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Monday, 27 November 2017

EDMINSON LIBRARY POETRY CORNER (EDGEWOOD CAMPUS)

by: Desmond Beharilal
To commemorate the 21st edition of Poetry Africa hosted by The UKZN Centre for Creative Arts this year, Dr Roshini Pather, the Edgewood Campus Librarian, in collaboration with some undergraduate students engaged in organizing a Poetry Corner in the Edminson Library at Edgewood Campus for the duration of the Poetry Africa Festival, and possibly beyond.



Edminson Library Staff were tasked with organizing the furniture and poetry materials for the Poetry Corner to attract library users and to encourage such users to familiarize themselves with the art of poetry as a means of expression. The Poetry Corner is a very basic set up as per the picture above with books and other related materials regarding poetry. Some students who are studying poetry as part of their curriculum also supplied some interesting poems, frames of poets, and some of their own writings expressing their life and cultures. Current students who have an interest in poetry will also have the opportunity to meet and discuss their poetic talents and exchange ideas with like-minded students. The Edminson Library Staff would assist in rotating the materials on display as and when new items become available. Students will be allowed to display their
personal works in the Poetry Corner with the intention of expressing themselves and reaching other such platforms. The Poetry Corner will also allow for discussions regarding the future of budding Poets and how to showcase their talents at events like Poetry Africa and other such local and international platforms. All students are encouraged to make use of this facility and make their contributions by sharing or learning skills and talents with their fellow students. The creation of this facility is currently in its infancy and there will be further discussions for larger and more permanent premises with much more information and the possibility of forming partnerships to fund such ideas especially with the School of Languages and Arts Education.



Monday, 23 October 2017

UKZN LAW LIBRARY: Risen from the Ashes

Kadephi Majola
During the course of the second semester in 2016 the students countrywide led a “#Fees Must Fall” campaign from which the University of KwaZulu-Natal was not immune. On 6 September 2016, students continued with protests for the better part of the day. The situation turned chaotic due to clashes between the students and South African Police Services (SAPS). Around 5 pm, the GMJ Sweeney (Law Library) was set alight. Most staff had left for the day with the exception of those who had other commitments and were involved with part-time students.

The following day we were all devastated as we witnessed a gutted library, covered in soot and water and areas burnt beyond recognition. The atmosphere was sombre and one of disbelief. Everyone was in a state of shock because of the incident. There was no time to lament, as swift solutions had to be sought to remedy the situation. Subsequently, respective stakeholders (Library, Law School, Campus Management Services and MTI Group) met to map a plan of action to restore library service. 

THE GREATNESS OF TEAM WORK IN THE CRISIS PROJECT
The mammoth project was about to start. The University brought forward the September mid-term vacation to allow a spirit of calmness to prevail. In an attempt to get work done speedily, the services of graduate assistants (GA) and undergraduates were enlisted. Within the space of 10 days we embarked on and completed much of the process of:

  •        Packing up the entire Law library collection to be sent for                      restoration; it was dirty, hard hard  work!
  •        Identifying new space on the first floor of the EG Malherbe                  Library to temporarily  accommodate the Law Library and                   School of Law staff.
  •        Organizing a team  to prepare for the library refurbishment.
  •        The reconstruction began.

 The work begins…
Team work and project management are buzz words we often use in our everyday work, without a meaning outside the context. ‘Project management’ is used in the context of the project as an activity as opposed to it as a title. Due to time constraints the process of planning and execution of the project were done simultaneously.  Hence, dealing with the crisis did not allow us the latitude of project management planning in its logical form. The various teams worked individually and thereafter collaborated during specific times to ensure that the project progressed well. The teams responsible for ensuring that the Law Library could  return to its normalcy as soon as possible were constituted as follows:
 
  •        The Campus Management Services (CMS) to deal with the                   physical building and removal of furniture etc
  •        Information and Communication Service Division (ICS) to remove      damaged computers and equipment
  •        Adams Book Sellers and Stationary for the replacement of burnt           items
  •        MTI Group: Humidity & Moisture Control to clean the sooty books
  •        Graduate and undergraduate assistants and library student assistants     to pack the books into boxes
  •        School of Law who did most of the project management –                     and fed the students!
  •        Library who directed students, packed boxes and liaised with all           the contractors.

We worked tirelessly for two weeks, ensuring  that the library services could be as fully functional as possible providing a quality service to all users timeously by the beginning of the new semester two weeks away. Many had to sacrifice their personal time in order to meet the respective deadlines.  Against all the odds these efforts were achieved.
Once the original building was more or less fully restored, nine months later, in July 2017, the temporary Law Library returned to a refurbished GMJ Sweeney Law Library.  The teams across campuses jointly contributed in ensuring this.

Experiences learned from the project
Any situation presents one with an opportunity to learn  from these challenges. Even though disasters rarely occur,  they leave indelible images to the affected. In the circumstances things cannot be changed but the lessons learned are critical going forward. The plight faced by the Law Library required quick thinking action and needed us to respond to the crisis despite having no proper disaster plan in place which led to makeshift arrangements. The progress achieved in the restoration of the Law Library was impossible without the following principles:

  •     Trust relationship
  •       Co-operation
  •        Pooling of skills
  •        Inspiration
  •        Innovation Visionary Leadership
  •        Co-ordination
Although the work was intense, physical and challenging we managed to find humour, happiness and love out of what we did. The enormous task that was impossible to an individual, was only made possible by the collective effort of the team.

PHOTOS BEFORE AND AFTER THE HOWARD COLLEGE LAW LIBRARY FIRE
 
 BEFORE
 AFTER

OUTSIDE LAW 2016

OUTSIDE LAW 2017

READING AREA 2016

READING AREA 2017