The LIS celebrated the official opening of the new spaces at the library on Mahikeng Campus during a virtual event on 4 March 2021.
Mr Tiyani Mabunda, Director Open Scholarship provided an overview of the project and mentioned that after the opening of the Research Commons for postgraduate students in December 2017, attention was given to the critical needs of undergraduate students on this campus. The planning process started in 2018 to establish a Teaching and Learning Commons in the library that would add value to undergraduate teaching and learning.
After an extensive planning process with Facilities, it was decided that the entire lower ground floor would be repurposed and developed into an inviting Teaching and Learning Commons, focused on the needs of undergraduates. There are 119 computer workstations in the Commons, with five IT equipped rooms for collaboration, a hands-on training facility and room for a Technology Commons. This facility will be equipped by CTL and will be operational in June.
Attention was also given to the establishment of a Law Library on the 1st floor. The 24hr area, now linked to the T&L Commons was refurbished and has 178 seating spaces with four rooms for collaboration. The Information Resources section was renovated and two staff offices were added.
In her address, Ms Amo Mohajane, Curator of the NWU Art gallery mentioned that art works from Alumni Fine Art students from Mahikeng were discovered on the campus in 2019. With the assistance of Prof Balfour and other stakeholders like the LIS, the art works were framed and a great number of them found their way to the new library spaces. She confirmed the necessity of collaboration.
In a message from the Mahikeng campus student community, Mr Thabang Tlale (SCC Chairperson) and Lele Dlamini (SCC Academic Affairs Officer) expressed their excitement about the new spaces, and mentioned that the 24hr study area especially provides in a great need amongst students.
The LIS is grateful that Prof Marilyn Setlalentoa, DVC: Community Engagement and Mahikeng Campus Operations could attend the event. In her address, Prof Marilyn confirmed that it is the intention of the NWU to prepare its students for life and the world of work. NWU students have diverse social, cultural and educational backgrounds, and the University acknowledges its responsibility to provide students with an enabling teaching and learning environment. Especially the students of Mahikeng Campus have very specific needs, and the new Teaching and Learning Commons can indeed be seen as an enabling learning environment to provide in these needs.
Dr Mathew Moyo, Chief Director Library and Information Services mentioned that the project posed some challenges, with the nationwide lockdown starting just a few weeks before completion of the project. He feels grateful that, with the opening of the new Teaching and Learning Commons on Mahikeng campus, the LIS now has completed a full circle, having similar facilities on the Vanderbijlpark and Potchefstroom Campuses.
Dr Moyo gave recognition to Prof Robert Balfour, DVC Teaching and Learning for his unwavering support and financial assistance. He also mentioned the team from Facilities, with special mentioning of the Construction Coordinator, Mr Fanie Fourie for his dedication to the project. He acknowledged the hard work done by LIS staff involved in the project, and thanked the Mahikeng LIS staff for their patience and sacrifices during the project.
After the official ceremony, Prof Marilyn cut the ribbon to mark the official opening of the new spaces.
Take note of a similar article on the NWU News platform (9 March 2021): https://news.nwu.ac.za/nwu-mahikeng-library-makes-studies-easier-undergraduate-students.
Senior Manager: Outreach, Projects and Quality