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Friday, 28 February 2020

Issues & Returns - New Circulation Desk at EGM Library

By Omesh Jagarnath

Libraries are constantly evolving to meet the needs of its users in an effort to provide an efficient and excellent service to its patrons. Hence, the re-configuring of space to improve both security (of staff and student library assistants who are employed in the evenings), as well as academic reserve books and ensuring a centralised service point for users, is something that has been under discussion for many months.
 At the EGM library, Howard College Campus, an existing space, namely the old Research Commons, was identified by the space committee and in consultation with the circulation staff, this space was seen as ideal for reconfiguration.
The existing infrastructure was already in place, namely an enclosed glass partition with swipe access. Work on this new space commenced in November 2019 with the removal of the old furniture and computers, while a contractor was called to reconfigure the glass to create a window like opening for the counter on both sides of the room.
Work on reconfiguring the interior and creating the Issue and Return counters began in early December 2019. As there was no budget for the project, library staff took it upon themselves to purchase material for this space.
Mr Richard Goodall, a jack of all trades, decided to put his carpentry skills to good use.

Taking Shape

Staff Workstations
It has taken hours of labour and planning to ensure that the work done is professional and attractive. The above pictures shows the staff workstations being configured.

Completion – Service Point for Library Users - View from the outside

It has taken almost two and half months to complete the configuration with minor alterations and final touches added as we go along. Staff moved into the new space on the 13th February 2020.

There has been a lot of positive comments from some academics who were amazed by the quality of the workmanship, so all credit goes to Mr Goodall.

Wednesday, 19 February 2020

Boarding the # train for the love of the library

by Jillian Viljoen

14 February is traditionally known as Valentine’s Day; a day of romance where couples express their love for each other. Stores are usually decorated with red hearts. Valentine’s cards, flowers, candy and other sweet things and romance is the order of the day. But should expression of love between people be the only celebration on Valentine’s Day? What about celebrating our love for our libraries?

With this in mind, the PMB UKZN library promoted the idea of love for the library with a “photo
booth” and a display board where students could write what they loved about the library. Staff handed out lollipops to students, encouraging them to participate in the initiative.

The idea was a resounding success, with students and staff taking selfies and posting them online. The tag line was “#Love the UKZN library”. Even the security staff got in on the action.

To add to the festive atmosphere, staff wore red, in keeping with the
Valentine’s Day traditional colour scheme. On the whole, the initiative was well received by students and staff. If you thought that libraries just contained books and were boring spaces, think again. Come and visit the library. You may just walk in on another exciting event.

Monday, 3 February 2020

Moving and shaking – UKZN library moving into 2020

by Rosemary Kuhn 

The Library gets ever busier and 2019 was no exception and so will be 2020. All the time the Library is responding to technological enhancements and trying to improve the library / information experience for its users in terms of functionality and services and the physical environment.
Late last year the Library launched its new website with enhanced functionality and it is now in line with the university ‘look’. Tweaks are still being made and suggestions and comments are welcome.

The Library also launched Yabelana, a research data management platform and use of the Open Journals System (OJS) is gathering momentum. (Links on the library website).
In order to enhance the interlibrary loan (ILL) system the Library has endorsed Tipasa, “a cloud-based ILL management system for libraries that want to share and obtain materials through different resources and systems, as well as provide an exceptional experience for the patron.”  Basically, the ILL process is now more fully integrated into the circulation system and users can now also submit ILL requests via their ‘my library account’ and follow the progress of their requests.
There is a God! Finally, the Pietermaritzburg main library has air-conditioning! Oh, what bliss in this heat! A huge generator has been installed and is working well so load shedding is less stressful than in the past. Work continues on the LAN for the Disability Unit in the main library and the student toilets are being upgraded, all accompanied by lots of noise and dust. New chairs were procured for all the study desks. At the Life Sciences Library the staff toilets were upgraded. Carpet cleaning is currently underway. Our thanks go to ICS for helping us maintain all our computers in the training LAN, Research Commons and PCs.
At Howard College campus, the major event of the year was the launch of the new postgraduate Research Commons which was relocated to the first floor of the EG Malherbe Library. The new facility is huge, with not only group study rooms, but private study rooms, ‘comfy’ areas and plenty of computers. These facilities in all the libraries are becoming ever more popular.
At Edgewood and Westville libraries, LANS for Disability Unit students were completed and Edgewood is awaiting the completion of its air-conditioning. Bridge Publications is donating a substantial number of Scientology Books written by acclaimed author, L. Ron Hubbard to all campus libraries; the first batch has just been received by the Westville Library. Ashika Pramlal organized a function to exhibit these books.
Dr N Ngcobo; Ms M Webster; Professor Sunil Maharaj (Mathematical Sciences) and Dr P Sukram at the exhibition.
At all libraries, a stock take has commenced, it being several years since this was last done, and this is being spearheaded by circulation staff.
For subject librarians, an increasing amount of effort is being put into training for users. Indeed the
academic information environment is complex and information discovery and use is not always intuitive to the end user. Not only are presentations offered during Orientation but the libraries offer hands on training in the use of databases for new students, and Endnote during the first term, discipline-specific classes and postgraduate outreach. The Library is increasing its partnering with other facilities and people to organize related training in programmes such as SPSS, Nvivo, Word basics and more. Already many subject librarians have participated in Orientation Week activities and we are ready for a hectic term.

Library staff keep their skills up to date with regular training offered by vendors and experts.
On a different note, the Library Director Ms Joyce Myeza leaves UKZN Library after five years at the helm. She is staying in the province but moving out of librarianship. We wish her all the best in her new venture and thank her for her commitment to the development of the library and its staff.
Watch out 2020, here comes the UKZN Library staff all ready for the new year!