Thursday, April 25, 2024

Innovative libraries need innovative leaders

Innovative libraries are critical community assets with services that bring information, in all formats, to everyone in the community. According to Professor Prof Clara M. Chu, innovative libraries need innovative leaders. Librarians and library staff must become library leaders, willing to challenge the status quo for the sake of providing valued services to their users.

Professor Clara M. Chu, who is the Director and Mortenson Center Distinguished Professor, Mortenson Center for International Library Programs, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign affirmed to this during a workshop she conducted for the delegates at SCECSAL 2024, in Mombasa Kenya on the 24th of April 2024.

Prof Chu noted that “Leadership is influencing people to take action. She further noted that in the workplace, leadership is the art of getting work done through other people. Leadership can be widely distributed within an organization – most everyone leads at some time or another, if not all the time. And it’s highly situational: anyone might step forward to lead, given the right circumstances.”

Prof Clara M. Chu

While citing Daniel Golema’s Leadership Styles, the distinguished Professor noted that every leader showcases many, if not all the styles advanced by Daniel Goleman such as Commanding leadership, visionary leadership, affiliative leadership, democratic leadership, pacesetting leadership and coaching leadership. 

She urged all library leaders to solve the right problems by deeply defining the problem while taking the responsibility for the problem & avoid blaming others.  
She further advised delegates to always sufficiently gather information regarding problems, discuss solutions, implement the best solution and reviewing the decision. 

In another workshop conducted by Professor Omwoyo Bosire Onyancha from the College of Human Science, University of South Africa, he discussed the aspect of bibliometrics/ informatrics support services in libraries. Onyancha said bibliometrics support services are critical in empowering academic librarians to navigate the metrics tide in academic libraries in Sub-Saharan Africa. 

While addressing the delegates on the topic “Navigating the Rising Research Metrics Tide: Opportunities for Academic Librarians in the 21st Century”, Prof Onyancha warned that academic librarians in sub-Saharan Africa, just like their counterparts in the rest of the world, are under pressure to provide relevant information services to satisfy varied client needs. Research administrators, grant offices, researchers, students and university managers, among others, are increasingly turning to academic librarians for information to meet their numerous research-related information and metrics needs.

Professor Omwoyo Bosire Onyancha

Sub-Saharan African countries’ emphasis on strengthening science, technology and innovation has exerted further pressure on information professionals and other stakeholders to develop and appropriately apply bibliometrics and altmetrics to inform decision-making and policy-formulation processes. Research output and impact metrics are not only quickly evolving but their volume has been unprecedented.

He advised that as librarians, we need to: create awareness of different metrics-yielding tools and the metrics used to measure research performance among academics;  identify and suggest the most relevant and high-quality journals where authors can publish their papers; provide explanations on why specific journals are not suitable places to publish (for example, predatory and hijacked journals); and provide information on the type of metrics that can be used for specific research-related purposes among other roles. 

Prof Onyancha also noted that the changing nature of the environment demands a commitment to lifelong learning with academic librarians being more self-directed and self-motivated to develop new skills that will enable the fullest use of new technology and resources.

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