Executive Librarian 2018

Mandla Ntombela (LIASA President), Neesha Ramsumar (UKS), Ujala Satgoor (LIASA Executive Librarian), Freda van Wyk (SAPnet), Ros Hattingh (Sabinet)

At the LIASA Gala Dinner and Awards Ceremony held on Thursday 11 October 2018 in Cape Town at the International Convention Centre, Ms Ujala Satgoor was announced as the first winner of the Executive Librarian Award.  This award sponsored by UKS, SAPnet and Sabinet, is aimed at recognising the captains of the Library and Information Services (LIS) profession; the powerhouses who are currently inspiring and building a legacy, not only for themselves but also for all LIS practitioners.

Ms Satgoor’s nominators issued the following statement on her nomination:
Ms Ujala Satgoor’s ambitions, intelligence, and accomplishments complement precisely the criteria for this prestigious award and make her highly deserving of the honor and opportunity bestowed by this Executive Award.
Ms Satgoor was instrumental in attaining the Professional Body status for LIASA, served on various portfolios on the LIASA Executive Committee, like PRO and President. Ujala is currently the Chair: Library and Information Association of South Africa (LIASA)
Professional Body Advisory Committee (2016- ). She is an ambassador for the profession and her passion within the sector is to be commended. She has mentored and trained many colleagues within the profession focusing on academic and public libraries, and has built many leaders and socially responsible individuals. I am proud to say I am one of those individuals who has learned not only the
professional etiquette but how to socially create your own brand. She is an amazing individual who despite meeting a lot of people impressed me by remembering everybody by their first names. As a mentor she takes not only a professional interest but also a personal interest. As a young professional we often joke among ourselves that she is not only a leader but the mother of our profession. The smile, the wise words, hard worker, a people’s person, a leader, a visionary, a futurists to name the list. Ujala has dedicated most of her adult life not only as leader but as well as a creative thinker within LIASA.”

The Executive Librarian is required to be a leader, a mentor and a coach for the sector.  On this subject, Ujala replied:

“When one chooses to be a leader, one embarks on a lifelong journey of self-discovery and self-awareness based on experience, learning, and refining of behaviours, attributes and attitudes. This complex and nuanced moulding towards being an authentic leader has been described as the art of leadership. The outcome of this moulding are three seeds of leadership, namely impact, influence and inspiration. When implanted and thoughtfully nurtured, an organisation, profession or individual thrives. The impact of cultivating a sense of common purpose and a shared understanding of desired goals, influenced by the leader’s passion for one’s work, can only result in an inspired team of professionals willing to embrace action and remove the barriers to change. While a senior position may command authority, leadership itself is not positional nor about titles and designations. But rather about having a vision and translating that into reality, showing how to be and taking the responsibility for unlocking the potential of others to become better.
The current South African socio-economic and developmental context presents the library and information services (LIS) sector with the opportunity to take the lead in proactively supporting education and partnering community development for social cohesion and
advancement. In order to take this lead, we need to move away from the stranglehold of a political manager mindset and define the calibre of library leadership that is required to take the profession forward. Peter Drucker says, “Management is doing things right; leadership is
doing the right things.” To strengthen the profession, library managers when appointed need to understand the leadership component of their roles, the impact of their leadership style or a lack thereof, and need to be challenged on their ability to influence transformation and
inspire the next generation library professionals. The demand for mentorship is strongest in the absence of leadership and an innovative learning organisational culture. Purposeful leadership ensures leaders learn along their journey and in so doing become powerful role
models to the profession. So as library leaders we need to do the right thing!
For libraries as community and institutional assets to succeed, library leadership from across the LIS sector must coalesce towards a common purpose so that all who work within the profession have a shared understanding of the desired developmental goals, and are held
accountable for their roles towards the realisation of these goals. The future of successful libraries and the profession we wantlies in dynamic library leadership imbued by authenticity, integrity and humility, committed to collaboration and working together to do the right thing!”
Ujala Satgoor