IRRTs Mentorship Program and the experiences I have gained from My mentor _ By Mulugeta Woldetsadik, Librarian at Hawassa University, Ethiopia


It is apparent that networking is the lifeblood of professional librarians, librarians worldwide can establish networking links for a better opportunities, cooperation, and brainstorming through ILNP, therefore, International Librarians Networking Program should be taken seriously by librarians because of the important outcomes involved, accordingly, as librarian here from Hawassa University, Ethiopia:

Thank you to International Relations Round Table/IRRT/ for Your Mentorship & Networking Program- From Mulugeta W/TSadik, Librarian in Hawassa University@Sidama National Regional State, Ethiopia

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Mulugeta W/Tsadik (mwlibrarian@hu.edu.et) I am a member & participant within the International Librarians Networking Program (ILNP) & a partner with a professional expert named Gwen M. Gregory (ggregory@uic.edu) who shares her experiences and knowledge & exchange ideas with me as a mentor in the area of librarianship in order that I have to be motivated and initiated to create partnership & collaborations with international professional organizations, governmental and non-governmental organizations, in addition,  I would like to address my thanks to my mentor for the reason that she has instructed me in order to acquaint myself with the works of R. David Lankes (Scholar|Speaker|Writer|Teacher|Advocate). I have been familiar with and impressed with his works; I hope his works will help me to get out of my box in a radical manner in the line of my librarianship profession. Here is an interesting quote and an excerpt from one of his books entitled “THE ATLAS OF NEW LIBRARIANSHIP”:

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Front Cover of the Book
Capture mission

Navigating the Future

“As Israel Zangwill, the English writer once wrote:

The Past: Our cradle, not our prison; there is danger as well as appeal in its glamour. The past is for inspiration, not imitation, for continuation, not repetition.

The nobility of librarianship is found in schools where library media specialists prepare our future in the children they teach. It is the government librarian who preserves freedom in the halls of political power. The nobility of librarians can be seen in corporate offices, Hospitals, Law firms, Departments of Transportation, and Colleges & Universities throughout the world. Although it has been cloaked in an air of service and hidden away behind quaint and romantic stereotypes, it is time for that nobility to shine and to be brought into clear focus for our communities.

There is a theme that pervades this atlas. It is navigation. This is not merely a convenient metaphor or simple literary conceit. Rather, it emerges from the dynamic nature of the topic. Librarians are on a journey that started literally millennia ago and continues to this day. It is a journey that will continue for centuries to come—so long as we don’t lose our way. In any journey, there are milestones—key moments that allow us to stop and review our course.

As the web explodes, the world economy stumbles, the newspaper industry implodes, the media landscape fragments and societies around the world face social unrest, librarians have not only an opportunity but an obligation to find their center and the means to continue a centuries-long mission to use knowledge to better understand the past, make a better today, and invent an ideal future

Your nobility comes from a mission no less than the preservation and improvement of society. Our nobility is not found in collections, walls, organizational structures, or even in our history—it is found in our actions. The nobility of librarianship is earned every day by the dedicated action of thousands of individuals around the globe.”

Importance of Professional Networking

Networking helps for greater success in librarianship and thus is given serious attention for the librarians to succeed in this digital age. Interaction and brainstorming are some of the importance of networking.

As librarians interact, and brainstorm, skills are learned and developed, and problems bordering individuals (librarians) and libraries at large are solved leading to the preferment of solutions which would, in turn, lead to the achievement of goals. The achievement of goals in any organization is the target and happiness that keeps an organization alive because results are delivered, networking breaks information isolation when people meet, and information is shared, goodwill and cooperation are created.

Networking according to Barnes is what is intended to break information isolation. And in this task, people are involved. There is interaction, knowledge is shared, and there is exposure to the ideas unknown and so on. Therefore, after going through works by various authors on networking, the researcher came up with a tree diagram of the importance of networking:

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The librarian is the driver of the networking activities in the library. He (librarian) is referred to as the ‘tap root’ because the tap root is a long straight main nutrient-storing root of a plant that gives the plant life. And the librarian, pilots all that happens in the library and the life wire of the University. It is from the tap root that the smaller lateral roots (networking) develop, which allows growth. The growth as mentioned earlier on, are the branches that grow out of the trees.

What will make the librarians succeed in networking?

1. Mindset –Mindset is a critical factor in networking if somebody must succeed. The librarians’ mindset will be such that will be focused and recognize networking as important, and not a waste of time
2. Sense of cooperation – the librarians must have a sense of cooperation or goodwill to keep the group going.
3. Participation – there must be active participation for networking to be successful and fruitful, so as to yield goals on why it was formed.
4. Targeting the challenges – networking is the building and maintaining of relationships with a wide range of individuals, groups, or institutions who share common interests, goals, and expertise all to tackle challenges that border them. To meet these challenges successfully librarians need to target the challenges through networks of other colleagues.
5. Respect – respect for one another in a group is important. Members of a network look to each other for advice, tips, instructions, contributions, and solutions for issues. Every individual is entitled to his or her own opinion or contribution, whether right or wrong should be welcomed with respect.

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An Overview of My Librarianship Career Journey from 1985 to 2022 and Future Goals


An Overview of My Librarianship Career Journey 1985 to 2022 and Future Goals: Challenges & Triumphs in academic (School, College, and University Libraries) of Ethiopia |By Mulugeta W/Tsadik, Librarian|


My 3rd Phase Professional Career Journey from 2004 till 2022, Currently@Hawassa University-Main Campus

Some of my notable achievements currently in the third phase of my professional career journey at Hawassa University:

Collection Development ( Acquisitions) in Partnership & Collaboration with International Donor Organizations

Involvement in Professional Networking

Promoting Electronic Resources (Resarch4Life)

Editor of Professional Newsletter: Link-Up e-Library Newsletter

My Professional Blog/Website

Member HULibrary Automation Project Team

I was also an active participant (member of the Hawassa University Library Automation Project team) in the Hawassa University Library System automation process along with other professional colleagues.

The third phase of my library career is known as the period of professional promotion through internal promotion; i.e. I have got a promotion or transfer from HU WGCF to Hawassa University as a Principal Library Assistant. During the third phase in the Hawassa University library system, I served in various positions as follows:

2021-2022 – Librarian & Library Partnership Projects Coordinator at HU

2004 _ 2021 – In Hawassa University Libraries in various Positions:

  • Hawassa University College of Law & Governance, Head Librarian
  • Hawassa University Libraries System, A/ Library Director
  • Hawassa University, Main Campus Libraries Coordinator
  • Hawassa University, Libraries system, Technical Services Head

 For more detailed information, click on the links below:

My 2nd Phase Professional career Journey from 2001 to 2003 @ Hawassa University: WGCF

During the 2nd phase, I served as Senior Librarian or Head Librarian at Wono Genet College of Forestry (WGCF). My involvement in Ethiopian Higher Educational Institutions Library System begins here at WGCF.

The 2nd phase of my professional career journey was capitalized as the transition period that is from the conventional or traditional library work environment to modern trends of the library work environment (21st-century library work environment). Thanks to WGCF here at this college for the first time I have been introduced to the 21st century library work environment. For further detailed information please click on the below-attached links:

 Articles:

My 1st Phase Professional Career Journey from 1985 to 2000

My first phase of professional library advocacy begins working with Link-Up editors internationally by contributing informative articles to _ The Newsletter of Link: A Network for North-South Library Development published in London, UK.  Link members in the UK receive two copies of Link-Up – one to keep and one to give out to colleagues like me overseas. Membership was free to library and information workers in developing countries.

Logo of The Newsletter of Link: A Network for North-South Library Development

At that time there is no internet access here in Ethiopia, and the only way to communicate with the world is by postal service mail or snail mail. Today, thanks to the 21st century, we communicate with each other around the world in fractions of a second.

For more detailed information, click on the following links:

The Newsletter of Link:  A Network for North-South Library Development (Display of Link-Up Issues, 1996 to 2006, from my archival documents)

 Articles:

To visit photos of archived documents, click the links below:

CHALLENGES

All issues or problems were pertinent to Ethiopian school librarians and libraries I have indicated or described in The Newsletter of Link: A Network for North-South Library Development still didn`t gets a solution here in Ethiopia.

When I wrote the articles above and used the Link-Up newsletter to explain the challenges facing school librarians and the library profession in Ethiopia to my colleagues worldwide, there were only 3 or 4 universities in Ethiopia; there are currently 50 universities. Similarly, the situation of university librarians in Ethiopia is currently regrettably inadequate in terms of their status, professional recognition, and the attention that the responsible bodies or authorities give to librarians, the library service and the library profession, etc.

Policymakers, government officials/administrations, and the general public in Ethiopia still do not appreciate the role of libraries and librarians in our society. I think the librarians themselves are partly responsible for that. Most librarians, including public, school, and college/university librarians, perform classic routine library work, such as lending and returning books and other materials. They did not aspire to be in the 21st century to be innovative and creative, understand their community, work with their community, and build a partnership with all interested nationally, regionally, and internationally. It is the librarians themselves who create or damage the reputation and status of their profession. If we want statesmen, politicians, or administrations to support us, we have to stand up and fight instead of taking recognition of our profession for granted. Here comes the importance of advocacy and the role that professional librarians play in their careers.

TRIUMPHS

Right now here in Ethiopia, at the school library level, no more success. Most school libraries are neglected and are not the focus of education authorities. In colleges/universities, due to emerging technology, not all colleges and universities, some colleges/universities are striving to offer 21st-century library services to their potential users.

In general, in Ethiopia, there are no more successes in academic libraries (schools, colleges, and university libraries) due to the lack of attention from education officials and policymakers at the national level. There is no Ethiopian Library Association alike other countries of the world that can be the vanguard for librarians and libraries at the national level.

I hope that the general idea about Ethiopian academic librarians and libraries mentioned above can be a reference or starting point for professionals from developed countries interested in conducting research on higher education systems and university library systems in Africa.

The Quality of Education in Ethiopia

  • It is evident that the quality of any educational system is judged by the type of library it has, with academic or university libraries being the backbone of an educational institution. also in the financing of teaching and research.
  • As a 21st-century librarian, proactive collaboration with academic support staff and researchers across the university is vital. Collaborative approaches bring together a broader range of experience, knowledge, and different ways of thinking.
  • New or revised systems should be integrated into relevant existing library and university systems as part of a broader institutional infrastructure.

The acquisition of physical books, electronic information sources or e-books, research journals, and publications in addition to this organization of academic libraries in the modern trends of the 21st century requires great attention.

In Ethiopia, as far as I know, the quality of education has been at great risk for the past 27 years because universities focus on training and producing large numbers of graduates, not on the quality of education provided.

Regarding the overall quality of education, the following quote in Africa shows the reality on the ground:

At the entrance gate of a University in South Africa, the following message was posted for contemplation:* “Destroying any nation does not require the use of atomic bombs or long-range missiles. It only requires lowering the quality of education and allowing cheating in the examinations by the students.” *

Patients die at the hands of such doctors.

Buildings collapse at the hands of such engineers.

Money is lost at the hands of such economists and accountants.

Humanity dies at the hands of such religious scholars.

  • Justice is lost at the hands of such judges…

*“The collapse of education is the collapse of the nation.”*

  

My Future Professional Career Goals

Although I have faced many challenges throughout my professional career journey from 1985 to 2022, I remain strong and love my librarianship profession now and forever. No one can keep me away from my profession as a librarian and prevent me from pursuing my professional career. Thanks to emerging technology and the 21st century, through the professional blog or website that I have designed, I have connected with academia, potential users, and professional colleagues to share or learn updated information, experiences,   ideas, skills, and knowledge globally.

 Now I have gone from being a routine librarian to being an impact librarian!

  • My main goal as a 21st-century librarian is to strive to contribute to the development of the Library and Information Science profession through sharing and exchanging experiences, knowledge, and skills with professional colleagues at the home and international level that are worthy of my profession, institution, and country.

 

Mulugeta W/Tsadik, Currently Librarian @ Hawassa University

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