A successful ICIL 2019!


Dear colleagues

The NWU LIS has hosted a successful International Conference on Information Literacy (ICIL) in Vanderbijlpark from 23 – 26 September 2019.  All the months of hard work and preparations have paid off.


Monday morning started with the NWU Vaal Choir welcoming all the guests at the Samancor building.  You could feel the excitement amongst all attendees, especially when the choir accompanied the guests into the auditorium while singing.  Dr Moyo, Chair of the Conference Organizing Committee welcomed everybody.  In his opening remarks, he explained that the conference represented an international co-operative endeavour, with the NWU’s Library and Information Service taking hands with Prof Jako Olivier, the current UNESCO Chair on Multimodal Learning and Open Educational Resources (OER) and the Unit for Academic Literacy in the Faculty of Humanities.


The theme of the conference was: “Information Literacy in all spheres of life”, and delegates included researchers, library and information services professionals, media specialists, academia and policy makers from around the globe.  The conference furthermore had an international line-up of keynote speakers. These speakers included Prof Serap Kurbanoglu (Turkey), Prof Irina Zhilavskaya (Russia), Prof Trudi E Jacobson (USA) and Prof Thomas P Mackey (USA). The national keynote speakers were Prof Bosire Onyancha (UNISA), Prof Karin de Jager (UCT), Prof Ina Fourie (UP) and Prof Jako Olivier (NWU).    A diverse group, 138 delegates from 10 countries, attended the conference and about fifty papers were delivered over the four days.   Some presentations are already available on the ICIL web page: http://library.nwu.ac.za/icil-presentations


Between the hard work, there was time for fun and relaxation.  On Monday evening, attendees were treated at a cocktail function at the Lapa on campus, next to the Vaal River.  Prof Daryl Balia did the official welcoming and guests were entertained with talented singers who are all NWU students.


As Tuesday was National Heritage Day, attendees had the opportunity to wear traditional attire to the gala dinner and traditional dancers welcomed everybody upon arrival.  Prof Jako Olivier was an exceptional and entertaining MC and everybody was in a festive mood.


During the closing ceremony, there was a presention with pictures portraying the highlights of the conference.  You are welcome to access this item with accompanying music by legend Johnny Clegg (The Crossing), at R:\Gebr\Staff photos\ICIL 2019\Closing ceremony.  It takes some time to download.  Go to Slideshow to start the PPT and music (this is only available on the staff intranet).

For a more formal NWU News report by Annette Willemse (NWU Corporate Communication Practitioner), link to:  http://news.nwu.ac.za/icil2019-highlighting-importance-information-literacy-all-spheres-life

The LIS feels proud that we have hosted this conference – the first of its kind in Africa.  According to feedback from attendees, they would like to attend a similar event in the future.

We thank the conference chairs and LIS staff for their hard work!


Our Cataloguers are champions!

IGBIS Workshop 2019

Seven NWU LIS Cataloguers attended the LIASA Interest Group for Bibliographic Standards (IGBIS) workshop at Leriba hotel in Centurion on the 29-30 August 2019.  The keynote speaker, Prof Maria Frahm-Arp set the tone with a core message of the forum with her interesting speech: Implementing 4IR in Libraries: Some lessons learnt.   The theme of the workshop was: The fourth industrial revolution and its relevance to professional information resource description.  The two day workshop provided open forum presentations on the first day and demonstrations and practical exercises on the second day.

Topics that were presented on day one:

  • What does link data mean to libraries on a practical level?
  • Aligning standards between catalogues & repositories: considerations
  • MarcEdit – a case study in automated record creation
  • Burying MARC to give life to BIBFRAME: are cataloguers in Africa ready for the new baby in the court of the 4IR
  • The purpose of work records in FRBR and RDA
  • Shelf packers? Cataloguers in a world of automatic metadata extraction
  • Education of cataloguing and classification in the Fourth Industrial Revolution

On the second day the presenters gave live demonstrations on RDA toolkit and Web Dewey.  Name authority files were also explained.  After the demonstrations Cataloguers grouped themselves for group exercises.  It happened that the NWU Cataloguers found themselves in Group 8, which consisted of seven NWU Cataloguers, a Cataloguer from University of Venda and two Cataloguers from Msunduzi Municipal Library.   In the first exercise, all the groups were given the same monograph to catalogue manually.  They had to rely on their cataloguing experience and memories.  The exercise was complicated as Cataloguers are used to online systems, using MARC fields to structure their records.   Three professional field experts were present to provide feedback on the answers from the groups.   According to them, Group 8 created the best RDA bibliographic record.  We were so proud of our dedicated and dynamic cataloguing group as we were nominated the ‘Cataloguing Champs‘ for the 2019 IGBIS annual event.   It was an honour to be awarded this title by experts in the field, especially because there were many experienced Cataloguers competing.

The Cataloguing Champions

Some of the things that we’ve learnt:

  • Don’t be afraid  to use “cataloguers judgement”;
  • Become more experienced with cataloguing tools such as RDA Toolkit and Classification Web;
  • Don’t try to memorize everything in cataloguing and classification guidelines;
  • Learn more and get useful tips in cataloguing  by subscribing to listservs such as ClassWeb, NACO and PCCLIST;
  • Most importantly don’t be afraid of different cataloguing formats;
  • And ‘Smile’ – because “A smile is a curve that sets everything right” (quoted by Dr. Tienie de Klerk).
Contributions by Cataloguing staff:  Senior Librarian, Benford Rabatseta and Librarians Suzette Janse van Rensburg and Mietsie Harman.

Staff news

james-kolodiJames (Itumeleng) Kolodi from Potchefstroom Library successfully applied for a position as Library Assistant (Client Services) at Mafikeng Library. He will start there on 1 October 2019.

The next message comes from Martin Nokoane, Manager Loan Services (Potchefstroom): “Good colleagues are the kind of people you can rely on, get along with, share a joke or two, and ask for help. James, you’re definitely all of these things. I’m sure your new co-workers will think the same about you as well. Thank you for all the support and goodwill you have shown to us over the years. I wish you the best of luck and continued success wherever you may find yourself!”

Construction has started at Mafikeng Library

The refurbishment at Mafikeng Library has officially started with the site handover on 12 September. During the first phase a Law Library will be established on the first floor. All the Law books in the Lower Ground floor will be relocated to the 1st floor, to make room for the Information Commons. Construction has started and also in the Law Library, we can look forward to additional computer workstations and 3 seminar rooms equipped with LED screens.

Please follow the progress of the refurbishment project at http://library.nwu.ac.za/renovations, – page down for the pictures. A big thank you to Manare and her team for their hard work up till now, and to Benford who is supplying us with the latest pictures.


Benchmarking exercise at Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) Library

According to the LIS Annual Performance Plan for 2019, a benchmarking exercise was set as a priority.  At a Library Management Meeting (LMC) in April, the CPUT was identified to conduct a benchmarking activity mainly regarding Research support services, Research data management, ICT services and Quality assurance.

LIS staff Siviwe Bangani, Vuyo Ngayeka and Louise Vos had the opportunity to attend CPUT on the 21 – 22 August 2019.

NWU LIS staff welcomed by CPUT library staff:  Dr Elisha Chiware (Director), Ms Janine Lockhart
(Manager Research Support) and Ms Debbie Becker (Manager Quality Assurance).

Research Data Management (RDM) and IR
CPUT uses three open access platforms.  Dspace Cris for CPUT research output and special collections, Dspace for ETD’s and MediaTum and Figshare for data management services.  The Figshare platform is named eSango, an isiXhosa term for gateway.  RDM services at CPUT fall within the ambit of the library’s research support manager and librarian.  The research librarian is also responsible for training researchers to formulate research data management pans.  The RDM policy has not yet been approved.  CPUT Figshare has 55 items at this stage.  Another interesting fact is that CPUT is currently collecting patents of their researchers from Google Patents and adding them to the IR.

From the beginning of 2020, CPUT students will no longer be required to submit print copies, only electronic copies will be accepted.

The overall impression is that, despite the fact that CPUT had a head start when it comes to RDM services, the NWU is at this stage more or less on par with them.  They are however functioning on a high level because they have a complete research support team.

Research Support Services (RSS)
Of interest is the fact that library research support services are centralised in the office of the Library Manager for Research Support who oversees all library research support services and activities at the university.  Apart from the Manager Research Support, the team consists of three other specialists: the IR Librarian, Metadata Librarian and Research Librarian.  The research support team attends Faculty Board meetings with the Faculty Librarian. They have compiled a booklet that succinctly explains all the research support services at the university.

Library Management System
CPUT uses ALMA as its Library Management System.  Servers are cloud-based.  It seems that updates and upgrades are easy to manage – as the upgrades are the company (ExLibris’s) responsibility.  The statistics are quite extensive and easy to generate.  It appears that ALMA has more capabilities to generate reports than Sierra.  Maybe we have not yet used Sierra to an extent that it gives the same extensive reports.  We need to investigate.

Quality matters
CHELSA statistics database
The CHELSA statistics database allows for the input and retrieval of statistical data on a monthly or annual basis and provides a central source for library statistics.  Debbie Becker, CPUT Manager Quality Assurance initially developed the structure of this database for use within CPUT libraries. CHELSA has agreed that all academic libraries will use this database for the input of annual library data listed by CHELSA.  Each Institution has full access to CHELSA-level data (for both input and viewing of reports) as well as the option of using the Institution-level database for capturing of their own internal statistics.  This option eases the reporting of any library statistical data.

Currently the Senior Librarian Electronic Resources is our library’s Institutional Administrator and uses this database for reporting on CHELSA level, also to access certain statistical information.  It is however necessary to expand and give more staff the option to report on all statistics being generated in the libraries.  The reporting of NWU library statistics are not yet aligned, this is a major issue when creating reports.

Debbie is the Global Administrator of this database, and is willing to assist us in the setup of a database on Institutional level.

Onboarding documents for new staff and student assistants
CPUT Library makes use of documents to ensure that all new staff and student assistants receive the same attention and assistance to settle in.

Other matters worth noting
Train the Trainer
The completion of a Train the Trainer Course is compulsory for all Faculty Librarians. This is offered as an accredited short course by the CPUT Graduate Centre for Management over six months (only six days contact time).

Library Spaces and Ergonomics
The CPUT Library is in the same position as many other university libraries.  They need to create new, or repurpose current spaces to stay in touch with changing user needs.  They could manage to create a small research commons – a bigger one is in planning stage.  The learning commons is welcoming and is being used extensively.  They have just established a 24 hr study area.

They are concerned about staff health in the working environment and consulted an Ergonomics Specialist who recommended, where necessary, chairs with back support, ergonomic desks and footrests.


We also had the opportunity to meet our former colleague, Kabelo Kakole, now working at CPUT Library:


This was a fruitful exercise where we did not only have the opportunity to learn, but also to share.  The full benchmarking report will be supplied to the LMC.

Article written by: Louise Vos, Siviwe Bangani and Vuyo Ngayeka

The Libraries are buzzing with activity

August is traditionally known as a very busy month on the academic calender, and all NWU libraries can testify to that. For the past two weeks, the Ferdinand Postma Library has received at least 5000 visitors daily. The visits for Wednesday 14 August were 5703. The collaborative spaces are filled to capacity, therefore group discussions flow over to open areas – where the noise levels are quite high.

The LIS has managed to create a social welcoming environment that supports the diverse needs of all learners. However, to balance the demands for quiet study space and collaborative, conversational space is an ongoing challenge in academic libraries worldwide.

Have a look at some pictures taken during this week. The Amazing Race amongst first year Law students contributed the fact that the library was buzzing!!!


Resignation – Zine Sapula

zine-sapula.pngWe say goodbye to Zine Sapula, Librarian: Research Support.  She accepted a position at the University of Mpumalanga and will start there in September.

Coming from Stellenbosch Library, Zine was appointed as Faculty Librarian: Education Sciences (Potchefstroom) in June 2014.  In June 2016 she was appointed as Librarian: Research Support. The loss of her skills and expertise will leave a void in the Information Services Section.  We are going to miss her positive attitude and willingness to learn and share knowledge with other colleagues.

Zine, we wish you all the best and hope to see you soaring in the Library & Information Service community.

International Association of University Libraries (IATUL) Conference  23 – 27 June 2019


iatul-1.jpgReport by Siviwe Bangani, Manager Information Services (Mahikeng)

On 23 to 27 June 2019, I attended the IATUL conference co-hosted by the University of Western Australia (UWA) and Curtin University in Perth, Australia. The theme of the conference was “shifting sands and rising tides – leading libraries through Innovation”. The sub-themes included library spaces, information and digital literacy, FAIR principles, next generation information discovery, and library value and analytics. The 4th Industrial Revolution and its ramifications for the academic libraries was well captured in many papers in this conference.

Prof. Dawn Freshwater of UWA opened the conference and reminded the delegates of the important role that librarians play in the research eco-system as spiritual and intellectual custodians of knowledge and knowledge spaces. Professor Seongcheol Kim of Korea University talked about how, as the director of the library in Korea University, they managed to transform the library through social innovation.  The Professor advised that due to the large number of students with mobile phones, mobile should be the first consideration in all academic libraries. Libraries should build spaces that create social value for the library. Among other innovations at the Korea Library is an open library. Books are placed on shelves in strategic spaces around campus and students can take the books and use them any time with no control by the library or librarians. Famous authors are also invited to talk about books to students. There are also poster sessions held inside the library.

Gerald Beasley of Cornell University Library pointed out that some users come to the library to use it as a resource while some come to take refuge from the world of misinformation. Not every university needs a great library but every university needs an innovative library. As such academic libraries should support risk and experimentation by staff. They should always be responsive to the needs of the communities they serve.

On Tuesday, 25 June 2019, I presented a paper co-authored with Dr Mathew Moyo and Dina Mashiyane on the utilisation of library spaces by postgraduate students at NWU in a session chaired by Ms Lucille Webster (Secretary of IATUL and Director at the Durban University of Technology Libraries). The engagements with attendees after the presentation helped us to identify weaknesses of the paper and strengthen it further. This paper has since been sent to an international journal for consideration for publication.

Another interesting contribution was Ms Margie Jantti, director of libraries at the University of Wollongong in Australia. Ms Jantti presented a Council of Australian University Librarians’ report about the role of academic libraries in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). What was more interesting about this presentation is that the Australians have managed to identify the role of academic libraries on all SDGs. IATUL conferences are also famous for their study tours.

iatul-2.pngOn Wednesday, 26 June 2019, we went to a study tour around Perth. I selected a study tour that involved Australian wildlife, indigenous art and bush braai. For the first time in my life I tasted kangaroo meat. We were also able to take some pictures with Australian wildlife.

ROI for NWU and LIASA from this conference

 I approached Ms Jantti to find out if she would be willing to present a webinar for the LIASA Higher Education Interest Group members on the role of SDGs in academic libraries to which she agreed. This successful webinar happened on 31 July 2019 and it was attended by over 30 individuals. The paper presented at this conference is currently under review by an international journal. I have already sounded colleagues about the possibility of us having poster sessions in the library.

Staff matters

Temporary appointment – Acquisitions

mandie-reidThe increase in the Information Resources budget inevitably led to an increase in the number of orders.  Acquisitions department needs additional capacity during this peak time with the cut-off date as early as September.

We are glad to introduce Mandy Reid who is going to assist on temporary basis.

She has a BCur and also a degree in Communications, and has extensive administrative background.

Welcome Mandy, we hope you enjoy the time at the Library!

LIS outreach on Mandela Day

mandela-day-2019Celebrating Mandela Day is a standing tradition at NWU LIS, and this year was no exception.  The three campus libraries commemorated Mandela Day in different ways in reaching out to nearby communities.

Mafikeng Library donated school shoes at Masutlhe 1 Primary School

Mafikeng library commemorated Mandela Day by buying 10 new pairs of school shoes for selected children at Masutlhe 1 Primary School. The idea of buying shoes came about when the NWU LIS offered all three of its campuses R1000 for Mandela Day activities. Mr Siviwe Bangani, 2018 Librarian of the Year  (LoY) topped the amount given to Mafikeng Campus with R1000 from the LoY award. A primary school was identified with the assistance of Dr Lefenya-Motshegare from the NWU Law Faculty, wife of the chief of the Masutlhe Village, Kgosi Motshegare. The primary school is at Masutlhe 1 – a remote village outside Mafikeng. The school identified 10 children who would benefit greatly from this initiative and provided the shoe sizes of the children. Dr Lefenya-Motshegare also bought a complete school uniform out of her own pocket for a child who lost all his clothes after his house burned a few days before the Mandela Day.

The handing out of the shoes was done in a ceremony organised at the primary school by the royal house to celebrate Mandela Day. This event was a true reflection of the legacy and life lessons of Tata Nelson Mandela. The spirit of ubuntu, selflessness, giving, and promoting educational values espoused by Tata Mandela were at play. There were presentations by speakers from various critical government entities creating an awareness of the issues that affect the community and the services that are available, as well as locations and contact numbers of places of help. The Department of Health, SAPS, NWU Community Law Clinic, Department of Economic Development, NWU LIS and the community were all represented. Councillor T Motshabi who represents the community in Local Government also attended.  It is through initiatives such as these that the NWU LIS is reaching out to communities and demonstrating that librarians are indeed agents of positive social change.


Potchefstroom library decided Charity begins at home

Potchefstroom LIS staff members celebrated a very successful Mandela Day by reaching out to the Campus Protection Services with the theme: Charity begins at home.  Protection Services is one of our main stakeholders as they take care of us on a daily basis by providing protection to both our assets and ourselves.  The staff are always willing and friendly to assist when needed.  They are working night shifts and long hours in the cold.   The LIS donated gloves, scarves and beanies to keep them warm – all items reflected a message that the Library cares  (picture).   Donated items were received by Mr Des Ayob, Director of Protection Services and some of his senior staff members.  Mr Ayob conveyed his appreciation and gratitude.  He mentioned that it’s the first time that colleagues of the NWU reach out to Protection Services in this manner.  It was a privilege for library staff to be involved in this project – it gave us an opportunity to give back to the people who are serving us.


Vanderbijlpark reached out to Kopanong Hospital

Vanderbijlpark library staff decided to reach out to the Outpatient Department and Ithemba Section at Kopanong Hospital in Vereeniging.  Staff members worked together and prepared lunch bags containing sandwiches and fruit.   More than 100 lunch boxes were distributed amongst waiting patients and their family. The patients were very thrilled and thankful for the food, the majority of them indicated that they were there for many hours – not being able nor having anything to eat.  The library staff felt afterwards that it was a fulfilling experience to reach out and to make a difference, especially in the lives of vulnerable people.


Siviwe Bangani, Boitumelo Masilo, Martin Nokoane, Louise Vos and Thoko Tswaile.