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Thursday, 26 April 2018

E-resources replacing print - What do we do with the created space???

by Nonkuthalo Ngcakaza 
Space is power!!
Although many library systems recognize the need for dedicated space for studying, and group discussion, there is growing interest in creating spaces to accommodate the broadening space use needs of the modern technology student generation.

 The construction of new spaces and remodeling of existing spaces often do not take into account the unique needs of students in university libraries and the way they desire to actively and naturally use space. We spend increasingly large parts of our budgets on electronic resources, but less thought about space. We as librarians see huge student demand for access to a variety of learning spaces.

Space at Medical School created by e-resource replacing print collection and weeding
This new shift from print collections to e-resources allows for a different balance in the use of library space, from collection storage to learning spaces for use by students. Learning Spaces focuses on how learner expectations influence such spaces, the principles and activities that facilitate learning, and the role of technology from the perspective of those who create learning environments.

Blocking the move between the shelves
Above is an example at Medical School. Students saw an opportunity to use space and they created apersonalized learning space by moving chairs between shelves, this is  evidence of the high demand for different kinds of learning spaces from traditional desks and chairs. The value of the library as a flexible space is needed to meet changing student needs.

Optimizing Learning Space for 21st Century generation
Every space that is available in a library needs to be appropriately used, for example different types of wall and  floor mounted tables with chairs, and plug points. This will largely benefit the undergraduates, as the Research Commons already caters for the postgraduates. These areas will become their learning space, as students gather around to charge their devices.

Interactive Spaces
Libraries should not be static places. For example, innovative companies have interactive spaces for employees to relax collaborate and have fun. Libraries can use Makerspace –which is a creative space where people with ideas can get together with people who have the technical ability to make these ideas become a reality. These spaces will enable the students to make use of the current technology trends such as 3D printing, 3D scanning, electronics and 3D design software.

  1. David W. Lewis, "The User-Driven Purchase Giveaway Library," EDUCAUSE Review, vol. 45, no. 5 (September/October 2010), pp. 10–11, <http://www.educause.edu/library/ERM1057>.
  2. David W. Lewis, "A Model for Academic Libraries, 2005 to 2025," paper presented at Visions of Change, California State University, January 26, 2007, <http://hdl.handle.net/1805/665>.
  3. Elizabeth Jordan and Tanya Ziebell, "Learning in the Spaces: A Comparative Study of the Use of Traditional and 'New Generation' Library Learning Spaces by Various Disciplinary Cohorts," and Keith Webster,

Thursday, 12 April 2018

24 Hour Service: UKZN Libraries responding to student’s needs

By Nonjabulo Ngcobo            
The University of KwaZulu-Natal Libraries are categorised as academic libraries which are found in higher education institutions, and their aim is to support teaching, learning, and research of their institutions. Academic Libraries serve the scholarly and research needs of their clientele, and provide a service whereby users’ access, or rather, have access to information resources. The University of KwaZulu-Natal Libraries went above and beyond providing outstanding service to the University community by providing a 24 hour service and access full time.  The Library was previously operating from 8:00 am to 23:00 pm and also open on Sundays during exam times up until March 2016.
A 24 hour service is not a new idea among universities in South Africa. Other academic libraries are operating 24 hours (Ajiboye, 2013) e. g. University of Cape Town. “The demand of users to have unrestricted access to the library and their reluctance to leave at closing times, especially during examination periods, and the request from the Student Representative Council informed the decision of UKZN Library management to operate the libraries 24 hours. This has been a remarkable transformation helped by emerging technology trends and the evolution of the classroom beyond the classroom. Libraries are required to continuously adapt in order to meet the ever-changing needs of their users (Bowman, 2013). The expansion of a library’s operational hours to 24 hours is one of the adaptive efforts, and many libraries have switched to a 24 hour service which is far from the professional norm?. It is very important or rather a requirement to implement various adaptive measures so that the service is both safe and effective.

Issues with providing a 24 hour service
Extending hours has its concerns and challenges that involve a number of issues. Budgeting for staffing is one of the major concerns since library budgets vary every year. Budgeting for new positions is often the biggest barrier to offering the extended services and hours (Sewell, 2013). Security is also a challenge as the University provides libraries with one security guard during the day (although 24 hour security is now available). Security is a major concern as it involves the safety of the staff, patrons, the facilities and collections. Another issue is that the service that is offered in the evening will be or is limited since there are no professional staff available to answer in-depth reference and technical queries. Lastly, what is the quality of service offered during the evening? This is a very important aspect as the main focus of the library is to provide a service to its community.
Service Quality as an instrument/ method used to gauge library service quality
As the library operates 24 hours it is very important to provide a quality service to its users or community, and Service Quality is an instrument used to identify a gap analysis of an organisation’s service quality performance against user service quality needs. There are five determinants of service quality namely:
·       Tangibles - the appearance of physical facilities, equipment, personnel and
Communications material.
·       Reliability - the ability to perform the promised service dependably and accurately.
·       Responsiveness - the willingness to help customers/ patrons and provide prompt service.
·       Assurance - the knowledge and courtesy of employees and their ability to convey trust
and confidence.
·       Empathy - the provision of individualised attention the library provides its customers.
How effective is the 24 hour service to students?
·       Students have different sleeping patterns and study habits. For some students, their most productive time of the day could be after midnight, while others are most productive in the afternoon. A 24-hour library service is beneficial for students who either work better at night or are unable to visit the library during normal library hours (Peduto, 2013).
·       A 24-hour service is also beneficial to international students, who tend to work late and take the opportunity to contact family in another time zone. This assists these students in avoiding the challenges of calling home in the residence halls during quiet hours.
·       A downside to having 24-hour facilities is the frustration of where the money to keep these facilities running will come from, and who would staff them as well as the issue of security.
·       Mess, mess and more mess – overflowing dustbins and scarcity of toilet paper!

Ajiboye, B.A. & Bankole, O.M. 2013. User survey of 24- hour library service during examination periods at Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Nigeria. Journal of access service, 10:3, 172-185.
Bowman, A.C. 2013. 24-hour academic libraries: adjusting to change. Journal of access service, 10:4, 217-239.
Peduto, M. 2013. Benefits of 24-hour facilities outweigh drawbacks, http://www.etownian.com/campus-life/benefits-of-24-hour-facilities-outweigh-drawbacks/ [accessed on 03/03/2018].