Getting older Librarians and the Disaster of Succession Planning at Fourah Bay Faculty Library

Getting older Librarians and the Disaster of Succession Planning at Fourah Bay Faculty Library


The 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 Targets (MDGs) in West Africa on the Erata Lodge, East Legon, Ghana in June 2009. Although a number of strengths had 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 placing weak spot amongst eight others was that of the ‘growing old librarians’. The Library at Fourah Bay Faculty (FBC), College of Sierra Leone, isn’t an exception. A big share of senior library employees would retire between 2018 & 2026, and solely the implementation of an aggressive succession planning coverage would salvage the vital state of affairs. It’s believed that Alexander the Nice by no means had a strong succession plan and the bitter consequence was the disintegration of the far-flung empire he struggled to construct.


Succession planning is about changing employees who will finally go away an organisation on account of a number of components together with demise, switch, resignation, termination, dismissal, retirement and many others. Based on Blakesley, it “might more and more be considered as simply part of strategic planning processes, as we determine what have to be accomplished and what could be given up, and the best way to reallocate, retrain and realign the individuals who stay in our organizations” (2011 p. 34). The Biblical injunction (Paul to Timothy) is apt: “And the issues that thou hast heard of me amongst many witnesses, the identical commit thou to devoted males, who shall have the ability to train others additionally.”

(2 Timothy 2:2, King James Model).

Angela Bridgland (1999) opined that folks and positions ought to be systematically reviewed to make sure that the strategic plan of an organisation is carried out. Although there may be a lot discuss concerning the “graying of our career” (Blakesley, 2011, p. 32), we’re reminded that “it isn’t information that child boomers are reaching retirement age” (Bermes, p. 66). In 2001, throughout 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 creator of this text commented on the speedy decline within the variety of skilled librarians in Sierra Leone. The state of affairs in Fourah Bay Faculty Library is a microcosm of the nationwide downside. {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 many others. This has left a really broad hole within the career and the present skilled librarians are only a few and much between.


There are three fundamental classes of employees at FBC Library, specifically, junior, senior supporting and senior.

Senior Workers

Maybe the problem of succession planning may be very vital when one considers the proportion of senior library employees (educational and technical) that will retire inside the subsequent couple of years. It have to 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 go away the system between 2018 and 2030), the strategic significance of succession planning at Fourah Bay Faculty Library can’t be over emphasised. The present head has slightly 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 Faculty and is presently the top of the Periodicals Part within the Library. He’s unanimously dubbed ‘the Encyclopaedia of Fourah Bay Faculty Library’.

Maybe, essentially the most damaging loss often is the present E-book Binder whose alternative is now being actively mentioned on the Institute of Library, Data and Communication Research (INSLICS) at Fourah Bay Faculty the place he teaches all of the conservation programs. Who will substitute 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 may be hardly some other 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 Faculty possess any qualification in conservation. That very same 12 months (2023) would additionally witness the tip of forty-five years of service of the top of one other distinctive part, the Sierra Leone Assortment, which varieties 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 & Data Research in 2017.

He can 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 top 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 presently deputises the top of the Cataloguing part and supervises the American Shelf, the place she organises many significant outreach programmes. She might be considered a really dynamic public relations officer who has far more to contribute in her forty-five years of service that can finish in 2030.

Senior Supporting employees

Workers 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 12 months and he’s presently serving his second 12 months past the age of retirement.

Happily, a feminine employees on this class just lately graduated with the M.Phil in Library and Data Science from INSLICS and this employees is presently the President of the Sierra Leone Affiliation of Archivists, Librarians and Data 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, put up graduate diploma and is presently doing her M.Phil. The chance 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 Data Research and would enroll for the M.Phil in the identical self-discipline within the 2016/17 session. With two extra a long time within the library, there may be all a definite chance that he might also have a possibility to move the 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 inside the subsequent a long time.

Junior employees

The twenty one members of employees on this class kind the majority of the library employees. Since a library’s most essential useful resource is its employees, appreciable assets and vitality have to be concentrated to empower these employees who’re working with little or no certificates. Workers on this class retire on the age of sixty years, giving the library administration a possibility to establish people who could be inspired to additional enhance themselves and enter the tertiary establishment. Though these twenty one employees have little or no or no vital {qualifications}, the way forward for Fourah Bay Faculty Library squarely lies within the fingers of this potential workforce.

A feminine employees is presently enrolled at INSLICS and she or he would hopefully full her Bachelor of Arts with Honours diploma throughout 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 presently enrolled in a diploma programme on the Institute of Library, Data and Communication Research, Fourah Bay Faculty and would hopefully graduate on the finish of the 2017/18 educational 12 months. 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 Publish Graduate Diploma in Librarianship course at INSLICS. Sadly, a feminine employees that accomplished the Certificates in Library Research throughout the 2014/15 session died on nineteenth 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.


1. The Want for Extra Workers to enroll on the Institute of Library, Data & Communication Research

The Institute of Library Research (INSLIBS) was established in 1989 as an arm of the College of Sierra Leone. INSLIBS turned part of Fourah Bay Faculty in 2000 when it was merged with the Division of Mass Communication and assumed its new title, the Institute of Library, Data & Communication Research (INSLICS).

The place of librarian at Fourah Bay Faculty was upgraded from the extent of Senior Lecturer to the extent of Professor at a gathering of the Faculty Council in October 1961 (Jones 1977). This professorial standing was gained throughout the tenure of the expatriate librarian, Mr. Michael Jollife (1961-1971) after whom the school library was named.

INSLICS presently affords 5 programmes in Library and knowledge Research: Grasp of Philosophy, Publish Graduate Diploma, Bachelor of Arts with honours, Diploma and the Particular Certificates. All educational employees, librarians at Fourah Bay Faculty should make the most of the present programmes provided on the institute in an effort to speed up their skilled growth and attain essential positions within the library system.

a. The Masters Diploma/MPhil. in Librarianship

The 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 growth of the libraries inside the college. These {qualifications} are obligatory in a single’s growth as knowledgeable librarian since senior librarians within the College of Sierra Leone are educational employees. Moreover, there may be dire want for extra topic librarians inside the college if the wants of researchers ought 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, Data and Communication Research (INSLICS) or elsewhere. Two senior members of employees accomplished the M. Phil programme at INSLICS inside the final six years and two are presently engaged on corrections recognized by their exterior examiners. The Trainee Librarian registered for the MPhil throughout the 2015/16 session. The skilled growth of the library could be enhanced if different members of employees are inspired to enroll for skilled library {qualifications}.

b. The Postgraduate Diploma in Librarianship

This above qualification is essential for employees 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 obligatory 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 ought to be inspired to enroll to acquire this primary skilled qualification.

c. The Undergraduate Diploma in Librarianship

The rationale for the existence of a diploma, post-graduate diploma and masters programmes within the library institute within the early Nineteen Nineties with out the undergraduate diploma in librarianship continues to be not clear to the researcher, since he passionately believes that it was partly liable for the stagnation of many library employees inside the system after the diploma programme. 4 employees members at Fourah Bay Faculty Library have accomplished this programme because the first set graduated in 2004. There may be presently one feminine employees on this programme. Extra ought to be inspired to pursue this qualification, which might assist them to develop within the system.

d. The Diploma in Librarianship

This 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 ought to be inspired to register for this crucial para-professional qualification.

e. The Certificates in Librarianship

Although the above programme was discontinued 2000 as a result of scarcity of employees, it has been revamped and is presently been provided as a Particular Certificates. Some employees from totally different libraries have benefitted from this coaching however extra ought to be inspired to make the most of this coaching.

2. The introduction of a PhD programme in Librarianship

The significance of a doctoral programme in Librarianship is lengthy overdue and an absolute necessity. There are presently 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, Data and Communication Research (INSLICS). The introduction of such a programme at INSLICS would additional improve the capability of employees in the complete college, a possibility Fourah Bay Faculty Library employees, amongst others, would make the most of. The Mass Communication division at INSLICS has already launched its doctoral programme with just one Professor.

3. The necessity to Appoint a College Librarian

There may be have to appoint a College Librarian to co-ordinate library actions inside the College of Sierra Leone. Such a extremely profiled official would actively signify the library career within the College Courtroom, a physique the place the voice of the librarian is presently in a roundabout way heard. Just one College Librarian has been formally appointed and she or he left the nation when the rebels attacked town of Freetown in 1997. She by no means returned to the establishment and there may be an pressing have to appoint one other.

4. Membership {of professional} associations

Skilled 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 Data Professionals (SLAALIP). Nonetheless, membership of worldwide skilled library associations ought 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 growth. In 2016 for example, Fourah Bay Faculty Library turned a member of the African Library and Data Associations & Establishments (AfLIA).

5. Implications of recent Expertise

Librarians are presently on a crossroad and should embrace the brand new know-how to justify their existence on this info age when the gathering administration emphasis isn’t on possession however entry to info. Those that are nonetheless conventional librarians may justifiably be classed beneath the class of Endangered Species. Members of employees should make sure that they don’t seem to be merely laptop literate however laptop proficient and should have the ability to disseminate info in any format. Librarians within the College of Sierra Leone basically, and Fourah Bay Faculty specifically, “should pay a tremendously excessive worth in preserving conventional companies and embracing the brand 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 positions

It’s evident that the expansion of the coed inhabitants within the College of Sierra Leone has not seen a corresponding development within the variety of employees. At FBC library specifically, extra members of employees could possibly be discovered on the employees checklist within the Seventies 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 review to arrest the impact of retirement, defection, switch, demise and many others., extra positions ought 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.


The continual alternative of employees and management coaching/growth are essential at Fourah Bay Faculty Library, College of Sierra Leone. With out strategically planning the best way to garner assets to equip present employees with the required abilities wanted to fill inevitable gaps, the succession planning will proceed to pose a critical problem in Fourah Bay Faculty Library. Since success with out successor is failure, a significant step in succession planning is to identify vacancies which will probably be out there, periodically. Moreover, there have to be a strategic consideration of the way through which these recognized vacancies could possibly be stuffed. The implication is then a sensible consideration of the expectations within the job and an identification of the abilities exhibited by the prevailing employees to allow administration to tailor coaching actions.


Bermes, Emily Osbun. (2011). “Succession Planning for the Small Enterprise.” Enterprise Folks. 3(2), pp. 60-71.
Blakesley, Elizabeth. (2011). “Planning for the longer term: sources to probe for succession planning”. Library Management and Administration. 25(2), pp. 29-36.
Bridgland, Angela. (1999). “To Fill, or How you can Fill – That’s the Query: Succession Planning and Management Growth in Educational Libraries.” Australian Educational and Analysis Libraries. 30(1).
Harding, Oliver L.T. (2002). “The African College librarian within the Data 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, twenty second June, 1977.

#Getting older #Librarians #Disaster #Succession #Planning #Fourah #Bay #Faculty #Library

Supply by Oliver Harding

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