LIS staff members had the opportunity to attend the annual LIASA Conference from 2 – 6 October at the OR Tambo Conference Centre. As five staff members delivered papers, the NWU LIS had good exposure. Our presenters received positive feedback about their presentations and also about the fact that we were willing to share on this national platform.
The papers that were presented by our staff were representative of issues and trends currently experienced in academic libraries.
Dina Mashiyane, Librarian: Undergraduate Support did a presentation on the redesigning of library spaces to meet the needs of millennials. The traditional noise-restricted library has shifted to a casual environment conducive to social interaction and inevitably higher noise levels. This then breeds a behaviour of socialization which tends to be difficult to manage and may disrupt academic productivity. It seemed that other libraries could identify with this problem.
In a very relevant paper Zine Sapula, Librarian Research Support, unpacked the emerging and alternative LIS roles and functions of the 21st century librarian. Over the years, academic librarians have been known as support staff rather than research enablers. Academic libraries have added new emerging services such as research data management, digital humanities, and scholarly communication in support of digital scholarship.
In the presentation of Carine Basson, Senior Librarian eResources, she showed how the weeding of printed journals contributed to the repurposing of library spaces at the Potchefstroom Library. She explained the weeding process, the difficulties that were experienced and also provided valuable advice. As weeding tends to be a sensitive issue, the presentation was received positively.
Siviwe Bangani, Manager of Information Services (Mahikeng), analysed the usage of the InterLending Services (ILS) for the past five years. This paper established the trends in usage of ILS, language representation of documents requested via ILS, and use of ILS as collection development tool. Very good news is that this paper is currently under review by the South African Journal of Libraries and Information Science for publication. Congratulations to Siviwe and other Mahikeng colleagues who contributed to the paper!
Martha van der Walt, Branch Librarian: Education Sciences did a presentation on library services to distance education students, and how they are dealing with the challenges at the Education Library. The audience agreed that this is a challenge at all libraries due to the profile (barriers, language, skills) of distance students.