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:

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



Staff News

We say goodbye to Sylvia Letšosa

sylvia_letsosaSylvia Letšosa has resigned and will have her last working day on Friday 30 November 2018.  Sylvia started working in the Journal Section of the Ferdinand Postma Library in 2006 and was transferred to Information Services in 2007 where she worked at the Information Desk.  She obtained her BInf degree via UNISA and was appointed as a Faculty Librarian in May 2015.  She supported academics, researchers and post graduate students in the following subjects: History, Development Studies, Public Management, Disaster Studies, Social Anthropology and Sociology.

We will miss her very much, but wish her and Prof. Rantoa a happy and prosperous future in their new hometown, Bloemfontein.

LIS Indaba 2018 – 1 & 2 November


Senior staff of the NWU Library and Information Service gathered recently at the Botanical Gardens in Potchefstroom, for a two day Indaba.  The purpose was to reflect on 2018 and plan for 2019 in the context of the University’s direction and the LIS vision, mission and the six strategic goals.

prof-ronnie-lotriet.pngProf Ronnie Lotriet,  MBA Program Manager at the NWU Business School, set the scene with a session:  Effective strategic management going forward.  He stressed the need for the LIS to focus on services that can make a meaningful impact on the core business of the university.  We need to move services closer to user communities (Faculties) and become even more visible as an integrated support team in connection with stakeholders.  We need to tell what is unique about us, get regular feedback from users and tap into collective wisdom of staff.

We need to raise the bar with the following practices:

  • build trust, have honest conversations about challenges
  • don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good – some evidence is better than no evidence
  • asking the right questions is more important than having the right answers
  • persistence and repetition are key to changing behavior
  • celebrate or reward success

Some derailers in the process can be:  overly critical of others, negativity and inflexibility.

He recommended that we need to do a brainstorming session and do a SWOT analysis to determine our Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (the previous SWOT analysis was only done in 2015 before restructuring).  This analysis will inform our strategy going forward. He emphasised that a strategic plan paints the bigger picture – it’s a directional document which should last 3-5 years.  It should be complemented by an operational plan which focuses on shorter term goals, ranging from 3 to 12 months detailing who should do what, why, how, by when. He congratulated the LIS with progress up to now, and for the initiative to have this session.

Representatives of People and Culture gave informative sessions on Performance Management and Staff Development, followed by a productive question and answer session.

Also on the first day, there was an opportunity to reflect on 2018 regarding Research Support, Library Systems, Client Services, Shared Services, Outreach, Projects and Quality.  In these reflections there were opportunities to feature highlights as well as challenges experienced during the year.


The 2nd day was all about planning.  Dr Moyo indicated that we need to be aware of what is trending in the LIS environment:

  • community involvement
  • we need to focus on all user groups
  • reinvent library spaces and services (with mentioning of coming technology commons in all libraries)
  • we need to know more about library users
  • create an image of the library (challenge wrong perceptions)
  • focus on emerging technologies (makerspaces, self-service and social media)

With the challenge to deliver action plans for 2019, there was an opportunity for group discussions where after representatives focused on activities within the strategic goals which need to be addressed.  This will form part of the LIS Annual Plan for 2019. The draft LIS plan which was developed, was the main outcome of the Indaba.


Scopus Academy – University of Cape Town 8 October 2018


Three LIS staff members: Ishe Muzvondiwa, Glenda Makate and Danny Moloto who attended the LIASA Conference, also had the opportunity to be part of the first Scopus Academy, presented at the University of Cape Town on 8 October.  The Academy aims to elevate the skills of librarians and research support professionals who support research grant and rating applications, research information management and journal evaluation.

The SA Scopus Academy was the first of its kind in South Africa and Africa as a whole.  Mrs Joyce Olivier (Director of Research NRF) remarked that it was a historic and ground-breaking event on African soil. She stressed the need to involve and incorporate the Research Offices of different academic institutions in the next Scopus Academy. The majority of the attendees were librarians.  She described the peer review process, the concept of benchmarking, NRF rating as well as the NRF’s publication practices.

logo-scopus.pngAttention was given to Scopus author profiles – document counts, citation analysis, h-index and author profile corrections.  As the NRF requires an ORCID iD when submitting funded research outputs, librarians were encouraged to assist researchers to register for ORCID and integrate the researcher’s ORCID with their Scopus Author ID.  With just a few steps, all their publications will be added to their ORCID profile.