Guest librarian at the Nordic Africa Institute's library 2008

Blessing Olofinlade works as 'senior library officer' mainly with cataloguing, classification of books and information materials in the field of social science at the University of Lagos, Nigeria. She visited the Nordic Africa Institute (NAI) as a guest librarian during six weeks, 2 September - 12 October, 2008.

"I want to thank you for the privilege and opportunity to be the African guest librarian. This programme has left an indelible mark in my life as a librarian and as a professional in librarianship", Blessing Olofinlade says before she leaves for her journey back to Nigeria.

Out of many applicants Blessing was chosen to receive a scholarship within the guest librarian programme at the NAI library. She was given the opportunity to learn more about librarianship so that she could share her experiences with her colleagues in Nigeria. Also the Nordic Africa Institute’s Library benefited from the visit by getting input from an African colleague.

Blessing was introduced to and participated in all the daily activities of the NAI librarians. She was familiarised with library demonstration tours, the library system, and interlibrary loan routines. She also spent time doing cataloguing and learning the practical aspects of book acquisitions, as well as being introduced to the library web pages, helping to find new websites on Nigeria to add to the link collection A Guide to Africa on the Internet.

There were two conferences during her stay that Blessing attended: one hosted by the Nordic Africa Institute "China and India in Africa: New Strategic Encounters", where she had the opportunity to listen to and meet international researchers and experts in this field, and one conference in Stockholm: "From Discovery to Delivery – Building a Resource Sharing Service for the Future" the 8th Nordic ILL Conference.

During her stay, Blessing was also given the opportunity to participate in several study visits. Together with colleagues from the NAI library she went to Gävle University Library and its Learning Centre; the Institute for Housing and Urban Research (IBF); Södertörn’s University Library; The Living History Forum Library (Forum för levande historia) and Uppsala University Library.

On 25 September, Blessing and several NAI colleagues went to Göteborg to visit the Book and Library Fair. Blessing attended a number of seminars at the fair, for instance the NAI guest writer Tolu Ogunlesi’s seminar; "China and India in Africa" and "Memoirs of a boy soldier". She also helped out in the NAI exhibition stand.

Besides work matters, Blessing came to realise that ‘Fika’ is something very important, and a way of life of the Swedes. She also learnt a few Swedish words such as 'Tack', 'Hej' and 'Nej'.

Blessing maintains that the guest librarian programme has given her a fantastic opportunity of learning from professional colleagues through their various areas of specialization such as cataloguing, classification and indexing, acquisition, library loans, interlibrary loans etc.
“The loan system and the interlibrary loans are areas that I want to concentrate on and see a way of exporting to my university library and Nigerian university libraries at large”, Blessing says.

To conclude, Blessing states: "I came without much experience in information delivery as a librarian, but I am going back to my country with a more proactive approach towards information delivery and a qualitative, effective and efficient way of organizing knowledge, cataloguing, classification and indexing".

Contact information
Blessing Olofinlade
University of Lagos Library
University of Lagos
Akoka - Yaba
Lagos, Nigeria
+234 01-493 26 62

By Pernilla Bäckström 2008-11-14

External links

Gävle University Library,

Gävle University's Learning Centre,

The Institute for Housing and Urban Research (IBF),

Södertörn University Library,

The Living History Forum Library (Forum för levande historia),

Uppsala University Library,

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