Since April 2016, MRC Unit The Gambia’s Librarian Isatou Manneh has been providing Research Information Services to The Unit. Following her appointment, one of Isatou’s first activites was the coordination of the complete renewal of the library which saw its transformation into a state-of-the-art Research Information Centre.
Isatou first joined MRCG in 2005 as a Data Entry Clerk on attachment within the malaria, viral and tuberculosis project having previously worked as a team leader on the National Polio Immunisation Campaign at Sukuta Health Centre. In 2007, she re-joined The Unit as a Data Entry Clerk and in 2009 progressed to Research Records Assistant. From there, Isatou’s hard work and determination to develop the service lead to a natural progression to Research Records and Library Assistant which cumulated in her appointment as Trainee Librarian.
From early on Isatou realised the importance of her own professional development as a means to create permanent capacity at The Unit and over the years embarked on several professional development courses. These included a course on information technology at SOS Hermann Gmeiner, Quantum Net Institute of Technology and online computer maintenance as well as distance learning via the Open University Australia, Open2Study and Future Learn.
Isatou’s most recent project was structuring the library’s physical and electronic collections for which she closely collaborated with The Unit’s Data Management and Archives Department. This included the development of a customized online Library Management System. With Isatou’s input, MRCG’s team of database developers created a system that catalogues and categorises library resources including books, journals, thesis and Unit publications.
All materials are now barcoded allowing efficient check-out and check-in of materials and management of information resources. This streamlined process is testament to the importance of interdepartmental communication and cooperation resulting in efficiency gains, costs savings and most importantly a better service for our research community.
When asked what she likes most about her job, Isatou responded, “I take great pride in giving direct support to my colleagues and knowing that the information I provide contributes to research that saves life”.
Isatou now oversees a widely used and highly functional Research Information Centre frequented by a large number of students, researchers and other Unit staff on a daily basis. By developing and tirelessly ensuring compliance with the library’s process and code of conduct, she ensures that the Research Information Centre remains central in MRCG’s drive to develop the local knowledge base and talent.
According to Jonas Lexow, Research Governance & Support Services Manager, “Seeing the library being transformed into this exceptional space for research and study is truly impressive. Thanks to Isatou and the team at Data Management and Archives, we now have an electronic system that complements and completes this state-of-the-art Research Information Centre which will benefit the current and future generations of Gambian and international researchers alike”.