Central Branch a Haven for Patron Pursuing Doctorate

Oluwatosin Babalola retrieves the Johnson County Library card from his wallet and points to its logo: “One Card. Unlimited Possibilities.”

For Babalola, that Library card has truly been a portal to possibilities and opportunities. He has found Central Resource Library’s staff, materials and study spaces to be enormously helpful as he pursued graduate degrees, first for a master’s in business administration, and now for a doctorate in information technology.

“I love this Library, its invaluable resources,” he says. “I love the space and the ambiance.”

As he shares his story, it is clear that Babalola is a voracious learner, placing great value on education for professional development and career advancement. Johnson County Library services have played a key role in his ongoing success.

He was born a member of the Yoruba tribe of southwestern Nigeria. In his native language, Oluwa means God and Tosin means to serve, so his name translates as “To serve God.”

He grew up in Ibadan, the capitol of the state of Oyo and home to Nigeria’s foremost university, where Babalola earned his bachelor’s degree in social science.

As he researched graduate schools, he discovered the University of Kansas had excellent academic programs in his areas of interest. He was also fascinated by the Jayhawk mascot. An uncle had lived in Lawrence in the 1980s and encouraged Babalola to attend.

That first winter of 2012 was a shock — he had never seen snow before — but Babalola excelled at KU, winning the prestigious Harry Truman Scholarship in International Studies. He graduated in 2013 with a master’s in Global and International Studies.

He worked in insurance and as a business analyst, became a U.S. citizen in 2015, and moved from Lawrence to Olathe in 2017. He desired to further his business knowledge with an MBA and enrolled in Grantham University’s online program.

That’s where Central Library became essential. A friend from church suggested it was a great place to study, and Babalola took that recommendation to heart.

As he prepared for the rigorous Project Management Professional Certificate exam in 2020, he found the primary course material, a huge tome called the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK), at Central.

“The Library helped me find it,” he said. “There were also all these project management Interlibrary Loan resources that the Library helped me find. Even when they don’t have something, they can talk to other libraries to get it for you. That really aided me to pass the exam in one sitting.”

As he worked on his MBA dissertation in 2021, he found he could accomplish more at the Library than at home. “This Library became my second home,” he said. Using Study Room 10, he recalled, “I would sit down in there and type and type and type, and read and read and read.”

Obtaining his MBA in 2021 helped him in his current project management position.

Babalola visited his parents in Nigeria a few years ago and is pleased with his native country’s progress under democratic rule. But now married with a family, he says Johnson County is his home and he loves it, including the snowy winters.

He’s still not done with his education. This year, Babalola began working on a doctorate in information technology and applied management through Walden University. He still relies on Central for materials and a quiet place to work.

“When you are doing a dissertation you consult a wide variety of sources,” he observed. “I don’t rely on what the school provides alone. I use the Library resources here, to get peer reviewed articles, scholarly articles.” 

It’s a great study environment, he said, with a wealth of relevant resources, plus clean and comfortable spaces. He is profoundly thankful for the Library’s role in his lifelong learning journey.