March 26, 2012 — The University of Virginia is hosting two university librarians from Ghana this week as part of a new effort to establish networks with foreign libraries.
Librarians from the University of Ghana in Accra and the University of Education in Winneba are spending the week in Charlottesville as guests of the University of Virginia Library and the Center for International Studies.
During their stay, they will tour the University's library system as well as the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library system.
Cynthia Kumah of the University of Education in Winneba (a sister city of Charlottesville) said she has great hopes for this new collaboration with U.Va. "We hope the collaboration between U.Va. and the University of Education library can help us enhance our services to our students and our faculty." She said one of the things she wants to learn more about is getting information to students.
University of Ghana librarian Gifty Boakye said she is extremely interested in learning more about the digitalization of library content. "We have a unique collection that we have digitized. We have digitized most of them," she said, adding that the content will go online once some final procedures are worked out.
"We are responding to the information-seeking behavior of the younger generation and so we are reorganizing spaces, what you would call 'learning commons,'" Boakye said.
This realignment will be the topic of a talk the librarians will give Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. in the auditorium of the Mary and David Harrison Institute for American History, Literature and Culture and Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library. "Librarians in Ghana: The Unique Challenges and Opportunities Faced by Ghana's Libraries in the Global Context," is free and open to the public.
The Center for International Studies provided the library funding for this new initiative. Allen Lynch, the center's director of research, said making connections with foreign libraries is a win-win situation. "The idea is that, by establishing such relationships, we can not only be helpful, but also help provide U.Va. scholars with access to resources that would otherwise be difficult to access. Digitalization is key here," he said.
The library's director of content management services, Jane Penner, echoed that sentiment. "This is not a one-way street. They have expertise and experience that we can use."
— By Jane Kelly