Tanzanian librarian Stewart Kiluswa is spending three months at Bishop Grosseteste University in Lincoln to learn how libraries work in the UK and take what he’s learned back to Africa.
Stewart, a librarian at Tumaini University library in Dar es Salaam, says he is enjoying his stay in Lincoln and is impressed by the city’s clean and quiet streets. He’s also surprised by how much British people read books: “I see people walking to work or sitting on the bus reading a book, which you wouldn’t see in Tanzania,” he said.
The British pace of life has also been a culture shock to Stewart, who is adapting to a new speed of work: “I like the way British people are very active and do things quickly. The Tanzanian pace of life is quite slow, probably because it’s much hotter. Things get done so much more quickly here.
“In Tanzania we are still using a manual card system in the university library, so the computerised system used at BGU would really help us. I’m hoping to learn some new skills and gain confidence in these new systems.”
Emma Sansby, Head of Library Services at BGU, is acting as Stewart’s professional mentor. “We are thrilled to welcome Stewart to BGU library – we’re really pleased to have him here and I hope he’s enjoying himself and getting something out of it,” she said.
“Comparing professional experiences has been extremely useful and we expect to have learned a great deal from each other by the end of May.”
Stewart is visiting Lincoln as part of a Commonwealth Professional Fellowship which aims to support professionals in developing Commonwealth countries. During his time at BGU Stewart hopes to learn more about the sophisticated IT systems used at BGU.
Stewart was nominated by John and Lesley Hough, who run the Tanzania Rural Revival charity, and will visit a number of libraries across the UK as part of his stay. He will also take part in BGU’s Global Conference on 22nd April by lending his expertise on the Tanzanian education system. He will also be giving advice and guidance to BGU students who are to visit Tanzania in August to help build a school.