years on his retirement in 2025, the identical variety of years the pinnacle of the Subject Desk/Circulation Division would have given when her service ends in 2026.The dynamism of a senior feminine educational employees is already evident in the truth that she at the moment deputises the pinnacle of the Cataloguing part and supervises the American Shelf, the place she organises many significant outreach programmes. She might be thought to be a really dynamic public relations officer who has rather more to contribute in her forty-five years of service that can finish in 2030.Senior Supporting staffStaff on this class are due for retirement on the age of sixty. Sadly, this class lacks the corresponding variety of employees to switch those that will finally retire from the senior cadre. Actually, a male employees is due for retirement on the finish of September this yr and he’s at the moment serving his second yr past the age of retirement.Thankfully, a feminine employees on this class not too long ago graduated with the M.Phil in Library and Info Science from INSLICS and this employees is at the moment the President of the Sierra Leone Affiliation of Archivists, Librarians and Info Professionals (SLAALIP) the place she is serving the primary time period, which might finish in 2017. The M.Phil diploma would finally catapult her to the senior educational employees class. A second feminine employees has a lot to supply the Library till 2032. She has accomplished a number of programmes at INSLICS, together with the undergraduate diploma, submit graduate diploma and is at the moment doing her M.Phil. The likelihood additionally exists for the Administrative Assistant to pursue a profession in Librarianship. One of many male employees has been recognized as a possible chief as he has already accomplished his postgraduate diploma in Library and Info Research and would enroll for the M.Phil in the identical self-discipline within the 2016/17 session. With two extra many years within the library, there’s all a definite risk that he may have a chance to move your complete library. One other feminine employees (an administrative employees) additionally has the choice to pursue a profession in Librarianship and rise to key library positions throughout the subsequent many years.Junior staffThe twenty one members of employees on this class type the majority of the library employees. Since a library’s most vital useful resource is its employees, appreciable assets and power should be concentrated to empower these employees who’re working with little or no certificates. Employees on this class retire on the age of sixty years, giving the library administration a chance to establish those who can be inspired to additional enhance themselves and enter the tertiary establishment. Though these twenty one employees have little or no or no important {qualifications}, the way forward for Fourah Bay School Library squarely lies within the fingers of this potential workforce.A feminine employees is at the moment enrolled at INSLICS and she or he would hopefully full her Bachelor of Arts with Honours diploma through the 2017/18 session. Upon completion, the anticipated place to be assumed by a feminine employees is Senior Library Assistant and with additional coaching at INSLICS, she’s going to finally transfer to the senior educational cadre. A male employees is at the moment enrolled in a diploma programme on the Institute of Library, Info and Communication Research, Fourah Bay School and would hopefully graduate on the finish of the 2017/18 educational yr. He would finally be upgraded to the Library Assistant place. One other male employees has already gained admission on the Institute of Public Administration and Administration (IPAM) to learn for a bachelor’s diploma in Public Sector Administration. Upon completion, he’ll transfer to the Senior Supporting Class as a Trainee Librarian. Such a place will give him the chance to finally register for a Submit Graduate Diploma in Librarianship course at INSLICS. Sadly, a feminine employees that accomplished the Certificates in Library Research through the 2014/15 session died on 19th January 2016.Eight junior employees will retire within the 2040s and 5 within the 2030s and the service of one other eight will finish between 2019 and 2029. A number of employees have been inspired to take or retake the West African Senior Certificates Examination to qualify them to enroll on diploma programmes at INSLICS or different departments. One other potential employees simply obtained her 5 credit that can allow her achieve acceptance within the College of Sierra Leone.RECOMMENDATIONS1. The Want for Extra Employees to enroll on the Institute of Library, Info & Communication StudiesThe Institute of Library Research (INSLIBS) was established in 1989 as an arm of the College of Sierra Leone. INSLIBS turned part of Fourah Bay School in 2000 when it was merged with the Division of Mass Communication and assumed its new title, the Institute of Library, Info & Communication Research (INSLICS).The place of librarian at Fourah Bay School was upgraded from the extent of Senior Lecturer to the extent of Professor at a gathering of the School Council in October 1961 (Jones 1977). This professorial standing was gained through the tenure of the expatriate librarian, Mr. Michael Jollife (1961-1971) after whom the faculty library was named.INSLICS at the moment gives 5 programmes in Library and data Research: Grasp of Philosophy, Submit Graduate Diploma, Bachelor of Arts with honours, Diploma and the Particular Certificates. All educational employees, librarians at Fourah Bay School should benefit from the present programmes provided on the institute as a way to speed up their skilled improvement and attain essential positions within the library system.a. The Masters Diploma/MPhil. in LibrarianshipThe acquisition of the masters diploma in librarianship shouldn’t be downplayed by librarians if they’re to efficiently climb the skilled ladder within the college library system. Extra librarians possess masters levels in different disciplines apart from librarianship and that is very harmful to the skilled improvement of the libraries throughout the college. These {qualifications} are crucial in a single’s improvement as an expert librarian since senior librarians within the College of Sierra Leone are educational employees. Moreover, there’s dire want for extra topic librarians throughout the college if the wants of researchers needs to be met. Nonetheless, this path is hampered when these {qualifications} are obtained with out due consideration to the MA or M.Phil from the Institute of Library, Info and Communication Research (INSLICS) or elsewhere. Two senior members of employees accomplished the M. Phil programme at INSLICS throughout the final six years and two are at the moment engaged on corrections recognized by their exterior examiners. The Trainee Librarian registered for the MPhil through the 2015/16 session. The skilled improvement of the library can be enhanced if different members of employees are inspired to enroll for skilled library {qualifications}.b. The Postgraduate Diploma in LibrarianshipThis above qualification is essential for workers who’re desirous of pursuing librarianship as a profession however with no formal or skilled qualification within the discipline. Maybe this path is nevertheless not crucial for members of employees with the undergraduate diploma in librarianship. Any employees within the college with a primary diploma in one other discipline apart from librarianship needs to be inspired to enroll to acquire this primary skilled qualification.c. The Undergraduate Diploma in LibrarianshipThe rationale for the existence of a diploma, post-graduate diploma and masters programmes within the library institute within the early 1990s with out the undergraduate diploma in librarianship remains to be not clear to the researcher, since he passionately believes that it was partly liable for the stagnation of many library employees throughout the system after the diploma programme. 4 employees members at Fourah Bay School Library have accomplished this programme for the reason that first set graduated in 2004. There’s at the moment one feminine employees on this programme. Extra needs to be inspired to pursue this qualification, which might assist them to develop within the system.d. The Diploma in LibrarianshipThis programme is designed to coach para-professional employees and has given the chance to those that have labored for a really lengthy interval to be thought-about for the senior supporting place. Extra members of employees needs to be inspired to register for this crucial para-professional qualification.e. The Certificates in LibrarianshipThough the above programme was discontinued 2000 as a result of scarcity of employees, it has been revamped and is at the moment been provided as a Particular Certificates. Some employees from totally different libraries have benefitted from this coaching however extra needs to be inspired to benefit from this coaching.2. The introduction of a PhD programme in LibrarianshipThe significance of a doctoral programme in Librarianship is lengthy overdue and an absolute necessity. There are at the moment two Affiliate Professors within the College of Sierra Leone, one every on the Institute of Public Administration and Administration (IPAM) and the Institute of Library, Info and Communication Research (INSLICS). The introduction of such a programme at INSLICS would additional improve the capability of employees in your complete college, a chance Fourah Bay School Library employees, amongst others, would benefit from. The Mass Communication division at INSLICS has already launched its doctoral programme with just one Professor.3. The necessity to Appoint a College LibrarianThere is have to appoint a College Librarian to co-ordinate library actions throughout the College of Sierra Leone. Such a extremely profiled official would actively characterize the library career within the College Court docket, a physique the place the voice of the librarian is at the moment indirectly heard. Just one College Librarian has been formally appointed and she or he left the nation when the rebels attacked the town of Freetown in 1997. She by no means returned to the establishment and there’s an pressing have to appoint one other.4. Membership {of professional} associationsProfessional library associations are a should for skilled librarians. Many librarians within the College of Sierra Leone are members of the Sierra Leone Affiliation of Archivists, Librarians and Info Professionals (SLAALIP). Nonetheless, membership of worldwide skilled library associations needs to be inspired. Library employees within the College of Sierra Leone should establish themselves as members of worldwide library associations since such membership enhances skilled improvement. In 2016 as an example, Fourah Bay School Library turned a member of the African Library and Info Associations & Establishments (AfLIA).5. Implications of latest TechnologyLibrarians are at the moment on a crossroad and should embrace the brand new know-how to justify their existence on this info age when the gathering administration emphasis just isn’t on possession however entry to info. Those that are nonetheless conventional librarians might justifiably be classed underneath the class of Endangered Species. Members of employees should be sure that they don’t seem to be merely pc literate however pc proficient and should be capable to disseminate info in any format. Librarians within the College of Sierra Leone generally, and Fourah Bay School specifically, “must pay a tremendously high price in preserving traditional services and embracing the new technological advances” (Harding, 2002, p. 9). The college administration should acknowledge the centrality of its educational nerve centre and equip it accordingly.6. Enlargement of library positionsIt is obvious that the expansion of the coed inhabitants within the College of Sierra Leone has not seen a corresponding progress within the variety of employees. At FBC library specifically, extra members of employees could possibly be discovered on the employees checklist within the 1970s when the coed inhabitants was about 5 hundred, than the present itemizing, when there are about seven thousand college students.If members of employees are being inspired to check to arrest the impact of retirement, defection, switch, loss of life and so on., extra positions needs to be created in any respect ranges to make sure their upward mobility since promotion relies on a number of components together with {qualifications}, efficiency and availability of established positions.CONCLUSIONThe steady substitute of employees and management coaching/improvement are essential at Fourah Bay School Library, College of Sierra Leone. With out strategically planning how one can garner assets to equip current employees with the mandatory expertise wanted to fill inevitable gaps, the succession planning will proceed to pose a severe problem in Fourah Bay School Library. Since success with out successor is failure, a serious step in succession planning is to identify vacancies that will possible be obtainable, periodically. Moreover, there should be a strategic consideration of the style by which these recognized vacancies could possibly be crammed. The implication is then a practical consideration of the expectations within the job and an identification of the abilities exhibited by the present employees to allow administration to tailor coaching actions.REFERENCESBermes, Emily Osbun. (2011). “Succession Planning for the Small Business.” Enterprise Folks. 3(2), pp. 60-71.

Blakesley, Elizabeth. (2011). “Planning for the future: sources to explore for succession planning”. Library Management and Administration. 25(2), pp. 29-36.

Bridgland, Angela. (1999). “To Fill, or How to Fill – That is the Question: Succession Planning and Leadership Development in Academic Libraries.” Australian Educational and Analysis Libraries. 30(1).

Harding, Oliver L.T. (2002). “The African University librarian in the Information Age”. SCAULWA E-newsletter. 3(2), pp. 8-11.

Jones, Eldred. Tribute delivered at a memorial service and requiem mass held for the late Michael Jolliffe on the Sacred Coronary heart Cathedral, Freetown, on Wednesday, 22nd June, 1977.