Staff News

Congratulations to the following staff members who were appointed recently:

clement-lebeya-2 Clement Monyai Lebeya has been appointed as Librarian in the Cataloguing Department.

Clement was previously a Library Assistant in the Acquisition Department at NWU LIS Mafikeng on a temporary basis.

mahlatse-tema Mahlatse Emanuel Tema has been appointed as Library Assistant in the Acquisition Department.

Before joining the NWU LIS family, Mahlatse was a Librarian at the City of Johannesburg Library.

lungile-dlamini Lungile Dlamini has been appointed as an Intern in the Cataloguing Department.

Before joining the NWU LIS, Lungile was a volunteer at Magudu Primary School as an Administrative Officer.

helah_vander_walt Helah van der Waldt was appointed as Administrative Officer at Loan Services and will start on 1 February.  Helah is a familiar face in the library.  She started at Information Services in 2004 and worked for many years in different sections on a temporary basis.


The following positions are vacant and recruitment is in progress – Manager: Library Systems, Manager: Information Resources, Senior Librarian (Cataloguing) and Library Assistant (Cataloguing).


Opening of the Mafikeng Library Research Commons.

The Research Commons at the Mafikeng library was officially opened on 7 December 2017.

The unveiling of the plaque by Dr Mathew Moyo and Prof Marilyn Setlalentoa (on behalf of Prof Dan Kgwadi)

In his speech, the LIS Chief Director, Dr Mathew Moyo described the research commons as a dedicated scholarly place for use by students at postgraduate level and researches. He stated that the first research commons was established in the early 90’s in America.  South Africa followed in 2008 at UCT, Wits and UKZN, followed by UP, Rhodes and Stellenbosch in 2010.  NWU opened its first research commons in 2014 at the Potchefstroom library, followed shortly by the Vaal library.

Prof Marilyn Setlalentoa, DVC of Mafikeng Campus saluted the NWU LIS team for this milestone.  She welcomed this space as researchers need a secluded area for research.  This commons will add to the quality of research.  She challenged the LIS staff to see this as an opportunity to proceed with postgraduate studies.

LIS staff members attending the opening of the Research Commons

The deputy chairperson of the SSC gave a motivating and compelling speech in which he highlighted the transformational direction that the library is taking. He stated that he believed the number of researchers in the institutions will increase and through its output, new frontiers will be reached.

The research commons comprises of a senior and junior commons. The senior commons gives access to masters and doctoral students, as well as researchers; whilst the junior commons caters for the honours students.

The senior research commons has 64 workstations, a kitchenette, as well as two discussion rooms.  The junior research section has 34 workstations as well as a discussion room.

The facility also has a boardroom which may be booked subject to availability.

All the workstations are wheelchair accessible.

A postgraduate student at work in the Research Commons

IUG-SA Conference November 2017

NWU Library staff attended the annual IUG-SA conference at Pretoria with the theme: Library technology trends: Time for innovation.

The papers and discussions touched upon the following matters:

  • Libraries should create value and become valuable, we should be seen as cost centres instead of valuable centres.
  • Generation thumbs (users who always have their  thumbs on their gadgets) are coming into our territory – are we equipped with necessary skills to assist this generation?  Some institutions have these gadgets and put them available on short term loan.
  • Different institutions shared their experience regarding social media, how they reach their users via social media platforms to promote the relationship between the library and users.  Institutions use different types of social media, depending on their target and environment.  Facebook , twitter, youtube and wikis came up to be the most preferred types of social media.   Social media should be used according to university policy.
  • One institution mentioned that they make use of a calendar, it runs on weekly/monthly basis where they have the opportunity to indicate library events and workshops – clearly visible for users.
  •  The population of statistics on the CHELSA database also came to discussion, as some institutions are not co-operative regarding regular provision of their own statistics.  The statistics assist institutions to benchmark and should be shared from regional to national level.
Staff members from Vanderbijlpark Library attended the conference.

Donation of African Language Classics from the National Library of South Africa (NLSA)

North-West University Libraries received 270 copies of African Language titles from the NLSA. The Reprint of South African Classics in Indigenous Languages Project was started by the NLSA in 2008. Books included in this project were nominated by the members of the public, librarians, authors, and academics.  The project sets to foster a culture of reading and respect for indigenous African Languages, but also to promote the African Language authors and their works. All 9 official African Languages are represented in the titles sent to NWU. There are 10 Setswana, 12 IsiXhosa, 10 Xitsonga, 8 Sesotho, 10 IsiZulu, 9 Tshivenda, 10 Sepedi, 11 SiSwati, and 10 IsiNdebele titles. All three NWU libraries will receive a copy of each of these titles.

Mafikeng Library staff members show some of the books donated by the NLSA  

We say goodbye to 2 Potchefstroom colleagues:

Corrie Breitenbach

Corrie started her career in the Ferdinand Postma Library at the Reference Section and worked in the library for 34 years.  Her interest and self-education with the operation and management of computers and programs secured her a position in the Research and Development Section in 1993.  She became the manager of the section in 2003, now called Library Systems.  The highlights of her career were the implementation of the Innopac Library System – later called Millennium and today the Sierra System, also the development of the online exam paper database in 1979 and the ETD’s which later resulted in the establishment of the Institutional Repository (Boloka) in 2009.

Corrie’s main goal was to empower staff to be computer literate, and was very pro-active to assist and solve any IT related problems.  She has managed to lead a formidable team in Library Systems.  It was a privilege to work with her.

Mariana Lourens

After 43 years in the library, Mariana is retiring today.  She started working as assistant librarian in the Cataloguing Department at the beginning of 1975.  In 1988 she was promoted to head of the Cataloguing Department.  Mariana played an instrumental role in the computerisation of the library’s card catalogue, and more recently she was project leader of the reclamation project.  Since the start of the project in 2012, more than 90 000 records were updated and upgraded.

Mariana will be remembered for her calmness, knowledge and insight in solving intricate cataloging matters.

We wish them both all the best for the next phase in their life, they will be sorely missed by all.

Corrie and Mariana at the farewell dinner last week.


Potchefstroom colleague passed away

Dear Colleagues
antoinette-coetseeIt is with sadness that we inform you that Antoinette Coetsee passed away early this morning after a long battle with cancer.
For 30 years she was part of the “library family” in the Cataloguing Department.  We will remember her as someone who always had a big smile for everyone – even during times when she really suffered, she did not talk about her illness, but rather reached out to others.  She had utmost dedication to her work, despite not being well.  She will be dearly missed.
Our sincere condolences to her family, especially to her husband Jaco and 2 children, Anika and Phillip.

NWU Open Access Week 2017


The NWU Library & Information Service and LIASA North-West celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Open Access Week.  In line with this year’s theme:  “Open in order to…”, the Libraries aimed to raise awareness and promote Open Access to the academic and research community.

The launch of Open Access Week was on Monday 23 October at Mahikeng Library with Dr Reggie Raju from UCT Libraries and Ms Denise Nicholson from WITS Library attending as guest speakers.  Dr Raju presented on the topic “Open in order to promote social justice”.  His presentation focused on how open access can be used to promote social justice in the African context.  His emphasis was on ensuring that research output from African public universities reach as many people as possible with no access or fee restrictions as part of these universities’ contribution to social justice.

Ms Denise Nicholson presented on the topic “Open access and copyright”.  As part of her presentation, Denise mentioned that currently there are discussions to amend the Copyright Act. The new act will introduce the concept of “fair use” which is meant to allow some level of copying of published documents for academic purposes.  Denise also touched on the predatory publishing which elicited a lot of engagement with the researchers attending the session.

Open Access launch
Hendra Pretorius, LIS Director Client Services welcomes guests at the launch of NWU Open Access Week.

On Wednesday 25 October at the Potchefstroom Library, Kabelo Kakole (Librarian Institutional Repository) gave a presentation on predatory publishing and warned that it can dent your credibility.   He gave advice on how to spot a predatory journal and illustrated the characteristics of good scholarly publishing vs predatory publishing. The extent of predatory publishing in South Africa is alarming.  Researchers need to take note of certain criteria when choosing a journal.  During a follow-up session Zine Sapula (Librarian Research Support) provided a hands-on session on how to create a data management plan for grant proposals.

The final sessions of Open Access Week at Vanderbijlpark Library on Friday 27 October, showed that eResearch is becoming a game changer in the pace and depth of research.  Prof Jaco Hoffman & Prof Vera Roos’s presentation was based on the we-DELIVER project from the Tirelo Bosha programme – this is a public service improvement programme and partnership between the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) and the Belgian Development Agency. The aim of the project is to:

  • involve staff and students across the three sites of the NWU
  • obtain information about older persons’ phone usage
  • determine their needs for services and resources in three pilot communities
  • develop an app and website (ICT) to promote access to information
  • develop a training manual for local government officials
  • involve NGOs and local governments in using ICT.

Prof Johann Tempelhoff presented: “As fluid as water! The South African Water History Archival Repository (SAWHAR)” and highlighted the digitisation of the Water Collection and their experiences on the project, working towards an open access water research platform. Solutions of the 1960s which are valuable in our current situation are often forgotten.  This unique selection has information on water research comprising of more than 30,000 documents.  Once the inventory is complete, the scanning process will commence.  Currently they only scan upon request and keep the soft copies for online storage.

Requests can be made via the website: or through completing a request form and sending it via email to:

Open access requires active participation of library and information professionals.  NWU Libraries have taken steps to foster a culture of improved and open access to further advancement of the dynamic and ground-breaking research conducted by our academic staff.

Institutional Repository Workshop

Kabelo Kakole, Librarian: Institutional Repository attended a DATAD-R Workshop for IR Managers in Pretoria on 11 – 14 September. The training was provided by Association of African Universities (AAU) in collaboration with Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAF).

This training focused on the IR Management from IT side (Technical) and IR Content Management (User interface).

Mr Kakole focused on the IR Content management where the following subjects where covered

  • Introduction to DSpace a IR management software
  • Creating IR communities, collections and user groups; assigning workflow roles
  • Content preparation and upload and item mapping
  • Content editing, harvesting, embargoes and copyright and licensing.


Ms Ina Smith from ASSAF gave a presentation on how to make your IR a trusted Repository. In her presentation she mentioned that the IR managers should consider having the IR Policies uploaded in the IR home page, there should be a list of contactable persons for both content management and IT/Technical management of the IR. She further advised that we should try by all means to limit our DSpace customization at a minimum according to international standards to allow harvesters to recognize all fields in the meta-data. Visibility of the IR is the most important factor and plays a vital role in the IR rankings. It was discussed that to maximize IR visibility; it should registered in as many directories as possible e.g. OpenDOAR, ROAR etc. The NWU IR is already registered in few international directories and there is hope that our IR will be visible enough.

Dr Leti Kleyn from University of Pretoria gave presentation on how to better market you IR. In her presentation she also put the emphasis on registering the OA IR with directories and harvesters, Market your IR traditional by hosting events and online via social media and other platforms. The IR Rankings issue was brought up and it came out that DSpace 5.5 has hick-ups with the harvesting command line and that impacts on the visibility of the IR. The time to upgrade your IR should also be taken into consideration as to when do you run the IR upgrade. It was mentioned that you should always run the IR upgrade immediately after the release of IR rankings because after the upgrade a lot might have changed in your IR; so there will be enough time for the IR to pick up until the next ranking results are released.  Dr Kleyn as touched on the UP IR road map where she presented their IR workflow and parties involved in the IR tasks.

The NWU IR is currently going great in terms of rich metadata, interoperability, compatible and harvestable by other Open Access initiatives.

LIASA Conference 2017

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-mashiyaneDina 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.

zine-sapulaIn 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.

carine_bassonIn 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-banganiSiviwe 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-vanderwaltMartha 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.

Some members of the LIS attending the LIASA conference:  Sakhele Magodla, Hendra Pretorius, Martin Nokoane and Martha van der Walt.


Academic paper published by NWU Library Staff


The latest academic paper to be published by NWU Library staff members is on the use of Social Media at the NWU Library during the #FeesMustFall Campaign.

Published by the “Library Review”, the article is titled ”A university library’s use of social media during a time of crisis”. The purpose of the paper is to highlight how NWU Library used Facebook and Twitter to inform, educate and communicate with library users during the students’ protests, #FeesMustFall Campaign.

The paper provides insights that the teaching and learning (educational) aspect still lags behind on social media usage in libraries. Given the period in question, the expectation would have been a higher percentage of posts that could be categorized as educational.

The link to the online first version of the article has been provided to the authors at: (to access the abstract) (to access the fulltext. Limited to the first 50 people at the moment)