Rhodes University Librarian scoops LIASA award

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Ms Ujala Satgoor
Ms Ujala Satgoor

Rhodes University Library Services Director, Ms Ujala Satgoor is the first recipient of the Executive Librarian of the Year Award made by the Library and Information Association of South Africa (LIASA).

LIASA, founded in 1997, is a professional non-profit organisation, uniting and representing all institutions and people working in libraries and information services in South Africa.

The Librarian of the Year award recognises a role model in the Library and Information Services (LIS) community whose contributions have made a lasting impact on the sector. Such an individual must have a proven track record of mentorship as well as a strong evidence of leadership. This accolade is granted by peers in recognition of the achievements and accomplishments of inspiring and exceptional public, academic, school and special librarians. The single-award winner should have made an extensive contribution to the LIS sector, with a minimum of 15 years’ experience. The contribution can be at any level of the profession, including operational, management or academic.

Satgoor has been in the library sector for over 25 years and has played several leadership roles which include the chair of the Committee of Higher Education Libraries of South Africa (CHELSA), deputy chair of the South African National Library and Information Consortium (SANLiC), chair of the Library and Information Association of South Africa (LIASA) Professional Body Advisory Committee, and a member of the Council on Higher Education Reference Group: Library and Information Science. She is also the former president of LIASA (2012–14) during which time she accepted the bid to host and co-chaired the National Committee for the World Library and Information Congress (WLIC) held in August 2015 in Cape Town.

She has earned an excellent reputation for proposal and grants management (approx. $6.7m) and library leadership development which has strengthened the South African LIS sector.

Satgoor has served as a consultant and resource to various international and national organisations, and academic libraries, including, inter alia, the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA); IFLA Building Strong Library Associations Programme; Global Libraries, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; African Library Associations and Institutions (AfLIA); Bibliotheque Alexandrina; North West University Library Services; University of Fort Hare Library Services; World Library Partnership and the Desmond Tutu Diversity Trust.

 “Do not let the borders of your mind limit you. To transcend the barriers of your mind, be curious, a voracious reader and allow your imagination to flourish so that you may realise your dreams,” advises Satgoor whose life has been guided by Mahatma Gandhi’s words “Be the change that you want to see in the world”.

Satgoor believes in “creating empowering spaces and opportunities to see the people I believe in and work with spread their wings within their own domains and beyond”.

She feels that her 2018 Executive Librarian Award is an acknowledgement by her colleagues and recognition of what she believes in and upholds. “I must be doing something right,” she remarked with a smile.