Sagir Musa Ahmed, 37, came to the University of Salford from his native Nigeria to complete an MSc in Information Systems Management and graduated with distinction in March 2015.
For the last seven years, Sagir has worked as an agency librarian for the Defence Intelligence Agency library service in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja. Together with his employers, Sagir spent a lot of time researching qualifications that would help him and his organisation expand the library’s service.
Now, thanks to his qualification and the experience he gained at the University of Salford, Sagir has been able to implement e-library resources in the agency and vastly increase its patronage.
“We’re changing from traditional services to modern e-library services, and we wanted to find a university that would equip me to react to today's library ever-changing IT,” says Sagir.
The University of Salford works with a network of education consultants to support foreign nationals during every stage of the application process. Abuja is one of many major cities around the world in which consultants can offer face-to-face advice.
“I was able to discuss my aspirations, courses and receive guidance and support with a personal contact,” says Sagir. “It really helped to speed up the process. Accommodation was easy to arrange as well, I booked it online through the university website and went straight there from the airport. Within a couple of hours of arriving I was happily settled on campus.”
Having settled quickly into Salford life, Sagir turned his attention to his studies.
“The lecturers were very helpful,” he says. “They really made me feel at home. From the very beginning they made very clear what was expected of us.”
While at the university, Sagir was delighted to discover a range of free, extra-curricular activities on offer to aid his personal development.
“Through the Salford Advantage programme I was able to do a wide range of courses and personal development programmes that have given me new skills. One of them, Wordscope, allowed me to improve my academic writing and learn how to write reports. I’ve also been given training on things like Microsoft Excel and other programmes, which will help me throughout the rest of my career.”
While the course delivered what Sagir needed to progress professionally, and the Salford Advantage programme aided his personal development, it was support he received outside of his studies that really helped him achieve his goal of implementing changes at his Agency library.
“I was able to have a placement with university library for six weeks and learn how e-resources are managed there,” he says. “As a librarian I hope to be able to provide a wide range of programmes to support my organisation and community because I understand the value of technology, and this helped me to learn so much. I was able to spend time with different academic librarians in different sections of the library and learn about its management, then go back to my organisation and say I’ve been working with a distinguished university. That is absolutely invaluable.”
Now back in Nigeria, Sagir has been putting his training and experience into practice.
“We have introduced digital literacy skills training to give library users training on how to navigate and search a variety of resources online. We’ve also implemented a news highlights service to keep staff up-to-date - we summarise the important stories from major news sources and send them by email. We’ve also introduced selective dissemination of information (SDI), which alerts library users and general staff to current information that is directly relevant to their respective functions as agency staff.
“We have come up with programmes that liberate resources and give access to the library services via its website and through staff email. We have looked at the needs of the community and worked out how we can best help them to use the resources; emailing them the information they need is just one way of being able to do that, but it’s something that has never been done here before. As a result of the new services introduced the patronage and the relevance of the library has improved tremendously.
“There’s a high increase of staff coming into the library, and the information they’re finding has much more relevance to them. And, because management has become much more effective, we’ve benefited from a budget increase that’s enabled us to increase our range of remote services and provide wider access.”
Sagir and his employers are so happy with the results, they’re sending a colleague to the University of Salford to study.
“My time at the University of Salford, and the experience it has given me, is very wonderful,” says Sagir. “For my life, I will live to cherish and appreciate what I was given and I recommend it to everyone who wants a functional education with practical skills.”