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CILA: Issue 7, Esther Tawiah

Issue 7, September 2019

Esther Tawiah, Ghana 

1. Tell us about your journey to librarianship.

• February 1990 – July 1992- Student Librarian – Good News Theological College and Seminary

• August 1992 – September 1993 – Part-Time Staff  Librarian – Good News Theological College and Seminary

• March 1993  – Short Intensive Training by the Accrediting Council for Theological Education in Africa (ACTEA) for Librarians in Jos, Nigeria

• January 1995 – June 1997 – Volunteer worker in the Library – Daystar University, Athi River, Kenya

• September 1997 – August 2001  – Assisted in the Good News Theological College and Seminary Library  

• October 2001- August 2004 – Student Librarian – Bethel Theological Seminary, St. Paul, Minnesota

• 2008-2014 – Library Supervisor – Good News Theological College and Seminary

• April 2018 – Assistant Librarian – Ghana Christian University College

In 2012 or so, someone  from the National Accreditation Board (NAB) was sent to inspect the Seminary Library. The librarian and his assistant had closed for the day. I was the only person at post that evening.

He introduced himself as Professor Alemna. I took him around to inspect the main Library and the Annex, which is the Reference Library. I answered almost all his questions.He said “On my document you are not the librarian, it is Paul Owusu Sekyere, one of my students. How come you know a lot about work in the Library?” I told him my library story and so he commented - “Come to Legon for an MA in Information Studies.”

I never thought of getting a certificate in something I had been passionately doing for years. His comment motivated me to go to school. By the grace of God I got admission in August 2016 and completed my studies in September 2017. My master’s thesis was on the topic “Information Needs and Information Seeking Behavior of Pastors in African Indigenous Churches in Ghana.”

After graduation In November 2017, Ghana Christian University College employed me as the Assistant Librarian.

I have a Bachelor of Arts in Education/Bible from Daystar University, Nairobi Kenya. I also have an MA in Theological Studies with a concentration in Missions from Bethel Theological Seminary, St Paul, Minnesota and another MA in Information Studies from the University of Ghana, Legon.

2. How long have you been a librarian?  

I have been a certified librarian for 18 Months, but in looking at the information above, I believe I have been in this seat longer than 18 months.

4. What facet of the profession or your day-to-day responsibilities are you most passionate about?

Clients / Users should not leave this library dissatisfied, though we have limited resources.

5.  What are some ways you market services/resources to library users?

I always have in mind that the user is the center of whatever we do in the library and so my staff and I do our best to direct users to the services and products we have. We increase awareness of the products we offer and continue building relationships with existing clients. We also find ways of getting more clients in our community to use the services and products we have.

6.  What are some low budget or free professional development venues that you participate in currently?

The University is registered with the Ghana Library Association, but I have yet to attend any of their meetings. The other venue is ACL.

7.  What is the single most challenging thing for you to accomplish as an international librarian? [i.e. purchasing print resources, funding professional development activities, providing resources to library users who may not have the internet at home, etc.?]

The ability to purchase print resources for my users.

8.  If CILA were to support your library in the future, what would your single greatest need be?    

My single greatest need is to computerize the library. When this library is automated it will improve our services, so users can quickly find the resources they are looking for.