As part of efforts to improve professionalism and build capacity amongst its personnel, the Office of the Librarian of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi, organised a two-day training workshop for all library staff of the University. The training themed “Empowering Paraprofessionals for Quality Service Delivery” was held from Tuesday, 7th to Wednesday, 8th November, 2023 concurrently at the Amonoo-Neizer Conference Centre and Gardiner Conference Room at KNUST.
Speaking on the purpose of the event, Professor Rexford Assasie Oppong, Head of the Department of Architecture, emphasised the significant roles of librarians within the University. He underlined that the responsibilities of librarians extend beyond routine tasks and include providing information to the University Community.
Professor Assasie Oppong expressed the pressing need for library staff to evolve and become distinctive not only in terms of their Information and Communication Technology (ICT) skills but also in their conduct and professionalism. He urged them to strive for excellence in delivering their services and focus on the goal of enhancing the quality of service rendered to members of the University.
Mrs. Juliana Serwaa Andoh, the Deputy Registrar at the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR), representing the Registrar of KNUST, stated that one of the approaches to effective capacity building for improved customer service is through mentorship. She highlighted that improving customer service is one of the surest ways to achieve the vision and mission of the University and should be given all the attention needed to promote it.
She emphasised that librarians should be equipped with soft skills such as understanding customers, accessibility and empathy, good communication, emotional intelligence, expertise, and a problem-solving attitude to render good customer service. She added that teamwork and collaboration are essential in an academic library. To this end, she encouraged the librarians to collaborate with faculty and researchers to provide integrated and comprehensive support for their patrons.
Presenting on ‘Improving Work Ethics; The Role of Customer Care’ Dr. Hannah Vivian Osei, a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Human Resource and Organisational Development at the KNUST School of Business, urged librarians to go above and beyond by placing customers at the core of their responsibilities. She took the participants through some sub-topics, including emotional labour, ethical dilemma, principles of customer care, data protection, and mentorship.
The participants were taken through other topics such as Health is Wealth, Lifestyle Choice to Improve Well-Being, Library Leadership, What Can We Learn, and The Relevance of Succession Planning in an Organisational Setting, among others.