The Department of Library Services pops up on the Hatfield campus!

Posted on June 01, 2018

The Marketing Office Department of the Department of Library Services has been battling with the question: how do we make non-users of the library aware of the services and products that we offer?

Internationally libraries are following a new trend – their outreach efforts involve pop-up libraries on their campuses. It was therefore decided to try it out on the University of Pretoria’s Hatfield campus.

With a pop-up library staff members promote the library and its services outside the library and provide a service at the client’s point of need. It is an effective outreach method to make non-users aware of what the library can offer to them. The goals of a pop-up library are to:

  • make personal connections with our students;
  • showcase what services and products the library can offer;
  • reach out to our students who sometimes do not see our library staff as approachable;
  • promote the use of the library mobile app.

So far the library has been involved in 4 pop-up library sessions (22 February, 15 March, 19 April and 20 May 2018) during the busiest time of the day (11:00 – 14:00) in collaboration with Fly@UP at three different venues: in the student piazza, opposite the Aula and Roosmaryn. More sessions are planned for the second half of the year.

Staff members have since learnt that we need to be patient – students can sometimes react awkwardly when approached with something new and different. However, we use a tracking system and the statistics indicate that we have reached 464 students with our pop-up libraries. Most of the questions revolve around finding books, the new mobile app, finding articles, queries about the MakerSpace followed by other general library related questions and concerns. 89.8% of the clients reached are undergraduate students and the rest are postgraduate students and staff members visiting the pop-up library stall.

Students have reacted positively to the library, but we also get the occasional complaint:

  • “I hope the library will continue being creative and progressive.”
  • “I love the Library Services’ app.”
  • “The level of service we receive at the library is always above and beyond our expectations. Thank you!”
  • “The librarians are inspiring and cooperative, they offer a first class service.”
  • “We want more "space" during exam season.”
  • “I need larger and more discussion rooms.”

The pop-up library initiative promises to be one of the best outreach methods available – as long as library staff members stay committed and willing to talk about the library, what we offer and what we do here with enthusiasm and excitement!

The Department of Library Services would like to thank our sponsors Haloa, Coffee Buzz and Bookmark for the vouchers which we make available as incentives for our students who visit our pop-up libraries!

Thulani Mahlangu assisting a client

The pop-up library opposite the Aula


- Author Mrs Elsabé Olivier

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