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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!

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