NWU Librarians attended DHASA 2019 conference

The International Conference on Digital Humanities of Southern Africa was held at the University of Pretoria from the 25th – 29th March 2019. Representing the NWU LIS from the 28th -29th March were Ms Boitumelo Masilo, Mrs Anneke Coetzee, Mr Vuyo Ngayeka and Mr Malose Langa.


The conference had an array of presentations, both national and international that shed light on how Digital Humanities (DH) is shaping the discipline in data curation, preservation and as a methodology. Presenters shared with the attendees various projects around the world that are elevating Digital Humanities. Franci Greyling and  Gustaf Tempelhoff  from NWU gave a stellar presentation on Multi-sensory experiences: site-specific digital literature for and with persons with visual impairment. This multisensory garden consists of concrete and digital user interfaces constructed in braille, signs with QR codes and a digital interface with speech technology.

There were numerous presentations by librarians from various institutions sharing their involvement in various Digital Humanities projects. This was especially exciting because it gave librarians present an opportunity to understand what role/s they can play in the DH.

It was truly a well of information and inspiration, from which the true spirit of collaboration will be drawn and shared in all our various corners and institutions.

Boitumelo Masilo, Faculty Librarian: Humanities and Theology (Mahikeng)

Feedback – SA Library Week: 18 – 22 March 2019

The LIS celebrated National Library Week from 18 – 22 March 2019 with the theme collaborate @ your library.  The libraries organised a number of activities with the aim of promoting library week and portray the importance of collaboration to develop better relationships and partnerships.

2.  Library activities
As part of the celebrations, all libraries had a fine-free week, giving amnesty to those with overdue library materials. During the week, library materials could be returned without fines and no questioned asked.   The library partnered with Van Schaik Bookstore who promoted their new App to library users throughout the week, and also gave away freebies to participants.  The libraries had different activities according to their capacity and user needs.

2.1.  Mahikeng

The library hosted an event to launch the annual SALW.  To align the launch with theme “collaborate @ your library”, various stakeholders have been invited to celebrate with them. The topic of the day revolved around the preservation of indigenous languages in alignment with the International year of Indigenous Languages as declared by the United Nations. A guest speaker from the Faculty of Education (Setswana Department) Mrs Nkwe gave a presentation on the importance of preserving and raising awareness of indigenous languages. A Setswana poem was also recited by one the members from Bokamoso Literature Club which is an initiative to enhance the culture of reading in the university community in collaboration with the SCC.

Mahikeng campus library celebrated day two of Library Week at Koi-Koi Primary School where they assisted in setting up a school library and donated shelves,  educational materials and books to the school.  Van Schaik bookstores also participated in this initiative. The National Librarian of the Year, Mr Siviwe Bangani used proceeds from his 2018 award to purchase the donated resources as part of his community engagement initiative.


In celebration of Human Rights month, the library gave away copies of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa. Recipients had to reflect on what the right to information access means to them as stipulated in the Bill of Rights, to get copies of the constitutions. The feedback was very positive.


2.2. Potchefstroom

The Information Commons ran a competition where students were invited to give their ideas on how the library could curb noise in its spaces. The winners were awarded with some prizes, other students got prizes hidden underneath their tables.


The Information Resources section assisted on Tuesday 23 April and launched an activity in showing students how to arrange books according to the Dewey system.  Students then had to sort an unorganised bookshelf.  Suzette Janse van Rensburg and Mietsie Harman took the lead and they reported that the students learned, while having fun.


2.3.  Vanderbijlpark

As part of the launch of Library Week in Vanderbijlpark,  Ishe Muzvondiwa (Faculty Librarian) went to River FM, NWU Vaal Radio station to market the library services and activities.



Students were asked to give suggestions on how the library can minimize the noise level in the library.  There also had word puzzles where students had to identify words relating to the theme of the library week – relationships, collaboration, library week, teamwork.  Students worked in teams to search for the words.  Whoever finds the words the quickest was entered into a daily draw where they won prizes at the end of the day.

ALDE/ALDA training sessions were provided from Monday to Wednesday, during this time 1290 students received training.  The aim of the training was to share knowledge, get groups to visit the library and to empower the students with long life skills.  An exhibition was also prominent in the library with a book display on the theme of Library Week.



Staff Matters – New Appointment

maggie-melk-sindwa.pngCongratulations to Maggie Melk-Sindwa who was appointed in the position of Private Assistant to Dr Moyo, Chief Director LIS. She is a familiar face in the library as she worked in Loan Services, Potchefstroom from 2009 – 2014. She then relocated to University of Pretoria Library where she was Assistant Information Specialist until 2016. When she returned to the NWU, she worked as Human Resource Intern at People and Culture.

We welcome Maggie back as part of the LIS team, and wish her the best in her new role!

NWU Libraries Celebrate Library Week : 18 – 22 March 2019

library-week-2019.jpgIn Celebration of Library Week

Library week competition
(Vanderbijlpark and Potchefstroom)

Help us reduce the noise at our libraries.

In a group of 3 students come up with ways that the libraries can curb the noise levels. Your group could win NWU corporate freebies.

To enter the competition, leave your comment on the NWU Libraries Facebook page with the #HelpUsHelpYou

Competition Rules

  • Participants must be registered NWU students.
  • A team must consist of (3) three students.
  • The closing date is 19 March 2019 at 10h00.

Fine free week

In celebration of SA Library Week the LIS promotes a fine free week to all users. Do you have long overdue library books on your study desk or in your office? Return them between 18 and 22 March 2019 – no questions will be asked and no fines will be added to your record.

Mafikeng: activities

  • Tell us what collaborate @ your library means to you and stand a chance of winning NWU corporate freebies. Winners to be announced on the 18th of March 2019.
  • Monday 18/03: Library week launch
    There will be a book launch, and a poetry recital between 10:00-12:00.
  • Tuesday: 19/03: Koi Koi Primary School visit (community engagement project)
    The Mafikeng staff members will set up the library at Koi Koi primary school and donate children’s books as part of Librarian of the Year community engagement initiative.
  • Wednesday: Know your right to information access!
    Tell us what the right to information access means to you and stand a chance of getting yourself a copy of the constitution of the Republic of South Africa.
    NB: The first 96 respondents will get the constitution booklets.
  • Collaborate with your shelves
    The library staff members will partake in shelf reading activities for the month of March.
  • Book Drive (throughout the week)
    There will be a book drive that will run for the week, asking users to donate Setswana books in recognition of the declaration by the UN declaring 2019 as the International year of indigenous languages.

Potchefstroom: actvities

Monday 18 March
  • Van Schaik Gazebo at entrance of library
  • Sorting and shelving books according to DDC
  • Book Exhibition in the library foyer
Tuesday 19 March
  • Van Schaik photo booth
  • #HelpUsHelpYou (FaceBook page)
  • Competition Draw @12h00
Wednesday 20 March
  • Book Exhibition in the library foyer

Vanderbijlpark: activities

  • Exhibition stand in the Library.
  • ALDE/ALDA training from Monday to Wednesday.
  • Cross-word puzzle with Van Schaik.
  • Competition of the Best Group Picture with Van Schaik.
  • “Help us to Help you” on how to minimize the noise level in the Library (FaceBook page).

Staff news: New appointment

porschaPortia Boitumelo Mosetlhi was appointed as Shelf Assistant in Potchefstroom Library.

Portia started in her new role on 1 March 2019. She has previously been employed by Tsebo Cleaning company from 01/07/2014 and was based at the Ferdinand Postma library. She has now joined the Loan Services unit and we are looking forward working with her.

We wish Portia all the best in her new position and welcome her as part of the LIS team!

Smarter libraries: User experience (UX) in action (Stellenbosch Library Symposium)


Erika Rood and Louise Vos had the opportunity to attend the Stellenbosch Library Symposium 15 – 16 November 2018.  The theme of the symposium:  User experience (UX) in action.

louise-vos-erika-rood.jpgUser Experience (UX) is based on the idea that products and services should be designed with the user in mind. The sessions focused on the following themes, all related to user experience:

  • Smarter libraries through technology
  • Smart library design: Spaces and facilities
  • Using UX research for smarter services and resources

Attendees had the opportunity to see the most prominent UX leaders in action.  The full symposium programme with links to the PPT presentations and videos are available at: http://conferences.sun.ac.za/index.php/sulis_symp15/index/pages/view/prog

In his opening speech, Prof Wim de Villiers (Rector and Vice-Chancellor of Stellenbosch University), congratulated the US library for getting together a diverse group of symposium attendees – there were 160 delegates from 10 countries.  He applauded the US library for its friendly fresh spaces filled with light and colour.  In the past the library was all about collections, but now it is about connecting people to a cloud of information and to each other.  The best interest of the user is the only interest.

The day before the conference started, attendees had the opportunity to visit the newly refurbished Medicine and Health Science Library at Tygerberg Campus. Two symposium presentations referred to the upgrade of this library – one by the architects involved, portraying the planning of the upgrade process with before and after pictures, and the other by a medical student and her experience before and after the renovation.


Mr Ned Potter delivered the keynote address: UX at York: Embedding ethnography and design.  The University of York Library undertook a project: UNDERSTANDING ACADEMICS in 2016, where they did fieldwork amongst 100 academics aiming

  • to gain a better understanding of how academics at York approach their research and teaching activities;
  • to determine how Library services currently facilitate and support those activities;
  • to integrate the ‘academic voice’ into future service planning and development of support to academics, ensuring that the Library continues to engage departments in innovative ways that respond to both current and future needs.

He emphasised that UX is all about human centred design and needs to be embedded in the culture of the organisation:


For implementation, libraries need the buy-in from top management.  He provided the top 5 tips to embed UX in the library.  He also recommended that libraries need to consider a graffiti wall where users can tell what they think.  His full PPT presentation:


The following presentations are really worth the effort to look at:

Mr Lars Binau (Technical University of Denmark)
A library IOT living lab 

His motto:  “If you can dream it, you can do it!” – Walt Disney

In the past the library was built for books, now for people.  It’s important to secure digital literacy on campus and to make the campus more sustainable.  They went to the next level to make users feel at home – see slides 42 and 92.  “We can’t make the students learn, but we can make it easier for them!”
Download: [Slides]


Ms Loretta Parham (Atlanta University Center Woodruff Library)
Space and Generation Z 

Focused on needs of Generation Z (born between 1992 – 2012).  They were born in a period where technology exploded and are used to things changing.  They do not know a world where everything is not connected and want to do everything themselves.  They have certain traits, like FOMO – Fear Of Missing Out… The library needs to take cognisance of their needs and adapt services and spaces accordingly. Download: [Slides]   [Video]


Mr Roelof Rabe (Roelof Rabe Architects)
Libraries of the future: changing our species 

The architect, Mr Rabe, was briefed by the University Stellenbosch to design a library of the future at Tygerberg Medical Campus. He took the audience through the design process and attributes of different spaces.  They created zones – comfortable lounge areas, collaborative spaces, individual learning areas and high-tech study booths. Spaces must flow – first collaborative, then gradually quieter.  They decided to re-use and upholster old furniture, combined with sleek modern furniture.  Have a look at the PPT (slide 50 – 64) for the beautiful end product.
Download: [Slides]


Dr Elsje-Márie Geldenhuys (Stellenbosch University)
The new library – 2018: A Space Odyssey

She shared her experience as library user over 12 years and her love affair with the library – from the old to the new.
Download: [Slides]


Ms Abeer Al Kuwari (Qatar National Library)
Qatar National Library: A Smart Library from the start 

This presentation portrays the Qatar National Library that serves as a National Library for the country, a public library and research library.  It was built between 2012 and 2017.
Download: [Slides]   [Video]

Do take a moment to listen to Sounds of the Library – composed by Dana Al Fardan (only 2:26).  This lovely song was composed as the branding song for the impressive Qatar National Library.


The message of this symposium:  Knowledge of users’ needs, how they think and learn and how they do research is of utmost importance.  Several presenters stressed the fact that users must feel safe and at home in the library.  It is not a quiet space anymore, but there must be well defined zones for different activities.

One of the NWU LIS goals is exceptional user experience and within this focus we can develop our libraries even more to be relevant and valued partners in teaching, learning and research at the NWU.  We can feel very proud of our libraries’ spaces.  Over the years we’ve learnt to do more with less. Here and there we will have to stretch our budgets to keep up with global developments, but we must keep our eyes on the students and staff who are the drivers of our goals.

LIS staff publication

Take note of an article published by Ms Neli Kaunda (LIS Director Shared Services) and Mr Sabelo Chizwina (former LIS staff member) in the latest edition of Journal of Access Services:  Providing access to students with print disabilities: The case of the North-West University in South Africa

Abstract:  Academic libraries should be accessible to all students and relevant stakeholders. Students with print disabilities are found in many universities worldwide. This article examines the services and tools that are available at the North-West University (NWU) in South Africa. Literature was used to identify how services, signage, and tools that should be included in an academic library to ensure access for all. The study found that the NWU had limitations in terms of material and assistive technologies. A legislative framework promoting information access for the disabled people was explored. Recommendations are for partnerships to improve material and access to resources.


Staff News

New appointments in Potchefstroom Library

bulelwa-gcaca.pngBulelwa Gcawu was appointed as Library Assistant at the Information desk.  Bulelwa completed her B.LIS degree and Honours degree in Library Science at the University of Fort Hare.  She has been working as an intern at the Production Institute in Port Elizabeth for the past year.


banele-khoza.pngWelcome to Banele Khoza who is joining Information Services as Assistant Librarian in the Information Commons. She completed her B.Inf and Honours degrees at the University of Pretoria. She worked for 1 year at the CSIR as an intern and has been working in different departments at UP Library Services since 2017.

We welcome the  two colleagues as part of the NWU LIS team.

adri_smitCongratulations to Adri Smit who was appointed at the Theology Library as Assistant Librarian.  She has been working in the Ferdinand Postma Library for 15 years and supported the undergraduate students in the Information Commons for the past year.  In her new role, she will continue to be part of Information Services.


We wish the colleagues all the best in their new positions at Information Services.

LIS year-end function 30 November 2018


For the first time, staff of all three campus libraries had the opportunity to come together for a joint year-end function. The function was held at the Fanie du Toit Sports Grounds, Potchefstroom, and gave opportunity for informal, relaxed interaction. There was a picnic atmosphere with balloons, chinese lanterns and bunting flags under the willow trees.


Dr Mathew Moyo, Chief Director of the LIS, reflected on the highlights of 2018 and gave credit to all staff for a year well accomplished. Our DVC for Teaching and Learning, Prof Robert Balfour also attended the function and in his address to staff, he shared fond memories of the library throughout his life, especially during his childhood. He portrayed the library as a refuge, a place to experience and build an understanding of the world, people and human relations, a place where you learn to appreciate and take care of books from an early age. There was an opportunity to celebrate Siviwe Bangani’s National Librarian of the Year award. Ten staff members who had completed the UKS Certificate in Library and Information Services, received certificates from their mentors, Martin Nokoane, Benford Rabatseta and also Prof Balfour and Dr Moyo.


After an intense volleyball game between Loan Services and Information Services (game rules were absent…), the team from Loan Services were announced as the winners. A number of guys displayed their soccer skills, and about 28 staff members joined in a tug of war – Vukosi’s team took the honours.


LIS staff are looking forward to 2019, and believe that the communal spirit will grow stronger – taking the LIS to even greater heights.



LIS Community Outreach to Sunrise View Primary School


As part of our commitment to community engagement, the NWU LIS donated a library system and book trolley to Sunrise View Primary School in Rustenburg on 27 November 2018.

At the handover meeting, Louise Vos (LIS) provided background of the outreach.  She mentioned that a number of NWU LIS members attended the launch of National Library Week 2017, which was held at Sunrise View Primary School.  Attendees were taken on a tour of the school and the library afterwards.  The LIS staff became aware of the fact that they have a well-run school with a beautiful library and dedicated school librarian.  The missing link was that they did not have a library system.  Therefore no books could be checked out to learners to use outside the library or read at home. LIS management then decided that this school would be a worthy candidate for community outreach.  Should a library system be donated to them, it would be money well spent.

At the handover ceremony:  Mr Robert Basson (LibWin Library Systems), Ms Louise Vos (LIS), Mr Lelaka (Circuit Manager, Dept of Basic Education), Mr Louw Venter (LIS), Ms Lorraine Modise (Principal: Sunrise View Primary School), Mr Martin Nokoane (LIS), Ms Lezanne de Beer (School Librarian) and Mr Lindsay Reid (LIS)

During the handover ceremony on 27 November, Martin Nokoane (LIS) mentioned that the LIS was touched when they met the Sunrise View Primary School librarian in 2017, and saw her passion to help and assist the learners of the school with reading and literacy.  He went on saying that the LIS wants to support reading and promote literacy in the broader community as well.  He also informed the school that it is necessary for the LIS to monitor the impact of the outreach, therefore Sunrise View is now one of the NWU Library partners.  The LIS will continue to work with the school in future to determine the return on investment.

The principal, Ms Lorraine Modise thanked the NWU LIS and gave the assurance that the system would be well utilized.  On behalf of the senior management of the school, she expressed their heartfelt appreciation and enthusiasm to receive the system.  She mentioned that they are very proud of their school librarian, as she was announced provincial winner in the National Teacher of the Year Award in the Category Excellence of Grade R Teaching.   Mr Lelaka (Circuit Manager – Sub District, Department of Basic Education) thanked the LIS for the donation.  He was delighted to hear that, as of the beginning of 2019, the school would be able to issue library books and textbooks on the new Library system.  He also recommended that there must be a period in the timetable for each class for reading on a daily basis in order for learners to become readers.

sunrise-view-community-outreach-6Mr Louw Venter (LIS) confirmed that he had compared different systems and tried to look at a system which would really address the needs of the school, taking into consideration their specific circumstances and requirements. Based on that, he made a recommendation which the school found acceptable.  After the donation, the vendor will provide assistance to the school in terms of technical support and training, to ensure the continued success of this project. Both the NWU LIS and the school were grateful that Mr Robert Basson from Libwin Library Systems was there to show his commitment to this new partnership.

Representing the learners, the Dux Learner of the school, Nira Masira, gave her thoughts on “What my Library means to me”  –  … My library is a place of quietness, wonders and concentration.  My library is a book full of adventures with sub-headings.  The Library is a place of imagination, folk tales, fairy tales, fiction, facts, curiosity, happiness, joy and adventure!  It makes me want to tell the whole world that I have a Library at school…

Dux Learner of the school, Nira Masira