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.

Sabinet Regional Meeting 23 July 2019

Three staff members, Martin Nokoane (Loan Services), Thulile Xaba (Cataloguing) and Banele Khoza (Information Services) represented the NWU LIS  at the Annual Sabinet Regional Meeting on 23 July at Gallagher Convention Center in Midrand.

sabinet-2019.pngSabinet invited members of various academic, public and special libraries from the region to participate in their regional meeting.  They discussed their company overview, success of the past year and plans for moving forward, as well as library solutions, new products and services.  Tipasa was introduced as a new product – it’s regarded as the next level ILL which will enable seamless resource sharing.  With everything automated, it is cloud-based and libraries will receive software updates and enhancements automatically. The interface adapts to the ILL workflows that work best for your library, which simplifies your process for managing and fulfilling requests both from your users and from other libraries.  It is currently not available in South Africa, but it is in a testing phase:

There was also a brief discussion about the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR).   Direct poll voting was used to interact with the audience – it gave the audience a chance to give their responses while certain topics were discussed.

Banele Khoza (Assistant Librarian, Information services)

Staff news

New appointment: Manager Loan Services

martin-nokoana.jpgCongratulations to Martin Nokoane who was appointed as Manager of Loan Services (Potchefstroom) from 1 August 2019.

Martin worked at the Community Library in Potchefstroom for 12 years, first as Assistant Librarian and then as Branch Librarian.  He joined the NWU LIS in Potchefstroom when he was appointed as Librarian Loan Services in 2015.  Martin completed a BTech (Library and Information Studies) and Honours in Information Science via UNISA.  He is currently busy with an Advanced Management Programme at the NWU.

We wish you success and all the best in your new position!

Staff News

Resignation – Kirchner van Deventer

kirchner_van_deventer.jpgWe say goodbye to Kirchner van Deventer who accepted an appointment as Head: Carnegie Research Commons at Stellenbosch University Library.  He will start in this new position on 1 August 2019.

After working as a Student Assistant at the Natural Sciences Library in 2013, he was appointed as Administrative Assistant at the Ferdinand Postma Library, Loan Services.  In 2014 he was appointed as Assistant Librarian at the Education Sciences Library and completed his LIS Postgraduate Diploma in 2017.  Since then, he has been the Faculty Librarian for Education Sciences supporting the MEd and PhD students.  We will remember him as a supportive colleague and a true team player.

Kirchner you will be missed, but we wish you all the best in your new position in Stellenbosch!

NACO training at Potchefstroom

Eight Cataloguers of the LIS Information Resources attended the NACO (Name Authority Cooperation) training program from 24 to 28 June 2019 at the Potchefstroom campus.  The training was facilitated by South Africa’s NACO trainer, Dr Hester Marais, from the University of South Africa.


NACO training enables cataloguers to contribute to standardisation of controlled access points for the authorised and variant forms of names.   The training involves a set of standards by which authority records are created and shared on OCLC.  Through this program, participants contribute authority records for agents, places, works, and expressions to the NACO Authority File. Membership of NACO is open to individual institutions who have done the training. Trainees go through the following process:  training, reviewing and direct contributions of records to the LC/NACO Name Authority File.

The five day training workshop prepares new NACO contributing libraries to create authority records and have the records reviewed by reviewers. The reviewers will check cataloguers’ work until they are ready to produce or update records independently.

During the training the following modules were covered:

  • NACO foundation
  • Describing person
  • Describing families
  • Describing corporate bodies
  • Describing places
  • Describing works and expressions
  • Changes to NARs
  • NACO administrations

The NWU cataloguers describe the training as very informative and hands-on.  It gave enough practical exercises to use in all the relevant situations.  As experienced trainer, Dr Marais created an atmosphere conducive to learning and collaboration.  Credit must be given to Alta van den Berg, Senior Librarian Information Resources who did the liaison and initiated this training event.

Benford Rabatseta
Senior Librarian: Information Resources

Benchmarking visit to the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) 3 May 2019

The visit to Wits weaved a golden thread into a transformative and innovative dialogue that resulted to a flow of ideas that brought about building collective meaning and a growing sense of enriching unity. The visit was a joint effort between the Library and Information Service (LIS) and the Disabilities Rights Units (DRU) to benchmark services, infrastructure and resources for students with disabilities. In the context of the project goals, Transformation is interpreted to be the change in thinking, change in practice, change in behaviour, change in engagements with the objective of nurturing a culture of innovation for a vibrant and better individual and contributor to community, national and global imperatives. The library as the epicentre of knowledge production and innovation must stimulate transformation for an improved quality of life.

Objectives of the visit

The White Paper emphasises the importance of institutional collaborations and partnerships as a means to achieve a range of social, educational/ academic, economic and political goals (National Higher Education Plan, 1997 and White Paper 2002). It was also in the spirit of libraries working together to achieve a common goal that staff members undertook the trip.

Left to right:
Vida Mutlaneng – Manager DRU (MC), Erika Rood – Info. Services Manager (PC), Tiny Moripa – Loan Services Manager (VC), Martie Esterhuizen – Info. Services Manager (VC), Sam Andrews – Adaptive Technologist, DRU (Wits), Tsholofelo Thulare – NW Project Coordinator, Hendra Pretorius – Director: Client Services, Neli Kaunda – Director: Shared LIS Services, Gloria Ramaboea – Librarian: Information Commons (PC) and Dr Anlia Pretorius – Head DRU (Wits)
  • To continue to address students with disabilities access and challenges.
  • To benchmark on resources and services to support students with disabilities.
  • To seek opportunities to share expertise and knowledge as outlined in the Service Level Agreement (SLA) between NWU, the South African Library for the Blind (SALB) and the Department of Arts and Traditional Affairs (CATA) North-West (NW) Provincial Library, Information and Archives Services.

Amongst the objectives of the tripartite partnership is to: 

  • Render support and extend some of the existing services of the North-West Province Community Libraries at the North-West University;
  • Establish and strengthen strong public-private partnership through information sharing and knowledge transfer;
  • Set up Information Hubs in the most accessible libraries.

Facilities at Wits DRU and library are modern and addresses learning and research needs of students with disabilities. Ten Accessibility Golden Rules and Universal design principles were integrated throughout the design process of their facilities. These principles are applied in various ways in different practices (Architecture, finding directions, product design and web/interface design) but the fundamentals are the same. Click to read more:

Pictures below depict the following: Universal designs that are all at arm level, electrical switches, door handles, etc. Smoke dictators that flash when the alarm goes off. These are very useful especially for deaf students. Signage that is clearly marked and visible inside and outside buildings, such as at the library entrance and lobby:


The biggest percentage of recorded disabilities is the students with learning disabilities. Amongst others is the big three disabilities, hearing, sight and mobility. The DRU advocates for greater mobility on campus. There is strong liaison with the library especially on copyright matters. The library purchases an e-book of every printed copy. This is based on availability of e-copies from suppliers. E-books are easily converted to audio format.

The Warternweiler library, which is the main library has dedicated integrated Disabilities Section on the ground floor. Plans are underway to renovate the library building and have the Disabilities facilities integrated in all floors of the library. The project will commence later in the year.

The capacity of computers and assistive devices were increased since 2018 through external funding in order to cater for the increasing number of students with disabilities registering with DRU.  Wits’ learning spaces are flexible, student-centred and accessible to diverse students, and include the provision of appropriate technologies to enhance learning and teaching. The launch of the Digital Learning Spaces Programme introduced two new learning concepts to the Wits community – Learning Innovation Centres and Smart Classrooms. The main aim of this programme is to enable academics to use blended learning approaches in their teaching and aid in the improvement of students’ success, with the focus on quality through effective structures. NWU and Wits will promote and foster collaboration between the institutions and looks forward to maintaining partnership both within and outside of the university community. Dr Anlia Pretorius and Mr Sam Andrews are involved in the planning and facilitation of the CATA Librarians’ workshop on 10 July 2019 at the NWU Mahikeng Library and Information Service.